The Archbishop has expressed in section 25 of “Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future” his strong hope that “elements” [dioceses?] will adopt the Covenant. I believe we ought to sign on to the Ridley Draft of the Covenant as it presently stands in all four sections. (If it means we need to withdraw from a lawsuit we withdraw from a lawsuit). Therefore we need to begin the process of studying the Ridley Draft in every deanery and parish and be prepared to vote on it either in the special convention in October or, if that’s too ambitious a time frame, no later than our Annual Diocesan Convention in March 2010.Do note the willingness, for the sake of Christian unity, to stand down from the lawsuits that have been underway for quite a while between the Diocese of South Carolina and AMiA parishes. It is an example of Lincoln's own prayer for the revival of the south, "with malice towards none, with charity toward all," especially when it comes to those in ACNA and those outside the gates. May it be so, though it seems to have taken an Anglican Covenant to make it so, so be it. The open door of entering into indeed what the Archbishop of Canterbury prayed, that we would find common mission when we do have common mission indeed between the ACNA and the Diocese of South Carolina - is there courage to say this is so? It was right there in front of all to see at General Convention, if one had eyes to see it.
You need to know that the Anglican Communion Development Committee has already had its first meeting and will begin this fall to vigorously establish relationships with a broad array of Provinces across the Communion. You have heard me speak of this often, including during my Bishop’s Address last March. This still strikes me as one of the most important activities we should pursue. We can work with several of the Provinces within the Communion, and, if they are so inclined to partner with us, we should work with GAFCON and ACNA from within TEC to further gospel initiatives.
Read it all here - and indeed, all our prayers do go out to the people of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. What does concern us, though, at this late hour is that the talk appears to be ten, fifteen years too late. And ten, fifteen years ago this type of talk was given, statements made, statements signed. The work is all ready done. The sentiments are exemplary, no doubt, and welcomed. But the reality on the ground is something else. This talk was focused on the clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina - but it is the laity who hold the purse.
Photo from the consecration of Bishop Mark Lawrence, January 2008.