Recently, the Coalition was sent a copy of this letter with a request that we publish it. We are pleased to do so.
March 24, 2012
To Rupertsland Anglicans
Dear members of the Body of Christ
We are aware that the Diocese is
studying the final version of the Anglican Communion “Covenant”.
There have been several deanery meetings, and it appears that further
meetings may be scheduled, with a view to bringing recommendations to
Diocesan Council and thence to Synod this fall.
We know too of the extensive literature
opposing the Covenant that has developed, as for example in the
We have also reviewed the General Synod document in the link below
which sets forth serious procedural and doctrinal questions to which
there do not appear to be answers at present. Finally, of
course we are aware of the reason that this document has been born,
but on which the document is entirely silent, namely, the matter of
gay and lesbian persons’ rights in regard to marriage, ordination
While it is quite appropriate to study
new documents that attempt to speak to our faith in relevant and yet
historically faithful ways, we do not wish to debate the contents of
the Covenant, confusing and unclear though they are. The much
more central issue is the assumed need for the Anglican Church of
Canada to subscribe to this latter day creed, with its quasi-judicial
processes in section three and four.
The best test in regard to the need for
such a document is to ask, “What would happen if this document were
adopted, and then a real issue came along that promised division
among the world-wide Anglican Communion?” Appropriately
enough, there was such an issue 35 years ago, namely, the ordination
What would have happened regarding the
plan to ordain women when first it was being advocated if the
“Covenant” were in place 35 years ago? First, there would
be notice given about the plan to ordain women. Then unhappy
churches, some of whom still today do not ordain women, would express
their discomfort through the world councils such as Lambeth, or the
meetings of bishops. Then would come committees, consultations,
theological debates and more process. Finally, if the
initiating church stuck to its plans, it could be “sanctioned”;
thrown out of wider church councils, or even perhaps be declared to
be “not in communion”.
It seems to us that this is not an
exaggeration. Some parts of our world-wide communion still do not
ordain women, let alone consecrate women bishops.
Anglicanism works best when it is
allowed to muddle, rather like John Ralston Saul claims Canada works
best. Muddling is also an important aspect of listening
for the Spirit. We muddle big ideas and changes for a while, often
quite a while, but then we move, as in the ordaining of women.
We trust and hope that we will get over our sexuality muddle
relatively soon. In the meantime, we don’t need the pressure
and promised endless process of the Covenant to place a stumbling
block in the midst of our muddling.
Each autonomous Anglican Church lives
in the midst of cultural and other conditions that profoundly shape
its missional response to the gospel call for justice and
compassion. It is our central task to search in each time and
place for that faithful response, which will differ as we perceive
that call. While acknowledging that change can be both painful
as well as liberating, we ought not to chain ourselves to seeking
agreement across vastly different cultures and contexts before
responding to the Spirit’s call for justice, compassion and
Please give this letter and the
document in the attached link your prayerful consideration. If
you have not yet done so, please read the Report of the Governance
Committee of our National Church at the website below. Other helpful
websites are listed as well for further reading. We have attached the
letter as a Word doc. file as well for ease of forwarding.
If you wish to join your name to ours
in sending this letter to a wider audience, please reply accordingly
to this email. You also may wish to know that we have informed
the Bishop about our intent, and shared with him this letter.
Yours in faith
Labels: Anglican Covenant, Canadian News