Comments: The Secretary General on the Anglican Communion Covenant

Nothing going on there; move along....

Posted by Scot Peterson at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 4:56pm GMT

No guidance from Ken Kearon on the implications of what rejection might mean for Canterbury or even, what at least "a very long delay" for England would will mean in the new "two tier" communion. But, to be frank, few could have expected clarity at this time.

I suppose that the English General Synod could try and finesse this by passing a "mind of the Synod" resolution approving of the Covenant - if not THE Covenant - or some other wheeze. I can't imagine their bench of bishops being too keen at such a brutal humiliation going unchallenged. Judging by the press release Ken seems to think England has something up its sleeve.

I suppose 2017, or there abouts isn't too long for another attempt to be completed, though I must say if things continue the way they have over recent years then the "anti-gay" credentials (interestingly and usefully denied by some bishops in debate!) will build an even stronger head of steam against the Covenant.

I have written to our bishops saying the Covenant should be at least shelved until after the next ACC (and they are obviously in charge of the process) hoping we can see a procedural motion at the next GB so the question of the Covenant is not put.

To paraphrase an Archbishop somewhat:
"The Covenant is no longer an icon of future unity rather it has become a totem of the disunity that abides"

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 5:13pm GMT

Much going on here, the covenant process continues with its own integrity. We have seven months to see how the covenant fares, and how many join the 8 who have adopted thus far.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 5:20pm GMT

Canon Kearon: John 11:39b.

Posted by William Moorhead at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 5:57pm GMT

I suspect Mr Kearon has a much bigger headache coming up - GAFCON are to meet in April, in London. I guess their decisions will be much more significant for the future of the Communion than England's decision on the Covenant.

Posted by Paul Bagshaw at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 6:01pm GMT

Why no mention that the Philippines has said no in his list of responses? Surely until the ACC becomes a body of only covenanted members the Secretary General of the ACC should be a neutral civil servant not a supporter of one side or the other. (And is he really now the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion not the ACC?).

Posted by Brian Lewis at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 6:10pm GMT

Lemons -> Lemonade, eh CanonKK?

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 7:42pm GMT

Some explicit recognition that the Covenant has been rejected in England was absolutely required here. But instead this statement attempts to convey inevitability - you cannot reject the Covenant even when you have rejected it. I think this will be highly counterproductive. To persuade someone who disagrees with you, you must engage with that person. Pretending they have not spoken will more likely alienate them further.

I also wonder if now the Church of England has rejected the Covenant, many others will be emboldened to reject it too. The tally of those agreeing is very small. There was not much momentum, and what momentum there was, is now broken.

Posted by badnab at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 7:52pm GMT

Until a new Archbishop comes in and closes it down, this juggernaut of the Covenant will keep its engine running. It does not have an off switch built into it so even in the ditch its wheels continue to turn.

Ecclesiastical civil servants, like Kenneth Kearon, are only doing what they are told to do, that is selling the Covenant as a good idea and doing so with a bit of 'spin'. It's what he's paid for and whether his heart is really in it is anyone's guess?

Apart from the Church of England's unwillingness to endorse the ill-fated scheme, there are at least several other Provinces, New Zealand, the American Episcopal Church, possibly Brazil, etc which will not endorse the Covenant. Add those to the GAFCON Provinces which will play hard to get and Canon Kearon's press release seems like a triumph of optimism over reality ... but reality never was a factor in this whole flawed process.

Posted by Concerned Anglican at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 10:24pm GMT

"There was not much momentum" -- how could there be when 30 provinces have yet to consider the covenant formally? Hence, the ACO statement.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 11:33pm GMT

"Until a new Archbishop comes in and closes it down" -- I take it this is a wish. The covenant is not reliant on the CofE and/or a 'new Archbishop.'

Again, hence the ACO statement.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Saturday, 24 March 2012 at 11:36pm GMT

I agree with Paul Bagshaw. Canon Kearon will have much more to contend with than the problem of the Church of England not signing up to the covenant.

Already extant, but under the radar in England, is the love-child of GAFCON, called 'AMiE' (Angican Mission in England) which, under the nose of the Established Church of England, is trying to subvert her mission under the guise of 'Anglican Orthodoxy' - a title claimed by the GAFCON Provinces.

Next month, GAFCON will be meeting with 200 paid-up members in the U.K., and leading them, under his subsidiary title of 'Chair of FCA' (Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans), will be the Archbishop of Kenya, who ordained the first UK indigenous clergy for AMiE - GAFCON's church-plant in the UK.

This will no doubt be a time of triumphalistic flag-waving for GAFCON - aided and abetted by the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali (one of the scheduled speakers at the conference) and by the presence of the former GAFCON Secretary, Archbishop Peter Jensen, (now FCA) of Sydney.

There may even be an exorcism or two - to follow on from the dreadful spectacle made by certain prelates at the 1998 Lambeth Conference!

I pray for the Church of England at this time.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 12:04am GMT

South East Asia neither approved, nor subscribed to the Covenant. They "acceded", on the understanding “that those who accede will unequivocally abide by Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in its spirit and intent,” and would honour the moratorium on gay bishops and blessings.
In other words, they approved the covenant on condition that everyone else who approved shared their opinion regarding sexuality.

Posted by Graham Ward at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 12:16am GMT

I'm sorry, Dr. Seitz. Yes, the Covenant process has its own integrity, and other provinces will take action (some one way and some the other). However, I don't understand the reference to "7 months." I don't recall, either in the document or in any directions, a time limit.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 2:09am GMT

Perhaps the next shoe to drop will be that individual dioceses can adopt the covenant. That's one of the lines your Rowan was peddling to his fellow right-wingers over here in the US...

