The Scottish Episcopal Church says, "NO." Shall we join them?

The Scottish Episcopal Church has said no to the Anglican Covenant.
 The Anglican Communion News Service announced today that the Scottish Episcopal Church voted "No" on the Anglican Covenant. The motion to adopt was soundly defeated.

It seems to me the political argument for stalling for time, for accepting what we can of the Covenant, or even buying on gets weaker  and weaker.

The mother churches to our own have said NO.  Our own offspring (in the Philippines) has said 'No."  

A whole pile of provinces whose leadership is not even interested in this Anglican Covenant because it is not stringent enough have said no.

At this point there is little reason to accommodate the Anglican Covenant process for adoption, unless, of course we want to on its ecclesial and theological merits alone. That option will find few buyers.

The origins and linage of the Anglican Covenant text has been well documented. It includes input from the brilliant, the conniving and the befuddled, often in the same persons. At one time or another it proposed remarkable power for groups previously viewed as advisory or consultative only.  In its origins it looked a lot like Canon Law in the making. In its birth it looked like ecclesial machinery for making church governance sausage.  In almost all forms it did not sing a new or even familiar song.  There is nothing in it at sings. And there is no call to dance.  It is, in a word, dull and pedantic. 

Where is the argument now for The Episcopal Church affirming the Anglican Covenant?  

Our representatives can go to the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in good company.  They do not need this card to play at that table.  

Those of us who have been working for a long time on what Anglicanism and the Anglican Communion is need to continue working on this. Matters are moving rapidly towards there being two sorts of Anglican Communion, one based on the ACC and Lambeth definitions of the Anglican Communion, the other based on the Jerusalem Statement and the collegial community of bishops who belong to that.  

Our job is to make Anglican Communion I the sort of community of churches that both presents Jesus to the world and in which Jesus might be pleased to well.  Let Anglican Communion II do its work however it wishes.

There will come a time to compare notes and wonder if it was worth the split.


  1. A healthy diocese in TEC has more members than the SEC.

    But let me ask: the association that TEC and SEC and others might create, in place of the erstwhile Communion, what percentage would that mean? I'd put it at under 20%.

    Is this what you have in view?


  2. Let's see, Robert. TEC and CofE and SEC, etc. aren't creating anything. The have been and still are members of the Anglican Communion. Now if the folks with the Jerusalem Statement want to start another communion, that's fine with me. If they want to stay and be part of this historic fellowship of churches, that's fine with me too. Those that break fellowship are those refuse to share it with their brothers and sisters.
    Tom Downs

  3. Tom--Oh I doubt very much that if the majority of the Communion continue on together and ignore innovators they will be confused into thinking they are breaking away! TEC and SEC and ACoC and NZ can remain together and call themselves whatever they wish.


  4. Deacon Charlie Perrin9/6/12 1:32 PM

    Let us join them and put this misbegotten thing called the Covenant to rest. Those who ant more central authority are free to go to Rome. Those who want congregationalism are free to poin the baptists. We are Anglicans and by definition it's a messy and hard to define ethos.

    I prefer the messiness to strict, enforced, unity.

    If you are baptised, you are welcome to the Lord's table and I will share the Eucharist with you. I will not interrogate you and your theology.

  5. "We're bigger, you're smaller, you're fading into nothingness, you're innovators, we hold to The Faith Once Delivered": I think it's safe to say we've all heard this one note symphony before, Robert. Any original ideas to contribute? Or is that too "innovative"?

    TBTG for the fidelity to the Anglican charism displayed by the Scottish Episcopal Church! :-)

  6. I'd love to hear how Bishop Seabury would have responded to the idea of the present SEC as 'mother church' of TEC! He only went to Scotland because a sympathetic CofE (his 'mother church') turned him away for his own good. He was a chaplain for the Tories in NE. He found good friends amongst the non-jurors in Aberdeen and was contented to be consecrated there as expedience required. After that, the Episcopal Church in Scotland dropped fully and properly out of the picture of the fledgling american church's development (White and Provoost of course did not return eccentrically to the Aberdeen context, but sought consecration in the CofE after the Revolution ended). Only in the twentieth century did it return again, as Aberdonians sought some reciprocation in the form of monetary help to build a cathedral. Something that ended up not being forthcoming, given the economic crash in this country and elsewhere. 'Mother Church' aligns itself nicely with the 'Braveheart' type fantasy in which all things celtic are good.

    Sadly, it is unhistorical and also disconnected from the actual intentions of Seabury--for his reasons--and the next two Bishops--for theirs. Reflexively, they sailed to London and were consecrated there. No one in Scotland would have thought any other decision sensible.


  7. Doctrinally demanding churches like the Southern Baptist Convention are facing their own accelerating rates of membership decline.


    And the Roman Catholic Church continues to see steep declines in its membership in the USA.


    It is now more common than not for children of Catholic or evangelical parents to eventually leave the religion of their upbringing.

    It seems to me that the only religious affiliation that seems to be growing these days is "none of the above."

  8. Yes, I think we should definitely join our Scottish sisters and brothers in saying “No!” to the Covenant. It’s about time!

    Counterlight, as usual, has hit the nail on the head. A few years ago, the con evos were pointing at the membership decline in TEC as evidence that “the libbruuuls” were dying out. Now it’s clear that declining memberships are cross-denominational, conservative denominations declining just as much, if not more, as liberal ones. What’s happening in American society (indeed, what has been happening in Western society for some time) is a cultural paradigm shift, not a temporary blip. It’s not the 1950s any more; get used to it. And learn how to minister to folks in the new, post-religious age that dawned about half a century ago (in Europe, anyway), and now has come to North America, too.

    Kurt Hill
    Brooklyn, NY

  9. Frankly, as soon as I read the word, 'innovator,' in a comment, I shut down. It's too much a buzz-word and is associated with a certain group of people, often part of ACNA, who would just as well do away with TEC.

  10. Why are we comparing the Episcopal Church to a football conference? If you look at the SEC membership you will find that RRobert is in eror.

    Fred is back.

  11. 6/11/12

    Submitted to Preludium posting The Scottish Episcopal Church says, "No." Shall we join them? by Mark Harris, on June 9, 2012.

    From the beginning my great fear was that with a covenant the Anglican Communion would no longer be bound together by mutual affection, as an instrument of God should be bound, and that with that bond replaced by a covenant the Communion would need more lawyers than priests. The ongoing arguments about its adoption has convinced me that such is the case. Accordingly, I think that proposed resolution A145 should be amended to delete the third "Resolved", which is confusing and redundant as this point was set forth clearly in the preceeding "Resolved".

    In the final "Resolved", the words "in its present form" should be deleted.

    With these changes, Resolution A145 should be adopted.

    I compliment Deacon Perrin on his remarks and join him in preferring "the messiness to stricty, enforced, unity".

    John David Spangler, Layman


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, 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.