Executive Council on the Draft Anglican Covenant

"A Response from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church to The Draft Anglican Covenant" has this afternoon been officially posted by ENS and can be read HERE.

I was part of the working group that produced this paper and it was received and by resolution became the response of Executive Council. Because Executive Council was mandated by General Convention to do this work it becomes an (not the) official response of The Episcopal Church. Hopefully it will be read by the Covenant Design Group and will become a contribution to its work.

There has been considerable discussion as to the value of this Draft, and indeed of an Covenant at all. The Response speaks to this by saying,

"Our study process has led us to the conclusion that The Episcopal Church, as with the Executive Council, is not of one mind as to the efficacy of this particular Draft Covenant in either form or content. Furthermore, some parts of the Covenant have received broad endorsement within The Episcopal Church, whereas other parts have engendered vigorous debate and opposition."

At the end, we said,

We are prepared to consider a covenant that says who we are, what we wish to be for the world, and how we will model mutual responsibility and interdependence in the body of Christ. We believe we must be open to God's doing a new thing among us; therefore, we remain open to explore such new possibilities in our common life while honoring established understandings....

The Executive Council believes that the Draft Anglican Covenant signals the beginning of a process for considering the future shape of our communion. Its ends are the hope for a communion whose member churches work and struggle in trust, with a full sense of mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Body of Christ. While some of our members consider the draft adequate as it stands, the majority believe that we must work in the hope that the final form of this document will provide a better means of engaging one another respectfully and with mutual regard, as we seek to agree on essential matters of faith and order while celebrating our differences."

The paper deserves to be read in its entirety.

I will offer further thoughts on the matter but for now my understanding is that the following is true:

  • The Draft Anglican Covenant unacceptable in its current form.
  • The concerns raised in this paper and elsewhere may effect changes that would make a revised draft more acceptable.
  • The Episcopal Church is willing to continue the search for an expression of the basis of our unity as a Communion in some form, a covenant or otherwise.
More later.


  1. I'm just a lay person but the response makes a great deal of sense to me. I feel it reflects pretty much my views and concerns about the covenant. Thank you to the Executive Council for doing a good job with a complicated matter.

  2. Really I have to say that I am very impressed with the willingness in this response to acknowledge (with some specificity) the differences of opinion within the Episcopal Church. I suppose I am a little sad to be outnumbered 4 to 1 (or whatever it is), but this sort of frank acknowledgment is much appreciated -- especially after the repeated rhetoric (granted, not precisely on the same issue) I was hearing from the PB on that tiny and silly minority who refuse to get with the TEC program. Pax. (link)

  3. Mark,

    I think the report is pretty solid and thoughtful. I have revised the Draft Covenant text in accordance with the report (I think.) Check it out at anglicancentrist.blogspot.com -- I'd be interested for your thoughts.

  4. Thank you, Mark, for your leadership.

  5. Off-topic Mark, but no news on Fr. Mark Lawrence receiving consents from the MAJORITY of Bishops and Standing Committees nationwide? Not even a whimper?

    You were warned. Fr. Lawrence will be Bishop of SC, whether you like it or not.

  6. wyclif (nice pic):

    I have already written on Bishop elect Lawrence. What I said then (August 7) was, "Bishop Elect Lawrence has been elected twice and seems likely to be the next Bishop of South Carolina. He will have his reward." see http://anglicanfuture.blogspot.com/2007/08/they-come-in-pairs.html

    The news is all over ever where. He has the consents.

    I don't whimper. In fact I pray for the Bishop elect and wish him well. Whether or not I like it that he is elected and consents are there is not particularly interesting as either news or commentary.

  7. Wyclif,

    Your post is really amazing. Even the medieval inquisitors were required to confess and be absolved from the sin of enjoying other people's pain. Shame sir, shame.


  8. The Covenant only bothers those who have a hard time with truth. Who DOESN'T welcome it amounts to the same list of those behind our current ills.

  9. How very convenient for Allen. If we disagree with him (and with this cluster of a covenant) then we hate truth and are responsible for everything that's wrong with the Church.

    Some "conservatives" present reasoned and coherent arguments. Some "conservatives" conduct themselves with great integrity. Some "conservatives" engage the issue with intelligence and with respect for those who disagree.

    But for some "conservatives" (and admittedly for some "liberals" as well) it is sufficient to debate at the level of the avereage two year old child.


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.