Thinking Anglicans

Irish draft of an Anglican Covenant

The Church of Ireland has issued this press release:

A Response To The Consultation On Draft Anglican Covenant

Church of Ireland General Synod’s Standing Committee agrees response to Consultation on Draft Anglican Covenant.

The Primates of the Anglican Communion have called on member churches to agree a Covenant which will recognise their common bond. Each church is being given an opportunity to contribute to the process.

The Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland, at its meeting on Tuesday 20th November, agreed a response to the Consultation on a Draft Anglican Covenant. The response includes an alternative form of wording for the Covenant, which the Standing Committee hopes might encapsulate an approach that would be acceptable across the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

The text of the response is posted on the Church of Ireland website at the request of the Honorary Secretaries, and may be accessed by clicking here [PDF].

An html copy of the proposed covenant text (not including the covering explanation) can be found here.

The introduction is copied here, below the fold.

THE CHURCH OF IRELAND RESPONSE TO THE DRAFT ANGLICAN COVENANT PART ONE

INTRODUCTION

This Church of Ireland response to the Anglican Draft Covenant was prepared by a small drafting group comprised of those who were, or had been, elected members of ACC and those who had been much involved in ecumenical affairs on behalf of the Church of Ireland. The preliminary discussion centred on whether the idea of a Covenant was to be supported, or whether something much simpler was required, such as a common statement. Two previous Church of Ireland responses within the Windsor process had shown somewhat different emphases in relation to this issue. However it soon emerged that there was within the drafting group, a general willingness to support the Covenant concept.

The drafting group decided that rather than make a line by line response to the Draft Covenant, it would use it as a basis for the construction of what it was felt would be an acceptable form of Covenant. A new drafting for a Covenant was then discussed at a full meeting of the drafting group and the Bishops of the Church of Ireland. It received a very positive response with a few minor suggestions which were easily incorporated. The Standing Committee of the General Synod, representative of the clergy and laity of every diocese then passed the response.

The thinking behind the Church of Ireland re-drafting could be listed as threefold:

1. A Covenant should express very clearly the themes of Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence within the Body of Christ;

2. A Covenant should aim, insofar as possible, to be inclusive;

3. Whilst perhaps not solving the present crisis a Covenant should, by emphasising what is implied by mutual responsibility, go some way to prevent similar crises in the future.

The methodology of the redrafting included the following:

  • To reduce discursive material;
  • To remove elements of legislative structure;
  • To recognise that the present Instruments of Communion should not be “set in stone”; in a Covenant, as these have evolved in the past and will do so in the future;
  • To sharpen a sense of common identity and inter-dependence;
  • To retain an emphasis on provincial autonomy;
  • To emphasize responsibility to consult and listen in the context of mutual
    commitment.

In discussion it became clear that, though procedures were felt to be inappropriate within the context of a Covenant, the Anglican Communion would have to put in place procedures, in keeping with the Covenant, to deal with crises which might develop.

The redrafting of the Covenant as attached here is offered in the sincere conviction that the Church of Ireland has a real contribution to make. This response is representative of work undertaken together by those of a wide variety of views in relation to both churchmanship and issues of human sexuality.

It reflects a determination to stay together in the face of the current difficulties. This redrafting is offered as a suggestion as to a possible Covenant which might be agreed on the one hand by those who emphasized the need for a greater sense of communion and all that this implied, and on the other by those who stressed the need for the recognition that provincial autonomy must remain paramount.

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Göran Koch-SwahneErika BakerRen AguilaMalcolm+Ford Elms Recent comment authors
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Pluralist
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“To acknowledge a moral authority in the current Instruments of Communion… have no juridical, legislative or executive authority in the respective provinces.” Otherwise “To seek guidance,” “To take heed”, and in “the most extreme circumstances” self removal.

I cannot see the point of such a Covenant, or indeed any Covenant.

