Thursday, 20 June 2013

Hong Kong Anglican Church adopts the Covenant

The Anglican Communion News Service reports today that

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, the Hong Kong Anglican Church, has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant.

The Province’s General Secretary, the Revd Peter Koon, wrote to the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon informing him of the decision by HKSKH’s Sixth General Synod held from 2 to 5 June.

Hong Kong is the seventh Province to adopt the Covenant, the others are La Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, The Church of the Province of Myanmar, the Church in the Province of the West Indies, Church of the Province of South East Asia (with their own preamble), the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, and La Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur de America.

The Church of Ireland has subscribed it, and the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted it subject to a ratification at its next Provincial Synod.

The Scottish Episcopal Church’s General Synod defeated a resolution to agree in principle to adopt the Covenant in June 2012.

The Anglican Communion Covenant, a document that outlines the common life and values of the Communion, was described by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams as “Something that helps us know where we stand together and also helps us to intensify our fellowship and our trust.” It includes a section that proposes how to address significant disagreements within the Anglican Communion.

The idea of a Covenant was first raised in 2004 and member churches are currently reviewing the latest and final version.

For more on the Covenant visit http://aco.org/commission/covenant/index.cfm.

Readers will notice that there is still no mention of the fact that the proposal to adopt the Covenant in the Church of England was defeated when a majority of diocesan synods voted against.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 4:52pm BST | TrackBack
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Comments

"Readers will notice that there is still no mention of the fact that the proposal to adopt the Covenant in the Church of England was defeated when a majority of diocesan synods voted against."

Is this an inadvertent reminder that TA exists in a Communion that is often artificially confined by TA to likeminded UK provocateur?

The fate of the Covenant was never restricted, by design, to what the CoE did, because the Communion is not the CoE and never has been.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 6:48pm BST

Just when Hong Kong has opened its hearts, and doors to LGBT justice via anti-discrimination, the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, slaps inclusivity at various levels of Churchlife in the face!

http://www.fridae.asia/newsfeatures/2013/06/14/12346.new-anti-discrimination-advisory-body-announced-in-hong-kong?n=sec

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 7:55pm BST

Let us hope it is a last twitch before it dies!

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 8:18pm BST

Yes, was not that Abp Rowan Williams' second-to-last humiliating defeat before leaving office? It was not even close, as I recall. Of course, nearly all the C of E bishops voted for it, so I will not be at all surprised if the HoB and/or Mr Fittall (after consulting no one other than themselves) issue a statement sometime soon that the C of E does in fact, support the Covenant, as the opponents do not have a two-thirds majority, and we don't want to upset our 'brothers' in Nigeria and the Southern Cone.

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 9:42pm BST

Why have they not told anyone else that the C of E has rejected the covenant? It would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 11:00pm BST

Oh dear - it rises again like a zombie from the dead ... or perhaps this is a poisoned chalice that Justin Welby has inherited from his predecessor.

I could envisage conservative Provinces (having resisted it so far) now deciding that the Covenant is a useful stick with which to beat anyone or anything that supports the gay issue.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 11:37pm BST

What I find annoying is the statement that, "The Anglican Communion Covenant, [is] a document that outlines the common life and values of the Communion...." If adopted sufficiently that might become true, and then only for those who adopt. It is certainly not true now, and is aspirational at best.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 2:39am BST

They adopted the what now?

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 4:28am BST

Good luck on that "Anglican" Communion without THE original Anglican Church! It can be *a* communion, but not the Anglican Communion. It's not even the "Anglican" Covenant, anymore. Frankly, no Anglican Communion is fine, as it was never anything besides a joint effort to emulate Rome on the American bishops' part, and to preserve some last vestige of a dead empire on the CofE's part. No great loss, really.


This from people who don't recognize the only true communion is through Christ, and He has the only say, now claiming some sort of universalist concept of "anglican" church!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 5:01am BST

The Covenant is not dead, it is moving at a different pace.
From reported conversations with Roman Catholic leaders, those in charge of the Anglican Communion project are taking the long view and hoping to move more and more churches into this relationship over the next couple of decades.
In a report on the Episcopal Cafe web site, the lead bishop of Scottish Anglicans gives a view on how things have moved within the communion over the past decade. http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/anglican_communion/the_primus_of_the_scottish.html
One suspects that NOT reporting who rejects the Covenant is part of this longer plan, the word in Catholic circles is that in England the matter is "on hold". The Covenant remains the key strategy for moving the Anglican Communion into a entity other churches want to see it become.

