Reports from ACNS
The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea has announced that its Provincial Council last week approved and accepted the Anglican Covenant.
Writing to the Secretary General of the decision on behalf of the House of Bishops, the Bishop of Port Moresby, the Rt Revd Peter Ramsden, said the decision was based on their understanding of the name Anglican Communion.
“Anglican” was one of the styles of Christianity brought to this land and people near the end of the nineteenth century”, he wrote. “It never pretended to be the only form of Christianity, but it did reflect how one part of the Christian family had developed, built on the importance of scripture, creeds, sacraments and episcopal order. Today we try to combine our Anglo-Catholic theological heritage and personal discipleship to the Lord Jesus in the way we witness to the five marks of mission with our ecumenical partners in PNG and our Anglican partners overseas…
If you aren’t sure where Papua New Guinea is, here’s a map.
At its recent November (3 to 11) meeting in Asunción, Paraguay, the Executive Committee of the Province of the Southern Cone of America, together with its Bishops, voted to approve the Anglican Covenant. The Province views the covenant as a way forward given the difficult circumstance of watching certain Provinces of the Anglican Communion propose novel ways of Christian living in rejection of Biblical norms.
In response to these novel practices the Southern Cone had held churches in North America under its wing for some time while the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) was formed. However, the Province has not maintained jurisdiction over any local churches there for over a year. As a result, all so called ‘border crossings’ by any provincial members ceased (as of October, 2010) even though the Southern Cone still remains in impaired communion with US and Canadian Provinces. It is hoped that the Covenant can now provide Communion stability.
One of the Bishops commented, “We believe that life in the Communion must be maintained by a basic level of accountability if, in fact, we are a family of interdependent churches. The Covenant helps fulfill this role. Naturally, house rules should be kept to a minimum. But being a member of a family has responsibilities that must be ‘lived into’. Right now, a small faction in the Communion continues to do ‘its own thing’ enjoying many privileges and few responsibilities of family.”
There is commentary on this:
…The Province of the Southern Cone has adopted the Anglican Covenant, but with its fingers crossed. Apparently the PSC hopes that no one will notice that it still has the deposed bishop of Recife under its wings, along with a sizable number of congregants constituted as a diocese.
The PSC claims that it is no longer doing those things it ought not to have done in Canada and the United States, but makes no apology for having done so.
I suppose this counts as a “yes” in the score card on the acceptance of the Anglican Covenant, but there will not be much joy in Anglican-Land over this one.
The No Anglican Covenant scorecard on provincial voting is over here.