Thinking Anglicans

Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant

The Diocese of Los Angeles has issued this press release: Diocese of Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant.

And there is this video documenting the process by which Diocesan Convention initiated the response.

Here is an extract:

… We are concerned about the omission of the laity from Section 3. As St. Paul teaches, we are all of us the Body of Christ and individually members thereof (I Corinthians 12). There are four orders of ministry in the Church – bishops, priests, deacons and lay people, who also minister as members of the baptized people of God. Such an ecclesiology should both undergird the theology expressed in the Covenant and the church structures developed as means of connecting and serving the churches of the Communion. A Covenant to which we could subscribe would need to re-imagine the Instruments of Communion to provide a stronger representation from all the orders of ministry.

Section 4 is of greatest concern. It creates a punitive, bureaucratic, juridical process within the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, elevating its authority over the member churches despite previous affirmations of member church autonomy (see, e.g., Section 4.1.3). It contains no clear process for dispute resolution, no checks and balances, no right of appeal. The concept of mediation, introduced in Section 3.2.6, is not mentioned in Section 4. The covenant’s focus on “maintenance, dispute and withdrawal” bodes of an immobilized church mission instead of one that is flexible and prophetic. For these reasons, we cannot agree to Section 4.

We cannot endorse a covenant that, for the first time in the history of The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion, will pave the way toward emphasizing perceived negative differences instead of our continuing positive and abundant commonality. We strongly urge more direct face-to-face dialogue, study, prayer and education before the adoption of a document that has such historic significance in the life of the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. Our differences should not be seen as something that must be proved wrong or endured but rather a motivation to dig deeper into discerning God’s purposes for God’s church…

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Leonardo Ricardo
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¨Our differences should not be seen as something that must be proved wrong or endured but rather a motivation to dig deeper into discerning God’s purposes for God’s church… Diocese of Los Angeles, TEC/Anglican Communion …a added dash of spiritually and emotionally healthy reality while quietly acknowledging the living truth and presence of ALL the children of God (your real life brothers and sisters, friends, fellow pewsitters and coworkers)– how about a gentle freeing/faithful extra added measure of ¨trust¨ for ALL oneanothers throughout the ANGLICAN COMMUNION? The senseless threatening demeaning– murder in the case of Anglican David Kato/Uganda — of… Read more »

karen macqueen+
Guest

As a priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles, I could not agree more with our bishops and elected representatives to General Convention. One of the most important parts of the Diocese of LA’s statement are these words, ” The Episcopal Church was founded in democracy and has enjoyed a polity which is free and democratic since 1789. This long-standing course cannot be reversed.” Here in LaLa land, we remain baffled as to how the ABC or others in the various churches in the Communion seem not to understand this. Do they just not get us or is this Covenant… Read more »

Laura Sykes
Guest

One of the major differences between the CofE and the TEC is that, whereas the TEC does indeed recognise four orders of ministry, the 1662 prayer book (my edition contains all amendments up to 1968)recognises only three: ‘from the Apostles’ time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ’s Church: Bishops, Priests and Deacons’.(see under section ‘The Ordering of Deacons’ etc). This difference may owe something to the original TEC prayer book having been written in 1789, the year of the French Revolution!

Tiffer
Guest
Tiffer

“Like the RC Church, the CofE acts like the fullness of the Holy Spirit is imparted in the consecration of a bishop, rather than in Baptism” Karen, where are you getting this from? This is not only unfair, it is also an entirely original accusation in my experience. This response is betrays deeply un-catholic sentiment. Four orders of ministry? Are the laity “ordered” in some sense? This does not take the priesthood of all believers seriously-all bishops priests and deacons continue to be laity-the people of God. Even their ecclesiology is an innovation. Of course they cannot sign up to… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

