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BREAKING: Report of the Covenant Design Group

Monday, February 19, 2007 • 10:50 am


Report of the Covenant Design Group

The Covenant Design Group, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, held its first meeting in Nassau, the Bahamas, between Monday, 15th and Thursday, 18th January, 2007.  The Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, chaired the group.

The meeting discussed four major areas of work related to the development of an Anglican Covenant:  its content, the process by which it would be received into the life of the Communion, the foundations on which a covenant might be built, and its own methods of working.

The JSC paper, Towards an Anglican Covenant, was one of the initial papers tabled at the meeting, together with a wide range of responses to it from both individuals and from churches and other alliances within the Communion.  In addition, a number of correspondents had been invited to submit reflections to the group.  The group noted that there was a wide range of support for the concept of covenant in the life of the Communion, and although in the papers submitted there was a great deal of concern about the nature of any covenant that might be put forward for adoption, very few of the respondents objected to the concept of covenant per se, but rather saw the covenant as a moment of opportunity within the life of the Communion.

In their discussion, all the members of the group spoke of the value and importance of the continued life of the Anglican Communion as an instrument through which the Gospel could be proclaimed and God’s mission carried forward.  There was a real desire to see the interdependent life of the Communion strengthened by a covenant which would articulate our common foundations, and set out principles by which our life of Communion in Christ could be strengthened and nurtured.

It was also recognised, however, that the proposal for a covenant was born out of a specific context in which the Communion’s life was under severe strain.  While the group felt that it was important that the strength of a covenant would be greater if it addressed broad principles, and did not focus on particular issues, the need for its introduction into the life of the Communion in order to restore trust was urgent.

There were therefore two particular factors which would need to be borne in mind:

Content
The text of the Covenant would need to hold together and strengthen the life of the Communion.  To do so, it need not introduce some new development into the life of the Communion but rather be the clarification of a process of discernment which was embodied in the Windsor Report and in the recent reality of the life of the Instruments of Communion, and which was founded in and built upon the elements traditionally articulated in association with Anglicanism and the life of the Anglican Churches.

Urgency
While a definitive text which held all such elements in balance might take time to develop in the life of the Communion, there was also an urgent need to re-establish trust between the churches of the Communion.  The faithfulness of patterns of obedience to Christ were no longer recognised across the Communion, despite Paul’s call to another way of life (Romans 14.15), and its life would suffer irreparably if some measure of mutual and common commitment to the Gospel was not reasserted in a short time frame.  We were mindful also of the words of the Primates at Oporto, “We are conscious that we all stand together at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ, so we know that to turn away from each other would be to turn away from the Cross”.

Bearing this in mind, the CDG recommends a dual track approach.  The definitive text of any proposed Covenant which could command the long term confidence of the Communion would need extensive consultation and refining.  Although several possible texts have already been developed, a text for adoption would need to be debated and accepted in the Provinces through their own appropriate processes before formal synodical processes of adoption, if the Covenant was to be received and have any strength or reality.

At the same time, there needed to be a commitment now to the fundamental shape of the covenant in order to address the concerns of those who feared that the very credibility of the commitment of the Anglican Churches to one another and to the Gospel itself was in doubt.

The CDG therefore proposes that the Primates give consideration to a preliminary draft text for a covenant which has been developed from existing models, that they commend this text to the Provinces for study and response, and that they express an appropriate measure of consent to this text and express the intention to pursue its fine-tuning and adoption through the consultative and constitutional processes of the Provinces.

The Primates are not being asked to commit their churches at this stage, since they are all bound by their own Provincial constitutions to observe due process.  What they are being asked to do is to recognise in the general substance of the preliminary draft set forth by the CDG a concise expression of what may be considered as authentic Anglicanism.  Primates are also asked to request a response from their Provinces on the draft text to the Covenant Design Group in time for there to be the preparation of a revised draft which could receive initial consideration at the Lambeth Conference.

The text offered is meant to be robust enough to express clear commitment in those areas of Anglican faith about which there has been the most underlying concern in recent events, while at the same time being faithful and consistent with the declarations, formularies and commitments of Anglicanism as they have been received by our Churches.  In this way, nothing which is commended in the draft text of the Covenant can be said to be “new”; it is rather an assertion of that understanding of true Christian faith as it has been received in the Anglican Churches.

What is to be offered in the Covenant is not the invention of a new way of being Anglican, but a fresh restatement and assertion of the faith which we as Anglicans have received, and a commitment to inter-dependent life such as always in theory at least been given recognition.

