Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Covenant: American response process

Those who felt uncomfortable about the process which the General Synod approved last Sunday for the Church of England to respond to the ACO about the Draft Anglican Covenant may be interested in this.

Nine members of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council (which is somewhat similar in function to the CofE’s Archbishops’ Council) have been appointed to draft the Church’s response to the first version of an Anglican covenant. None of them are bishops.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson made the appointments. The nine members of the Covenant Response Drafting Group are:

  • Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine (Diocese of the Virgin Islands) Chair
  • Kim Byham (Newark),
  • The Rev. Dr. Lee Alison Crawford (Vermont),
  • The Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas (Massachusetts)
  • Canon Victoria L. Garvey (Chicago)
  • The Rev. Canon Mark Harris (Delaware)
  • The Rev. Winnie S. Varghese (New York)
  • Ted M. Yumoto (San Joaquin)
  • Belton T. Zeigler (Upper South Carolina)

The group is charged with writing a proposed response of the Executive Council to the draft Anglican covenant for the council, to be considered at its October 2007 meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. Anderson said that the drafting group will also “design a process for continuing to gather input from the entire Episcopal Church to aid the Executive Council in its response to subsequent covenant drafts.”

More detail here.

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L Roberts
L Roberts
14 years ago

This points up the inadequacy of the General Synod (C of E) response, and the abdication of responsibility.

The Americans have much to teach us …

Pluralist
14 years ago

October 2007 – after the September 30 apparent deadline.

JCF
JCF
14 years ago

Interesting-looking group (God bless ’em!)

[Mr. Yumoto, of San Joaquin, must either be the World’s Greatest Juggler, or…]

Curtis
Curtis
14 years ago

Mark Harris is good. He’s written on the draft covenant here:

http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/2007/06/responses-to-questions-on-draft.html

MG
MG
14 years ago

As pointed out elsewhere:
“For you stacking-the-deck fans out there, six of the most radical dioceses in ECUSA represent “the church’s diversity.” “
My understanding is only one person could be described as even vaguely conservative.

So much for diversity, inclusion and listening to the dialogue from all.

Liberal hypocracy!!!!!

Mary Clara
Mary Clara
14 years ago

Regarding MG’s complaint, the individuals on the drafting group may or may not be representative of the dioceses from which they come. It’s my understanding that they have been selected as individuals. Even the most conservative dioceses have plenty of liberal communicants and clergy, while those predominantly liberal have conservative constituencies as well.

MG, I love your new word: ‘hypocracy’. I assume it means ‘rule by hypocrites’. A term that could be put to work immediately in describing some current members of the US Congress, and no doubt will have wide applicability elsewhere!

bls
bls
14 years ago

But MG: since the Episcopal Church as a whole is liberal, then why would it be surprising that the majority of its representatives (on this committee and at GC, etc.) are liberal?

Them’s the breaks, hon. I’m much more of a moderate myself, but I have to accept this, too, if I want to belong.

drdanfee
drdanfee
14 years ago

As with other hot button Anglican themes or issues, the question remains: Could most or any of the realignment conservative Anglican believers-leaders write ANY covenant whatsoever about anything that did not by definition and presupposition start off with false witness against our favorite current realignment target groups, prog-lib believers, and queer folks? Calls for representativeness cannot obscure the slow realignment definitional campaign tilt towards a small, narrow, conformed Anglican tent being the only Anglican tent ever pitched. Both history and scripture might cry out against this reconstructionist abuse, except that the realignment Anglican redaction is history, is scripture, complete, final,… Read more »

Chris
Chris
14 years ago

Pluralist, TEC GC does not need to respond to the covenant draft by Sep 30 – only the Dar el Salaam communique.

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

bb commented in the wrong place, but I will repeat her comment below for convenience (and I assume she meant to say “Executive Council not Executive Board”: The thing is, the Executive Board has no real power in these things. There was an attempt at General Convention 2006 to kick the Windsor Report down to the Executive Board (Frank Griswold made that comment at a press conference) until the TEC leaders were reminded of their own statements that only General Convention speaks for the entire church. The Executive Council can make recommendations, but their recommendations do not carry the weight… Read more »

bls
bls
14 years ago

As much as I hate to say it, BabyBlue does have a point. I don’t want some council of a few individuals deciding my fate and the fate of my Church as a whole without my input. OTOH, how is the “Church as a whole” supposed to respond to deadlines imposed from outside? And what, exactly, are “Diocesan councils,” and what do they have to do with General Convention? And how can there be a power struggle “between 815 and the Dioceses” when neither of these “entities” is a representative at General Convention? But it’s true that we laity need… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
14 years ago

bls, There was an extended period for input into this process. My diocesan delegation to the GC made a submission, as did hundreds of other groups and individuals, in response to the request from the Executive Council, a representative body elected in part at General Convention and at the Provincial Synods. On Executive Council as a whole, there is a balance between lay persons with Bishops and Clergy combined, with laity having a slight edge. BB is off base in her critique concerning dioceses. It would the same as Congress getting after a state that amended its state constitution to… Read more »

