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Canterbury concedes Anglican Communion has become “corrupted”

December 6th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Communion, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

By George Conger, Anglican Ink

The Archbishop of Canterbury has conceded defeat in the battle over the Anglican Covenant. In a 2 Dec 2012 Advent letter to the primates, Dr. Rowan Williams said the Anglican Communion had become “corrupted” and could no longer be considered a communion of churches but a “community of communities.”

Dr. Williams’ somber appreciation of the state of the communion today, contrasts with his past letters to the leaders of the Communions 38 provinces. Nothing now bound the church together apart from good will.

In 2009 Dr. Williams rejected calls from the Episcopal Church to reorder the Anglican Communion as a federation of churches. “As Anglicans, our membership of the communion is an important part of our identity. However, some see this as best expressed in a more federalist and pluralist way. They would see this as the only appropriate language for a modern or indeed postmodern global fellowship of believers in which levels of diversity are bound to be high and the risks of centralisation and authoritarianism are the most worrying.”

“There is nothing foolish or incoherent about this approach,” Dr. Williams wrote in a letter published on 27 July 2009, “but it is not the approach that has generally shaped the self-understanding of our communion.”

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A rebellion we do not need – Andrew Carey

June 28th, 2012 Chris Sugden Posted in Anglican Covenant, Church of England, Revisionism, Women Bishops Comments Off

Church of England Newspaper July 1

What are we to make of the latest Episcopal acts of rebellion in recent weeks? First, we have the Diocesan Bishop of Salisbury, Nick Holtam and the suffragan Bishops of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, and Grantham, Tim Ellis, publicly disagreeing with the Church’s opposition against same-sex marriage. Second we have the widespread defeat of the Covenant by a number of bishops in their diocesan synods. And finally, the motions at Worcester and Salisbury Synods publicly disputing the House of Bishops’ amendments to the women bishops’ legislation.

It goes without saying that it is the first act of rebellion that is most serious. The distinguished German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg wrote a number of years ago that ‘gay marriage’ was a firstorder issue. “Here lies the boundary of a Christian church that knows itself to be bound by the authority of Scripture. Those who urge the church to change the norm of its teaching on this matter must know that they are promoting schism. If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”

Against this background, it might be said that the vocal opposition against the Covenant and the bishops’ amendments, though ill-mannered and obtuse, are hardly matters of fundamental importance. Yet this is to underestimate what they represent. The only thing that the Covenant will help us to do as Anglicans is to give some kind of structural mechanism for jointly recognising first-order issues. By rejecting the Covenant and falsely misrepresenting it as an instrument of coercion, we discover how badly liberal Anglicans are estranged from us. They first seek to prevent discernment and then they act dishonestly — is there any way to bridge the gap between us? Recent moves by the Bishop of Salisbury in his diocesan Synod to reject amendments by the very House of Bishops of which he is a member, are also a neat illustration of how badly things have gone wrong. To lose the debate in the House of Bishops and to continue to protest is one thing, but then to enlist your diocesan synod to undermine the Episcopal college of which you are a part is a step too far.

The broken collegiality of the bishops has one good result. We can no longer pretend that all is well in the Church of England by ignoring the signs of the times. This open rebellion forces us to recognise that battle is being waged by liberal Anglicans for the very soul of our Church. The choice we face is to insist upon the Gospel, or to surrender and cease to be a part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.
 

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Scottish Episcopal Church General Synod votes against adoption of the Anglican Covenant

June 8th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant, Scottish Episcopal Church Comments Off

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church today voted against the adoption of the Anglican Covenant. Following a variety of views expressed by members of General Synod, the Motion that Synod agree in principle to adopt the Anglican Covenant was put to vote – 112 votes against; 6 votes in favour; 13 abstentions. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane then presented a resolution on the Anglican Communionin support of Motion 27, saying “The Anglican Communion matters deeply to us in the Scottish Episcopal Church. We invoke the history of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America. We want to be part of the re-founding – the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life.”

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No deadline for adoption of Covenant

June 8th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

From Church Times

NO TIMESCALE is to be put on the adoption of the Anglican Covenant, the Standing Committee of the An­gli­can Communion (SCAC) agreed last week.

The Covenant was discussed on the first of the three days of the committee’s talks — attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and elected members of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ standing committee.

A statement released afterwards said: “The Standing Committee re­ceived an update on the progress of the Anglican Communion Covenant. It was noted that eight provinces had endorsed the covenant to date, in some cases with a degree of qualifica­tion. They were the only responses received so far by the secretary general.”

The Church of England, which rejected the Covenant when a majori­ty of dioceses voted against it in March, was not included in the responses received, suggesting that no formal response has yet been submit­ted to the Anglican Communion office.

