Sunday, July 08, 2007

Anglican Mainstream Reporting: Church of England synod “clearly carries” motion to “engage positively” with Anglican Communion Covenant process

Looks like the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia as well as the leadership of the Episcopal Church should think again.

Here's the report coming from Anglican Mainstream of the meeting of the Church of England's Synod on affirming an Anglican Communion Covenant process:

"The Church of England General Synod “clearly carried” in the words of the chair, Archdeacon Clive Mansell, the motion to to “engage positively” with the Anglican Communion Covenant process. Strong speeches in favour from Bishop Michael Nazir Ali (Rochester), Bishop Tom Wright (Durham), Dr Elaine Storkey (Ely) followed a presentation from Archbishop Drexel Gomez.

Dr Christina Baxter, the chair of the House of Laity, recommended that a way be found of giving the synod an opportunity to debate the draft Covenant in full at the next synod in February 2008. Archdeacon Mansell later estimated the vote was 2 to 1 in favour of the motion."

Here is the text of the THE ANGLICAN COVENANT PROPOSAL (GS 1661)

‘That this Synod:

(a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;

(b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and

(c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year.’

This was carried unamended.

BB NOTE LATER: - Posted this over at StandFirm:

Sarah wrote:

I am unsure that even were a “Covenant” to be agreed on, and even were it to be a “good Covenant” than anything much would come of ECUSA’s inevitable defiance of such a “Covenant”. We would then, I suspect, have another four year “process” to work out the defiance of the “Covenant process” . .

I am inclined to agree, Sarah - but do we throw up our hands in resignation and march back to our corner, or do we do all we can to make sure that such “delays” won’t work? In order for such delays not to work, I am more and more convinced is the work of the laity (and not just waiting for the bishops and clergy to do their thing and have another “gathering” to talk about the agenda), but for us to make it very clear to our bishops and other leaders that they act.

The need to preserve the institution runs deep, especially in those who took an oath where they replaced their devotion to Christ with their devotion to the Church. Funny how that happens. In some ways, I’m inclined to think, clear old fashioned revival is the best anecdote to tyranny through process.

What got the Disciples out of the Upper Room and into the streets? Revival, not a strategy meeting. I am sure, I know, there were strategy meetings as well - Paul and Silas and Peter and Timothy deciding who goes where (and not always agreeing about it either). But ultimately, what got them out of the cloister of safe walls was God doing some heavy lifting and empowering those guys to get on with it and stop moping about.

We should be very clear that a line is being drawn come the end of the TEC House of Bishops meeting in September that either they comply with the Communique (not just the bits they like or wish to spin) but the Communique itself in its entirety, which the Church of England reminds us was endorsed unanimously by the primates of the Anglican Communion (no more fibbing, KJS - it’s here for all the world to see) and is aimed directly at the Episcopal Church - or TEC has walked apart.

It can walk back in someday if it signs off on the Covenant - when ever that might be - (but count the Diocese of Virginia out unless Diocesan Council wrestles it away from its own Standing Committee), but that seems highly unlikely, especially with the Presiding Bishop herself not sure who or what she was doing when everyone said “aye” last February in Tanzania.

There is a weariness in this, I recognize that. Which again is another reason revival is so important, being filled with Holy Spirit and the Word of Scripture, being encouraged by one another, falling on our knees in prayer, and lifting our hands and hearts in worship - these are so important in being faithful to the work of Jesus in our lives. We relinquish ourselves to His service.

Bureaucracy kills community and the devil knows it, knows how much we love to create it and tend to it until every last ounce of humor drains from us and we slide into conformity and cynicism by the weight of it. But resistance is not futile, glory be to God.

So the Church of England is off to follow Drexel Gomez and his covenant and The Episcopal Church waits in the shadows, hoping to slide away with no fuss.

But that’s not going to happen, now, is it?

bb wink

UPDATE: Here is the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev'd Michael Nazir Ali, address to the Church of England Synod on the Anglican Communion Covenant.

An excerpt:

It may be that Anglicanism is not a confessional body but it certainly should be a confessing one: upholding, proclaiming and living the Apostolic Faith. Its weaknesses need to be recognised and it should be strengthened in its vocation. We are looking then for a covenant which will express the Apostolic Faith, enable us to come a common mind which is that of Christ, and free us to proclaim the good news of salvation to the world. The Covenant may be the first step in recovering our integrity, but it cannot be the last word.

NEW UPDATE: The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the West Indies, the Most Rev'd Drexel Gomez, spoke to the COE Synold today as well. He is the chair of the Anglican Communion Convenant Design Committee. His full text is here at T19.

An excerpt:

For decades, Anglicans have been wondering whether increasing diversity might force the Provinces apart, and asked what holds us together. The days of undefined affection are sadly over, yet this is also not a time when proposals which are brand new would win a broad consensus across the Communion. I believe that the Covenant can only succeed if it can accurately describe a sufficient basis to hold us together, and for us to want to stay together, based upon what we already hold and believe. This stresses the importance of getting the text of the covenant right.

I dismiss the idea that this represents somehow an attempt to chain any Province into submission before a powerful centralisation as a chimera: every Province I know, every Primate I know, values autonomy. But there is a real question as articulated by Archbishop Rowan: Can we recognise sufficient of our Anglican inheritance in each other to lead us to want to renew our commitment to live as a world communion?

Read the whole thing here.


Alice C. Linsley said...

Bishop Nazir Ali is right that those viewing the Anglican wars from the outside must see a lack of integrity, but neither revisionists not reaffirmers regard themselves as lacking integrity. The problem is that there are competing gospels and only one can be the true Gospel. We recognize it because it is what is unchanged and it doesn't beguile. The other gospel is the spirit of the age and beguiles.

Ann said...

I think you are over interpreting the vote - it is very similar to what was passed at GC 2006 - "let's continue to talk about this idea." If the most confessional language and the Primates as deciders part gets left in I think it would have a hard time passing the required number of Provinces. Covenant language that focuses more strongly on our common mission as per the ACC recommendation may be added.