Thinking Anglicans

A Short Introduction to the Anglican Covenant

Updated

press release from noanglicancovenant.org

COALITION RELEASES A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE ANGLICAN COVENANT

LONDON – Responding to requests for a concise explanation of the Anglican Covenant and the lack of even‐handed discussions of the Covenant from official sources, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition has released of A Short Introduction to the Anglican Covenant. The one‐page primer outlines the history and likely effect of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

“Most of the study material that has been produced to date has been designed for readers already familiar with the background and issues involved,” said the Coalition’s Moderator, the Revd. Dr. Lesley Fellows. “This brief, plain‐language explanation is intended to help ordinary Anglicans worldwide to understand what is being proposed.”
“Many people have complained that the official study material from the Anglican Communion Office has lacked balance and has failed to take seriously the concerns of Covenant critics,” according to the Revd. Canon Hugh Magee, the Coalition’s Scottish Convenor. “Recent study material from Canada has taken a more realistic view. While clearly written in opposition to the Covenant, A Short Introduction seeks to present a fair but critical view of the Covenant.”

A Short Introduction to the Anglican Covenant may be printed and copied by groups or individuals. It is particularly appropriate for people who know little about the Covenant or are overwhelmed by the available material related to the proposed pact. The document is available formatted both for letter‐size stationery used in Canada and the United States and for A4 stationery used in Britain and elsewhere.

Update

More attractive two-page versions are now also available: A4 stationery; North American stationery.

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Fr John Harris-White
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Fr John Harris-White

Thank you for this statement and introduction. Exactly what is needed, clear, concise, and easily copied on A4 for distribution.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

One wonders whether, considering the obvious statements made by various elements against the imposition of the proposed Anglican Covenant Process, the Covenant process will ever survive the proposition being put to the individual Anglican Provinces. To impose such a revision of the traditional Anglican ‘Unity in Diversity’ ethic would seem, at least, to be counter-productive to it’s missionary outreach to ALL.

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

The lack of even-handed presentation to Diocesan Synods concerning the Covenant is a very serious issue.

More information for Synod members is available also from the Modern Church and Inclusive Church websites and deserves to be used.

I get the distinct impression that there is an attempt going on to bounce the Covenant through unsuspecting and largely uninformed Synods.

Of course the stakes are high. Rowan Williams has invested so much personal commitment into the Covenant that should it fail in England (in which case it would be effectively dead) he might have to consider his position.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

This is still not a good document. Is this meant to be a neutral presentation or one that actually counterbalances the Lambeth propaganda? It takes an awful lot of slogging through some heavy, and seemingly even-handed, verbiage to get to the punch line in the last paragraph. Besides, the look of the document is poor. There is no white space. There are no headings. The only illustration is — of all places — in the lower right-hand corner. So the reader is confronted with a weighty slug of text. This is all very off-putting visually. As a result of these… Read more »

Lionel Deimel
Guest

Obviously, getting a lot of information on one page was a difficult task. People could reformat the document to fit on two pages if they like.

As for the last paragraph, what did you expect from an organization called the NO ANGLICAN COVENANT COALITION? The earlier paragraphs ARE objective, and the analysis comes at the end. If distributed at a group meeting, the moderator could ask if the group agrees with the conclusions. The point is that, in discussions in England and elsewhere, there often is no suggestion that the Covenant is anything but a gift from heaven. Alas, it isn’t.

Malcolm French+
Guest

Certainly there are other pieces available at the Coalition website that are more . . . assertive . . . in their rejection of Rowan’s pet Covenant. However the purpose of this document was to provide an introduction that avoided the dishonest propaganda of the bureaucrats at the Anglican Communion Office.

In other words, part of the point was to avoid writing just another propaganda piece.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Lionel’s and Malcolm’s comments prove my point. You can either have a balanced piece. Or you can have an assertive one. This document balances and then (in the final paragraph) asserts. Which makes the previous paragraphs, and their ostensible balance, much less credible. Mixing apparent objectivity and its exact opposite is a mistake. The reader who wants to find out who wrote the document will easily see that the author is the “No Anglican Covenant Coalition.” Again putting the credibility of all the “balance” into doubt. You don’t need to take my word for all this. Please ask someone in… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

Jeremy, in among being a parish priest, I spent several years in public relations. I have been the principal speech writer for a series of provincial cabinet ministers and was head of communications for a government agency. I achieved my professional accreditation (APR) and served as a national director of the Canadian Public Relations Society, as well as in several committee roles. I was co-chair of the 2010 Canadian Public Relations Conference. This piece is well-positioned for the present context. Those who are professionally and ethically obliged to provide balanced introductory material on the proposed Covenant (ie, the bureaucrats of… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Malcolm, I’m sorry, but there are two possibilities. 1. If you wrote this document, then it is not your best work. 2. More likely, if you were part of a committee writing this document, then you did not have enough influence on the drafting–in other words, people didn’t pay enough attention to you. The document is neither accessible nor persuasive. To take one example, the following sentence is a syntactical disaster: “In such circumstances, it seems foolish to adopt an agreement guaranteed to destroy the generous diversity and willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit that have characterized Anglicanism… Read more »