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Scottish Episcopal Church lines up principles debate

June 6th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant, General Synod, Scottish Episcopal Church Comments Off

From The Scotsman

THE General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church opens in Edinburgh tomorrow, with the future of the worldwide Anglican communion on the agenda.

The annual three-day gathering, presided over by the Primus, the Most Rev David Chillingworth, will be asked to vote on whether to back the controversial Anglican Covenant, a set of principles drawn up after the rows over gay priests.

Liberal critics say the proposed dispute resolution procedure amounts to an instrument of control, while many conservatives argue it does not go far enough in bringing churches into line. A majority of dioceses in the Church of England have already rejected the Covenant, but on Friday the synod will debate a motion that it agrees in principle to adopt it.

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Canada: What would happen if we say ‘no’ to the Anglican Covenant?

May 30th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Church Of Canada, Anglican Covenant Comments Off

by Marites N Sison, Anglican Journal

The Anglican Church of Canada needs more clarity around what the “relational consequences” would be for not adopting the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant.

This is one of the key messages that Council of General Synod (CoGS) members said the church must convey when the 15th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meets in New Zealand Oct. 27-Nov. 7.

All member provinces of the Anglican Communion have been asked to report on progress made in response to the covenant, which has been recommended as a way of healing divisions triggered by debates over the issue of sexuality.

At their spring meeting May 24-27, CoGS members were asked to weigh in on what the report should contain. Bishops were asked for input at their spring meeting, noted Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Emerging from small group discussions, some CoGs members said there’s a lot of uncertainty around what happens when a province decides to adopt or not adopt the covenant. Critics of the covenant have long warned that adopting it could result in a two-tier Communion.

Although a comprehensive study guide on the covenant was prepared and recommended for Canadian Anglicans, “there’s not much interest in discussing it,” reported members of one CoGS discussion group. “We’re not sure why,” they added.

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The Covenant is Dead. Long Live the Jerusalem Declaration

April 24th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant, Gafcon Comments Off

By David W Virtue, Virtueonline

Will GAFCON Primates push the Declaration at GAFCON meeting in London?

It should be apparent by now to most Anglicans that the Covenant – the brainchild of the Archbishop of Canterbury – designed to hold the communion together, is dead in the water. The proposed Covenant that was designed, in some sense, to hold the world-wide Anglican Communion together amid divisions over homosexuality and same sex unions has, to all intents and purposes, failed.

The Covenant will be presented at TEC's GC2012 in Indianapolis, but there is little hope for its passage. Liberals and revisionists alike will trash it as they balk at any attempt to hold them accountable with disciplinary Section 4 hanging over them like a Damoclean Sword. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has already declared that the Covenant is "past its shelf life" which is surely the kiss of death. Few if any in the HOB or HOD will challenge her.

Among the many reasons it has gone the way of the Dodo bird is that those who read it thought it ceded too much power to the Archbishop of Canterbury who might act in a papal like manner by declaring who was in violation of the Covenant and then act accordingly. But that would require a set of ecclesiastical cojones he does not possess nor would exercise even if he had them. Dr. Williams' style has never been confrontational or coercive. He has preferred to raise questions he would not answer.

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Church in Wales gives “amber light” to Anglican Covenant

April 19th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

A plan to protect the unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion was given an amber light, rather than a green light, by the Church in Wales today (April 18).

Members of its Governing Body voted to affirm their commitment to the Communion and the Covenant process, but asked questions of the Anglican Consultative Council which meets in October. They feared the recent rejection of the Covenant by the Church of England jeopardised its future and clarifications about that were now needed before a decision could be made.

The Bishop of St Asaph, Dr Gregory Cameron, who proposed a motion which was amended in the light of the Church of England decision, said, “We have given the Covenant an amber light rather than a green light but in doing so we are being honest about where the Church is today. However, I think we need to reaffirm our strong commitment to each other through the saving power of Christ revealed in the Gospels. That is what I believe the Covenant ultimately calls us to do and I hope one day the Church in Wales will be able to vote for it.”
The amended motion, which was carried overwhelmingly, was that the GB:
 
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Read also:  Archbishop of Wales says gay marriage deserves welcome of church
 
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Challenges remain, Primate warns, after dioceses block Anglican Covenant

March 30th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant, Church of England Comments Off

By Ed Thornton, Church Times

THE Archbishop of Canterbury warned this week that challenges in the Anglican Communion “will not go away”. Dr Williams was speaking after a majority of diocesan synods rejected the Anglican Covenant.

Last weekend, three more diocesan synods — Lincoln, Oxford, and Guildford — voted against the Covenant. Three others — Black­burn, Exeter, and Peterborough — endorsed it. This brought the total number of diocesan synods in favour of the Covenant to 15, and the total number against to 23.

Since a majority of dioceses have voted against, it will not return to the General Synod during this quin­quennium (2011-15).

