If we Anglicans share one characteristic, it is civility. Our Moderator is a Canadian and tells the joke (apparently common in Canada) about how one evacuates a swimming pool full of Canadians. One says, quietly, "It is time to exit the pool." The same joke works for a pool full of Anglicans. So, in some polities where our civility makes it hard to tell Dr. Williams how silly his "Anglican Church" idea really is, we see votes to extend consideration of the Covenant until after he retires. Which leads to the vote this week in the diocese of Brisbane.
The delegates to their diocesan synod are thinkers: they are also polite. So we have a resolution that follows the civility path:
That this Synod recommends to the General Synod that it:
- Affirm the commitment of the Anglican Church of Australia to the Anglican Communion.
- Affirm its readiness to engage with any ongoing process of consideration of the Anglican Communion Covenant
- Request clarification from the 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council as to the status and direction of the Covenant Process in the light of the position of the Church of England.
- Urge upon the Instruments of Communion a course of action which continues to see reconciliation and the preservation of the Communion as a family of interdependent but autonomous Churches.
First, the rules of the Australian Church require that all the diocese agree to something like the Covenant. That means that this vote is decisive for this year.
Second, Resolve 3 suggests what is clear to this writer, the no vote in England should be decisive. That it is not so treated by the Church House staff is deplorable.
Finally, Resolve 4 makes it clear that this diocese at least and we know, others in Australia and around the world, reject the content of the Covenant, even when they are entirely to polite to simple say it. The entire "Anglican Church" enterprise stands as the singular failure of the Williams term. The ideas simply makes no sense. But we are Anglicans, we find it hard to let our "no" be, "of course not!"
None-the-less, the Covenant is dead in the water. It is good to see the Australians adding their voices in the no column, no matter how politely. Their vote like that in Wales, can and likely will be misconstrued by the "secretary general" whose entire office is dependent on the Covenant. But even he knows, I am sure, that the "Anglican Church" enterprise is DOA, and deservedly so.