A J Barford
Guest
A J Barford

‘Short Introduction to the Anglican Covenant’ is oxymoronic thus doomed to failure

Lionel Deimel
Guest

Jeremy, what, exactly, is your concern? Are you trashing “A Short Introduction” because you favor the Covenant or are you complaining because the piece is not adequately advancing the case against the Covenant? If you favor the Covenant, I would challenge you to do a better job. As for the use of complex sentences, it allows one to say more in a short space and to relate thoughts more carefully to one another. The document is not a newspaper ad or billboard copy. It is intended for intelligent Anglicans concerned about their church and the Anglican Communion. I’m sorry you… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

Jeremy, I agree with Lionel that it really isn’t clear if your venom is because we are opposed to the Covenant or because we haven’t fed you enough red meat. (I’m guessing the latter.) We could have written a one page trashing of the Covenant. There are already several out there, but we could certainly have added one more. That might have pleased commited opponents of the Covenant. It would have done little to persuade the open-minded inquirer with limited background knowledge. I’m sorry you don’t like the document, Jeremy. As Lionel has said, feel free to produce something better.… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“I’m sorry you had so much trouble understanding it.” Lionel, I’m sorry you felt the need to imply that I am not intelligent. What an effective rhetorical strategy that is. To answer your question, I am deeply opposed to the so-called covenant. My concern, therefore, is that this document does such a poor job that it will have very little influence on the debate. The document reads as though it was put together by a group of people who went to seminary. And who then promptly forgot how people talk and argue. After all, why should the “No Anglican Covenant… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

I think, Lionel, Jeremy was expressing a concern that our argument against the covenant has to be pitched at a level of the “man on the street,” as this is very much a battle for hearts and minds. We have a tendency to think of everyone as highly-intelligent and well-read, which is not true (that’s not a dig or snideness, by the way, simply truth – I consider myself rather poorly-educated compared to most of you), but it is a largely complacent and distracted mass we have to shoot for, here. Some of our best-educated, and most-knowledgeable, where theology is… Read more »

A J Barford
Guest
A J Barford

Take a cross-section of any typical Sunday morning congregation, and I’d be prepared to bet my bottom dollar that – unless they are avid readers of the church press and blogs – most lay people don’t have the foggiest idea what the Anglican Covenant is for. A lot of people assume it has something to do with the Methodists. There simply isn’t any discussion of the document at the local level. It suits the powers that be to keep it jargon-ridden, ambiguous, waffly, verbose, obscure, contradictory and evasive. By preventing discussion of the underlying issues, it is probably no exaggeration… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

Jeremy, the document is not intended to be or to be seen as “objective.” The bias of the author is upfront (as though the name No Anglican Covenant Coalition was the least bit ambiguous). The document DOES, however, strive for fairness and balance in presenting the facts – unlike the propaganda from the ACO. Part of a thorough public relations strategy is about enhancing credibility. NACC’s willingness to present a fair and balanced piece enhances credibility by demonstrating that we are not afraid of the facts – unlike, say, ACO bureaucrats. Your criticism suggests that we have achieved our target.… Read more »

seitz
Guest
seitz

I believe the point being made by Jeremy is: you are fooling yourself if you think this is ‘fair and balanced.’ It isn’t. Everyone will see that. So you weaken your point by pretending to the contrary. Just go ahead and make your case and give up the idea of being ‘fair and balanced’ (a delusion).

Malcolm French+
Guest

Christopher, I don’t really expect you to get this, but there IS a difference between “fair and balanced” and “neutral.” The document is not neutral in that is clearly comes down on one side of the question. It is fair and balanced in that it does not misrepresent either the facts or the positions of other players.

Of course, we have avoided the problem of having a fraudulent name designed to fooling people about who we are. Just sayin’.

seitz
Guest
seitz

Fair and balanced? you must be joking. The covenant’s strongest advocate is +RDW; the covenant was birthed by conservative evangelicals; a prominent ‘dissident Primate’ was in charge. On it goes. Jeremy speaks of 20% ‘barbs’ and one-liners of slanted bias. That is generous. I also agree with him that due to this the document will be written off as faux timeline/analysis and nothing more than a propoganda document from a group opposed to the covenant and willing to say anything to see to its rejection. No one will expect a No Covenant group to be fair and balanced and they… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

Christopher, I know it upsets you that people have seen through the ruse of the so-called “Anglican Communion Institute,” but perhaps you should calm yourself. Unlike the misleadingly named ACI, NACC is and always has been upfront about who we are and what we believe. Since those who should have produced a fair and balanced introduction (the ACO) have failed in their duty, we have sought to do our best. Our document (unlike the propaganda from both ACO and ACI) does not misrepresent either the facts or the positions of other people. Thus, while not neutral, the document is fair.… Read more »

seitz
Guest
seitz

When I am in Toronto conducting PhD seminars we often stay in Trinity’s faculty apartment. It is very convenient. I don’t see the significance of this for a discussion of your document, however. Nor ACI for that matter.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Malcolm said, ‘Jeremy, the document is not intended to be or to be seen as “objective.” The bias of the author is upfront (as though the name No Anglican Covenant Coalition was the least bit ambiguous).’