Something tells me Rowan would love to have the Church of England divided against itself. I know he doesn't TALK that way, but if his Archepiscopacy had been anything like the way he talked before it, we wouldn't be in this fix. It was his weakness before the radical right that convinced them that he didn't believe in anything hence he could be pushed around in any direction they wished to push him.

Posted by Wade McClay at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 2:17am GMT

We have created a monster in the ACC, divorcing the
Anglican Communion from the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I know the argument is that he/she will have proper influence through the 'instruments' but isn't there a way to repeal the notion of 'a communion' expressed as a bureaucracy?

Geoffrey Hoare

Posted by Geoffrey Hoare at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 2:46am GMT

We have seven months to see how the covenant fares, and how many join the 8 who have adopted thus far."
- cseitz -

And will ACI try to join the Covenant group - as an independent ecclesial entity - even if TEC says No?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 6:17am GMT

I'm sure that Williams floated "divide & rule" solely as a US strategy, Wade.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 9:16am GMT

You're probably right Lapin, and look where it's got him. Perhaps some English Dioceses will join what now appears to be The Anglicanless Communion? I remember when he tried to peddle that Diocese by Diocese nonsense over here. I wish Trinity Wall Street would stop bringing him over here.

Posted by Wade McClay at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 11:29am GMT

Very good point, Marshall. Many here were suggesting the Nov ACC meeting as determinative in some clear way (suggesting even a meeting to call the covenant of, etc). But you are correct to speak of the covenant's own integrity. I suspect that by Nov ACC we shall likely know how that looks.

Posted by c.r.seitz at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 11:38am GMT

When I read the ACO statement, I thought, "The Iraqi Information Minister has not yet left the building." Pretending that what has happened in the English diocesan synods is not important does not make it unimportant, nor does pretending that the Covenant process has not been holed below the waterline mean that we are still steaming at full speed towards the introduction of the Covenant.

Is the Archbishop of Canterbury, as an 'Instrument of Unity' going to use the Covenant, another 'Instrument of Unity' to declare himself and his Church to be in impaired communion with the rest of Anglicanism? If so, how does the Primate of a Church declared to be in impaired communion function as an 'Instrument of Unity'?

All the ACO statement shows is that there is no Plan B and no-one in the Lambeth/Church House magic circle has even started to think what Plan B might look like. Pretending that there won't be a Plan B when the Covenant finally sinks below the waves doesn't mean there won't be a Plan B. When reality finally bites, there will be. To me the interesting question is what it will look like.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 1:51pm GMT

I think that I have difficulty in speaking of the Covenant's "integrity". It exists as a document and a process. But that process is born simply of a desire to coerce Provinces into an anti-gay stance. Now that the dioceses of the Church of England have rejected that document and process, will we be allowed the time, space, and freedom of thought to address the issues in being in communion with all the interdependence and mutuality that calls for? Will we be allowed to address the context of each Province and the best ways in which they can present the good news of the Gospel to those who live, work, and love within their geographical areas? I hope and pray that will be the case. I fear it will not.
And if the Covenant as it stands gathers force, will the Provinces in Africa subject those whom they choose to be bishops to the scrutiny and approval of the rest of the Communion? If they can 'take up arms' over Jeffrey John let alone +Gene Robinson, then there are many in the African episcopacy with whom I would wish to take issue. But I shall hold my peace and say my prayers, waiting upon God.

Posted by commentator at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 2:19pm GMT

Can someone define the expression "Covenant's Integrity"? Suspect we might be encountering it quite often in the near future, as it manifests a significance not presently obvious and rises to the status of cliché.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 4:01pm GMT

Right now, Trinity, Wall Street has bigger problems than R Williiams' fee, Wade.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 4:15pm GMT

Indeed, I cannot figure out how the Archbishop of Canterbury, as primate of a province that has rejected the covenant, can be primus inter pares of a group of bishops who have accepted the covenant.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 6:36pm GMT

"Indeed, I cannot figure out how the Archbishop of Canterbury, as primate of a province that has rejected the covenant, can be primus inter pares of a group of bishops who have accepted the covenant."

Perhaps Canon Kearon intends that role for himself?

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 9:42pm GMT

I think it safe to say that no-one, literally no-one (literal in the sense of 'not one person') would have foreseen that the Covenant would not gain a considerable majority of dioceses and General Synod. It's a bit like having a plane take off but with no pilot - and yet the plane is in the skies.

The whole game thus far has been to manufacture consent for the Covenant. This has now failed spectacularly. Efforts to artificially ressucitate will not work. I think only starting again after a period of deep reflection and new leadership will work.

Having said that I think other dioceses and provinces should continue their process of evaluation and then we'll see where we are. What to do with the plane in the sky, I don't know.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Sunday, 25 March 2012 at 11:03pm GMT

Start again ? Duh!

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 26 March 2012 at 8:50am BST

I was under the impression that the United Churches of South and North India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were not in a position to adopt the Covenant because of their mixed roots. Can someone advise?

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 26 March 2012 at 9:18am BST

Yes Perry, the very first reactions to the Covenant were as you identify. It immediately divided the Communion. Note how Andrew Goddard too finesses the matter above, while paying minute attention to the procedure of the Philippines he ignores completely these Asian members.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 26 March 2012 at 11:00am BST
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