Pluralist
14 years ago

Quite so, Chris – I stand corrected. However, a positive response to the Covenant might help the in or out result, and there might just be a call to wait for this outcome. Who or what and how isn’t really my speciality – just intrigue.

bls
bls
14 years ago

Yes, I remember that, Fr. Tobias; I had wanted to respond but was unable to, due to personal circumstances. I did very much appreciate that they asked, and was especially happy that some bloggers (Fr. Marshall Scott in particular, among others) did an excellent job trying to make the issues clear. A great example of the power of the internet, there. But I meant in general. I’ve never actually known how the Executive Council comes to be chosen, but what you say here is quite acceptable. And if they ask for responses about the big issues, then I have no… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
14 years ago

bls, It’s a great American tradition to complain about city hall! The EC generally meets three times a year, and they move around over time to be sure to meet in every province of the Episcopal Church. At their meetings they usually do a lot of meet-and-greet in the locality — touring parishes or programs in the area of the hosting diocese. The membership, as I say, is elected at General Convention — 4 bishops, four clergy (priests or deacons), and twelve (count them!) twelve lay persons; and then each of the Nine Provinces elects one ordained person (bishop, priest… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

Whereas the Archbishops’ Council has: – two ex-officio archbishops, plus two bishops elected by and from the other bishops in GS – two ex-officio senior clergy members of General Synod, plus two clergy elected by and from the other clergy in GS – two ex-officio senior lay members of General Synod, plus two lay persons elected by and from the other laity in GS – the First Church Estates Commissioner, a lay person – six other lay persons, not elected as General Synod members in the usual way but appointed to the Council with the consent of the General Synod… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
14 years ago

Very interesting, Simon. Sounds like the Archbishop’s Council has a similar makeup to our Executive Council, except that none of the lay members of the EC need be Deputies to the GC (except the ex-officio VP, who is President of the House of Deputies, and may be a lay person as at present, or a cleric, but must also be a member of the HD). For example, Winnie Varghese, who is from my diocese, and sits on EC and on this committee, is not a deputy to the General Convention. Often members of the HD do get elected as clergy… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
14 years ago

The additional lay persons are obtained from time to time by advertising the vacancies and then shortlisting and interviewing a number of candidates. The positions are not elected even by British standards, they are appointed by the archbishops, though the GS is told about them and asked to consent. They always do. You are correct though about the GS being the dominant force in the AC. This is intentional. There is no regional balance requirement within the AC structure. Though this is less significant in a small country. The AC functions are not as clearcut as you might imagine. Peruse… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Tobias Haller
14 years ago

Very interesting, Simon. If I might make a perhaps not perfect analogy, our EC seems to be more like the Board of a public corporation, while the English AC seems to be a bit more like the Board of a “family” enterprise gone public, and over which the family still wishes to have a degree of control. Few people realize how diffuse TEC government was until about 75 years ago, and to a large extent still is. Until then our Presiding Bishop was simply the senior member of the House, and had little to do apart from chairing their meetings.… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

So, here is a nice group of people who will come up with something which says little more than the AC should ditch the bible where it is inconvenient for a small group in the AC and focus on social justice….. Anyway, TEC response group, please listen to the liberal who was bishop of Oxford….I am no fan of Richard Harries but he has said to his fellow liberals in the AC that to win the heart and mind of the AC, a case needs to made from scripture for what you want……it is not enough to talk about justice… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“emotionally blackmailed by all the talk of justice”

That’s right, NP, don’t let Jesus blackmail you! After all, it’s not justice he wants, he never spoke of that at all. No, you can be how you want to the poor and oppressed, just as long as you mindlessly obey! Glad to have you back, but cripes, old bean, where do you get this stuff? Are we not enjoined in Scripture to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God?