An Introduction to a Draft Text for an Anglican Covenant

God has called us into communion in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9; 1 Jn. 1:3).  This call is established in God’s purposes for creation (Eph. 1:10; 3:9ff.), which have been furthered in God’s covenants with Israel and its representatives such as Abraham and most fully in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus.  We humbly recognize that this calling and gift of communion grants us responsibilities for our common life before God.

Through God’s grace we have been given the Communion of Anglican churches through which to respond to God’s larger calling in Christ (Acts 2:42).  This Communion provides us with a special charism and identity among the many followers and servants of Jesus.  Recognizing the wonder, beauty and challenge of maintaining communion in this family of churches, and the need for mutual commitment and discipline as a witness to God’s promise in a world and time of instability, conflict, and fragmentation, we covenant together as churches of this Anglican Communion to be faithful to God’s promises through the historic faith we confess, the way we live together and the focus of our mission. 

Our faith embodies a coherent testimony to what we have received from God’s Word and the Church’s long-standing witness;  our life together reflects the blessings of God in growing our Communion into a truly global body;  and the mission we pursue aims at serving the great promises of God in Christ that embrace the world and its peoples, carried out in shared responsibility and stewardship of resources, and in interdependence among ourselves and with the wider Church.

Our prayer is that God will redeem our struggles and weakness, and renew and enrich our common life so that the Anglican Communion may be used to witness effectively in all the world to the new life and hope found in Christ.

An Anglican Covenant Draft prepared by the Covenant Design Group, January 2007

1 Preamble

(Psalm 127.1-2, Ezekiel 37.1-14, Mark 1.1, John 10.10; Romans 5.1-5, Ephesians 4:1-16, Revelation 2-3)

We, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ , solemnly covenant together in these articles, in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the Grace of God revealed in the Gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace, and to grow up together as a worldwide Communion to the full stature of Christ.

2     The Life We Share:  Common Catholicity, Apostolicity and Confession of Faith

(Deuteronomy 6.4-7, Leviticus 19.9-10, Amos 5.14-15, 24; Matthew 25, 28.16-20, 1 Corinthians 15.3-11, Philippians 2.1-11, 1 Timothy 3:15-16, Hebrews 13.1-17)

Each member Church, and the Communion as a whole, affirms:

that it is part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
that it professes the faith which is uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary for salvation and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith, and which is set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation;
that it holds and duly administers the two sacraments ordained by Christ himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with the unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and of the elements ordained by him;
that it participates in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God;
that, led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons [1];
our loyalty to this inheritance of faith as our inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to our societies and nations.
3 Our Commitment to Confession of the Faith

(Deuteronomy 30.11-14, Psalm 126, Mark 10.26-27, Luke 1.37, 46-55, John 8: 32, 14:15-17, 1 Corinthians 11.23-26,2 Timothy 3:10-4:5;)

In seeking to be faithful to God in their various contexts, each Church commits itself to:

uphold and act in continuity and consistency with the catholic and apostolic faith, order and tradition, biblically derived moral values and the vision of humanity received by and developed in the communion of member Churches;
seek in all things to uphold the solemn obligation to sustain Eucharistic communion, welcoming members of all other member churches to join in its own celebration, and encouraging its members to participate in the Eucharist in a member church in accordance with the canonical discipline of that host church;
ensure that biblical texts are handled faithfully, respectfully, comprehensively and coherently, primarily through the teaching and initiative of bishops and synods, and building on our best scholarship, believing that scriptural revelation must continue to illuminate, challenge and transform cultures, structures and ways of thinking;
nurture and respond to prophetic and faithful leadership and ministry to assist our Churches as courageous witnesses to the transformative power of the Gospel in the world.
pursue a common pilgrimage with other members of the Communion to discern truth, that peoples from all nations may truly be free and receive the new and abundant life in the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 The Life We Share with Others: Our Anglican Vocation

(Jeremiah 31.31-34, Ezekiel. 36.22-28, Matthew 28.16-20, John 17.20-24, 2 Corinthians 8-9, Ephesians 2:11-3:21, James 1.22-27)

We affirm that Communion is a gift of God: that His people from east and west, north and south, may together declare his glory and be a sign of God’s Kingdom.  We gratefully acknowledge God’s gracious providence extended to us down the ages, our origins in the undivided Church, the rich history of the Church in the British Isles shaped particularly by the Reformation, and our growth into a global communion through the various mission initiatives.

As the Communion continues to develop into a worldwide family of interdependent churches, we also face challenges and opportunities for mission at local, regional, and international levels. We cherish our faith and mission heritage as offering us unique opportunities for mission collaboration, for discovery ofthe life ofthe wholegospel and for reconciliation and shared mission with the Church throughout the world.

