Friday, 4 October 2013

Anglican Church of Southern Africa completes Adoption of Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Communion News Service has announced today that Anglican Church of Southern Africa completes Adoption of Anglican Covenant.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) has adopted the Anglican Communion Covenant.

Its Provincial Synod today unanimously voted to ratify the decision taken at its previous meeting in 2010 to adopt the Covenant. This completes the legal process.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, proposed the motion. Addressing the Synod, meeting this week in Benoni, Johannesburg, he emphasised ACSA’s commitment to being at the heart of Anglican life, often acting as a bridge-builder, and drawing on its own experiences of living with considerable diversity and wrestling with difference.

Seconding the motion, the Dean of the Province, Bishop Rubin Philip of Natal, quoted from the Introduction to the Covenant:

6. To covenant together is not intended to change the character of this Anglican expression of Christian faith. Rather, we recognise the importance of renewing in a solemn way our commitment to one another, and to the common understanding of faith and order we have received, so that the bonds of affection which hold us together may be re-affirmed and intensified. We do this in order to reflect, in our relations with one another, God’s own faithfulness and promises towards us in Christ (2 Cor 1.20-22).

With debate only addressing a minor wording amendment, the motion was passed without dissent.

The text of the motion is given below.

Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

This Synod

1. Notes ­the adoption of the Anglican Covenant at the Provincial Synod of 2010;

2. Recommits the Anglican Church of Southern Africa to playing the fullest possible role at the heart of the Anglican Communion, working to promote its unity in diversity and strengthening of bonds of affection, in a life of mutuality and interdependence, shared between autonomous churches, acting each as we are called in our own particular contexts and according to our own ordering, in response to this common gift and calling we have received in our Lord Jesus Christ;

3. Reaffirms its belief that this ordering of shared Communion life may be furthered as set out in the Preamble to the Covenant:

We, as Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, solemnly covenant together in these following affirmations and commitments. As people of God, drawn from “every nation, tribe, people and language” (Rev 7.9), we do this in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God’s people to attain the full stature of Christ (Eph 4.3,13).

4. Resolves to confirm its adoption of the Anglican Covenant.

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Comments

Given the history of the Sees of Cape Town and Natal, it's interesting to see the (arch)bishops thereof moving and seconding the motion.

It is curious that the motion refers to autonomous churches whilst at the same time adopting a treaty that curtails their autonomy.

Posted by: Alan T Perry on Friday, 4 October 2013 at 3:58pm BST

The resolutions sound wonderful but the unity envisaged is far too narrow.Anglicans need to live in unity with much greater diversity.Above all those of us who think it is right need to be free to welcome fully LGBT people and to provide for 'gay marriage'. I just wish this Covenant would die and leave us free to be true Anglicans

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Friday, 4 October 2013 at 5:23pm BST

This is the unfortunate legacy of the abortive Rowan Williams initiative. It lives zombie like to remind us all of a past we'd rather forget. When finally half the Communion has voted to adopt it and the other have not, it will have achieved precisely the opposite of what was meant to happen, cementing division instead of creating order and harmony. 'The road to hell', they say, 'is paved with good intentions.'

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Friday, 4 October 2013 at 6:52pm BST

So now I guess the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is not in fullest possible communion with the Church of England, which rejected the covenant as, among other things, unAnglican.

Rowan Williams's bad strategic thinking does persist in haunting us.

Lambeth Palace, and Anglican Communion Office, please take note.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 12:09am BST

"The Archbishop of Cape Town, Dr Thabo Makgoba, proposed the motion. Addressing the Synod, meeting this week in Benoni, Johannesburg, he emphasised ACSA’s commitment to being at the heart of Anglican life, often acting as a bridge-builder, and drawing on its own experiences of living with considerable diversity and wrestling with difference." - article.

At least, Archbishop Thabo MakGoba, evinces a desire to remain 'at the heart of Anglican life - rather than becoming part of its liver at GAFCON.
He wants to be a 'bridge-builder' and not a demolisher of Anglican solidarity like GAFCON.

Though I personally have problems with the whole concept of the Covenant as presently constituted, I do believe that a different wording of a new Covenant between non-GAFCON Provinces of the Communion that would retain that degree of 'living with diversity and wrestling with difference' that the Archbishop mentioned, could become viable.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 12:36am BST

they should tread carefully as within their midst is a viable " Anglican " alternative. The thriving Church of England in South Africa, now calling its self the Reformed evangelical Anglican Church.REACH as it calls itss elf is fully represented at GAFCON.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 7:08am BST

RIW, I doubt that most SA Anglicans would consider the CESA especially "Anglican," much less "viable." They practice lay presidency (with grape juice!) in contrast to the largely A-C tone of much of Southern Africa.

Posted by: Geoff on Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 4:45pm BST

CESA is a small version of Sydney: lay presidency, eschewing the word "catholic" in the Creeds, more Calvinist than Anglican.

Posted by: Richard on Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 4:47pm BST

CESA's orders are fully recognised by Canterbury and there are several CESA clergy serving in the Church of England.

Posted by: Robert ian williams on Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 11:19pm BST

Robert, there are also many ex-Roman Catholic priests serving in Anglican Church around the world - not only in England.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 6 October 2013 at 10:00am BST

Robert Ian Williams - we need more information on what you say. The Church of England in South Africa is not in the Anglican Communion. It is only recognised by Sydney Diocese.

It is not a case of whether its orders are recognised or not, after all Anglicans recognise Roman orders and Roman priest converts are not re-ordained. Any CESA priest coming into the C of E would not be re-ordained but would have to be received, that is effectively renounce the CESA.

CESA or REACH as it now calls itself has the same status at GAFCON gatherings as the Anglican Church of North America i.e not in communion with the Anglican Communion, whatever GAFCON says.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Sunday, 6 October 2013 at 3:01pm BST

"...we do this (affirm our Covenantal relationship) in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God’s people to attain the full stature of Christ (Eph 4.3,13)...." - A.C.S.A.'s declaration -

If this were the major philosophy behind the original Covenant Declaration "in our different contexts", and the constituents partners were encouraged to respect each other's differences on gender and sexuality questions, then the Covenant may just have had a chance to be accepted by everyone - except the GAFCON Provinces, who would not have approved.

As it is, however, with GAFCON's dissension from the gender and sexuality inclusivity, the rest of us might yet agree to an ongoing relationship that does not tie us to a confessional fundamentalism.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 8 October 2013 at 11:42pm BST

I am a bit confused here, do you stand by the 39 Articles or not?

Posted by: arthur gorton on Friday, 11 October 2013 at 7:11am BST
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