NP
Guest
NP

the point, Pluralist, is to build some trust and unity since TECUSA tore the fabric of communion and destroyed unity in the AC by its unilateral actions in 2003

badman
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badman

Actually, it was Rwanda which first tore the fabric of communion and destroyed unity in the AC when it conscrated two border crossing US bishops in 2000 (in breach of Lambeth resolutions etc etc) for the so-called Anglican Mission in America. Half the bishops in the Rwandan house of bishops are now US border crossers. Just to remind you, NP, 2000 was a few years before 2003. Luckily, the Anglican Communion has now noticed the man behind the curtain. The Irish are sensible to start afresh with the draft covenant, as also to state the drafting principles which lie behind… Read more »

BobinSwPA
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BobinSwPA

NP

Please don’t blame TEC for being the only province to tear the fabric of the communion.
Canada, CofE and yes Rwanda, Nigeria and a few others have been hard at work tearing away.

Of course This will fall on deaf ears and an unmovable viewpoint but I’ll try never the less.

Peace
Bob

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Why should we build some trust with parishes that have already broken away? Not your usual nit-picking by the letter self NP! Oh, if the letter of the law doesn’t suit your purposes…..

PICKING AND CHOOSING!!!

Joe
Guest
Joe

I don’t see how this helps. To seek a common mind, to acknowledge moral authority to the instruments, to seek guidance, to take heed (i.e., take serious notice) of the Instruments in matters threatening union: I can imagine a church/province doing all these things (thus fulfilling the substance of the covenant) and still conscientiously deciding to act in ways that go against the advice given by these various instruments of unity. It seems that the problem is that some of us want the provinces to give the instruments a level of the authority that the instruments know they can’t claim.… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Oh, yawn – there isn’t any unity, because different people believe different things. You can’t try and hold something together in this sort of way. Either it hangs together despite the differences, because those involved want it to, or it won’t.

But the differences won’t disappear.

Andrew Brown
Guest

Simon, I hesitate to tell you how you should run this site, but would it be too terrible to disemvowel NP, at least partially? At least reduce the stock propaganda phrases to acronyms … if I read once more “tore the fabric of the communion” I think I will throw up on the keyboard. TTFOCADUIAC really is something we have heard enough.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“it was Rwanda which first tore the fabric of communion and destroyed unity in the AC when it conscrated two border crossing US bishops in 2000” Oh, nononono. They were heros, knights in shining armour sent to save the poor suffering faithful from the rage and spite of the heathen hoardes. Aren’t you aware that the true Christians are being hounded from their churches, silenced, treated in a most beastly fashion because they in their purity will not allow their bishop to contaminate the sanctity of THEIR parish church if he does not proclaim clearly and unequivocally that all non-Christians… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I concur with Joe, the second paragraph was particularly helpful.

The Instruments have lost much respect. The Primates have sacrificed any claim to moral authority mainly through the manoeuvrings of a few outsiders. The idea that the Primates might exercise an “enhanced” role is now unacceptable in many Churches and with many Primates. It needs, at least, a rest.

The whole idea of a Covenant needs a rest. These are not the times for it.

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Good for Ford Elms, who wrote: “Aren’t you aware that the true Christians are being hounded from their churches, silenced, treated in a most beastly fashion because they in their purity will not allow their bishop to contaminate the sanctity of THEIR parish church if he does not proclaim clearly and unequivocally that all non-Christians are going to Hell?” Yes, and there is the 21st cent. Martin Luther, who shouts in the face of the persecuting ‘witch’, “Here, I stand!” However, the difference between the historic Luther and +Bob of Quittsburgh is that Martin proclaimed a Gospel of the unconditional… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The real core dilemma of the whole Covenant Thang is just that institutionally reliagned Anglican authority is a poor substitute for all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, lived Anglican believer to believer across hot button Anglican differences. Rightwing Anglican policing and punishment and threats are not now, nor hardly will be in the foreseeable Anglican futures branching off from now, the best solution. Go, Wrath of God, you Go Girl. Go, NP. Go Realignment Anglican Jihadis. Trashing the vulnerable fruits of everybody else’s global Anglican spirit is just a really, really, really fine, fine idea. Glad you read it,… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“there isn’t any unity, because different people believe different things”

Why does the latter follow from the former? I’d think the addition of a little basic respect would mean the former is still possible despite the latter. Not even that actually, since I don’t have much respect for the public face of Evangelicalsim, but I’m still willing

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“there isn’t any unity, because different people believe different things”

Why does the latter follow from the former? I’d think the addition of a little basic respect would mean the former is still possible despite the latter. Not even that actually, since I don’t have much respect for the public face of Evangelicalsim, but I’m still willing to stay in communion with them. Sorry, I hit send too soon!)