Speaking on Monday, Dr Williams said: “This is, of course, a disap­pointing outcome for many of us in the Church of England and many more in the Communion. Unfor­tunately, the challenges the Covenant was meant to address will not go away just because people vote against it.

"We shall still have to work at vehicles for consultation and manag­ing disagreement. And nothing should lessen the priority of sus­taining relationships, especially with some of those smaller and vulner­able Churches for whom strong international links are so crucial.”

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The Anglican Communion Covenant and the Church of England: Ramifications

March 25th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

By Andrew Goddard, Fulcrum

It is now clear that less than half the dioceses of the Church of England will agree, in both their house of clergy and house of laity, to “approve the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant”. This article attempts to map out some of the ramifications of this development.

Executive Summary

•  The Church of England cannot reconsider the covenant until 2015.

•  Although diocesan votes are quite strongly against, actual votes cast remain marginally for the covenant and English supporters need to continue advocating for the covenant and its vision.

•  The covenant will continue to be considered around the Communion – eight provinces have embraced it and ACC in November will take stock but cannot end the process. Other provinces should be encouraged to adopt the covenant despite the English decision.

•  The Church of England remains a full member of the Communion.

•  Although the CofE’s representatives cannot now participate in decision-making about the covenant within the Instruments of Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as an Instrument rather than a provincial representative, may be able to do so.

•  There continue to be 3 visions of communion within the Communion – (1) the covenant vision of autonomy and interdependence with accountability, (2) the confessional GAFCON vision and (3) the TEC autonomy-as-independence vision. Only the first vision is likely to get the support of most provinces as, though different, it is compatible with the second but not the third vision.

•  The Communion now must choose between two main paths of significant reconfiguration – (A) A covenant-focussed Communion but with the Church of England outside the covenant, (B) A looser, more incoherent Communion with various networks within or possibly separate from it.

•  Archbishop Rowan’s via media approach of holding the Communion together by enabling conversation within the framework of upholding the Windsor Report, Lambeth I.10 and the covenant now needs major restructuring if it is to survive.

•  Neither the Communion nor the Church of England can remain unchanged by this development which makes it harder for Anglicanism’s distinctive historic tradition and global communion of churches to “survive with all its aspects intact”.

Can the Church of England still adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant?

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Anglican Communion Covenant will not be debated by CofE General Synod

March 24th, 2012 Chris Sugden Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

The Bishop of Oxford told the Oxford Diocesan Synod this afternoon, that as the result of two further dioceses (Oxford and Lincoln) voting against the motion to approve the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant, it would not be debated by General Synod of the Church of England. This was because the majority of dioceses had now voted against it.

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali said that "I am disappointed that the Anglican Communion Covenant, even in its watered down version,has failed to gain the support of the Church of England. This now means that the Jerusalem Statement (2008) is now 'The only game in town.'"

Read also:  The Secretary General on the Anglican Communion Covenant

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My would-be ‘no’ to the Covenant

March 13th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant, Church of England Comments Off

By John Richardson

A couple of weeks ago, the Chelmsford Diocesan Synod debated, and rejected, the Anglican Covenant. I wasn’t able to be there for pressing personal reasons (though I sent my apologies), but if I had been, I would have voted against it.
The odd thing is that, until a few days prior to the Synod, I would have voted in favour. What is even more odd is that I was persuaded to change my mind by an article in favour of the Covenant. The reason it had the opposite effect to that intended had a lot to do with it having been written by the Suffragan Bishop of Sherborne in the Diocese of Salisbury, Graham Kings (see here on the Fulcrum website).

As most readers of this blog will know, the new Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, made some remarks about same-sex marriage in an interview for The Times which were widely understood as backing for the idea of same-sex marriage. (See here for an edited transcript.)

Some retracting has been done since then. Bishop Holtam claims in a statement on the Diocesan website that he is committed to “Supporting marriage as it is currently understood”, but of course a little reflection will suggest that this doesn’t prevent him also supporting other understandings of marriage, which may be added to our ‘current’ understandings – such as, for example, the marriage of people of the same-sex.
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Archbishop: why the Covenant matters

March 10th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant, Archbishop Of Canterbury Comments Off

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YES to the Covenant website launched

February 27th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

Visit new website here

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Covenant tastes defeat in diocesan voting

February 26th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

From Church Times

ALMOST a quarter of C of E dioceses have now voted against the Anglican Covenant.

It was debated last weekend by the diocesan synods of Leicester, Portsmouth, Salisbury, and Rochester, and rejected by all of them — in some cases, despite impassioned pleas from bishops.
 
Just five of 15 English dioceses have so far approved the Covenant, which must be debated by diocesan synods by the end of March.

Approval by 23 diocesan synods is required for the Covenant to return to the General Synod. Rejection by 22 dioceses would effectively derail approval of the Covenant by the Church of England.

