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Comprehensive Unity: The No Anglican Covenant Blog

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Is it dead yet?

There has been very little significant news about the proposed Anglican Covenant for some time. Already three years have passed since the dioceses of the Church of England failed to vote in favour of considering the Covenant at their General Synod. At the time it was suggested that this did not mean the Church of England had said no to the Covenant, and that it still could say yes. Technically, this is quite true. The Church of England didn't say no because it didn't consider the question. And it hasn't taken advantage of the intervening three years to revisit the Covenant.

Now, the most recent news is that the Episcopal Church has similarly not taken advantage of an opportunity to say something about the Covenant - be it no or maybe, though decidedly not yes. At its recent General Convention, the Episcopal Church was offered two equal but opposite resolutions. Both resolutions proposed to affirm the membership in and common identity of the Anglican Communion. But one said that this was described in the first three sections of the Covenant, and the other said that the Covenant did not adequately describe membership and common identity of the Anglican Communion. Neither resolution proposed to adopt or reject the Covenant definitively, merely to comment on the value of the first three sections in describing the membership and common identity of the Anglican Communion. Both resolutions were clear in valuing membership in the Communion, and the common identity (however described) of Anglicanism. And both proposed to communicate the Episcopal Church's appreciation for the Communion to the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. In the end, however, the Convention chose to say all the positive things about the Communion without reference to the Covenant. Not yes, not no, not maybe, not even an unenthusiastic "meh".

Two things are clear from this outcome. First, the Episcopal Church values its membership in the Anglican Communion and appreciates its shared Anglican Identity. Second, it does not apparently see the need to bring the Covenant into that conversation.

Like the Church of England, the Episcopal Church has no apparent energy to discuss the project. Both churches seem to have moved on. The only thing missing now is a formal statement from some credible body (such as the Anglican Consultative Council) that the project is officially dead.

In the absence of such a pronouncement,  the Covenant process has ground to a halt, sitting on a long-forgotten list of things to do, gathering dust.

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The Episcopal Church Walks Away from Covenant

The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church had two resolutions before it dealing with the Anglican Covenant. Resolution A040, while not declaring that the church was adopting the Covenant, declared that most of the Covenant was acceptable and asked the church’s representatives to thank the Communion for the conversation around the Covenant. Resolution D022 was as gracious about offering thanks but categorically rejected the Covenant.

In the end, the convention passed on both A040 and D022 but reaffirmed its commitment to and financial support for the Communion by way of Resolution A019. That resolution, which received concurrence from the House of Bishops on the last day of the convention, June 3, makes no mention of the Covenant.

Thus, The Episcopal Church has essentially rejected the Anglican Covenant by simply ignoring it. All this might not be apparent to the casual observer. However, Lionel Deimel, Episcopal Church Convenor of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, explains what happened in Salt Lake City on his blog. No doubt, the Anglican Communion Office will not view The Episcopal Church as having rejected the Covenant, but it has.

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

A General Convention Resolution to Reject the Covenant

No Anglican Covenant Coalition Episcopal Church Convenor Lionel Deimel has announced that a new General Convention resolution has been introduced. The resolution is D022, and it is not even on the General Convention Web site yet. The new resolution, which can be read here, goes somewhat further toward rejecting the Anglican Covenant than do Deimel’s earlier suggestions.

Deimel has written an essay on his blog arguing that The Episcopal Church has gone along to get along with the Anglican Communion long enough and needs to deliver a Covenant rejection once and for all. He argues that doing so will doom the Covenant, as its real purpose is to control Western churches like The Episcopal Church. Rejecting the Covenant will also encourage the Anglican Church of Canada to do the same at its General Synod next year.

In fact, Deimel has written two essays, titled “Time for a Definitive Response to the Anglican Covenant.” An abbreviated version is here, and the complete version is here. The essays not only include the text of A040 and D022 but also trace the troubled relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion since the 2003 General Convention consented to the consecration of the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson.

Those who will be participating in the Salt Lake City General Convention should definitely read Deimel’s essay and let others know about Resolution D022. It is our hope that the General Convention will pass D022 or something very much like it.
 

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Covenant Proposal for Episcopal Church General Convention

A proposed resolution on the Anglican Covenant will be offered at this summer’s General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Episcopal Church convenor Lionel Deimel has written two blog posts about the resolution. Resolution A040 does not adopt the Covenant, but it is kinder than we in the No Anglican Covenant Coalition think appropriate. You can read Deimel’s blog posts here and here. If you are a bishop or convention deputy, you should definitely read these posts. Deimel suggests amendments that will improve Resolution A040.

Update: Lionel Deimel had written a third post on Resolution A040 here.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How Many Churches Have Adopted the Covenant?

A recent Anglican Communion News Service story indicates that Melanesia is the 12th church to adopt the Anglican Covenant. Episcopal Church Convenor Lionel Deimel argues that Melanesia is only number 11. His carefully documented blog post is “How Does the Anglican Communion Office Count?
 

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Melanesia Adopts Covenant

Anglican Communion News Service has reported that The Church of the Province of Melanesia adopted the Anglican Covenant at its November 2014 General Synod. The ACNS story is here. Our own tally of provincial actions on the covenant is here.
 

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IASCUFO Still Waiting for Covenant Decisions

Not much has been heard about the Anglican Covenant of late. I suspect that it is significant that Communion churches are not falling all over themselves to act on the Covenant. Despite occasional declarations that the Covenant is dead, it isn’t dead until it is officially dead.

Chief Covenant cheerleader Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director for Unity, Faith and Order, delivered a report from the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO) to the just-concluded meeting of the Anglican Communion Standing Committee. The report of the second through fourth days of the Standing Committee meeting includes the following paragraph:
Dr Barnett-Cowan told the Standing Committee that IASCUFO was waiting for to hear from all provinces about their decisions regarding the Anglican Communion Covenant. She expected the Covenant to be an agenda item at ACC-16 in Lusaka, Zambia in 2016.
(The report on the first day of the meeting, by the way, is here.)

I suspect that some pressure will  be brought to bear on churches to make a decision about the Covenant. The best outcome, of course, would be for ACC-16 to conclude that the time for the Covenant has passed and to put an end to this ill-considered project.

Stay tuned and don’t become complacent.

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