Dennis
Guest

Ford Elms writes: “because they in their purity will not allow their bishop to contaminate the sanctity of THEIR parish church if he does not proclaim clearly and unequivocally that all non-Christians are going to Hell?” Actually, what they are most hoping to hear from their bishops is that plenty of their fellow _Christians_ are going to hell. They already assume that the non-Christians are toast. What they want to hear is that being a liberal Christian is cause for fire and brimstone. Anyone in robes unwilling to condemn liberal Christians must be headed for the lake of fire, too.… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

I know Ford Elms is snarking, but I was astonished at the retired TEC bishops who were present for the AMiA consecrations but who did not participate (leaving their founding bishops consecrated by only two rather than three bishops as Nicea directs) — the act could only “rend the fabric of the Communion” if we let it. But as to the Irish Covenant — it is certainly an improvement (but why bring in the 39 Articles again?), however, all things considered, I have to go with Pluralist on this one — I don’t see the point. It would fundamentally change… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

– oh yeah, sorry, I forgot….. it is those who respond to American Anglicans asking for help as they do not have orthodox bishops who are at fault….. and it is American orthodox bishops who cannot stand the heterodox TECUSA religion who are at fault……

…….. and Cranmer and Hooker would have agreed with KJS that her “mother Jesus” was not the only way to God and they would have happily done a tango with VGR to celebrate him becoming an Anglican bishop…………

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

Andrew Brown – someone, Fr. Rowett I think, but he’ll correct me if I’m wrong, suggested that NP started numbering his stock phrases (e.g. “Lambeth 1.10” – “No. 1”; “tearing the fabric…” – “No. 2” – and so ad infinitum). At the time I thought this a fine idea. I continue to do so. It would certainly save on space.

In my experience, any acronym containing the letter “F” tends to confuse.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

I keep suggesting that folks ignore Evo trolls; few listen.

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

I’m not convinced that a Covenant is either desirable or useful. That said, the Irish proposal is infinitely superior to the propaganda pamphlet prepared by the Archhypocrite of the West Indies.

MJ
Guest
MJ

As has been pointed out before, NP manages to successfully divert every thread from its original topic – in this case the merits or otherwise of the Irish draft. On any other forum he would be regarded as a tr*ll. Since no-one seems capable of ignoring him, but rises to the bait every time, could we at least take a leaf from the ‘reasserter’ blogs and introduce some form of ‘off-topic’ monitoring which would apply to everyone?

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

if I read once more “tore the fabric of the communion” Amen. It reminds me of the story about the wing of the prison for long-serving criminals. They get a new convict on the wing, After lights out, someone calls out “56!” And they all laugh uproariously. Then someone else calls out “Twenty-six.” Same result. The new guy asks the man he’s sharing his cellwhat’s going on … of course, they’ve all been around so long, and there are a finite number of jokes, and they all know all of them … so to save time, they’ve given them all… Read more »

Dion
Guest
Dion

I wonder if the punctuation after “formularies” in point 2.6 is meant to be a colon or the comma as given there. And further I wonder at the Church of Ireland proposing to enter into a Solemn League and Covenant… And specie as ordained by Christ Himself, …so we are going to have to agree on what constitutes “bread”. There will be tears before bedtime before this one is sorted.

Dion

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I think Andrew’s advice is very sound. We have all had quite enough.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

South Africa 1987 has to be the trump card in seniority for the current players. Another document that is meant to bind us all together? So the teachings of Jesus weren’t enough, the letters of Paul insufficient, the Catholic Church inadequate, Protestantism too broad, Anglicanism to wishy washy? At a quantitative level this is just another piece of paper for those who like to wave pieces of paper to justify who is “in” and who is “out”. Qualitatively, the bible is one ongoing dialogue about who is in and who is out and how the innsies should be treating the… Read more »

Cardinal Wardrobe
Guest
Cardinal Wardrobe

“We have all had enough”??

Oh no we haven’t!!

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I’ll try my best Simon, as you are certainly correct.