The member Churches acknowledge that their common mission is a mission shared with other churches and traditions not party to this covenant.  It is with all the saints that we will comprehend the fuller dimensions of Christ’s redemptive and immeasurablelove.

We commit ourselves to answering God’s call to share in his healing and reconciling mission for our blessed but broken and hurting world, and, with mutual accountability, to share our God-given spiritual and material resources in this task. 

In this mission, which is the Mission of Christ, we commit ourselves

to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God
to teach, baptize and nurture new believers;
to respond to human need by loving service;
to seek to transform unjust structures of society; and
to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth.
5 Our Unity and Common Life

(Numbers 11.16-20, Luke 22.14-27, Acts 2.43-47, 4.32-35, 1 Corinthians 11.23-26, 1 Peter 4:7-11, 5:1-11)

We affirm the historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church and the central role of bishopsas custodians of faith, leaders in mission, and as visible sign of unity. 

We affirm the place of four Instruments of Communion which serve to discern our common mind in communion issues, and to foster our interdependence and mutual accountability in Christ. While each member Church orders and regulates its own affairs through its own system of government and law and is therefore described as autonomous, each church recognises that the member churches of the Anglican Communion are bound together, not juridically by a central legislative or executive authority, but by the Holy Spirit who calls and enables us to live in mutual loyalty and service.

Of these four Instruments of Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with whose See Anglicans have historically been in communion, is accorded a primacy of honour and respect as first amongst equals (primus inter pares). He calls the Lambeth Conference, and Primates’ Meeting, and is President of the Anglican Consultative Council. 

The Lambeth Conference, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and serves as an instrument in guarding the faith and unity of the Communion.

The Primates’ Meeting, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assembles for mutual support and counsel, monitors global developments and works in full collaboration in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have Communion-wide implications.

The Anglican Consultative Council is a body representative of bishops, clergy and laity of the churches, which co-ordinates aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work.

6 Unity of the Communion

(Nehemiah 2.17,18, Mt. 18.15-18, 1 Corinthians 12, 2 Corinthians 4.1-18, 13: 5-10, Galatians 6.1-10)

Each Church commits itself

in essential matters of common concern, to have regard to the common good of the Communion in the exercise of its autonomy, and to support the work of the Instruments of Communion with the spiritual and material resources available to it.
to spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and discernment to listen and to study with one another in order to comprehend the will of God.  Such study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as its seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation.  Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith:  all therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.
to seek with other members, through the Church’s shared councils, a common mind about matters of essential concern, consistent with the Scriptures, common standards of faith, and the canon law of our churches.
to heed the counsel of our Instruments of Communion in matters which threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness of our mission.  While the Instruments of Communion have no juridical or executive authority in our Provinces, we recognise them as those bodies by which our common life in Christ is articulated and sustained, and which therefore carry a moral authority which commands our respect. 
to seek the guidance of the Instruments of Communion, where there are matters in serious dispute among churches that cannot be resolved by mutual admonition and counsel:
by submitting the matter to the Primates Meeting
if the Primates believe that the matter is not one for which a common mind has been articulated, they will seek it with the other instruments and their councils
finally, on this basis, the Primates will offer guidance and direction.
We acknowledge that in the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Councils of the Instruments of Communion, we will consider that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.
7 Our Declaration

(Psalms 46, 72.18,19, 150, Acts10.34-44, 2 Corinthians 13.13, Jude 24-25)

With joy and with firm resolve, we declare our Churches to be partners in this Anglican Covenant, releasing ourselves for fruitful service and binding ourselves more closely in the truth andlove of Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory for ever. Amen.


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Comments:

Well, that’s it then.  A complete rout, if this text is representative of their thinking.  One thing we might want to ask is, would this have prevented anything that happened before GC03?

No.

It’s a joke.

[1] Posted by Phil on 02-19-2007 at 11:55 AM • top

This is what we were waiting for?  It gives more power to the Primates Meeting.  Okay.  A TEC General Convention would pass this in a minute.  It really doesn’t say much, and doesn’t bind anyone to anything.  It is classically Anglican based on +Gomez’s description - Rich Anglican Fudge.

[2] Posted by Brad Drell on 02-19-2007 at 11:58 AM • top

This is what was supposed to provide discipline? This is the document TEC would be unable to sign? There is no doubt in my mind that the most revisionist of leaders in the Episcopal Church could sign this without a moment’s hesitation.

[3] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 11:59 AM • top

This is good! 

