Thinking Anglicans

covenant draft: changes described

Pat Ashworth in the Church Times has Disputed parts of Anglican Covenant redrafted.

… Just 13 of the 34 Anglican provinces submitted a formal response to the first draft of the Anglican Covenant (the Nassau Draft), something that the Covenant Design Group (CDG) suggests might be attributed to “lack of translation” or indeed “other foci in the life of Provinces”…

Scroll down the Church Times article for a summary of the Appendix: Four routes for discipline:

THE PROCESS for disciplining a Church is graded according to whether there is a threat to “the unity of the Communion or effectiveness or credibility of its mission” and how urgent this is.

Informal conversation is the first resort, Route 1. If that fails, the next step is to consult the Archbishop of Canterbury. He then has a month either to resolve the problem by issuing pastoral guidance, or to refer it to three Assessors of his choice. The Church that is getting the guidance has a month to respond. If the outcome is unsuccessful, it refers it to the Assessors. The Assessors have a month in which to choose one of four routes, depending on the perceived urgency of the dispute.

If a threat to unity is clearly involved and is considered to be a matter of real urgency, the Archbishop requests action by the Church involved. The Church has six months to consider: if it doesn’t respond after that time, it is considered to have rejected his request. The Church can appeal to the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) if it does not believe that it is threatening unity and mission. The JSC decides whether there is a threat. If the appeal is lost, the matter goes to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).

Route 2 comes into play if it is unclear whether there is a real threat to unity or not, but the matter is still considered urgent. If so, it can be referred by the Archbishop of Canterbury to another of the Instruments of Communion to decide whether there is a threat. The Instrument makes a request to the Church, and then the matter proceeds as with Route 1.

Route 3 takes a longer view. The Archbishop refers longer-term issues that “would benefit from rigorous theological study” to a commission for evaluation. He chooses the commission in consultation with the secretary general of the Anglican Communion. The commission studies it for 18 months, and then pass on its judgement to an Instrument of Communion. If rejected, it then goes to the ACC.

Route 4 provides mediation, if no threat to unity is perceived. This is a three-year process. The mediator has no decision-making authority, and cannot compel the parties to accept a settlement. The matter is declared closed after three years.

The ACC is the final arbiter over Routes 1, 2, and 3, and whether a Church’s action is compatible with the Covenant. “If the Council decides the rejection is incompatible, the Church can declare voluntarily that it relinquishes the force and meaning of the Covenant; or the Council decides it for them.”

If either declares relinquishment, the ACC must initiate “a process of restoration with the Church of the Communion and other Instruments of the Communion”.

Read the whole article.

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Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

“Informal conversation is the first resort, Route 1. If that fails, the next step is to consult the Archbishop of Canterbury. He then has a month either to resolve the problem by issuing pastoral guidance, or to refer it to three Assessors of his choice.” First presumption. That informal conversations are acknowledged to have occurred and to have been accurately and compassionately recorded. Second presumption. That there are avenues of communication to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those of us who have lived in “communication black holes” (that is, conversations never happened nor correspondence ever issued or received) will know that… Read more »

L Roberts
L Roberts
13 years ago

What lengths to go to, all because Gene Robinson was open enough to say, “I love Mark.”

Its a huge mechanism to try to block and hold back honesty.

The Henrician approach of beheading all concerned is no longer available — the only other option would be to embrace honesty. Embrace people, their faith stories and journies, and their

‘faith green as aleaf.’

(RS Thomas)

Blair Mitchell
Blair Mitchell
13 years ago

This is precisely what the communion needs

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

See, Blair Mitchell, I believe the exact opposite. I believe the convenant represents the victory of fear over faith, of judgement over love, of intolerance over tolerance. In short, it shows to the world our failure as Christians. As I have said before, if we can’t live by the simple precepts of the New Covenant given to us by God Himself, why do we think there is something better in a covenant of our own making? Is it that you feel God will abandon us if we disagree about certain things? Is it because you are uncomfortable with doubt? Is… Read more »

Prior Aelred
13 years ago

So it really doers come to keeping gays in the closet — it won’t work — the Anglican Communion has been profoundly changed by honesty & no amount of centralization will ever make evil good or lies the truth.

It seems likely that by the time the WWAC decides how to expel churches (provinces), the ones who insisted on such a process will already be long gone in their own Anglican heritaged Global South Evangelical communion (“and no poofters!”).

