Thinking Anglicans

Scotland responds to draft covenant

The response of the Scottish Episcopal Church to the Draft Anglican Covenant is now available.

You can read it here.


  • Cynthia Gilliatt says:

    “Rich pluriformity” and “concordat” are certainly keepers from this thoughtful document. I am happy to see rational questioning of the elevation of the 1662 BCP to canonical status, as well as objection to the elevation of the Primates’ collective authority. Let Rome have its College of Cardinals – we don’t need one.

  • Prior Aelred says:

    Very fine statement from the Scots (BTW — Thanks for our episcopate & Eucharistic Prayer — just in case no one has ever gotten around to thanking you before — we do appreciate it!) — it is one of those polite statements that so many of us have at some point in our lives gotten from someone we were interested in that begins, “I really like you as a friend, but …” (“but” is an interesting word that usually means, “ignore everything that came before”).

  • poppy tupper says:

    i think i discern the hand of brian smith, bishop of edinburgh in this document. he is on the board that produced it, and he can be relied upon not to have any truck with the separatists or those who seek to marginalise gay people or women. good for them.

  • Kurt says:

    As usual, the Scottish Church hits the nail on the head! We Americans can note that our liturgical tradition also has foundations other than just the Book of Common Prayer of 1662. During the Colonial Period, Anglican services in America were performed from the Prayer Books of 1559 and 1604, as well as from the 1662 Book. We were the first Anglicans outside of the Churches of the British Isles to engage in Prayer Book revision. American Churchmen produced our Proposed Book of Common Prayer in 1785, and the first Authorized American Prayer Book in 1789 which, as the Prior notes, was heavily influenced by the Scottish Episcopal Communion Office.

  • jeffyrks says:

    One thing that worries me over the whole covenant issue, is that there appears to be no machinery for subsequent alteration and amendment. Is the Covenant to be set in stone creating the problems that the 39Articles caused the Church of England?

  • Erika Baker says:

    So what will happen now?
    It’s unlikely that New Zealand and Scotland will now be disinvited from Lambeth and there is no indication that they are planning to stay away.

    So if they attend, will they be considered to have consented to the Covenant despite these statements?

  • Fr Mark says:

    Pluralist: thanks for the link – your comments are very good.

  • Deacon Charlie Perrin says:

    Ah yes, I know something of the “pain” whereof they speak when the refer to the term “covenant.”

    My mother’s family belonged to the Reformed Presbyterian Church (AKA the Covenanters); a very austere form of presbyterianism (if it’s fun, it’s a sin). In fact my maternal grandfather was an ordained Covenanter Minister. The Covenanters descend from the followers of John Knox who made Calvin look like a raging liberal.

    Yes, I can see where the Scots would take a dim view of the term.

  • Ford Elms says:

    “I can see where the Scots would take a dim view of the term.”

    I felt the same from the beginning. The Scots Episcopalians have a history of being on the margins of legality, surrepititious Eucharists, babies baptised through prison bars, that sort of thing, because they would not covenant. I would be incredibly surprised if they were to assent to something their ancestors suffered a great deal to oppose.

  • Pluralist

    Don’t worry. There are times when you’re the one who can hit the balls for a six or out of the field. If you’ve got the calling and wherewithall at the time, go for it. Others breathe a sigh of relief that someone else is playing well.

    I agree with the Scot’s concerns first itemised concern “The discussion of the foundations which are traditionally held to undergird Anglicanism omits to mention reason, which has long been thought to stand alongside scripture and tradition.”

    This “covenant” is nothing more than an attempt to build a straight jacket and hand control over who should be in it and on what basis to the primates and their sycophants.

    It’s another attempt to “dumb down” theology and Anglicanism. Like an abusive husband who deprives his women of an education, we are being told that it is “for our own good”.

    Rubbish, it is for their own advantage, and if we happen to be happy under their regime, that’s a bonus. But our wellbeing has not and never will be their concern.

  • Pluralist says:

    I think I can do better than that, Deacon Charlie Perrin

    Shock announcement from GAFCON…

  • Reverend Ref says:

    Another take on “covenant”:

    As my bishop pointed out, a covenant implies a way for people to stay together — the covenant between Abraham and God, the covenant of marriage, or our baptismal covenant, to name a few.