1.  Morals are based on biblical standards
2.  The Instruments of Unity have joint moral authority
3.  If a province decides not to listen to the instruments of unity, it can be declared to have “relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose,” (e.g. walked apart) and will need to be ‘readmitted” to the communion.

I pray that the communique from the Primates Meeting is just as good.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[4] Posted by Philip Snyder on 02-19-2007 at 11:59 AM • top

The usual meaningless Anglican drivel.

[5] Posted by henryleroi on 02-19-2007 at 12:00 PM • top

The Scottish Episcopal Church sez “yessirree”.  At least this Scottish Episcopalian does.

RR

[6] Posted by Raspberry Rabbit on 02-19-2007 at 12:00 PM • top

More fudge. More delays. More “listening.” More denials. More deception.

[7] Posted by JerryKramer on 02-19-2007 at 12:01 PM • top

A quick reaction: I would say that the Draft is “neutral”—neither a defeat nor a victory for the Orthodox.  Perhaps we use the word “fudge.”  The statment of the Primates will give us a clue of whether this is a “win” or not.

[8] Posted by recusant on 02-19-2007 at 12:02 PM • top

It is not bad for what it says, but it repudiates nothing.  The “Humpty Dumpties” of 815, seven seminaries, and revisionists in general will have no trouble making this “covenant” mean anything that they choose.  Such word-spinning is indeed their specialty.

Rot.

[9] Posted by AnglicanXn on 02-19-2007 at 12:02 PM • top

Fudge One - here’s to two Lambeth’s to even start ratification

primates are also asked to request a response from their Provinces on the draft text to the Covenant Design Group in time for there to be the preparation of a revised draft which could receive initial consideration at the Lambeth Conference.

Fudge Two - THE WHOLE REST OF THE TEXT.  Which states nothing and requires even less.  If this is +Martyn’s “victory and great cost” well I have a great deal on 1500 feet of bridge in NYC for him.

RSB

[10] Posted by R S Bunker on 02-19-2007 at 12:02 PM • top

Phil, the problem is with definitions. TEC believes herself to have upheld all of these things. And, if the Sub-Group report is accepted, so do the IU’s

[11] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:02 PM • top

I don’t see any hope in the draft covenant.  I’m crushed.  There was a great model in the Declaration of Anglican Essentials. This contains none of that.

[12] Posted by Andy Figueroa on 02-19-2007 at 12:02 PM • top

919 visitors online right now… It shows how much this document means to us all.

For me, it is all sound and fury, signifying very little….

:(

But….God is good all the time, and He will watch over His Church.  But does the Anglican Communion and its primates truly (100%) want to BE part of His Church?  It doesn’t feel like it to me…

[13] Posted by Liz Forman on 02-19-2007 at 12:05 PM • top

Is this not the document presented late last week before amendment? It strikes me that this has probably been heavily modified in the last four days. In other words, it has only historical interest. The actual covenant—as amended by the Primates—should be released later today, right?

[14] Posted by texanglican on 02-19-2007 at 12:06 PM • top

I am with Matt+ on this one…I had hoped for something more.

[15] Posted by johnp on 02-19-2007 at 12:07 PM • top

texanglican, this is the real thing, just published

[16] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:08 PM • top

Anglicanism proves yet again that the Preacher’s words: “Meaningless - all is meaningless!” is more than an ontological statement.

It now summarizes the Anglican Communion.

A sad, sad day is upon us.

-Jim+

[17] Posted by Fr Jim+ on 02-19-2007 at 12:08 PM • top

Phil,

While I have respect for my fellow reasserters, it appears you read the whole thing carefully and made a judgment in the space of 5 minutes.  It was posted at 11:50.  You responded 5 minutes later.  Just a brotherly admonition.

[18] Posted by Calvin on 02-19-2007 at 12:09 PM • top

How long do we wait? This is almost 40 years in the desert if you start counting from the illicit ordinations in 1974 of 11 women in Philadelphia. But then one could start counting from the lunatic days of Bp Pike in the ‘60s. It’s more than 40 years.

Only hope I see is full withdrawal of the Global South with mission parishes in the US. But I don’t think that will happen.

This is so much worse than anything I could’ve expected at the start of the General Convention last year. It’s the worst possible destruction of our cause imaginable. Sorta reminds me of being in the South during Reconstruction.

[19] Posted by henryleroi on 02-19-2007 at 12:10 PM • top

Phil,
Read the very last paragraph under 6. Unity of the Communion:

We acknowledge that in the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Councils of the Instruments of Communion, we will consider that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.

It would appear, based on a cursory reading,  that a province might feel bold enough to ask for forgiveness after the fact and not for permission beforehand.  For some reason, all the work of sorting this out with the wilfully rebellious province is born by the rest of the Communion.  If the rest of the Communion folds, as seems to have been happening this week, then this Covenant would seem to have no teeth.

