Carioca resolution on Anglican Covenant

I was delighted to read today on Confessions of a Carioca the following resolution sponsored by The Rev. Dan Martins, Dr. Christopher Wells and The Rev. Bruce Robison. I know well two of the three sponsoring this resolution.

This resolution brings into focus one of the primary options regarding the Anglican Covenant draft we have in hand. I believe there is a better way forward, involving the reception of this draft for study and action in three years. The Ridley Cambridge Draft claims to make no implications regarding the constitutions or canons of the member churches. However the behavior it supports does indeed place considerable constraints and the mechanisms it opens up can lead rapidly to the institutionalization of a scheme of pastoral visitors, investigations, and new levels of international Anglican supervision that in effect limit the nature of autonomy in communion. Abiding by the terms of the RCDC for the next three years allows these schemes, investigations, and supervisions to go forward, and more importantly gives weight to the growing responsibilities of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council.

As a deputy I will be interested in hearing more on this proposal and the others, but I have to say my immediate sense is this is not the way forward.

Still, the resolution is an important addition to the variety of resolutions on the matter and is well thought out. Read it with the explanation attached, HERE.

A Resolution on the Anglican Covenant

TITLE: Provisional Acceptance of the Anglican Covenant

Resolved, the House of _____________ concurring, that this 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church make a provisional commitment to abide by the terms of the Anglican Covenant proposed in the most recent text of the Covenant Design Group (the “Cambridge-Ridley” draft); and be it further

Resolved, that the text of the proposed covenant be commended to the various dioceses of this church for study and comment during the coming triennium; and be it further

Resolved, that the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies appoint a Special Task Force to determine what constitutional and/or canonical measures may be necessary in order to make a permanent commitment to the Covenant; and be it further

Resolved, that this Special Task Force prepare a report to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that includes draft legislation that could be considered should the convention decide to make a permanent commitment to the Covenant.


  1. Fr. Mark,
    I really do not know where to begin. I have read the dicta that goes with this resolution and find it to be as offensive as the resolution. Dan Martins intends to throw our LGBT brothers and sisters under the bus for nothing more than a political bond? And while I understand his need to do so I cannot fathom why you would give this the light of day? Sure, you are executive council and sure you will be at convention and sure you need to look at things impartially but given the history of those who would bury the Episcopal Church including Dan Martins (see I know him also) why would you give this additional ink and air time?

  2. A correction:

    The name is Bruce Robison not Robinson.

    A common mistake here in Pittsburgh. We don't want to confuse his name with that of the little known bishop of New Hampshire named Robinson

  3. ...I have to say my immediate sense is this is not the way forward.Mark, I am not a deputy, but I do not see this as the way forward for the very reasons you mention. If we abide by the terms of the RCDC, we will assign to it a legitimacy which it does not now have and does not warrant.

    Remember how the Windsor Report got to be close to the Bible in importance?

    Bishop Martin Barahona, the primate of Central America, “The Windsor Report,” he said. “It’s just a report. When did it become like The Bible. The Covenant. Why do we need another covenant? We have the Baptismal Covenant. We have the creeds. What else do we need?”The RCDC is just a draft. Let's not ascribe more weight to it than its due.

  4. I do so because if this is the argument that conservative Episcopalians will use we ought to see it now. I didn't publish their explanation because that is less important.

    I too believe passage of this would be a mess. But the process of legislation is that this will get heard in committee where all sorts of comments can be made, and may or may not be molded by the committee into final form, rejected, or perfected.

    What I found good about Fr. Martins signaling of this is that it out there for our consideration now and clearly shows one direction conservatives could go in their use of the Anglican Covenant.

    A lot of things get air time here on Preludium and no one seems to like them all. (Sigh.)

    So now I will work on just why this resolution should be rejected and what ought to replace it. Give me a day or two, please. Just off Executive Council, crabby emails, leading a retreat for Deacon candidates, etc. Tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday I will be at Province III.

    Still running to catch up.

  5. Ah, and now Mr. McCall's 'open letter' to you. If this is what retirement looks like, I think I'm going to be working for a bit longer.

    As for this resolution, I think the second, third and even last 'resolve' have some merit, with revision, of course.

    I can't imagine that it will get out of committee in its present form, but good on them to 'show their hand' - as if they really needed to.

    At this point, both sides could even write each other's resolutions.

  6. Mark, hang on. I'm not saying that you should not have published this. I'm agreeing with you, my friend, that this is not the way forward for GC.

    What's happened to the line breaks in Blogger?

  7. Thanks for posting this proposed resolution. I agree that it's carefully thought-out nature makes it worthy of reflection.

    However, I also agree that it is not the way forward for our church at this time. I've rewritten their resolution and posted my rewrite here. I'm certainly no General Convention deputy, but as you are considering how it might be rewritten, I offer it to you as food for thought.

  8. Fr. Mark,
    As you can see Jared Cramer has decided to "rewrite" the resolution in an attempt to "make it better". It throws the LGBT community under the bus and does I do not believe women fair much better. This document, along with the Covenant document itself is purely political and has little or nothing to do with Christian living.

    TEC has no business dealing with politics since we are neither inclined to nor effective at it.

  9. Fred,

    If my rewrite of the resolution also "throws our GLBT brothers and sisters under the bus," they by all means, help me make it better. I am deeply committed to my LGBT friends in TEC.

    I believe that TEC should remain engaged in the Covenant process precisely so that the final Covenant does not through our LGBT members under the bus.

  10. Jared,
    I do not want to make it better. I want it to go away. we need to stop playing their game on their filed. It is time for us to start making them play our game on our field. I recommend a TEC Episcopalian Bill of Rights the creates (well simply states that which each person has) a statement that says that each and every person in the Episcopal Church has the right to fully participate in ALL aspects of the Episcopal Church. Are we not tired of chasing these conservatives around? I am. Are we not tired of trying to play catch up? I am. It is time to re-create the game (it really isn't but that is the only way I can describe it) and take control!


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.