    This whole business of an Anglican Draft Covenant is not so much a covenant as it is a document on how people and provinces can be effectively removed from the Communion.

  • Wales is planning an interesting day conference on the Covenant, 15 March at St Michael’s College, Llandaff. Those expressing a view from the platform will be Barry Morgan, Gregory Cameron, Will Strange and Derek Belcher – very much open to the rest of the Anglican world – if you are interested, coming far and want a bed we can accommodate a few.

    I see no harm in “covenants” – when they are facilitative rather than coercive, though I oppose this Covenant tooth and nail not necessarily because I dislike what it says or does but because it is premature and essentially dishonest.

    For some time the “Anglican Communion” as articulated through the Archbishop of Canterbury has been acting as if the “loose federation” of churches was actually a single Anglican Church. In dealings with other Churches and world faiths the small team at the Anglican Communion Office has been incredibly busy.

    However the Roman Catholic Church and others find the present processes of “reception” within Anglicanism at best seriously deficient. In fact the “reception processes” of some Anglican Churches do not work and they (deliberately?) never respond even to the most urgent inquiries and representations of the present secretariats. So much heralded reports such as the Virginia or Windsor Report are never discussed while the conclusions of inter-church and interfaith commissions are never received or debated by many of our sister churches.

    It seems to me that many constituent churches are not yet prepared to see the Lambeth’s attempt to “play Church” move up a level. There is considerable resistance to the idea that Rome might be dictating the pace and demanding an unequivocal “Episcopal” character as opposed to a more synodical flavour.

    The Covenant seeks to resolve these “failures” by giving the secretariats negotiating these deals an easier way of validating their work through the Primates etc. and so we see there is considerable muscle and threats abound in this rather desperate attempt to make the Anglican Church a reality.

  • An interesting Covenant is found at the end of this interesting document many may not have read for some time

    It reads like a statement of an Anglicanism now dead:
    Appendix A
    1. We will respect each other’s faith journey.
    2. We will listen respectfully.
    3. We will ask inviting questions.
    4. We will have flexible understanding, attempting to understand from the point of view of others.
    5. We will seek to learn from all perspectives
    6. We will keep the topic in mind when speaking
    7. We will not speak as individuals for the group apart from our common statement
    8. We will not repeat each other’s comments after we leave. We are free to share learnings without attribution to individuals.
    Otherwise, we will respect the confidentiality of other’s statements.
    9. will clarify the nature of our speaking. We will request clarification in good faith.

  • Tim says:

    Since the requirement is from ++Rowan that appearance at Lambeth involve some “working with” the process of a covenant, maybe one of the best ways to do that is to point out where it sucks, starting with its existence, its name, and its content in much that order? 😉

  • Tim suggested “maybe one of the best ways to do that is to point out where it (the proposed covenant) sucks, starting with its existence, its name, and its content in much that order? ;)”

    A good suggestion but it does not go far enough. We also need to point out who wants it, why they want it, what they intend to do with it, against whom, and the implications for those that it is used against.

    Otherwise we are guilty of contributing to the best designed covenant that has ever existed, and failed to notice that it was a weapon of mass expulsion and oppression. I’d rather say, “No thanks. You want to build a weapon? Go ahead, but don’t purport that I liked or agreed to its construction. Let the sin of the violence lovers rest with its perpetrators.”

  • L Roberts says:

    Thanks very much Martin Reynolds, you are right !

    We really need to read this again. How could it have been so sidelined ?

    It seems to speak the language of a different world the queendom of God , perhaps ?

    I really wish it could have informed the speaking and ethos of the ‘discussions’ since then.

    I wonder if LGCM would circulate somehow (well you have here, of course!) as Richard Kirker did the (June) Osborne Report — another neglected gem.

  • Kahu Aloha says:

    At this point it would appear that the very concept of an Anglican Covenant, let alone the proposed draft that is out there, is an instrument of distrust and dissension rather than an instrument of unity. The reasons for this? I would suggest the following: 1) the composition of the committeee and especially those who were actually at the drafting session;
    2) the appointment of the Primate of the West Indies as Chair – especially in view of his subsequent comments and actions in contravention of the Windsor Report such as participating in the consecration of our new invasive species of bishops; 3) the undue haste with which the ABC seemed to try to implement it with no regard for the different polities of the various Churches (plural intended)that form the Anglican Communion.