It might be worth drawing attention to Colin Podmore’s article “The Baptismal Revolution in the American Church:Baptismal Ecclesiology and the Baptismal Covenant” in Ecclesiology, 6 ,2010 ( p 8-38) ….sorry I cant provide the link. Podmore is a respected scholar working at Church House in London and the article draws attention to the differences between the ecclesiology of TEC and the C of E and some of the implications of this.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“We cannot endorse a covenant that, for the first time in the history of The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion, will pave the way toward emphasizing perceived negative differences instead of our continuing positive and abundant commonality.” – Los Angeles Diocesan Statement – This, surely, is one of the most persuasive reasons for TEC not to join in the Covenant as it now stands. Section 4 would leave the way clear for the undermining of TEC’s status as an equal partner in the Anglican Communion – a situation that many of us in other Provinces of the Communion would… Read more »

Christopher Arnold
Guest
Christopher Arnold

The Episcopal Church is in fact a profoundly democratic and congregationalist church, certainly amongst the Anglican churches. It is also pretty much more theologically liberal than most of the Anglican churches, partly due to the fact that conservative Christians have lots of other options in America. I am grateful to the diocese of Los Angeles for describing the characteristics of a Covenant that they would be able to adopt. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Four orders of ministry? Are the laity “ordered” in some sense?”

Yes: by virtue of Baptism. That’s why many of us are working for “all of the Sacraments for all of the Baptized.”

You might consult the BCP 1970.

evensongjunkie
Guest
evensongjunkie

Karen, you need to read a bit of church history again. Of course the covenant is a crock, but using a sweeping generalization against the C of E is also. This is liberalism at it’s worse; failing to realize the prejudices and failings of our own, especially in trying to make a sound argument against what is surely a damaging document in the present history of our common communion. At least be gracious to those in the C of E who are trying to bring reason to an entrenched (and minority in my opinion) leadership. Beating your breast and rubbing… Read more »

Counterlight
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Counterlight

The Episcopal Church has been an “innovation” since 1789. Just ask King George III and Lord North. Perhaps the very idea of monarchy, even as a metaphor, is long past. Maybe God has always spoken through all of His people. He certainly chose some striking characters to do His work over time; an emigrant wanderer (Abraham), a murderer (Moses), a shepherd boy (David), and an unwed teenage mother (Our Lady). None of them would pass for clergy material these days. I think the idea of the priest as monarch is the real innovation. Or maybe it’s not innovation enough. In… Read more »

Christopher (P.)
Guest
Christopher (P.)

Tiffer– Of course, the laity are “ordered.” We are under the Baptismal Covenant, to which we renew our allegiance four times a year. Beyond this, our catechism spells out the particular charism of the laity, which is “to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world.” And further, the catechism proclaims that it is part of the ministry of the laity to take part in “the life, worship, and governance of the Church.” In the catechism, this is all stated first, prior to the ministries of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon. As for innovation, well, possibly, but at this stage… Read more »

Laura Sykes
Guest

In the current version of Common Worship, the Church of England sticks to its three orders of ministry:

‘The Threefold Ministry

The Church of England maintains the historic threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. Its ministers are ordained by bishops according to authorized forms of service, with prayer and the laying on of hands (see Canons C 1 – C 4).’

http://tinyurl.com/6xyjk7t

Marshall Scott
Guest

Ah, my Episcopal Church siblings: patience with our English cousins. We cherish the Baptismal Covenant as we have it in the 1979 Prayer Book. However, most Anglicans don’t have it in their liturgies; and even when they have it, they use it differently. It is in “Common Worship” and the “New Zealand Prayer Book,” for example. However, it is only used for *adult* baptisms, and then only as the declarations of the person being baptized. For my English (and other) cousins, we use it for *all* baptisms, and can also use it at other times. For example, we don’t all… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Some people think that the charisms of ministry must flow downhill, from the apostles to the bishops to the clergy to the laity. Others may well observe that fire burns upward, and that the consent and support of the laity is essential to any ministry or minister who emerges from that body of the faithful. I prefer to see it as both/and, as I think the Episcopal Church actually does, and a consultation of the ordinal shows. There is no cleric without both the laying on of hands of the bishop, and the consent of the people. The cry of… Read more »

Old Father William
Guest
Old Father William

A point of information: the current American Prayer Book is the 1979 book, which was introduced for trial use in 1976.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Even their ecclesiology is an innovation. Of course they cannot sign up to an Anglican covenant.” – Posted by Tiffer

Do try to remember, Tiffer, that the “They” you disparage helped FOUND the *Anglican* Communion. We in TEC have been an essential part of what it means to be Anglican since the beginning.

