Comprehensive Unity: The No Anglican Covenant Blog

Monday, September 19, 2011

More News from New Zealand

Our friend Bosco Peters has posted more news from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia. In his September 19, 2011, post, he says, in part:
The Dunedin diocesan synod also strongly strongly rejected the proposed Covenant as it stands, and passed a motion identical [I think] to the Auckland one:  that is, that Sections 1-3, are useful statements and commitments and a process for dealing with disagreement; Clause 4.2 is unacceptable; the rest of 4 is acceptable.

Wellington diocesan synod accepted clauses 1-3 of the Covenant but went for a division (a vote in houses bishop/clergy/laity) for clause 4. The voting on that section was: Clergy: 63 for; 41 against. Laity: 52 for; 44 against. One synod member said he counted up to 25 abstentions.
Our best understanding of where things stand regarding Anglican Covenant adoption can be found here on the No Anglican Covenant Web site.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Don't Panic

In his recent defence of the controversial fourth section of the proposed Anglican Covenant, Andrew Goddard said that there were some reforms of the Instruments of Communion in process:
Numerous resignations from the standing committee, concerns about the ACC’s new constitution, and the principled refusal of many to attend both Lambeth 2008 and the Primates’ Meeting in Dublin indicate that major reforms of the instruments are now urgent, not just for their own sake but for the sake of the Covenant. The Inter-Anglican Standing Commission for Unity, Faith and Order is considering such reforms. Unless these reforms come soon there is the real danger that Section 4 will simply plant this new promising seed of the Covenant in shallow soil or among thorns.
Mark Harris, a thoughtful and reliable Episcopalian blogger took this to imply that there were some changes to the Covenant being considered. This is a reasonable inference if Goddard is correct. Naturally, we at No Anglican Covenant Central were concerned, so we decided to check at the source.

Here is the response from the Revd Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, the Anglican Communion's Unity Faith and Order Officer.
ACC 14 gave the following task to IASCUFO:

Resolution 14.08 (g) "IASCUFO to undertake a study of the role and responsibilities in the Communion of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates' Meeting; the ecclesiological rationale of each, and the relationships between them, in line with the Windsor Continuation Group Report, and to report back to ACC-15".

This work is being taken forward by a working group of IASCUFO which is looking at the history of the Instruments and writings about them, consulting within the Communion, and developing a discussion paper.

The mandate for IASCUFO taking this on came before most of the the concerns listed in the Living Church article occured, and they are not (so far as I can tell) part of IASCUFO's consideration. The work is primarily one of ecclesiology - not, of course, without political ramifications, but politics are not the focus of the task.

The Covenant simply lists the Instruments and does not speak to their interrelationship. Thus there is work to be done here, not least because many Anglicans have different ideas as to how they should best be interconnected to strengthen the Communion. It is not envisaged that this work would lead to amendments to the Covenant.

IASCUFO has no power of its own. Any recommendations it would make would go to the Instruments themselves. Were there to be any concrete proposals for substantial changes that touched the Constitution they would have to go to the Provinces for consideration. But I doubt we'll be very far down that road soon. There will be a progress report, and probably some questions for discussion, at ACC-15.
In other words, Don't Panic. Yes, there's some work being done on the Instruments of Communion, but not for the reasons cited by Goddard. And there are no foreseen implications for the proposed Anglican Covenant.

We are grateful to Canon Barnett-Cowan for her rapid response to our enquiry and for her permission to post it publicly.

We are not quite as sanguine as Canon Barnett-Cowan that there will be no implications for the Covenant, because ecclesiology comes before its encoding in canon law. It's impossible to predict what recommended changes might emerge from the work being done, or whether there would be any implications for the Covenant text. But we do accept that no changes are contemplated currently.

For further comments about Goddard's analysis, see here.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

An Independent Voice Analyzes the Oxford “Introduction”

At his site William F. Hammond has published an analysis of Canon Rees’s “Introduction to the Anglican Covenant Debate.”

Hammond’s analysis is spot on and I recommend you read it if you are in a position to vote on the Covenant at any diocese or deanery event in any church. In a very short and logical paper he shreds what Fr. Malcolm French has dubbed the “babbling points” now being advanced by Lambeth staff. The idea that nothing much is happening here and you should simply vote yes and smile is contemptuous of your intellect and position. Hammond shreds the idea quite effectively, and I think he should be read.

For the record, I do not know Mr. Hammond, have never met or talked to him as far as I know. He is not a member of the Coalition, but he is certainly someone I hope to know down the road.



Sunday, September 4, 2011

Another New Zealand Diocese Rejects Covenant

Apparently it’s diocesan synod time in New Zealand Our friend Bosco Peters has posted another summary of actions of synods in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia. At the end of his report is the news that the Diocese of Waiapu passed the following resolution by a virtually unanimous vote:
The Diocese of Waiapu affirms its desire to remain a member of the Anglican Communion, valuing highly our common faith, mission, tradition and liturgy. We do not believe that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will enhance the life of the Communion and request that the General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui declines to sign the Covenant.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Auckland Diocese Passes on Covenant

I learned earlier today from our New Zealand convenor, the Ven. Lawrence Kimberley, that the Diocesan Synod of the Auckland Diocese had rejected the Anglican Covenant, but Kimberley could offer no details. (Note that I am writing from Pittsburgh, but time stamps on this blog are given in London time.) This afternoon I became aware of a helpful post from the Rev. Bosco Peters.that offers the actual resolution that was passed. According to Peters, the resolved adopted said
That this Synod,
  • noting that the General Synod/te Hinota Whanui has approved in principle Sections 1-3 of the proposed Anglican Covenant, and asked Episcopal Units to respond to its 2012 Session, resolves as follows:
    • (a) Sections 1 & 2 of the proposed Anglican Covenant may be considered to be a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the Church

    • (b) Section 3 of the proposed Covenant contains an acceptable description of the basis for relationships between the churches of the Anglican Communion, and suggests a series of commitments which provide a useful framework within which churches of the Communion could discuss differences between them.

    • (c) Clause 4.2 of the proposed Covenant contains provisions which are contrary to our understanding of Anglican ecclesiology, to our understanding of the way of Christ, and to justice, and is unacceptable to this Synod.

    • (d) The other parts of Section 4 contain technical provisions that are acceptable to this diocese if Clause 4.2 is rejected

  • Notes that some other Episcopal Units have rejected the proposed Covenant, and anticipates that a variety of views on the proposed Covenant will be expressed by the various Episcopal Units.

  • Asks General Synod/te Hinota Whanui, if it rejects the proposed Covenant in part or as a whole, to commit itself by Standing Resolution to following processes similar to those set out in Section 3 of the proposed Covenant if another church of the Communion raises concerns about actions this Church takes or considers taking.

  • Asks General Synod/te Hinota Whanui to request its representatives to the Anglican Consultative Council to bring a motion to the 2012 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council to affirm that full membership of the Anglican Communion is not conditional on adoption of the proposed Covenant.
We are beginning to see a healthy trend in New Zealand. Three dioceses have said no to the Covenant, and, as best as I can tell, no diocese has said yes.

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