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?”
This is the blog of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, an international group of Anglicans who oppose the adoption of the Anglican Covenant. This blog will post news about our Web site and provide a forum to discuss the proposed Anglican Covenant.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
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.
Without fanfare, the following item was added to the page on the Anglican Communion Web site that keeps track of the status of “responses” to the Anglican Covenant:
- The Anglican Church of Australia declined to adopt the Covenant but adopted a resolution affirming its commitment to the Anglican Communion. July 2014.
That this General Synod:In other words, while expressing support for the Anglican Communion, the Australian church pointedly declined to adopt or reject the covenant on offer. This is, of course, standard Anglican politeness. Apparently, Australia has no interest in the present Anglican Covenant and covets its autonomy.
- Affirms the commitment of the Anglican Church of Australia to the Anglican Communion;
- Affirms its openness to participating in any further consideration of a covenant proposal; and
- Urges upon the Instruments of Communion a course of action that continues to seek reconciliation and the preservation of the Communion as a family of interdependent but autonomous churches.
The motion as passed and the record of amendments that were rejected can be found on page 15 of the minutes of the June 30, 2014, session of the General Synod, which can be found here.
It was reported at the just completed meeting of the Standing Committee in London that the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan has adopted the Anglican Covenant. (See ACNS report here.) Note that, although the nation of Sudan split into Sudan and South Sudan, the church in that part of the world has remained united.
The official tally of Covenant reception is here. The accounting by the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, which includes more detail, is here.
Andrew Brown’s Guardian blog offers a provocatively titled essay, “It started as a split over gay clergy. But now the Anglican Communion is dead.” That title is a bit of an exaggeration; Brown’s point is better captured in his opening sentence: “What, you gave a schism and nobody came?” He argues that people in the Church of England—laypeople, anyway—are quite indifferent to GAFCON and the Anglican Mission in England.
I was particularly interested in this paragraph:
They [conservatives] feel they are part of the global, “orthodox” mainstream of Christianity. But almost the only decisive act of Rowan Williams’ time in office was the rejection, by a clear majority of committed churchgoers, of his “covenant”–a plan to bind the Church of England into the structures of the rest of the Anglican Communion. No one here wants to be told what to do by the Church of Nigeria, however many Anglicans there are there and however sincerely they seem to hate gay people.From my vantage point in the United States, I cannot be sure that Brown is reading public opinion correctly, but I suspect he is. I certainly hope he is.
As expected, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa completed its adoption of the Anglican Covenant. Anglican Communion News Service reported on this today. The church first voted for the covenant three years ago, and the recent action completed the church’s approval.
See the No Anglican Covenant table showing the status of the Covenant throughout the Anglican Communion. If you know anything that should be in our table but isn’t, please e-mail us with the information. (Addresses can be found here.)