Actually, Malcolm, the author is not named.

And the name “No Anglican Covenant Coalition” is at the very end of the document.

Neither tactic is ‘upfront.’

Malcolm French+
Guest

Christopher, picking at trifles hardly strengthens your case. The document clearly bears the logo of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition – a logo which conveniently includes the words “No Anglican Covenant.” Pretty up front to anyone using a lick of common sense. One would have had to be quite dim to have missed it, really. Now, I didn’t say that the principal author was named. Rather like the daily editorial in the Globe and Mail, it was unsigned and therefore expresses the view of the coalition. What I DID say was that the bias of the author was upfront –… Read more »

seitz
Guest
seitz

You are now going around in circles. This obviously has nothing to do with ACI or Trinity College or anything else. Jeremy’s point remains.

Malcolm French+
Guest

Christopher, sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “I can’t hear you” does not constitute an argument.

1. Those who should have produced a fair and balanced introduction to the issue have shirked their duty.

2. NACC has produced an introduction which, while not neutral, strives for fairness (and I would argue, achieves it).

The rest of this is your usual trolling.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Malcolm said, “Pretty up front to anyone using a lick of common sense. One would have had to be quite dim to have missed it, really.”

More persuasion by insult. And you say you’re in public relations?

The phrase “No Anglican Covenant Coalition” appears in the copyright information, at the very end of the document, in smaller font than everything else on the page.

Furthermore, as every reader of a signed op-ed knows, the copyright holder is not necessarily the same as the author.

seitz
Guest
seitz

Thank you for trying to keep the discussion on topic and at an adult level.

Malcolm French+
Guest

The copyright information does not spring out immediately. The No Anglican Covenant logo, however, is hard to miss. Thus, there is never any suggestion that the piece is neutral. It does, however, try to be fair – and I think largely succeeds. From your earlier comments, Jeremy, I gather you do not believe that a fair piece is particularly helpful to the anti-Covenant cause. I respectfully disagree. The capacity to produce a document which reads as (and actually is) a fair presentation tends overall to enhance credibility with reasonable audiences. That is why, for example, overblown political rhetoric, while good… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“Those who should have produced such a document having shirked their duty.” Why do you think Lambeth isn’t putting out a “fair” document of the sort that you say you aimed for? Perhaps because Lambeth realizes that a “fair” document would not have aided its cause? And you think otherwise? Why? Because “a number of correspondents” — how many? three? four? — asked you to spoon-feed them some lukewarm middle-of-the-roadism? I ask you, do the Tories attempt to win over independent or undecided voters by trying to summarize all parties’ perspectives? Or do the Tories give the Tory perspective, only,… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

Actually, Jeremy, a skilled and effective political consultant knows that different approaches are necessary for different audiences. The target audience for this document was not “hard-core Covenant opponents.” Neither was it “undecided folk with a good knowledge of the issue.” Had we been writing this document to “fire up the base,” it would have been a very different document. As to the moral failing of ACO bureaucracy – it is not the job of an organizations staff to advance the agenda of the organizations leaders, but of the organization itself. Thus, in most democracies, it is deemed unseemly for government… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Malcolm, I fear you have let your evident distaste for what your political masters do negatively affect your drafting of this document. Your bureaucratic don’t-engage-in-politics mindset is betraying you. You have done what you think Lambeth staff ought to have done. Big mistake. In case you hadn’t noticed what Lambeth staff have noticed: To oppose the Covenant is to engage in a campaign. A campaign could attempt to “fire up the base,” as you put it. But most campaigns attempt to persuade the undecided and the uninformed. In trying to persuade the undecided and uninformed, do candidates usually attempt to… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, Jeremy. However, you will never find a single competent public relations practitioner or political organizer who will agree with your seeming belief that all communications should be overtly partisan.

My “bureaucratic” mindset aside, it is simply a matter of ethics that bureaucrats take direction from political masters but they serve the institution, not the political masters. Bureaucrats who actively campaign for the interests of their transient political masters violate the fundamental ethical requirements of their position.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I now see that the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, which produced the wishy-washy, let’s-examine-both-sides document that Malcolm defends, is protesting the fact that the Diocese of Oxford has prepared Covenant-background material that the Coalition characterizes as . . . wait for it . . . one-sided. Is anyone really surprised that official diocese material would be one-sided? Surely such tactics should be met in kind. Surely materials produced by the No Anglican Covenant Coalition should . . . take a clear stand against the Covenant. You don’t persuade the uninformed by telling them “Proponents say . . . while opponents… Read more »