[20] Posted by dl on 02-19-2007 at 12:10 PM • top

If this is “victory” for the Orthodox, I’d hate to see defeat.  If this is the best Canterbury can give…if this is all the Global South can deliver…if this is what the ACN and AAC have been telling everyone to be patient for…well, it’s a JOKE!  I’m calling my mom, and advising that she join us in LCMS.  Even AMiA is doomed now.

[21] Posted by Puritan Souls on 02-19-2007 at 12:11 PM • top

Good grief it has got to go through the synods of 38 Provinces and then to go Lambeth. Death by a thousand cuts.

It is largely (entirely?) descriptive of what exists at the moment and the authority the various Instruments have. What exists now clearly hasn’t prevented or resolved the current crisis and on first glance I don’t see how writing it down and signing it would make any substantial difference.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose?

[22] Posted by driver8 on 02-19-2007 at 12:11 PM • top

” ...The Lambeth Conference, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and serves as an instrument in guarding the faith and unity of the Communion…”

Does this mean that all the bishops worldwide are coming to Lambeth?  VGR?

[23] Posted by recusant on 02-19-2007 at 12:12 PM • top

Oh, well.

[24] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 02-19-2007 at 12:13 PM • top

This part is good, the Bible “is the ultimate standard of faith.” But what else??—there’s very little in terms of accountability, which is what this whole document was supposed to be about. I am confident that 108 of the 110 TEC bishops would sign this in a heart. 2 of the 110 would sign it in two heart-beats. The persecution of the TEC “traditionalists” will continue apace.

[25] Posted by alfonsoq on 02-19-2007 at 12:13 PM • top

A Covenant Draft Document which is easily signed both by those who affirm Orthodox Christianity and those who deny Orthodox Christianity is worse than nothing at all.  For it implies that all those who would accept such a document regard Orthodox Christianity as non-obligatory, indeed quite dispensable in our common “Anglican” life.  This is not an “Anglicanism” worth preserving.

I do believe we are seeing the wheels come off the wagon here.

Bill+

[26] Posted by Bill+ on 02-19-2007 at 12:13 PM • top

This took the CDG four days?

[27] Posted by Nyssa on 02-19-2007 at 12:14 PM • top

I see no big problem with the draft covenant upon a first reading.  But, like scripture, the issue comes in how you “interpret” it.  And in this post-modern age, that’s the issue in about everything, isn’t it.

[28] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 02-19-2007 at 12:14 PM • top

It takes no time at all to see that this has no teeth.  As Matt said, any heretic in TEC could sign off on this and sleep well—knowing that all will be well for decades to come.  What a sham!

[29] Posted by hanks on 02-19-2007 at 12:15 PM • top

This does nothing but replace “bonds of affection” with “Covenant”. To judge from this, the latter will be no more effective than the former.

The “affirmations” here may be given an “orthodox” interpretation. But they may also be given a revisionist one—by the same duplicitous appeals to “listening” and “new revelations” in Scripture that they have always used.

There’s nothing new here that isn’t already in previous primatial resolutions (Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral anyone?)... including the fact that it recognizes the full autonomy of member churches (and thus their full right & ability to intepret or ignore the “mind of the Communion” as they see fit).

The only “novelty” is this passage:

We acknowledge that in the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Councils of the Instruments of Communion, we will consider that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.

i.e. that if one member church comes up with its own interpretation against the “Instruments of Communion” then, in extreme cases, they may be thought to have “relinquished” the Covenant.
:
:
:
So, what is necessary for discipline?

* A member church must take a stand on some apostate or heretical teaching
* It must managed to be pinned down that this stand is heretical through a long series of meetings, communiques, General Conventions, etc.
* All the “Instruments of Unity” must then get together and affirm that the stand is heretical and that it goes against the interpretation of the (vague) Covenenant. (And these are the same Instruments which gave PECUSA a “pass” on its response to Windsor.)
* They must then, likewise, judge that the case is “extreme”. This will probably entail another round of warnings, meetings, delays, communiques, consultations, press releases, etc.
* And then, if all this actually manages to happen… shock!, the member church is judged to have “relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose” and have to go through some indeterminate “process of restoration and renewal”. Can you say “wrist slap”?
:
:
:
Nevertheless, I now await all the recidivist fence-sitters to come up with a way to “spin” this as a victory and justify continued membership in PECUSA. Hope is a virtue—but not delusion masquerading as hope.

pax,
LP

[30] Posted by LP on 02-19-2007 at 12:15 PM • top

What seems clear enough is that no-one is being thrown out.