Posted by: Fr Alan-Bury on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 8:59am BST

Dr. Seitz:

The Anglican Communion dates it history back to the Chicago Quadrilateral, an agreement between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in the US, as you well know. What does it say about a document purporting to "help us know where we stand together and also help us to intensify our fellowship and our trust" when neither of the two founding members of that group will sign on to it? It as if the original 13 colonies all rejected the Constitution, but a few of the other 37 states ratified it.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 11:11am BST

Are they in some kind of time warp ?

Time travel ?

Invincible ignorance ?

"Beam me up !"

Posted by: Laurence on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 2:29pm BST

I believe the formal answer to the question you pose is that the ACC and CofE are waiting to see what the fate of the covenant is in the life of the communion, as is appropriate. The covenant's viability was formally never a matter of CofE approval (as +Williams himself has said). As for TEC, it is of course a tiny province. I am on von Humboldt grant in Goettingen, where the number of Lutherans in the single region of Hanover is much larger than TEC.

If six large-size Provinces were to join SE Asia, the covenant would take on a different quality. Many have as yet made no decision at all.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 3:51pm BST

"Frankly, no Anglican Communion is fine, as it was never anything besides a joint effort to emulate Rome on the American bishops' part, and to preserve some last vestige of a dead empire on the CofE's part. No great loss, really."

Preach it, Mark!

And the more Lambeth tries to make the Communion into some superstructure, the more Lambeth will be resisted.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 4:18pm BST

"I am on von Humboldt grant in Goettingen, where the number of Lutherans in the single region of Hanover is much larger than TEC."

The Hanover Region has 1.1 million total inhabitants (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanover_Region). The Episcopal Church has 2.1 million members. Can you please explain what you're talking about?

Posted by: C Skelton on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 6:26pm BST

"As for TEC, it is of course a tiny province." According to Anglican "Mainstream," the province of Hong Kong has 29,000 members ( http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/usable-statistics/ ). If TEC is "tiny," I wonder what the appropriate adjective for the province of Hong Kong would be.

Posted by: dr.primrose on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 7:16pm BST

The Lutheran Church (evangelisch) whose Bishops oversee the region in Germany whose 'see' is Hanover, comprises 2.8 Million.

If it is easier for you, just go to Google.

Christ's blessings.

Posted by: cseitz on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 7:21pm BST

"As for TEC, it is of course a tiny province..."

But the one that provides the vast majority of the funding for the rest of the Communion, including those provinces that choose to treat it as a pariah.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 9:00pm BST

I think we have to be careful when we talk of membership of German Lutheran churches. People tend to be born either Lutheran Protestant or Roman Catholic and they are automatically members of their churches.
Churches are financed by means of a church tax that is automatically collected together with income tax by the Inland Revenue. All church tax paying Germans appear in the statistics as church members, whether they attend any church or not.
To leave the church you have to make an official declaration. You then stop paying church tax and you are no longer entitled to any services such as Baptisms, Weddings or funerals.

Many people are happy to continue to pay church tax because they approve of the social and education programmes the churches finance and run, the old people's homes etc.
That does not make them active members of the church or even Christians in the wider sense of the word.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 9:11pm BST

"The Covenant is not dead, it is moving at a different pace. From reported conversations with Roman Catholic leaders, those in charge of the Anglican Communion project are taking the long view and hoping to move more and more churches into this relationship over the next couple of decades. ... One suspects that NOT reporting who rejects the Covenant is part of this longer plan, the word in Catholic circles is that in England the matter is "on hold". The Covenant remains the key strategy for moving the Anglican Communion into a entity other churches want to see it become."


