Thinking Anglicans

Another Anglican Covenant roundup

Paul Bagshaw has written another article about the Anglican Covenant: Doors slammed shut! Windows blown open?

…I stand by my description of how I see the Communion shaping up (centralised in the Archbishop of Canterbury, the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion and their respective officials, clericalised, women and laity further marginalised, the distance from centre to edge getting ever greater).

But I will make a significant qualification.

A kairos moment
The end of the civil war gives a brief moment for debate on what the Communion might look like. The idea of changing it has been very widely accepted. Significant changes have already been made. But we no longer need to look at the Communion through the lens of civil war or the foci of sexuality, biblicism and accusations of colonialism. These remain important issues but, fairly abruptly, the steam has gone out of them and the engine driving them has departed on a side-line…

From Peter Carrell we have The Anglican Covenant’s future.

After the change to the life of the Communion marked and underlined by last week’s Primates’ Meeting, it could be fantasy to think the Anglican Covenant now has a future, other than as a piece of paper read by fewer and fewer people and signed up to by even fewer member churches (three to date). But as the days have gone by I have been thinking that the Covenant has a future, and that future could be along two lines (or more)…

Jim Naughton has written The Anglican Covenant is not as dead as it looks and the comments on this thread are well worth reading.

I am wondering if the proposed Anglican Covenant is as dead as many Episcopalians think it is. It seems to me that Rowan Williams is making slow but significant progress toward assembling a notional center that he can then play off against the left (constituted by us, the Brazilians, the Scots and maybe the Welsh) and the right (constituted by Nigeria, Uganda and the Southern Cone.)

Consider: The Churches of Mexico, Myanmar and the West Indies have approved the covenant, and the Churches of England and South Africa have embarked on a process that seems almost certain to end in its approval. Mexico and South Africa are two of the provinces that opponents of the covenant within the Episcopal Church hoped might keep us company if we declined to sign up.

The Australians and Canadians are in the midst of processes whose likely outcomes are not clear to me. But both are members of the British Commonwealth, and Archbishop Philip Aspinall of Australia is a leading figure among the Primates, so covenant opponents would be foolish to presume that these two provinces won’t follow where Canterbury leads…

Lesley Fellows got this reply by Joanna Udal to her letter that she had sent earlier to Rowan Williams.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

One small footnote to Jim Naughton’s article but it does re-set the context: it hasn’t been the “British Commonwealth” for some decades now. It is the Commonwealth of Nations. UK influence in that body can be over-stated. The UK has often been a minority voice in its deliberations and has, quite rightly, been out-voted on some issues. As long ago as the 1980s Mrs Thatcher was well out of step with other Commonwealth leaders on sanctions as away of bringing pressure on apartheid South Africa. I wouldn’t presume the Canadians and Australians will follow where Canterbury leads simply because of… Read more »

Jim Naughton
10 years ago

Not for those reasons alone, Stephen. But I’d bet a nickel that they will follow.

Martin Reynolds
Martin Reynolds
10 years ago

As I see this Paul Bagshaw says that things have not changed much, if at all. The attempt to seize power from Canterbury and the two (competing) secretariats has failed … The “dispersed” authority legend within Anglicanism sees itself somewhat diminished The Covenant remains a real issue beware those who say otherwise. As Marshall reminds us, no matter what it says presently – those who sign up get the opportunity to 1. Interpret what the present Covenant means! 2. Those who sign up get the opportunity to rewrite it! Rowan Williams remains Archbishop of Canterbury, despite the attempt of the… Read more »

10 years ago

Still, the Covenant only has the reality we give it. Even if all the world should sign on to the covenant, and we in TEC stand apart . . . what will that in practical terms? What does it mean, in practical terms, if everyone else refuses to call us Anglican or even Christian? If we do, in TEC, sign the Covenant, what will it mean different, in practical terms? Who can *force* us to do anything? It’s what’s done, in this case, that shows if the values we profess are true. And, if we follow the path of the… Read more »

Edward Prebble
Edward Prebble
10 years ago

Brilliant and inspiring post, Mark.
thank you

Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

I do not share the spirit of despair that seems to be creeping in to the discussion here. If the Communion looks forward to alignment on the old basis of Scripture, Tradition and sweet Reason, then nothing ought prevent forward-looking Provinces – e.g. TEC and the A.C.of C.(and the rest of us who believe God is calling us into a new Inclusive era of the Church) from signing up to it. Whether that need a Covenant, or not, we will have to decide amongst ourselves. What ever the Covenant may have meant – in terms of disciplining the inclusive measures… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

Fr Ron so glad to hear of the hip and to know you are 81 – I had no idea ! 81 not out !

Long may it continue.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x