The real question is - are those who wish that to happen, going to remain within or not?

And did Akinola agree to this statement?

[31] Posted by Merseymike on 02-19-2007 at 12:16 PM • top

this is precisely why it was so very important not to conflate the process of discipline with the covenant process.

[32] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:17 PM • top

If a province decides not to listen to the instruments of unity, it can be declared to have “relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose,” (e.g. walked apart) and will need to be ‘readmitted” to the communion.

Given the very “generous” reading of TEC’s response to Windsor contained in the report from the subcommittee, it would be almost impossible to declare anyone to have decided to “walk apart” regardless of their behavior.  I cannot imagine a covenant designed along the lines of this one being of any value whatsoever.

[33] Posted by Edwin on 02-19-2007 at 12:17 PM • top

I invite everyone to compare this block of bureaucratic- and vagueness-riddled fudge to the clarity and orthodoxy of the
AFFIRMATION OF ST. LOUIS

pax,
LP

[34] Posted by LP on 02-19-2007 at 12:18 PM • top

If this so-called covenant was toilet paper, I wouldn’t….........
Oh, never mind.

the (soon to be) formerly Anglican Snarkster

[35] Posted by the snarkster on 02-19-2007 at 12:21 PM • top

Matt,
I think the problem for TEC will be in the part that subordinates or relativizes the TEC notion of “autonomy.” Their entire justification of the SSB thing rests upon that, and after a quick read, I am wondering if this threatens that by subjecting that decision to the rest of the communion.  I suspect TEC would vigorously oppose the entire framework that subjects TEC to others through the scheme of mutual subjection and also the instruments of unity.  All of this was in Windsor in some way. Perhaps you did not forgotten that most TEC bishops do not accept at all the whole idea of instruments of unity.  They consider it a proposal to which they have never agreed, and therefore the primates have no authority.  If I were to pick an area that represents a setback and potential problem for its approval by TEC, that (and maybe the section that mentions Christ and the Bible as authoritative) will be it.

[36] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 12:21 PM • top

“A Covenant Draft Document which is easily signed both by those who affirm Orthodox Christianity and those who deny Orthodox Christianity is worse than nothing at all.” and “This does nothing but replace “bonds of affection” with “Covenant”. To judge from this, the latter will be no more effective than the former.”


Which is why the only bishops to vote against this travesty should be the traditionalists! What sad irony indeed.

[37] Posted by alfonsoq on 02-19-2007 at 12:22 PM • top

Actually, I would suggest that this Covenant is not the toothless tiger some are making it out to be.  The money quotes are near the end:  Section 6.5 and 6.6:

6.5: to seek the guidance of the Instruments of Communion, where there are matters in serious dispute among churches that cannot be resolved by mutual admonition and counsel:
by submitting the matter to the Primates Meeting
if the Primates believe that the matter is not one for which a common mind has been articulated, they will seek it with the other instruments and their councils
finally, on this basis, the Primates will offer guidance and direction.
6.6 We acknowledge that in the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Councils of the Instruments of Communion, we will consider that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.

The Covenant basically says that where there is serious dispute, the Primates make the decision.  Further, if a Province chooses to act unilaterally regardless, such action will be deemed to be a revocation of the Covenant by that Province.  Do you guys REALLY think that the TEC liberals will go for that?  Come on!
If this covenant was in place in 2003, the issue would have gone to the Primates who would have said “NO WAY!” at which point TEC would have had the choice to either stand down or BY THEIR OWN ACTIONS leave the Anglican Communion.
My only criticism of this Covenant is that it lacks sufficient procedural detail in following steps 6.5 and 6.6, and 6.6 in particular.

[38] Posted by jamesw on 02-19-2007 at 12:23 PM • top

Snarkster:- I coudn’t put this on the Shori thread so I"m putting it here (GREG - what are you doing?  You act like there’s a thousand people on-line or something) -

You know, electing Shori as part of this team is putting your own nails in your own coffin.  She will be no asset - unless it’s to bring the magic of multi-colored garments to the group.  So, they will reap what they have sown.  My grandmother says, “One nice thing about getting older is you get to find out the rest of the story.”  I predict this is the beginning of the end for her and the rest of them.  IF R. Williams has chosen to be apostate, he’ll also reap what he’s sown - and in his case, that’s the destruction of the Anglican Communion.

I confess that I am not sad my parish lies now in Uganda - I believe in B. Orombi - and I am going to wait to hear what he has to say before I declare this a ‘rout’.  When I had an apostate bishop, I had no authority on which to lean, but now that I have a Godly one, I will submit to his authority.

