Monday, February 2, 2009

The Proposed Anglican Covenant

February 2, 2009

This regarding the Primates Meeting in Alexandrian, Egypt from Ruth Gledhill of The Times:

“The proposal, set out in a document of responses after discussions at the Lambeth Conference last summer on an early draft of the covenant, would enable a split to be avoided with provinces such as Canada, where one diocese, New Westminster, has already authorised same-sex blessings and at least one more wishes to follow suit.”

She goes on to opine that the effect of ‘the proposal” (namely the most recent draft of the proposed ‘covenant’ for the Anglican Communion) will bring about a ‘two tier’ communion, further allowing the C of E to stay in communion with both ‘tiers’ (

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church (of which our own Bruce Garner is a member elected by the General Convention) has offered a response that cautions against an overly juridical approach to the fostering and maintaining of relationships. (Read it here: )

I remember hearing that the first time the ‘tow-tiered’ communion was floated the Bishops of New Zealand asked to book a place in the second tier.

I don’t have a prediction as to where this will lead but continue to suspect that proponents of some kind of covenant that includes a mechanism whereby some provinces can exert their will over others are willing to define Anglicanism as ‘anti gay’. I hope that even those who disapprove of provinces moving forward toward acceptance of LGBT people as such would be nervous about allowing that conversation to define the church. It is also pretty clear to me that there would be legal hurdles to overcome in adopting a covenant with what appear to be legal provisions in it, (not least for the Church of England) as provinces will be asked to give up ‘sovereignty’ to some other body such as the Primates Meeting. If that is what we want, we should all join the Romans who already have it working perfectly well by all accounts.

My own view is that if our leading bishops cannot gather around the Lord’s Table with one another then no ‘covenant’ is going to create real communion.

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