10/10/2010

Who is signing on to the Anglican Covenant?

The Anglican Covenant is out there as a document to be adopted or not, signed or not. So, who has 'signed on' or it must be passed twice, have passed on it once?

This last week there was a great drum-roll by the Anglican Communion News Service: "Southern Africa: Major step in adopting Covenant,"  that makes it sound as if the Province of Southern Africa (ACSA) has adopted or signed on.  The headline might better have read, "Southern Africa: Major step towards adopting Covenant." But we got the idea - The Provincial Synod passed a resolution to adapt on its first reading. It has to come back for a second, but at least it got through the first.  

Every church handles these matters in different ways, but apparently the Synod feels the matter is sufficiently important that it requires two reading to finally become a reality. This hikes the matter beyond that of say, changing a canon on extension of widow's benefits to include health insurance to something more substantive to the basic life of the church.  In The Episcopal Church a "double" reading and passage of a resolution is needed when it is one affecting not the canons but the constitution of TEC.  For those who want the Anglican Covenant to become a reality for the churches of the Communion, the vote in Southern Africa is mixed news - on the one hand it trumpets the positive - The Synod says yes. But it mutes the news that ACSA considers this a vote of extraordinary importance requiring a second confirming vote.

The Episcopal Church has yet to decide if a vote adopting the Anglican Covenant is a matter requiring either Constitutional or Canonical changes.  If it is determined that no constitutional issue is engaged then it can vote in one meeting of General Convention to adapt or not.  The vote in ACSA might add some support for the position that the Covenant, depending on why it was felt that two votes in successive Synods was required.

How many other Provincial Synods have voted yes or no to the Covenant? 

I know that Mexico has adopted the Covenant as of June 30 2010.

New Zealand has affirmed the first three sections of the Covenant, and provided there are no canonical implications, will vote on the whole in 2012.

Perhaps readers will know of other actions taken - not by spokespersons for a Province, but by the synods of a province -  and hopefully with share what they know.

Meanwhile, it appears that the rush to sign on is off. So no wonder the headline, "Southern Africa: Major step in adopting Covenant."  It is major within ACSA, and major without...where little has yet happened.

12 comments:

  1. Mark, the Australian General Synod, of which I am a member, sent the text of the Covenant to the dioceses for review and comment.
    That means any decision will be at least 3 years away.

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  2. I think The Anglican Curmudgeon asserted that the Covenant couldn't be adopted by the Episcopal Church without amending the Constitution. That may be the only point which I agree with him about the Covenant. It is an innovation and should be adopted in haste or in fear that without it the Communion will be lost.

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  3. It is an innovation and should be adopted in haste or in fear that without it the Communion will be lost.

    Perhaps you actually meant It is an innovation and should [not] be adopted in haste or in fear that without it the Communion will be lost.

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  4. I think we should wait to see if England herself can sign on... I have heard they probably could not without it going to Parliament, and that it would probably not get through that --does any one know where/when the CofE is in the process of adoption?

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  5. The "not" was not there but should have been.
    I have also heard the speculation about the CofE and parliament. Given the variety of polities in the Communion, a covenant that limits severely the autonomy of member churches will be challenged from many quarters. So far the Standing Committee's role has been challenged, chiefly by people whose polity gives bishops much more power than they have in the Episcopal Church.

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  6. The Diocese of Albany has already endorsed the Covenant. Indeed its Bishop and Standing Committee did so in October, 2009, before the final version was published. Encouraged by +Love, ++Drexel Gomez, and +++Williams (recorded),the 2010 Diocesan Convention endorsed their decision.

    Albany's hasty approval of the Covenant continues a pattern of resistance to the national Church that began in 2004,when the diocese affiliated with the Anglican Communion Network.

    A decision on the Covenant is important enough to demand that every voice be heard. Thus, Albany Via Media will work between now and the 2012 General Convention to give parishes and individuals throughout our diocese opportunities to discuss the proposed document and express their opinions of it to the national Church.

    Robert T. Dodd

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  7. thanks for the particularly well-turned phrase - I noticed!!!

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  8. For all his faults, Rowan ain't a fool...don't bet that he has not worked out how the CofE can adopt....and remember the covenant is not challenging to most provinces of the AC

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  9. Observer, I have also read of at least one opinion that the Church of England could accept the Covenant-as-proposed. I think we'd actually have to wait and see, as there might be more controversy in the actual attempt.

    And I would note that "the covenant is not challenging to most provinces of the AC" - yet. Some of the "ganders" involved might not yet have considered future consequences of this "sauce for the goose."

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  10. Yes Mr Scott.... I like you talk of geese, sauce and ganders! Unintended consequence may indeed follow for some.... that is why I prefer that we admit our differences and respectfully separate...I am quite happy if those in the CofE become part of TEC Worldwide.... we'd all be better off (and get on better!) that way.

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  11. A wise and perceptive comment, Observer. Many of us have wondered why TEC did not gather its like-minded friends and simply break from the 'backward' communion majority, in that way modeling a graceful and respectful separation. So much time and money would have been saved for the mission and extension of the Gospel both presumably wish to undertake. AJM

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  12. Because - Observer, Anonymous - most in the Episcopal Church do not believe that the issues so upsetting to some - even many - are core issues of doctrine that should be reasons for schism in the first place. Issues of sexuality and of the role of women in God's Church are simply not on a par with the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as defining matters of faith. Why cause schism by seeking to raise them to this level?

    The Anglican Communion has for some time lived with great diversity on such matters as the ordination of women to all orders of ministry (indeed an issue of biblical authority and catholic tradition for some!). We might very well yet surprise ourselves again. Time will tell.

    christopher+

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OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.
Rule: PLEASE DO NOT SIGN OFF AS ANONYMOUS: BEGIN OR END THE MESSAGE WITH A NAME - ANY NAME. ANONYMOUS commentary will be cut.