John
Guest
John

So glad the Americans – most of them – are coming out fighting. So glad – for the umpteenth time – that TEC (most of it) has taken the stand it has on LGBT issues.

There is such a thing as integrity. How rarely one encounters it. How good it makes one feel.

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

Huzzah! to the Diocese of LA. I hope my own diocese of Colorado takes that step also. I think, in its current form, the Covenant is a monstrosity, designed to create conformity to a small-minded vision.
I think the democratic processes within TEC befuddle, confuse, and anger some Anglicans. Not to mention full integration of women. In their minds, why can’t the Presiding Bishop just issue an edict and be done with it? It’s so much less messy that way. And laity participating in the selection of bishops? Horrors!

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Old Father William – thanks for the correction – it is the ’79 book. What was I thinking? Ah! It’s spring!

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

A further comment on the history of Anglicanism in North America. Anglicanism existed in North America for almost 200 years before the establishment of the Episcopal Church. During that time the Church of England did not send any bishops to oversee the North American churches and all natives seeking ordination had to go to England to be ordained. The result of this situation was that Anglicanism in North America was largely lay-governed, run almost entirely by the vestries in the colonial churches. This situation was a fact-on-the-ground when the Episcopal Church was founded in the late 18th Century and had… Read more »

Muthah+
Guest

I am not willing to allow the Anglican Covenant to split the Communion. We have lived for over 150 years with the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral which has given us all the ability to exercise the ministry in ways that are appropriate to the communities we serve. I do not care to split hairs on orders of ministry or count the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. I care about whether the people of a given country or culture can hear the message of Christ in their own culture within our Communion. Up to now, we… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

The decision by the diocese of L.A. (and the reasons given for making the same), is a very good news story. I do hope our Canadian House of Bishops, which is meeting this week “under the radar”, is taking note. Our friends in the great republic to the south have a unique gift and calling at this juncture in Anglican history. Thanks be to God for their place in the Communion of the Holy Spirit.

Tiffer
Guest
Tiffer

I don’t doubt that the fourfold ministry is affirmed in Episcopal articles and liturgies, I simply point out that this is an innovation, and one with serious consequences. A four fold order of ministry surely emphasises the differences between the orders: laity is not diaconate, diaconate is not episcopate etc. This not only sets the ordained apart from the laity, but it drives a wedge between them as well. Whereas a threefold order of ministry affirms the priesthood of all believers and the ministry of all the baptised, by not settIng the laity apart from the clergy-we are all members… Read more »

Marshall Scott
Guest

Tiffer, it seems to me that we have the same goals. However, in the American context at least we don’t trust that things that “go without saying” are as commonly understood as we might like. Therefore, we emphasize the *priesthood* of all believer by emphasizing that *every believer* has a vocation. I think you’d agree that our concept isn’t an innovation, even if perhaps our way of describing it is. It seems to me that how we go about describing that belief that every believer has a vocation, a ministry, may well be part of that sense of “the historic… Read more »

Tiffer
Guest
Tiffer

Thank you Marshall – I wasn’t so much arguing that you-are-wrong on the subject, I was simply rejecting the accusation that we in the CofE, like the Romans, imply that the Spirit somehow flows from Bishops down and that we don’t believe in the ministry of all the baptised. I was demonstrating that even an effort to safeguard that (the fourfold ministry) can be perceived as doing injury to it. I do feel that the historic three fold ministry is sufficient if properly understood, but I see the worth in what you say.