    This is in addition to its name, purpose and content. A different way of fostering civil theological discourse would seem to be more productive.

    When we severed our relationship with the Crown, we didn’t throw out the English bishops for the simple reason that, due to the then sorry state of the Church of England, none were ever sent! In my humble view, the Episcopal Church in the United States is much more a child of the Episcopal Church of Scotland than it is of England.

  • Kurt says:

    “In my humble view, the Episcopal Church in the United States is much more a child of the Episcopal Church of Scotland than it is of England.”—Kahu Aloha

    Yes, indeed! A lot of us Yanks feel that way!

  • L Roberts says:

    “In my humble view, the Episcopal Church in the United States is much more a child of the Episcopal Church of Scotland than it is of England.”—Kahu Aloha

    Yes, indeed! A lot of us Yanks feel that way!

    Posted by: Kurt on Tuesday, 15 January 2008 at 10:07pm GMT

    Yes, well, that’s because it is actually the case !

  • Pluralist says:

    ‘I’d rather say, “No thanks. You want to build a weapon? Go ahead, but don’t purport that I liked or agreed to its construction. Let the sin of the violence lovers rest with its perpetrators.”‘ Cheryl Va. Clough

    When I read the Advent Letter, and saw the weapon involved, and was disgusted, I wrote here and there, and a reply said definitely will go to Lambeth Conference, to meet those with whom there is disagreement.

    The daft thing is that the conservatives are split over going because they think they cannot go and some say they should, and the Advent Letter surely should do the same for liberals – though they seem to be more ‘in the know’ that what is written doesn’t mean what it says. Except the Archbishop on Simon Mayo described it as what he thought were the ~minimum~ conditions for turning up. Fancy a situation where there are two sides to this, and then by initiatives it becomes even more difficult to turn up.

    The danger of that Conference is that a bad agenda leads to a bad outcome by one defective intention after another, reconciling nothing, and producing some Instruments of Communion that think they have some sort of moral or even legal power. The potential outcome is horrible.

    Peculiarly enough the GAFCON outcome might derail Lambeth – but equally might skew Lambeth into something even more unpleasant if it tries to in vain appeal to those participants.

  • Jerry Hannon says:

    “In my humble view, the Episcopal Church in the United States is much more a child of the Episcopal Church of Scotland than it is of England.”—Kahu Aloha

    I believe that Kahu Aloha is right on target; moreover:

    (1) if the ABC were to cave in to the neo-Puritans, and if he somehow tried to align the CofE with Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Southern Cone, West Indies, SE Asia, and minor parts of Australia, then

    (2) I would predict a realignment of the AC focused upon the leadership of Scotland, joined by Wales, Ireland, Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, and most of Australia, and,

    (3) believing that it is not in the nature of the English to cave in to bullies, somewhere between one-third and two-thirds of the CofE would attempt to realign around Scotland. Here I am speaking of the efforts, not the effect of English law, and I feel that such efforts would bring the CofE to its collective senses.

  • Robert Ian Williams says:

    No one has tumbled to the fact that Sydney do not want th Covenant, because it could be used to challenge their diocesan autonomy and desire for lay presidency.

    Ther are “conservatives” who are disturbed by the Covenant as well.

    The “conservatives” though want it to look as if it is the liberals who scupper it.

  • Fr Mark says:

    Jerry: further to your third point above, remember also that the vast majority of English people in the pews, including in the churches led by homophobic clergy, are liberal on the gay issue, and are becoming more so all the time, partly as a result of the general acceptance in society, and partly as a result of being fed up with the way the extremists have been banging on about the issue. Friends who go to Con Evo churches are increasingly embarrassed by their leadership’s harsh stand. Their hold over the “official” stance of the C of E is not going to last much longer, and they know that, which is why they are being so frantic. Even that tiny CEN survery of General Synod members (a group of people hardly likely to be packed with radicals, because drawn only from those who have the stomach for sitting through hours of discussion of arcane ecclesiastical procedures) showed a majority in favour of openly accepting partnered gay clergy. The tide is turning, in fact, has turned, towards acceptance and inclusion in the C of E, and what we see is no more than the usual delaying tactics at work.

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