Bishop Dan Martins, of Springfield, a fine man and great blogger, wrote this in his comments on day four of the House of Bishops Spring Meeting:
"The time slot after dinner was dedicated to various interest groups, so I
hung out, naturally, with my Communion Partner colleagues. CP is
dedicated to fostering the highest degree of fellowship possible between
TEC and the other Anglican Communion provinces, especially those in the
Global South, and advocating continuously on behalf of the Anglican
Covenant. We had some strategizing to do as we look toward General
there it is: the Communion Partner Bishops had a chat up at the House
of Bishops Meeting and worked on strategies related to General
might they have been strategizing about? Certainly strategies
concerning the "highest degree of fellowship possible between TEC and
the other Anglican Communion provinces" are in order. I would think most
of those strategies would be of great interest to the World Mission
Legislative Committee. Some of the critique of the Continuing Indaba
thingy of the Anglican Communion office will surely come up. Certainly
there will be issues concerning relations the Global South provinces and
relations with GAFCON (they are not the same). And of course there will
be the concerns of missionary action in a hostile world and the
relation with Islam in its many forms.
But sure as the sun comes up, the strategies will indeed include "advocating continuously on behalf of the Anglican Covenant."
time around, when asked if TEC would assent to, sign on to, approve, or
adopt the Anglican Covenant, the General Convention responded with "not
is already a resolution being suggested for this Convention regarding
the Anglican Covenant, coming from the Task Force on the Anglican
Covenant. I am sure that there will be from one source or another a
simple resolution, reading something like this:"Resolved the House of
________ concurring, that the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal
Church, meeting in Salt Lake, Utah, June 23-July 3, 2015, adopts the
Anglican Covenant." Likely there will be one resolving that GC reject
was some passion last General Convention for and against the Covenant,
many supposing that because we were asked we were under some constraint
to answer at Convention. Those advocating for the Covenant and those
advocating against the Covenant wanted to put the General Convention on
record. None of the passionate were pleased with the result, which
rejected both positions.
time around, I detect little passion. Time has passed the Covenant
thingy by. The big items on the agenda this round are about marriage,
the budget, re-imaging the church, electing a presiding bishop, and
maybe doing something about theological education.
The Anglican Covenant will not draw much careful interest.
is both a curse and a blessing. I believe it should get no attention at
all. That is, the Task Force should note that there is little new
action out there on the Covenant and have done with it for the moment,
recommending that we continue to monitor the developments regarding the
Covenant and make recommendations as necessary in the future.
it gets some attention from the Communion Partners, and little attention
by those opposed or wanting to kick the can further down the road, we
could end up having a up or down vote get to the floor, where in the
rush of legislation it might slide on by with a tepid yes vote.
becomes important to know just what the Communion Partner bishops are
thinking about doing, and to know just what sorts of resolutions are
coming forward and from where. And it becomes important to have witness
at the hearings who speak against the Covenant, or for continued
counter to advocating for the Anglican Covenant by adopting it is still
not necessarily advocating against adoption ever. It might still be to
advocate not adopting it now.
remember that there is no definitive "no" vote. A "no" vote now could
be changed in three years to a "yes." The Anglican Covenant managers in
the higher realms of Anglican land are not (I believe) interested in
the "no's"... those can change over time. It is the "yes" votes that
course "yes" can be reversed as well, but saying "yes" and later saying
"no" is a bit more difficult to pull off with grace.The value to the yes
vote is that it is evidence that things are moving along and all will
be well in Anglican land lead by the Anglican Communion Office.
moment I can think of no reason to say "yes" and buy onto the Anglican
Covenant. I believe it to be a seriously flawed document. The arguments
against it are increasingly persuasive, particular the arguments that
draw on decision making in the Church of England - decisions which would
have been much more difficult had the CofE adopted the Covenant. See Lionel Deimel on this HERE.
If it came to a yes or no vote, I'd advocate for the "no."
But I don't think it needs to come to that.
who think TEC is going down the wrong path on many fronts would perhaps
love it if we voted "no." It would simply prove their case once again.
Why give them the satisfaction?
of course, should they prevail, we would all be in deeper than we want.
Suddenly those who believe TEC is the terrible thing GAFCON believes it
is would have many cases to prove their point. And bishops (and others)
in TEC would have grounds to bring the wayward into line on the grounds
that their actions ran counter to world wide Anglican norms.
whole trouble with this Anglican Covenant thingy is that it is the
prelude to a world wide Anglican Church - it is the prelude to the
Anglican Communion as yet another branch acting like a tree. There are
too many branches acting like trees out there already, and too much of
that wood has been used to burn out the heretics and malcontents. Do we
really need a world wide Anglican Church, whose purpose is to keep the
party line pure and the local franchise undefiled?
Not now, not ever.