The Archbishop of Canterbury affirms only Provinces sign on to the Covenant.

The Living Church headline reads "Archbishop: Covenant Adoption Limited to Provinces."
It appears the Diocese of Central Florida wrote the ABC asking the Archbishop to “outline and implement a process by which individual dioceses, and even parishes, could become members of the Anglican Covenant, even in cases where their provincial or diocesan authorities decline to do so.”

TLC also reported, "In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called the diocesan bodies' endorsement a step in the right direction. However, he stated, “as a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces).”

Read the whole article HERE.

Now that this is more or less straightened out, what does this do to the hurry up and sign up your dioceses crowd? If the Covenant can only be offered for adoption to the provinces and the ACC is the receiver, then the ACC will receive these responses for its next meeting. There is plenty of time for careful review.

But we knew that. The mad rush to sign on is a ruse, in order to make a crisis out of a process and short-circuit the provincial system. This is a get out the vote effort, with the hope that a majority of the dioceses in the Anglican Communion will go for the Covenant, and the winners will be the GAFCON Provinces and their dioceses. Of course the backfire is that in going for the Covenant dioceses are also going for the Instruments of Communion, chief among them being the Archbishop of Canterbury. If dioceses in the GAFCON crowd vote yes on the Anglican Covenant, the possibility of a Communion without the ABC as a focus of unity disappears.


Fr. Daniel Weir said...

No surprises. Those who thought that diocesan buy-in was possible overlooked the importance of the "National Church" idea in the C of E's self-understanding.

Observer said...

Sir, does this leave the Communion Partner bishops in no mans land?

Phil said...

Mark, in writing that diocesan endorsement would, "positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider communion, the ABC has (as usual) left things somewhat muddier than you present. Still, I mostly agree with your conclusion. Schemes such as the ACNA or diocesan sign-on to the Covenant that attempt to hold ECUSA accountable for its actions (as I see it) never were going to, and never will, get anywhere under this Archbishop.

Jim said...

I think a reasonable analysis has to begin with where letting diocese sign on at some first track level would put CoE in its discussion with FIF and the other misogynist "third province" people in England. Whatever Dr. Williams' anti-American view does to lead him towards Nigeria he is still the Primate of All England who wants to continue to be.


The Rev. James Richardson said...

I am grateful, mostly, that the ACC is holding to a consent process resting in the provinces, and refraining from further encouragement of fracturing by diocese. I appreciate your observation that this is a rush to "get out the vote." But I am still left with this numb feeling about all of it, and wondering why I should much care about all this high falootin' Anglican politics? Perhaps the Archbishop should do some townhalls.