4/05/2011

Perspectives on the Proposed Anglican Covenant

The Chicago Consultation has released a collection of eight essays and study questions on the proposed Anglican Covenant. The Genius of Anglicanism: Perspectives on the Proposed Anglican Covenant is available HERE.

I hope it will be seen as a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion of the Anglican Covenant. The table of contents indicates the range of issues and authors.

Introduction Jane Shaw
Chapter One: The Baptismal Covenant and the Proposed Anglican Covenant, Ruth Meyers
Chapter Two: Reception, Ellen Wondra
Chapter Three: What Are Bishops For and the Quest of Unity, Timothy F. Sedgwick
Chapter Four: Inquiring Minds Want to Know: A Lay Person’s Perspective on The Proposed Anglican Covenant, Fredrica Harris Thompsett
Chapter Five: The Historic Episcopate Locally Adapted: The Episcopate in the Anglican Communion, Mark Harris
Chapter Six:  Section Four: The Devil You Know, Sally Johnson
Chapter Seven: A Covenant for Mission, Gay Jennings
Chapter Eight: The Covenant We Have Been Offered is Not the Covenant We Need, Winnie Varghese

From The Chicago Consultation press release on this:


"The Chicago Consultation, which advocates for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the worldwide Anglican Communion, has released a collection of essays and study questions on the proposed Anglican Covenant.

The Genius of Anglicanism, a 64-page booklet, includes eight essays and study questions, and may be downloaded at no cost at www.chicagoconsultation.org.

“We believe that congregations, bishops, General Convention deputations and individual Episcopalians will benefit from this careful exploration of the proposed covenant,” said the Rev. Lowell Grisham, co-convener of the Chicago Consultation and rector of St. Paul’s Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

“The proposed covenant is a complex document that could have a major impact on the Episcopal Church and its many vital and longstanding relationships within the wider Anglican Communion,” he added. “We are grateful that well-respected theologians, clergy and lay leaders were willing to analyze it for us.”

24 comments:

  1. Mark

    I can't wait to read it! Thanks to you and the consultation for all your work!

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  2. Thank you for the tip; I have downloaded this and will add it to my collection of to-read things. Prayers continue for Saint Anne and you.

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  3. Sir, what if most Anglicans define Anglicanism in a way which does not fit the views of the Consultation? Perhaps TEC will one day have the courage of its convictions and lead a global, liberal Anglican grouping..... because it cannot change 'the mind of the Communion' ...or has failed to do so up to now - and the Covenant coming does not make it easier to dissent within the AC structure. Will TEC tie itself up in AC structures for the sake of staying in Rowan's club?

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  4. Well, Anonymous, perhaps the con evos will one day have the courage of THEIR convictions and join some happy-clappy denomination where they belong, eh?

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  5. Kurt - no need..... 'con evos' come up against no issues with the old 39 articles or the new Covenant etc..... why leave?

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  6. The 39 Articles? Most Episcopalians I known don't even take the 38 Articles seriously as a statement of contemporary Anglican/Episcopal belief. 400 years ago, maybe. Today, uh uh.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  7. Actually, Anonymous and Kurt, there's no indication that the churches associated with GAFCON want also to associate with Canterbury. The recent Church Times article from a Nigerian bishop states his expectation that Nigeria can't sign the Covenant.

    I do understand, Anonymous, that many Anglicans in the Evangelical tradition don't have a problem with the 39 Articles. The Articles, however, are neither an explicit part of the Covenant text under consideration (the statement regarding "historic formularies of the Church of England" is much watered down, and is not specific about which historic formularies are referenced), nor are they the only or even the primary problem that GAFCON-esque bishops had expressed about the Covenant.

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  8. I’m sure that Fr. Scott knows the Articles of Religion have never been very popular in the American Church. In the Proposed Prayer Book of 1785, the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England were dissected and cut down to twenty. In the first authorized American Prayer Book of 1789 they were left out altogether. The question of their reinstatement proved to be a subject of considerable debate within the American Church.
    Eventually, a modified set of 38 Articles was included in the Prayer Book of 1801. Today, the Articles have been removed to the “historical documents” section at the end of the Prayer Book of 1979—where they belong!

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  9. Time is on our side. The longer we discuss The Anglican Covenant, the more apparent it becomes that it is a desperate, incoherent attempt to tidy up what has always been a happily messy church - and to punish those who cause any "affront" to anyone's sense of tidiness.

