Comprehensive Unity: The No Anglican Covenant Blog

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Is it dead yet?

There has been very little significant news about the proposed Anglican Covenant for some time. Already three years have passed since the dioceses of the Church of England failed to vote in favour of considering the Covenant at their General Synod. At the time it was suggested that this did not mean the Church of England had said no to the Covenant, and that it still could say yes. Technically, this is quite true. The Church of England didn't say no because it didn't consider the question. And it hasn't taken advantage of the intervening three years to revisit the Covenant.

Now, the most recent news is that the Episcopal Church has similarly not taken advantage of an opportunity to say something about the Covenant - be it no or maybe, though decidedly not yes. At its recent General Convention, the Episcopal Church was offered two equal but opposite resolutions. Both resolutions proposed to affirm the membership in and common identity of the Anglican Communion. But one said that this was described in the first three sections of the Covenant, and the other said that the Covenant did not adequately describe membership and common identity of the Anglican Communion. Neither resolution proposed to adopt or reject the Covenant definitively, merely to comment on the value of the first three sections in describing the membership and common identity of the Anglican Communion. Both resolutions were clear in valuing membership in the Communion, and the common identity (however described) of Anglicanism. And both proposed to communicate the Episcopal Church's appreciation for the Communion to the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. In the end, however, the Convention chose to say all the positive things about the Communion without reference to the Covenant. Not yes, not no, not maybe, not even an unenthusiastic "meh".

Two things are clear from this outcome. First, the Episcopal Church values its membership in the Anglican Communion and appreciates its shared Anglican Identity. Second, it does not apparently see the need to bring the Covenant into that conversation.

Like the Church of England, the Episcopal Church has no apparent energy to discuss the project. Both churches seem to have moved on. The only thing missing now is a formal statement from some credible body (such as the Anglican Consultative Council) that the project is officially dead.

In the absence of such a pronouncement,  the Covenant process has ground to a halt, sitting on a long-forgotten list of things to do, gathering dust.

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