Thinking Anglicans

Canadian General Synod

The triennial meeting of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada will take place from 3 to 11 June. Links to all the official information can be found here.

The agenda includes discussion of the Anglican Covenant on Thursday 10 June, and there is this resolution to be debated.

Resolution Number A137
Be it resolved that this General Synod:
1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
3. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

This is accompanied by an explanatory note/background information, copied below the fold.

EXPLANATORY NOTE/BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Since the decision of General Synod 2007 to commit to participate in the process of drafting of “A Covenant for the Anglican Communion”, the Anglican Communion Working Group, established by the Primate and the Anglican ecclesiology Working Group of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, has offered considered comment and critique of the various drafts. These comments have been reviewed by the Council and after amendment/revision have been forwarded to the Anglican Communion Office. On each occasion, the comments of the Anglican Church of Canada have been clearly heard and have for the most part found their way into subsequent revisions of the text. By April 2009, consensus had been achieved with respect to sections 1‐3 of the Covenant.

Following ACC 14 in Jamaica, a decision was taken to reexamine section 4 of the Ridley‐Cambridge Draft, comments were prepared and forwarded to the Communion Office. A revised text of Section 4 was approved by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion at its meeting in December 2009 and a final Covenant text has now been circulated to national provinces under cover of a letter from the General Secretary, Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Three key areas were clarified:

First, was clarification about the meaning of the word, church. This clarification was necessary because of expressed concerns that anyone could claim to be an Anglican church and then sign up to the Covenant, in effect opting themselves into the Communion.

The second key area addressed was the completion of the change in tone from the juridical to pastoral and relational.

The third key clarification dealt with who was to manage and administer the Covenant. In successive drafts this has changed from the Primates meeting (Nassau) to the ACC (St Andrews), the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC (Ridley Cambridge) to The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (Ridley Cambridge revised). This is significant in that the Primatial members(4) are nominated by the Primates Meeting and the remainder are elected by the ACC. The overall operation of the Standing Committee functions under the Constitution of the ACC. This change resolves one of the key concerns raised by Canada and a number of other provinces at ACC 14.

Additionally, the final Covenant text makes it clear that “Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance.”

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Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

‘Additionally, the final Covenant text makes it clear that “Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance.” ‘ – A137 Explanatory Note – This indication of the A.C.of C.’s response to the Covenant – prepared for the Canadian G.S. 2010 – is perhaps the most important indicator of what ought to be a governance issue in any Covenant for the Anglican Communion. Each Province has it own provincial statutes, which ought never to become a secondary influence… Read more »

Pluralist
11 years ago

Actions mean consequences. If you vote for it, that is adopt it, you get the consequences.

Lionel Deimel
11 years ago

I find the wording of the Explanatory Note/Background Information worrisome. The message seems to be that all our concerns have been addressed; there is nothing to worry about here. Provinces should be asking fundamental questions such as: Is a covenant necessary, helpful, or perhaps even dangerous? Are there better strategies for saving the Anglican Communion? Is the Anglican Communion worth saving? If so, at what price?

Fiona Brownlee
11 years ago

Interesting that of all the things to be talked about at our General Synod this one document would be picked up. I am here to do staff work for one of the Anglican Church of Canada’s ministries, the Council of the North, and I haven’t heard much about the Covenant. I am hearing a lot more chatter about governance, about indigenous ministry, about financial stability. I hope that you will pick up some of these things over the next week and a half. Greetings to all from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Fiona
“Interesting that of all the things to be talked about at our General Synod this one document would be picked up. I am here to do staff work for one of the Anglican Church of Canada’s ministries, the Council of the North, and I haven’t heard much about the Covenant.”

Considering the far reaching importance of the Covenant, this is not an encouraging statement.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
11 years ago

Statements from staffers and official sources of the Anglican Church of Canada should be evaluated closely. The Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada have recommended to the Covenant for consideration but NOT for adoption. One reason for this is conflict in the order of bishops, and the fact that major urban dioceses have already moved to allow same gender blessings(New Westminster, Ottawa, Montreal, Niagara, Huron,and Toronto has a half way house on this.) Also, direction from the previous GS to our National executive to develop an amendment to the marriage canon allowing same sex marriage, put the executive committee… Read more »

Fiona Brownlee
11 years ago

Erika, I did not mean my statement to be encouraging or discouraging – just trying to show that Canadian Anglicans are getting on with the living out of God’s mission here, in this time & place. We are much more concerned with the number of indigenous clergy who do not get paid for the fine, fine work that they do – this is a justice issue for many of us. We are concerned about our relationships with the wider church which is why both the Bishop of Jerusalem and the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church are speaking to us.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
11 years ago

Fiona
I did not mean to criticise your comment!
And I so want to agree with you that there are so many truly important things to be done.

But I also recognise that, at least here in the CoE, it is largely because of the general attitude of “you continue your squabbling while we get on with the important things”, that the church is drifting more and more toward the fundamentalist right, and soon it will be too late for everyone to wake up and do something about it.

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
11 years ago

Even if the ‘Covenant’ is adopted in current unacceptable form it will never be implemented.

It is unimplementable or rather unenforceable which amounts to the same thing.

I don’t think much of an Anglican Communion will survive Williams’ tenure.It is not very nice now. Not al all.

And it used to be too nice, so there we are.

Malcolm+
11 years ago

In terms of our internal processes, it’s probably good tactics (from a progressive perspective) for General Synod to “manage” the same sex issue to the backburner. The longer that equal marriage is the norm in anada, the less the ravings of a small minority of extremists will be able to stampede the majority of moderates (including conservative moderates). But Erika is right that there is a significant danger to downplaying the importance of the Covenant issue. I am constantly amazed by the number of progressives and moderates who, precisely because they are getting on with important things, have failed to… Read more »

Jack
Jack
11 years ago

Oh that would be terrible if they moved toward the fundamentalist right because they would have to obey the Word of the Lord.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
11 years ago

Erika: Your words are wise and well taken. I hope you will also consider that the Holy Spirit is at work in every Christian Community be they Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox or the many Protestant Christian communities. True, the Fundamentalists have seized control of the power levers in many Christian communities but the Holy Spirit has not forsaken the rest of us. We would not have had a Vatican II or the election of an American Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine if the Holy Spirit were not actively at work. Inclusive love is what Jesus taught his disciples. I have no… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
11 years ago

Anyone interested in the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, opening tomorrow, can get info and a live feed by visiting this official page.
http://www.anglican.ca/index.php

Adam Armstrong
Adam Armstrong
11 years ago

“Oh that would be terrible if they moved toward the fundamentalist right because they would have to obey the Word of the Lord.” How nice that fundamentalists have the ear of God and speak with the mouth of God. This sounds like those who talk about “the plain meaning of scripture” only when it is plain to them-which means when they can use it to bolster their arguments or give them power. If scripture were to be read only one way we would still have slavery and women regarded as property, and if you read much of the OT, lots… Read more »

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
11 years ago

Adam: Thank you for your words in this thread. I think most Fundamentalists are viewed as speaking out of two sides of their mouths. This is commonly referred to as “hypocrisy” and it has no place in the family that claim to be disciples of Jesus. Their ideas of the “plain meaning of scripture” is a two thousand year old debate that has never been won by either side. It is precisely because the Holy Spirit is ACTIVE in the community of Churches called Christianity, that brave branches of this family have chosen to be INCLUSIVE of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual… Read more »

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