Comprehensive Unity: The No Anglican Covenant Blog

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Diocese heard from --- brilliantly!

I shall let the deputation speak for itself. I do note that the recognition of the "final draft" as deeply flawed seems to be growing.



Members of the Diocese of Colorado’s General Convention Deputation
have accepted and faithfully engaged Executive Council’s invitation to
study, pray and discuss with members of our diocese the proposed
Anglican Covenant. In addition to our own conversations as a
deputation, we listened to others in congregations and in other
contexts throughout the diocese, and these conversations also inform
our understanding of the proposed covenant and this response. Our
fellowship with each other and our desire to be in relationship with
sisters and brothers in Christ in other parts of the Anglican
Communion have been strengthened by our study and discussions. We give
thanks for the collaborative work of the committees and writing teams
who have created the successive drafts of the proposed Anglican

Based on our engagement with the text and with each other, our
deputation (with one exception) has concluded that adoption of the
proposed covenant would not strengthen our relationships within the
Anglican Communion or foster our witness to God’s transforming love in
the world. We, therefore, recommend to Executive Council that The
Episcopal Church encourage members of the Anglican Communion to
persevere in strengthening relationships through ongoing conversation
and living into those covenants that already bind us in missio dei –
the Baptismal Covenant, the Five Marks of Mission and the Millennium
Development Goals - while refraining from adoption of the final draft
of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

Our concerns with the final draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant
include the following:

· The idea for a covenant arose out of the Windsor Report in
response to the actions of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican
Church in Canada regarding consecration of a partnered gay bishop and
same gender blessings. However, the proposed covenant provides no
means of reconciling the relationships broken by responses to those
actions. Instead it offers a punitive Section 4 that proposes
relational consequences that formalize separation and suspension from
participation in the life of the Communion. One member of our
deputation suggests that this is an example of proffering a legalistic
solution to remedy a relationship problem. Another deputy asks, “How
would the events of 2003 have turned out differently had such an
Anglican Covenant been in place then?”

· The Preamble acknowledges that signatories adopt the
covenant “in order to proclaim more effectively in our different
contexts the grace of God.” However, Section 4 directly contravenes
the Preamble by promulgating disciplinary procedures that do not
respect those different contexts. The polity of the provinces in the
Anglican Communion varies widely, and Section 4.1.3 affirms the
“autonomy of governance” of each province.

· Section 3.1.3 elevates “the historic threefold ministry of
bishops, priests and deacons, ordained for service in the Church of
God” into ministry leadership above the laity, which is contradictory
to The Episcopal Church’s theological understanding of the ministry of
all the baptized, including the laity who share in the governance and
leadership of the Church.

· Section 3.1.4 codifies The Four Instruments of Communion and
their powers in a new way that is not in alignment with how they are
perceived, received and understood by all provinces of the Anglican

· Some experience the proposed self-description of Anglicanism
(Sections 1-3) as "too Anglican" while others experience it as "too
generically Christian." This confusion about how a particularly
Anglican understanding of Christianity fits within a general
understanding of Christianity may undermine the integrity of
ecumenical relationships. Moreover, if the proposed covenant
accurately describes Anglicanism's self-understanding, why is it
necessary? If, on the other hand, it does not accurately describe our
self-understanding, then how is it helpful? And does it not then
fundamentally change who we are?

· The broad authority proposed for the Standing Committee of
the covenant suggests the “covenant” is really a “contract.” The grace
and beauty of the Anglican Communion has always been the voluntary
fellowship of provinces bound together by affection. Covenants in the
biblical tradition are about relationship, identity, and
transformation, and are rooted in models of shared abundance
(Eucharistic fellowship). On the other hand, contracts are merely
transactions or exchanges for mutual benefit. Contractual arrangements
fall short of our vocation to love one another as we have been loved
by God.

The Colorado deputation affirms the need to maintain and deepen
fellowship within the Anglican Communion as well as within The
Episcopal Church. Our relationships are troubled and the members of
the Anglican Communion are not of one mind about how to reconcile and
restore our relationships. Some would even diagnose the Anglican
Communion as a global entity as being profoundly fractured, our
relationships ruptured, and our attention to missio dei compromised.
Precisely for these reasons, we must work to intensify our
relationships across the communion through engagement with the
promises we have already made to care for one another.

All of us must continue to seek ways to connect our Anglican identity
and relationships to God’s mission for the Church. Some believe it is
incumbent upon those opposed to this version of the covenant to
propose alternative, clear, realistic and definitive strategies by
which this global family can weather and address the divergent
theological and ecclesial realities in the Anglican Communion.

We look forward to continuing to walk together with all our brothers
and sisters in the Anglican Communion and give thanks for our

General Convention Deputation of the Diocese of Colorado
Ms. L. Zoe Cole, Esq.
Mr. Jack Finlaw, Esq.
Mr. Lawrence Hitt, III, Esq.
Ms. Lelanda Lee - Co-Chair

Ms. Janet Farmer
Ms. Erica Hein

The Rev. Andrew Cooley - Co-Chair
The Rev. Brooks Keith
The Rev. Christy Shain-Hendricks
The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

The Rev. Max Bailey



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