NP
NP
14 years ago

Ford – we have got into the mess we are in partly because many people were too slow to confront false teaching because so much of it has been drenched in talk of discrimination and suffering. These are very real issues….so people were sympathetic – but it has caused problems for the AC because ultimately, biblical questions have to be decided without the emotional blackmail to agree with one point of view. As I keep on saying, make the biblical case for the innovation you want. The Lord has never blackmailed anyone, Ford. He said he came to fulfil the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“He did not give the green light for VGR, did he??” I don’t know, I wasn’t at the synod that elected him. I do know that we believe such synods to be led by the Spirit. Are you saying that because +Robinson is gay, the Spirit couldn’t have guided his election? It wouldn’t be the first time the Spirit led us in a direction different from that outlined in Scripture. Or do you believe the Spirit stopped leading the Church when John’s vision at Patmos ceased? And in a good many of the languages spoken by Christians and used in… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Sorry Ford….obviously, most of us in the AC do not believe that false teaching in the AC is Spirit-inspired…. This is why we have asked for and got Dromantine, TWR, Tanzania and now the covenant….the whole effort has been exactly because we do not see the Spirit suddenly contradicting himself and somehow just on one moral issue. You would be disgusted, I am sure, by the false teachers who say the Spirit says “greed is good” and materialism is a sign of blessing – bet you would not think their teaching was really Spirit-led and you would treat them with… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

Address the real issues, NP. You hurl accusations of disobedience and tolerance of sin at others while ignoring both these things in yourself and those you support. You claim that “innovations” must be eradicated, while you practice a brand of Christianity that, in it’s day, was as much, if not more, an innovation as anything you now oppose. Evangelicalism was once the minority, yet your spiritual ancestors were tolerated in Anglicanism. You seemingly can’t understand how this past tolerance of what other people thought were your “errors” might actually call for you to be tolerant of what you see as… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Jerry Hannon
14 years ago

NP wrote “This is why we have asked for and got Dromantine, TWR, Tanzania and now the covenant.” Oh goody. NP now has the magical covenant to add to his/her repetitive troika, by which he/she continues to try to persuade the rest of the world that this grouping of power politics is just as important as the Council of Nicaea. Sorry, NP, it isn’t, and your meaningless repetition ad nauseam is not going to change that. Fortunately, more and more provinces of the AC have been rejecting the Abuja putsch, so the games being played by that crowd appear to… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Ford – how many times….yes, you are right, I do not think it follows that because others may have been tolerant in the past, I have to tolerate heresy today. And, once again, there is a big difference between what you call an innovation which is based on scripture …..and innovations which require people to ignore scripture. And yes, look at Lambeth 1.10 and Windsor….most of the AC thinks VGR should not be a bishop….TEC knew this when it arrogantly went ahead thinking (like J Hannon may) that nothing will happen…. Bring on TEC’s response to Tanzania and the Covenant…..the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

NP, so despite others having tolerated your heresy, you don’t have to extend the same charity to others? Right. ‘Cuz you know that there are those who consider you a heretic in exactly the same way you think about TEC, right? Humility, NP, it’s a Christian virtue! I think TEC should perhaps have shown a bit more circumspection, I grant you, but is that what this is all about, punishing TEC for being cocky? All this talk about Biblical law is just so much smoke to cover the fact that you are mad with TEC and want to see them… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Ford – there seems to be some confusion. What has happened is that that for years the AC was being very tolerant of many diverse views, rather dishonestly in my view with “don’t ask, don’t tell” approaches to so called “leadership” ….. Then in 2003, TEC tried to give the AC a fait accompli by making someone a bishop who is flagrantly ignoring the teaching of the church i.e. Lambeth 1.10. The AC primates begged TEC not to “tear the fabric of the Communion” but they made VGR a bishop anyway…..maybe not expecting real consequences (maybe because they have inherited… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

NP, In Canada, our synod recently said that gay marriage is doctrinal, but not credal, and thus not something to split over. They also declined to authorize rites for gay marriage out of consideration for the process now going on and the sensibilities of those in other places. I would have preferred that TEC had done the same. I would prefer that +Robinson had followed Jeffrey John in emulating St. Chad. This did not happen. But your carefully constructed scenario that all this started as a result of the disobedience of TEC is laughably simplistic, as has been pointed out… Read more »

NP
NP
14 years ago

Ford – I am in London diocese…..the “conservatives” here have no Americans funding us – so please don’t worry about that – it is not the point, anyway!

And if my version of what has happened is so simplistic, please tell me why we got Dromantine and why we got the Windsor Report??

What actions caused these and other strong responses from the AC?

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

“we got Dromantine and why we got the Windsor Report” Because TEC’s actions might have been inconsiderate of the concerns of others, or a bit too confident of their own rightness. This then played into the hands of people who for at least the last thirty years, likely longer, have been resentful of any changes in the Church (I used to be one of these). They stayed after others left when the women got uppity, this is too far! Plus, on the part of some, a completely understandable resentment of the ravages of colonialism. Plus, a well organized, very wealthy… Read more »

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