But I’m a red-head who unfortunately likes a good fight. Not very Christian, but I’ll do my best. If this covenant could help us in all of this, it would be a good thing indeed.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

As I am dyslectic I sincerely hope there will be no acronyms, Simon.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I think Andrew’s advice is very sound. We have all had quite enough.”

Apologies from me for falling for it far too many times.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Cynthia:

I originally heard that as occurring at a convention of burlesque comedians, but either way it’s what I immediately thought of as well when someone suggested numbering NP’s favorite lines.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I’m not convinced that a Covenant is either desirable or useful.”

I agree, but if people are determined that we should have one, then this one is a pretty good choice.

Ellie
Guest
Ellie

You know, NP, I’m getting so weary with all the upset about the PB’s reference to Mother Jesus. Please look at what St. Julian of Norwich said in the 14th Century: A mother can give her child milk to suck, but our precious mother, Jesus, can feed us with himself. He does so most courteously and most tenderly, with the Blessed Sacrament, which is the precious food of true life. With all the sweet sacraments he sustains us most mercifully and graciously. That is what he meant in these blessed words, where he said, ‘I am that which holy Church… Read more »

RudigerVT
Guest
RudigerVT

Time spent reading or responding to NP’s postings is irretrievable. You can never get it back.

Think about that on the next occasion when you think that replying (let alone reading) is important.

LPR

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well my own working bottom line view is that nobody’s version of a new covenant will do much – if the scriptures, our treasure house of successful and failed church life traditions, the fruits of the Holy Spirit lived together now, and our best hypothesis tested data will not serve to keep us together in good peace, along with a useful range of varied but good Anglican understandings. Thanks Cheryl C for this: (QUOTE)Qualitatively, the bible is one ongoing dialogue about who is in and who is out and how the innsies should be treating the outsies. (UNQUOTE) That is… Read more »

julian
Guest
julian

Re: The NP debate. I’ve been trying for weeks, even months now, simply to ignore NP’s postings and go on to the next one. But that of course is rendered ineffective when what follows are responses to the post I ignored. So I stopped reading comments for a while. Now I’ve come back again, and so enjoy the lively and intelligent discussions, and then *poom*, it’s all wrecked again by NP. (I’m doing it myself, even now. Sorry.) But please, please can’t we just ignore him/her?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I’m getting so weary with all the upset about the PB’s reference to Mother Jesus.” I’m not so much weary as amused. Female imagery for Jesus is not prominent in the Tradition, but it IS there. What then are we to make of the horror of the conservatives whenever anyone uses it? Is it simply ignorance of the Tradition they claim to defend? Yes, but not only that. Book and Pulpit Christianity is deeply suspicious of symbol and imagery. So much of the faith was portrayed that way at one time, and still is. That fact, plus the mistrust of… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest
Malcolm+

If Jesus can describe himself as a chicken (Luke 13:34) then it is more than passing daft to get all worked up over imagining him as mother.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

… a hen who collects her chicken under her wings…

So my Bible says (the Swedish State 1917)

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

You mean, Goran, her chicks?

I think this Covenant proposal is better than nothing if only for the fact that it is less wordy. Anything that fits into three pages or less at the beginning of a set of constitutional documents might get a decent reading.

Have a blessed Advent!

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“I think this Covenant proposal is better than nothing if only for the fact that it is less wordy.” “… anything hitherto proposed…” surely. As to “less wordy” this is not always an advantage… In 1894 the Swedish Kyrkomöte (Synod) debated whether the German Books of Concord (being since 1662 an Explanation to the un-changed Confessio augustana) containing a lot of nonsense (claims that magnets loose their power through garlic & so on) should be supplanted by the 1530 Augustana itself. (in Sweden the 1530 Augustana is the 4th Creed together with the 3 Old Church ones from the 1st… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“In the end it was contended (in 1894) that a Long text is preferable over a Short one, because it lends itself less easily to fundamentalist, narrow, readings.”

But it also allows less scope for interpreting the underlying intentions when circumstances change and you end up having to open the debate again every so often.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

You know I am not into re-interpreting things…

But this is what they said back in 1894.

Thing being of course, that that’s not the real problem but that any text can be used as an excuse for any hegemony to impose it’s interpretation as mandatory – short or long.