9/03/2010

Time to look carefully at the Anglican Covenant...General Convention is coming.

The last General Convention resolved to ask all dioceses to discuss the Anglican Covenant, whose final form had not yet been produced, in preparation for the next General Convention in 2012. At that Convention resolutions related to the Covenant would be put before the Convention for consideration. So now, after several years of working up to this point, we have in hand a document THE ANGLICAN COVENANT which has been distributed to all the churches of the Communion in the hopes that each church might "sign on."  

The Presiding Officers - the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies - and the chair of the Executive Council Committee on the Anglican Covenant have just written a letter to the church asking that dioceses and parishes be encouraged to discuss the covenant and forward their responses to the General Convention Office.  This is supposedly the last round, the Covenant being in its final form.

Here is the letter:

To:       Members of The Episcopal Church
From:    The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate
            Dr. Bonnie Anderson, President, The House of Deputies
            Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine, Esq. Chair, Executive Council D-020 Task Force

The final draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant was released in mid-December, 2009 for formal consideration for adoption by constituent Provinces of the Anglican Communion through appropriate processes.

The 76th General Convention further committed the Episcopal Church’s engagement with the covenant process (Resolution 2009-D020).  As the highest legislative authority of The Episcopal Church, the General Convention is the body that will ultimately decide The Episcopal Church’s position with respect to participation in an Anglican Communion Covenant.

We strongly urge every congregation in this Church to engage in discussion of the proposed Covenant at some time in the coming two years.  A discussion group could be organized during Advent (2010 or 2011) or Lent (2011 or 2012), or at another time before General Convention.  In order for General Convention to reflect the mind of the whole Church, the bishops and deputies who participate in General Convention need to know the thoughtful and faithful reactions of the many and varied faith communities represented in this Church.

The final Proposed Covenant and Study Guide can be downloaded here:

There is some advantage to engaging this discussion in the coming church year (2010-2011).  In order for the Executive Council Task Force to reflect the Church’s initial response to the final draft of the Anglican Covenant, and to be included in Executive Council’s Blue Book Report to the 77th General Convention, we are specifically asking bishops and diocesan General Convention deputations to make comments on the proposed covenant, which will inform Executive Council’s response.  Those comments need to be received by April 24, 2011 at this address:  gcoffice@episcopalchurch.org

Discussion in the following year, leading up to General Convention, will continue to inform the bishops and deputies, even though individual comments will not be included in the Blue Book report.  

Read the covenant document, explore the study guide, pray and discuss the issues you discern, and talk to others.  The mind of Christ is not discerned in isolated communities, but as we engage these matters more broadly, with those who agree, those who disagree, and those who ask probing questions.

We on the Executive Council entrust this work to the leading of the Holy Spirit and look forward to continuing our engagement in this process of discernment. We thank you for participating as we grow more deeply into our common life in the Anglican Communion.

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