So, don’t go ‘former Anglican’ just go to ‘Gody Anglican’.

[39] Posted by Eclipse on 02-19-2007 at 12:25 PM • top

Yet another Munich Agreement.

[40] Posted by dogmatix on 02-19-2007 at 12:26 PM • top

Scott Gunn of Inclusive Church has a brief commentary on Covenant here

http://inclusivechurch.blogspot.com/2007/02/breaking-draft-covenant-released.html

[41] Posted by The_Elves on 02-19-2007 at 12:27 PM • top

Calvin: I’m a fast reader.  But if you see something in there that contradicts my opinion (and, apparently, the opinion of 95% of the other commenters), please, do tell.  Perhaps you haven’t spent enough time in the world of the Episcopal Church to know that ECUSA thinks it believes all this stuff right now and at every point over the last forty years.  That’s OK.  You’ll learn.

[42] Posted by Phil on 02-19-2007 at 12:28 PM • top

Actually, I would suggest that this Covenant is not the toothless tiger some are making it out to be. 

Let me point out that many said the same about Windsor.

[43] Posted by R S Bunker on 02-19-2007 at 12:28 PM • top

The Anglican Communion is not the Church, the Holy Bride of Christ.  What hurts so much is that today we are finding out how little of its leadership has any connection to His Holy Bride. 

This document is nearly a bad as the Gang of Four report.  It is a meaningless mubble of words, perfect in form and structure to continue the AC well down its road to Perdition. 

We need to differentiate between despair and grief, and part of that grief is going to center on hopes lost and hopes betrayed.  We have a right to grieve, because no one is going to emerge from this without loss, rather it is realized or not.  Even the revisionist will experience loss and I don’t mean the money, heresy will spread even faster unchecked and some revisionists will find out, too late, that what they have lost is their immortal souls.

I plead with tears to those within the “conservative” camp that would choose or feel the need to spin this a positive, please don’t.  It’s bad enough to recognize the fact that we have been giving fudge instead of meat, but it just adds insult to injury to trot out some cleverly-devised structure that will demonstrate the content of fudge is the same as meat.

And still, do not despair, the Church is still here in the world.  We just have to go through the sorrow of leaving our homes to travel in both uncertainty and faith to the land where our LORD intends for us to go.

[44] Posted by Gayle on 02-19-2007 at 12:29 PM • top

And Brad Drell was only 3 minutes behind me, and he’s a lawyer.  Unfortunately, Calvin, eventually you can write this stuff in your sleep.

[45] Posted by Phil on 02-19-2007 at 12:29 PM • top

Does it have teeth?  I doubt it.  Even if you set standards for what constitutes an “extreme” circumstance, and go through untold years of listening, at the end of the day: “we will consider that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose”.  Is this the same as having left the communion.  Maybe, but probably not.  All it seems to say is that a province will have left behind the “Covenant’s purpose” (that should be a big enough loop hole to drive any interpretive truck through).

[46] Posted by Nyssa on 02-19-2007 at 12:31 PM • top

Somebody please point me to the part about the new orthodox province. Oh, it’s not there? Imagine that.

[47] Posted by Angels Heard On High on 02-19-2007 at 12:32 PM • top

ok, so the covenant basically says nothing.  The sub-committee basically says nothing. Schori, instead of being expelled, has been promoted.
Talk about get kicked while you’re down.
The Communion has completely vindicated the position of TEC.  There’s not one Bishop, including Robinson, that won’t sign on to this covenant.
pathetic. truly pathetic

[48] Posted by Tony Romo on 02-19-2007 at 12:32 PM • top

To Jerry+ and RSB - not just fudge, it’s fudge with nuts! (Sorry about that - a brief respite of comic relief.)

[49] Posted by wanderingchild on 02-19-2007 at 12:32 PM • top

I agree with Craig and James.  The other kicker here is the difference between theory and practice.

[50] Posted by Orthoducky on 02-19-2007 at 12:33 PM • top

jamesw,  in response to your question: I suggest that the scriptural references are somewhat of an interpretative guide as to process and details, which is itself good.  Note the reconciliation section references Matt 18:15-18, just as it should.

[51] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 12:33 PM • top

Glad we got the ELCA vs LCMS thing straightened out….and ELCA is very parallel to ECUSA, where LCMS is not at all!

