Thinking Anglicans

Episcopal Church response to Covenant

The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church has published its latest response to the St Andrew’s Draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The response is in a PDF file available here.

There is also a covering press release. Some excerpts:

[Episcopal News Service — Stockton, California] The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council said January 30 that the church “remains committed to the Communion-wide process of conversation towards an Anglican covenant.”

“At the same time, TEC wants to emphasize that matters of moral authority and interdependence amongst churches result from mutuality, not regulation,” the council wrote its response to the St. Andrew’s Draft of the proposed covenant.

“Care needs to be taken that our conversations around an Anglican covenant do not draw us necessarily toward a hierarchical model of a church union or even the perception of Anglicanism as a singular global church,” the response said…

…Council’s covenant response reiterates the Episcopal Church’s stance that participation in the covenant development process “does not implicitly commit” the church to ultimately approving a covenant. And it makes clear that only the General Convention can sign the church onto such a document. It predicts that such approval would not come until at least 2012 and not until at least 2015 if such approval was deemed to require changes to the Episcopal Church’s constitution…

…In response to the Joint Standing Committee’s question about what changes are needed in the St. Andrew’s Draft, the council offered nearly five pages of section-by-section comments. It raised the most concern over the process (that begins to be described in Section 3.2.5) to be employed when any proposed or enacted measures at the provincial or local level “are deemed to threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission.”

Calling it “the most problematic section,” the response said the process that involves consultation, mediation, and communion-wide evaluation is “overly juridical.” The council said that from the time an Anglican covenant was proposed in an appendix to the 2004 Windsor Report, there has been a movement “calling for the beginnings of inter-Anglican canon law or, if not that, inter-Anglican processes for negotiations and settlement of disputes and concerns.” Council summed up its comments by asking, “How does the covenant help us look like Christ?” and asked how it helps Anglicans recognize Christ in each other…

The recent Church of England response to the same draft was reported here.

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Francisco de Assis da Silva
Guest

Clear and coherent statement. It echoes what the Brazilian province stated through the Bishop’s House.
Communion is not a question of legal systematization. Communion is build by mutual respect and comprehensiveness. Unfortunately some of the defenders of the Covenant are disrespectfully behaving against fellow Provinces.

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“Unfortunately some of the defenders of the Covenant are disrespectfully behaving against fellow Provinces.”

Exactly. Until the Primates can all come to the table and share in Christ’s body and blood, there is no point to this effort.

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

If the Primates can’t meet collectively (collegially?) over the Eucharist, is there still an Anglican Communion? If Primates effectively say to other Primates we can’t share the Eucharist with the likes of **you**, aren’t the excluded Primates effectively, if not formally, excommunicated by definition? I’m glad to see the TEC Executive Council saying that they are glad to continue the dance, but not while staring down the working end of a shotgun. There is already a hierarchical juridicial model out there. It’s called the Roman Catholic Church. I’ve always seen the Anglican Communion as a loose federation, where each Province… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Excellent , thoughtful, anglican response to the provocation put before us.

To my mind the crucial phrase is

‘ mutuality not regulation’

Otherwise a great deal more time , energy and acrimony will be spent in an ultimately fruitless excercise. Rowan Williams has much for which to answer, in a short tenure at Canterbury.

Steve Lusk
Guest
Steve Lusk

“[H]ow is Nigeria prevented from following its own discernment?”
Because it fears that, given a fair hearing, recently recognized truths may triumph over ancient misunderstandings?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“If TEC discerns that bringing gay and lesbian people into the priesthood and episcopate is appropriate, and the church in Nigeria discerns that’s the most diabolical thing they’ve ever heard of, how is Nigeria prevented from following its own discernment?” Posted by peterpi …because then the Diabolical will (try to) show up at Lambeth—or, God forbid, a Primates meeting!—and the Nigerian (etc) elect will get Teh Gay Cooties. }:-0 If we, the Elect, ever have to face (much less, Eat Jesus with) you, the Diabolical, as EQUAL brother&sisters in Christ, then our whole Judgment System will be shown for the… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

The clarity and overall soundness of this input from TEC again reminds me powerfully what depths and breadth of common prayer and church life – including the lovely balancing of lay vocations with others – all – which drew me in college to TEC, and still draws me. Harshly judging, punishing, and policing all that is of course the core aim of the new Anglican rights, no moderation, no caveats, and certainly nothing but utter rightwing majority contempt for all manner of target folks – most notably in recent times, queer folks, women, and people who ask too many questions… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Council’s covenant response reiterates the Episcopal Church’s stance that participation in the covenant development process “does not implicitly commit” the church to ultimately approving a covenant. And it makes clear that only the General Convention can sign the church onto such a document. It predicts that such approval would not come until at least 2012 and not until at least 2015 if such approval was deemed to require changes to the Episcopal Church’s constitution…” – TEC Response – From the legal requirements alone, it can be presumed that TEC, at least, could not be fully committed to the proposed Covenant… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

The Episcopal Church accepting the Covenant would be like the US Governmment surrendering its sovereignty to the British Commonwealth. Its simply not on…..

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘One suspects, also, that there are still legal problems about the possibility of the Church of England’s ability to become part of what might be seen to be a proscriptive organisation, whose membership regulations could be seen to interfere with the Church/State status of the C.of E.’

Yes, the C of E ‘by Law established’ is protected from the full force of this farce -but is only too happen to inflict it upon others.

counterlight
Guest

The whole point of this covenant business is to spank the North American Churches for being too gay-friendly, and for letting women take charge.

I say torpedo the damn thing and send it to sleep with the fishes.

Robert Ian williams
Guest
Robert Ian williams

Just heard that the Pittsburgh Stealers won the Super Bowl …is that an omen, and did Bishop Duncan name the team?