Comments: Canadian, African, and American Bishops in Dialogue

From number 10 in the joint statement "We acknowledge that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion." Really?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 9 June 2012 at 6:55pm BST

@ Rod Gillis:

Even I won't question that the Anglican Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion - in much the same way that the Tower of Babel was an attempt to reach heaven or the Titanic was an attempt to build the ultimate in unsinkable ocean transport.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 12:32am BST

It just shows what Love can do! Take one Central African Archbishop, and one childhood sweetheart living in Toronto, Canada, and dialogue become possible. Weddings often change people - not only the two concerned, but also their friends and family.

Let's all hope that this marriage is something more than just the union of two persons who love one another. May it also signify the meeting of minds within the Anglican Communion, about the authenticity of ALL people - regardless of race, gender, sexual-orientation, social standing, or any other artificial stumbling block to our common membership of the Body of Christ.

Blessings to the Happy Couple.

And Blessings to our Diverse Anglican Communion.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 10:58am BST

The Covenant was ( hopefully one may use a past tense here) always a plan for hegemony--not unity.
One hopes the bureaucratic baffle gab in the joint statement is not a bell weather for Canada's next GS. Interestingly the Statement seems to reflect a view similar to that found in the Canadian hierarchy, that the only real problem with the covenant is Section IV.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 1:16pm BST

"We acknowledge that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion."

This doesn't say it's a successful attempt, or anything worth supporting. It's just a nice, diplomatic way of saying "Well, they tried." Putting the best possible construction on a failed idea allows all parties to move on with no loss of face. Not so bad, really.

Posted by Charlotte at Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 5:12pm BST

Re Charlotte "...to move on with no loss of face. not so bad..."

Hmm. I wonder if it may be a little less benign than you think perhaps? With apologies in advance to Marshall McLuhan, the bishops statement is really a way for the bishops to wear a mask in public. Perhaps the goal is to present the unity they feel obliged to model, the unity the rest of us expect them to create on our behalf, even when it is elusive? Bishops appearing in public without unity may make them feel somewhat,well,exposed, vulnerable, naked even. Hence the statement functions as mask--not so much saving face as creating one.

The Gospel has some interesting insights on religion and the wearing of masks in public. The insights apply, of course, not just to the bishops, but to us all. So let's help the bishops out by encouraging them not to make excuses for the Covenant as something motivated by unity. Let's be honest and say Anglicans are divided, not on the goal of unity, but with regard to the pretense of patriarchal hegemony masquerading as unity.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 3:55am BST

Just to be clear, I certainly don't dismiss Rod's concern - and I really wish I had a better sense of what's going on across Canada re: the Anglican Covenant.

That said, I find the entire para 10 (see below) - with it's nearly explicit acknowledgement that the Covenant may fail - to be less of a problem than the first line.

As to the matter of the first three sections, I refer to the Executive Archdeacon of Edmonton's analogy that the Covenant is rather like being attacked with a knife by a guy with a bad haircut. You tend to focus more on the knife than the bad haircut.


"10. We acknowledge that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion. We are deeply committed to its intention although not all of us are persuaded that it is the necessary way forward to achieve this. In the first three sections of the document, we recognize an elaboration of Anglican self-understanding that can enhance our capacity for mutual recognition as partners in God’s mission. However, we are not of one mind with the content of the fourth section, though our differences are held respectfully. While a document such as the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant can be a focus of such conversation at this time, it cannot replace a willingness to engage one another prayerfully and with respect in the presence of the God of mission. We believe that the best way for honouring communion is prayerful face-to-face respectful engagement. Whatever becomes of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant, the process in which it plays a vital role has caused us to engage in difficult, holy, important, and hopeful conversations that have deepened our friendship in Christ and our commitment to support one another."

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 5:15am BST

"We acknowledge that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant is an attempt to guard and foster the unity of the Anglican Communion."

Relax. That's in the same vein as Canadians saying "sorry" after you bump into them. You don't want to know what the actual words were in their heads, lol.

Posted by Randal Oulton at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 6:24am BST

Just googled Ashella Ndhlovu. She works at a Rape Crisis centre, and helps organize Take Back The Night walks. Whatever her views on other things, she's not going to be a pushover on women's rights.

Posted by Randal Oulton at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 6:35am BST

I think this conversation about the brief reference to the Anglican Covenant in the document rather misses the overall positive significance of the conversation now reaching over three years. The conversation gives lie to the view that all African Anglican bishops and provinces are set to excommunicate the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church, which is certainly what the David Virtues of this world would like us to think. Dialogue and attempts at mutual understanding are still possible despite the dividing wall of 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10, certainly a much more problematic statement than the Anglican Covenant. The African-Canadian episcopal conversation has benefited from the creative intervention and organisation of a Canadian-Ugandan priest, Isaac Kawuki Mukasa, who should be congratulated for his role; I am sure he is not appreciated by the hierarchy in Uganda. The Anglican Way has always been messy and the Covenant is part of that messiness. I hope self-righteous opposition to the Covenant does not become a new Puritanism. Anything so strongly rejected by the Diocese of Sydney and GAFCON cannot be all bad.

Posted by tmbrown at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 11:03am BST

Anything so strongly rejected by the Diocese of Sydney and GAFCON cannot be all bad.

Posted by: tmbrown

Amen to that. If both Sydney and Gafcon are in direct opposition to something (someone), that is just worthy of a second glance, at least. Make no mistake, the Covenant was not a good idea, but not quite so bad as the puritanical agenda that Gafcon strives after.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 11:48am BST

We just had another bishop from Burundi with us in Toronto, a good friend and former student of Professor Radner (who taught in Burundi after Yale). He was there for the covenant event along with ++Josiah Idowu-Fearon from Nigeria and Professor Paul Avis from the CofE and Bishop Stephen Andrews (ACoC).
The Archbishop of Burundi is also a friend of ACI and spoke at our Houston event 'Anglicanism -- A Gift in Christ' some years back. He is a fine man and a charitable (what one would call here) 'conservative.' Glad to see him present. I know the Radners are hosting him for this visit.

Grace and peace.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 11:53am BST

I appreciate the tone of the comments of tmbrown overall, but I contest this statement "I hope self-righteous opposition to the Covenant does not become a new Puritanism." Don't confuse resolute opposition to Covenant political brokering with "self righteousness".

I'll name two concerns from among several in the Canadian context that I'm posting from, (1) The vilification of the Canadian Church by foreign bishops and (2) The almost neurotic avoidance strategies the Canadian bishops engage in when dealing with controversy.

I'm grateful for the meeting of African, American, and Canadian Bishops, especially for their commitment to face to face respectful dialogue. Yet these kinds of post meeting statements always read like something that would be released by a meeting of G8 officials. One compares P.R. talking points under discussion here with the address from the Primus of Scotland--an address that is much more to the point, and, therefore, ultimately much more useful in the long run.

Note the following from the same, "The sharp word is colonialism. What it means is that people assert independence of thought and action more strongly - challenge authority more resolutely -
when relationships are shaped and conditioned by the legacy of history. ....To transcend it means that we together build a post-colonial Anglican Communion."

I'm hopeful when I read comments like those of The Primus. When I read the statement from the African, American, and Canadian bishops, as important as their meeting may have been, my eyes glaze over.I barely suppress a yawn.Predictability of plot will do that for you.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 4:03pm BST
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