Fr Alan-Bury, I don't think there's anything above here that's not disturbing. The RCC and/or "other churches" determining the shape of the Anglican Communion? "Those in charge of the Anglican Communion project"??? [Who put them in charge?!] A "longer plan" based upon obfuscation (or subversion)?

If I wasn't against the Covenant (other than the *blessed* Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, of course) before...

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 10:35pm BST

cseitz:

Now I understand. You are talking about the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover. It serves all of Lower Saxony, one of Germany's larger states.

I was confused, because your reference to the region of Hanover was a bit like referring to Yorkshire when you mean the Province of York.

Interestingly, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover blesses same-sex unions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominational_positions_on_homosexuality#Lutheranism).

Posted by: C Skelton on Friday, 21 June 2013 at 11:27pm BST

"Interestingly, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover blesses same-sex unions"

Thank you for that most awesome info, C Skelton.

Thanks to Dr. Primrose for noting that the Province of Hong Kong has 29,000.

Thank you Pat O'Neill for noting how much TEC funds. Last night, our Outreach Committee funded projects in South Sudan, Haiti, and of course our city. We aren't particularly wealthy, but over 100 of our parishioners gave to our Outreach fund and it adds up. Plus we do a lot of hands on ministry. We have an impact far beyond our small size and modest resources. Maybe size matters less than walking the talk with radical and inclusive Jesus.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 22 June 2013 at 4:10am BST

It is a mistake to consider the Lutheran Protestant church in Germany to be evangelical in the sense that this word is used in the English language.

Evangelical simply means that they are a reformed Lutheran Protestant church that split from Rome.
It says absolutely nothing about churchmanship or beliefs. The church is middle of the road, some are more liberal than others. There are distinct differences in the style of service which is neither full of ceremony, vestments and incense, nor as informal as our evangelical services. It has and uses a set formal liturgy.

The German word is evangelisch.
The German word for what we mean by evangelical in English is evangelikalisch.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 22 June 2013 at 6:56am BST

We are in a quiet time now, communion-wide. Provinces are adjusting to a new ABC. The last Primates Meeting was confusing, as even those who attended (including +Welby) allow, given so many not present. The ACC points to the covenant because it represents one of the few communion issues still being assessed -- true whether one wants to dismiss it or not. Major provinces have said neither Yes nor No.

As for TEC spreading money around. What puzzles me is how it will survive with all the litigation costs (1 Million alone for an 'expert testimony') and with 40% of its dioceses not sustainable (under 3K ASA). At least there is an honest discussion about what it should do in the next nine-year period in respect of a PB (cost-wise) and also the 'national headquarters' costs are being reviewed. Maybe it can emerge from this with 1M members and leaner, more viable structures. It will be a challenge.

Posted by: cseitz on Saturday, 22 June 2013 at 6:57am BST

"As for TEC spreading money around..."

As I mentioned, it isn't only money, although that's part. In our case, and many others, we do extensive hands on ministry. We partner with several nonprofit organizations and help both financially and putting in a gazillion volunteer hours working on homelessness, hunger, as well as highly effective projects in South Sudan and Haiti. The money is half the picture, volunteerism is the other half. TEC is rather active in both regards.

I thought the Covenant was a truly bizarre and destructive idea.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 22 June 2013 at 3:18pm BST

My Hong Kong friend, 42, non-Christian, explodes with rage against the Christian churches in Hong Kong that have used their influence to block proposals to consider fighting discrimination against gays. They have added their "Christian" weight to the already crushing burden of Chinese family tradition to destroy the happiness and freedom of many people. We are reaping the whirlwind in a massive worldwide rejection of Christianity.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 24 June 2013 at 5:44am BST

"As for TEC, it is of course a tiny province."

Yeah, those grapes were probably sour, anyway.

However, God has only ever talked of a little leaven, while there is a whole lot of dross, chaff, etc.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 6:59am BST

"They have added their "Christian" weight to the already crushing burden of Chinese family tradition to destroy the happiness and freedom of many people."

Thank you for that Hong Kong perspective.

And homophobic laws and violence against LGBT persons has gone up in Africa as well, with the church on the wrong side.

This is the church that cseitz and Justin Welby want? Human Rights violators? That is the result of their positions.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 at 4:19pm BST
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