In Salisbury, the Bishop of Sher­borne, Dr Graham Kings, had urged the diocesan-synod members to back the Covenant. “I believe that, like the Declaration of Assent, the Anglican Communion Covenant is a text of breadth and concord. Our vote today concerns unity. A vote against the Covenant is a vote to do nothing. I do not believe it is helpful or Anglican to imply: ‘Let’s leave things as they are — we are divided; so let’s stay divided’,” Dr Kings said.

His pleas were unsuccessful, how­ever, and the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nick Holtam, joined mem­bers voting against it.

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Anglican Communion Faith and Order body issues videos on the Covenant

February 22nd, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

From ACNS

Members of the Anglican Communion with Internet access can now watch three videos produced by the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO) in which its members speak about the Covenant.

In one, members from Provinces including England, the West Indies, Central Africa and Southern Africa explain why they consider the Covenant important for the Communion.

In another the Church of Ceylon's Rt Revd Kumara Ilangasinghe, recently retired Bishop of Kurunagala, shares his thoughts on the value of accountability.

In the third, members share their thoughts about the sections of the Covenant.

These were filmed by Simon Oliver, a member of IASCUFO who teaches at the University of Nottingham. A subgroup of the Commission, that is overseeing the reception process for the Anglican Communion Covenant, decided to make them when the Commission was meeting in Seoul, Korea in December. They wanted to present the Covenant using the members of the Commission as they come from such a diverse range of people from around the Communion.

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Anglican Covenant – Archbishop of Cape Town responds to Archbishop of Canterbury

January 13th, 2012 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury in response to his Advent Letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Moderators of the United Churches.

In his letter, Dr Makgoba reflects on the Anglican Covenant as ‘necessary’ for Anglicans ‘in recalling us to ourselves’.

The full text of Archbishop Makgoba’s letter follows below.

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An open letter on the Covenant

January 5th, 2012 Chris Sugden Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

Canon Dr Chris SugdenChurch of England Newspaper January 6 2012  To Rev Dr  Andrew Goddard

Dear Andrew

Thank you for your article on the Anglican Communion Covenant in the CEN of December 23/30 2011.

Like you I am committed to a proper debate of the issues so that colleagues can make their own judgements in light of all the facts.

Amongst the facts which it is important to remember are the following:

1. You write that the Covenant has been “consistently supported by the Global South Leadership.”.  Yet on November 24 2010, seven primates [Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda,Tanzania, West Africa, and the Southern Cone of Latin America] representing 40 million Anglicans released a statement that in their view “the covenant was fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate”. Moreover, the Province of South East Asia itself, led at that time by Archbishop Chew, could only commend the covenant subject to the acceptance of a detailed preamble.

2. You also write that “the Covenant has been consistently supported by the Church of England”.   That support has, however, often been qualified.  For example, in the General Synod debate of November 24 2010, Dr Philip Giddings, now chair of the House of Laity, spoke for many when he said that he reluctantly supported the covenant because its key part was only quarter of a loaf and half baked at that.

3. Your basic argument is that the covenant is the “only show in town” which can preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion.  This looks like:  “Something must be done;  this is something; therefore, this is what must be done”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Southern Cone approves Covenant

December 21st, 2011 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant Comments Off

From ENS

At its recent November (3 to 11) meeting in Asunción, Paraguay, the Executive Committee of the Province of the Southern Cone of America, together with its Bishops, voted to approve the Anglican Covenant. The Province views the covenant as a way forward given the difficult circumstance of watching certain Provinces of the Anglican Communion propose novel ways of Christian living in rejection of Biblical norms.

In response to these novel practices the Southern Cone had held churches in North America under its wing for some time while the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) was formed. However, the Province has not maintained jurisdiction over any local churches there for over a year. As a result, all so called ‘border crossings’ by any provincial members ceased (as of October, 2010) even though the Southern Cone still remains in impaired communion with US and Canadian Provinces. It is hoped that the Covenant can now provide Communion stability.

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Papua New Guinea approves Anglican Covenant

December 16th, 2011 Jill Posted in Anglican Covenant, News Comments Off

From ENS

The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea has announced that its Provincial Council has “approved and accepted” the Anglican Covenant, according to an article on the Anglican Communion News Service.

The covenant is a set of principles intended to bind the Anglican Communion amid differences and disputes across its 38 provinces.
 
Papua New Guinea becomes the fourth province formally to “adopt” or “accept” the covenant, the others being Burma, Mexico and the West Indies. The Church of Ireland “subscribed” to the covenant in May 2011, but its General Synod underscored that the covenant did not supplant existing governing documents. Recent Maori action in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia indicates that the covenant will be rejected when it comes before the province’s General Synod in July 2012.
 
In the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, the Executive Council agreed at its October meeting to submit a resolution to General Convention next year that would have it state that the church is “unable to adopt the Anglican Covenant in its present form.”
 
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