Rae Fletcher
Rae Fletcher
13 years ago

The short time lines for responses (which we must assume to mean responses desired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, precludes some provinces from deliberating the response through their normal polity. For example, a decision that might put this process into effect by the General Synod of the the Anglican Church of Canada, would not be “reconsidered” until the General Synod met in another three years. The response would have to come from the bishops, and the bishops would have to be prepared to step outside of the normal decision making process for the church. We should be uncomfortable that the… Read more »

jn wall
jn wall
13 years ago

One’s reaction to this would seem to be almost entirely driven by whether or not one believes the Anglican Communion worth holding together with something like its current membership. If one thinks it is worth saving, then what one seeks is a compromise. Compromise is about saving face. The compromise in this document is this: conservatives get to say they are staying in because we now have a mechanism for disciplining wayward churches and liberals will stay in because they get a disciplinary mechanism so cumbersome that one cannot imagine it ever actually working. Actually, I suspect the situation is,… Read more »

Prior Aelred
13 years ago

BTW — I was also going to mention the timing issue — in TEC, the authority of the Metropolitan resides in the General Convention which meets every three years — I suppose TEC would have to be expelled automatically if it could respond to an accusation in the time frame proposed. Assuming that those in authority would act sensibly won’t wash — if that were so, we wouldn’t be talking about this!

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Viewing our dilemma as concerning membership, we fall into the realignment traps already presuppositionally laid for us, and sharp teeth there indeed. The controversy is as much about space or leeway as about membership, though con evo realignment folks do love to spin furiously on the unworthy membership thang – as if anybody were worthy of membership in Jesus mystically, really? Meanwhile, the main effect of realignment would be to narrow and eliminate the space for inquiry, particularly in difficult or unprecedented questions where a conservative Anglicanism had not already prepared a quick, pat, prefabricated faith answer. In this case:… Read more »

Malcolm+
13 years ago

The Anglican Communion needs this appalling bit of quasi-curial crap like Paris Hilton needs more empty fame.

This Covenant is an outrageous blasphemy. It is nothing less that the triumph of law over grace.

Kurt
Kurt
13 years ago

This so-called Covenant, as re-written, is still simply unacceptable to many of us American Episcopalians.

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

JN You comment that others have suggested “Actually, I suspect the situation is, as I read elsewhere, that the crisis in the Anglican Communion is over because it seemed to be fueled by excitement in the media and that excitement is over. We are now old news.” The souls that have been abusing and vilifying target groups would advocate such a position. They are the same sort who ride media storms about pedophilia cases from boarding schools, abuse of staff at theological colleges, or compensation for mistreatment of (potential) employees by a church body. After the storm, they are then… Read more »

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

My sole hope for GOOD coming out of this, is that in putting down on paper the (appalling) alternative, this process is actually creater greater APPRECIATION for the defacto (dejure, only to the point of The Quad and the ACC Constitution) system that’s served us so well for so long!

christopher+
christopher+
13 years ago

What precisely makes this covenant idea something we need? What makes it necessary to have a double-standard for full communion: one set of standards for Anglicans amongst themselves and one set (the Quadrilateral) for all other Christian churches with which individual provinces enter into full communion? Is it the assumption that all who are in communion with Canterbury are automatically in full communion with each other? We’ve long since been told by Nigeria and others that this is no longer the case anyway, and, apparently, the only way it would be again is if all Anglican Communion provinces did whatever… Read more »

Blair Mitchell
Blair Mitchell
13 years ago

Ford Elms:

Two thousand years of Christianity demonstrate the truth that Christians cannot abide by the faith alone.

Why should a mechanism that can identify and coalesce human dispute, distill it and channel it towards resolution, threaten a true faith?

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“Why should a mechanism that can identify and coalesce human dispute, distill it and channel it towards resolution, threaten a true faith?” Because it will not be such a mechanism. Our Church has traditionally had numerous different groups, the differences between which have been so great as to make it appear we have many different “Anglicanisms”. We Anglo-catholics don’t have much in common with the Evangelicals, after all. Yet we have stayed together. Indeed, many of us didn’t even realize till recently that there was all that much difference between us. This “mechanism” will merely allow one group, the loudest… Read more »

Malcolm+
13 years ago

“a mechanism that can identify and coalesce human dispute, distill it and channel it towards resolution”

If only the Covenant Design Group had provided us with such a document.

Instead, they gave us this billy club for the faux orthodox to drive all dissenters from the Communion – which was what they wanted all along.

Pluralist
13 years ago

Although it pains me, I have written out my own Covenant for the Anglican Communion, in a way that makes it clear than a Church outside the Covenant is not outside the Anglican Communion, though there is a process to remove a Church or remove itself.

I’m not sure that even this would be acceptable and it wouldn’t do anything beyond what a good conversation would do.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2008/02/covenant-for-anglican-communion.html

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