    The AC will die a natural death, given time.

    We are being rammed with a 'final draft'. We don't have to subscribe to a final deadline. The document from the Chicago Consultation provides excellent reading while we drag out heels.

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  10. "The AC will die a natural death, given time."

    Thanks for the candor. TEC will be a US denomination with average parish size under 70 and average age 57.

    Natural death indeed.

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  11. TEC churches are hardly empty, Anonynmous; my own little parish in Greenpoint has added a 5 pm Sunday Eucharist in addition to the 10 am Mass during the past year. Our attendance, while still modest, is nearly double what it was a year and a half ago. Indeed, the overall decline in TEC membership reflects demographics (smaller families with fewer kids, etc.) that hold across the denominational spectrum. Even the Southern Baptists of late are declining in membership—something which was unheard of, since practically anyone who takes a tract from their hands is considered a “member.” The membership decline of native-born American Roman Catholics is even more significant than that in the TEC and Protestant denominations. Only immigration keeps the Roman Church afloat. Secularization here continues apace among many young people (after 30 years of fundagelical ranting against abortion, “uppity women,” gays, and libbruuulls) whose perceptions are that organized religion is hopelessly backward.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  12. I found the idea of a 'natural death' of the Communion a) sad commentary, though at least it was candid about the undesirability of the Communion life this church has shared; and b)unguarded, given the rapidly shrinking (see all the statistics) state of TEC. Average age is 57, average size under 70 members. Your example to the contrary is an irrelevance in the face of these statistics.

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  13. Look, Anonymous, the point is that the statistics you cite are not unique to TEC, but in general, reflect what is happening in most American denominations. Secularization (no doubt spurred on in great measure by disgust with the past 30 years of reactionary evangelicalism) has finally caught up with the USA. On the religion front, there is now little difference between Europe and us. “American exceptionalism” is over, get used to it.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  14. Delusional comparison. Ever wander out of NY State? Dallas, TX. Churches of every denomination packed to the gills. Church of the Incarnation (Episcopal) with 1200 ASA and 250 in Sunday School. Or St Michaels and All Angels. Bigger ASA. St Martins (Houston). Over 3000 ASA. Go to healthy dioceses (CFL, SC, TN) and attend church.

    Or don't. And persuade yourself that decline on the order of 35-40% is OK and tracks with other denominations.

    "Dying a natural death" was the phrase used. Correct.

    But not everywhere. The Anglican Communion is not dying, though parts of it may indeed fall off.

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  15. Its to be expected that the most backward sections of the country will be the last to feel the affects of secularization. After all, they were the last to feel the affects of the civil rights movement, the women's movement, etc.

    Don't delude yourself.

    Kurt Hill
    Brookly, NY

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  16. Dallas and Houston TX backwards? DFW soon to be the third largest metroplex in the US. Three of the top-ten US populations.
    Kurt, you need to get out more. Your ignorance is showing.

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  17. You equate mere size with culture and sophistication? Very Texas of you. Dallas and Houston are two of the biggest hick towns in the country. Former residents tell me so frequently. That's why they are FORMER residents.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  18. Dallas and Houston hick towns.

    Well, that certainly settles it.

    No wonder TEC is collapsing. Self-congratulatory inversion.

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  19. Think so, do you? It certainly cannot match Texan delusions of grandeur.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  20. I am no Texan. Lived for twenty years in CT outside NYC. Another 15 abroad.

    Your remarks just sound ignorant.

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  21. I never said you were Texan; but rather that you sounded like one of those rednecks.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

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  22. Kurt and Anonymous...time to stop dumping on each other. Anonymous, you either need to start using a name - any name will do - or sign off.

    Larger numbers doesn't mean better, nor do smaller numbers mean deeper or less loser.

    perhaps outdoing one another in mutual esteem would be a better road...surely there is plenty to be esteeming about?

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  23. What single negative thing did I say about NYC? I said TEC was declining. That is factually so. I said that someone had the candor to say the communion was dying a natural death and intimate that was good. I pointed out exceptions. These were dismissed because Dallas and Houston are 'hick towns.' Dioceses that are holding their members and growing are doing so because they are backward.

    May God have mercy on us all.

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  24. Sorry, sign me 'aghast.'

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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.