I just wanted to back up and take a look at Gayle’s post again in the “KJS elected to Standing Committee” thread, because Gayle is right on the money!!!  From her post…

“We are headed into dark days, but remember the AC is not the Church and there are far more orthodox Christians, worldwide, there are over a billion RC’s, plus Eastern Orthodox and yes even Baptists, PCA’s and little outposts like St. _______.  There is reason for hope and trust.  If the AC is riddled with cancer, as it appears to be, then it needs to be pruned.  Maybe that is what God is doing.  It may not happen in my lifetime or even your lifetime, but eventually the AC will diminish and fade away.”

I personally have felt for awhile that the Great Physician has some major surgery in mind for the disease that is running rampant through the body of Christ.  I selfishly wished it weren’t so, too. No one wants to know how far a cancer has spread….we want the doctor to tell us, “It’s ok!  It’s contained, and we can get it quickly and cleanly.”  That might have been true at some point in the church, but we didn’t do anything about it at that point, and now it’s rampant.  This document is like getting another bad report from the Great Physician, but…..put on the Armor of God….

Stay strong, stand firm, trust in God, move away from your computer for awhile if it’s too upsetting…and hold on to the Word.  We, His sheep and His soldiers, do not have to scatter just yet.

God is good.  ALL the time!

[52] Posted by Liz Forman on 02-19-2007 at 12:33 PM • top

This is the Covenant, not the Primates’ Statement.  Ergo, I would not expect anything about a Parallel province.

[53] Posted by recusant on 02-19-2007 at 12:33 PM • top

From my perspective, I would caution against using words such as “good” or “bad” with respect to this draft and instead ask whether the proposed covenant is “useful” or “useless” in bringing TEC in line (kicking and screaming) with the rest of the Communion.  I for one feel (admittedly a feeling because I haven’t had a chance to study yet) that both this draft and the group’s report are “useful” for our purposes.

[54] Posted by Widening Gyre on 02-19-2007 at 12:34 PM • top

It says it is the “Report of the Covenant Design Group” NOT the Covenant as prepared/adjusted by the Primates.  Though, frankly, I do not expect to look terribly different.

[55] Posted by Andy W. on 02-19-2007 at 12:36 PM • top

Each member Church, and the Communion as a whole, affirms:

1)that it is part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
2)that it professes the faith which is uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary for salvation and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith, and which is set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation;
3)that it holds and duly administers the two sacraments ordained by Christ himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with the unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and of the elements ordained by him;
4)that it participates in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God;
5)that, led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons [1];
our loyalty to this inheritance of faith as our inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to our societies and nations.

 

I am sorry folks but did you really read this part?  I can’t see any true revisionist signing this.  And if they do it is a lie.

N.

[56] Posted by nette on 02-19-2007 at 12:36 PM • top

R.S. Thank you for that concise, clarion comment.

“Covenant is not the toothless tiger some are making it out to be”
Let me point out that many said the same about Windsor.

I would add that not only did many say the same about Windsor, but that Windsor was MUCH more restrictive than this covenant!

[57] Posted by alfonsoq on 02-19-2007 at 12:36 PM • top

WG: perhaps we could use such other words.  Forty.  Years.  Lucy.  Football.  Brooklyn.  Bridge.

[58] Posted by Phil on 02-19-2007 at 12:37 PM • top

At first read the Covenant document does not present a major problem for anyone, this is, once again, makes it SO ANGLICAN! Only a few days of reflection and careful thought will tell what the full implications of this document are.  What is troubling, however, right now is when juxtaposes this sort of classically vague Anglican document with the reality of how the last General Convention was just characterized by the sub-group—headed by no lesser a figure than the ABC!  At some point actions must trump words.  The sub-group’s interpretation of the events of Gen. Con. illustrate how almost anything can be spun in almost anyway one wants.  With that recent report still so fresh in our minds, it is, at least at first glance, VERY HARD to put much stock in a document as vague as this draft covenant.  Unless this Primates’ Meeting ends with some concrete protection for orthodox Anglicans in North America, I think it will be very hard indeed for the orthodox leadership to stem the flow of orthodox out of Anglicanism altogether.  Let us pray that this is not the last bit of news out of Tanzania from this meeting.

[59] Posted by Chris Taylor on 02-19-2007 at 12:38 PM • top

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor…

[60] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:38 PM • top

nette, re: “I can’t see any true revisionist signing this.  And if they do it is a lie.”

So, you’re a new Episcopalian, I see?

Re-read your words carefully.  You’ve inadvertently stumbled upon the truth.

[61] Posted by Phil on 02-19-2007 at 12:39 PM • top

Here, as I see it, is the most critical passage:

‘In seeking to be faithful to God in their various contexts, each Church commits itself to . . . seek in all things to uphold the solemn obligation to sustain Eucharistic communion, welcoming members of all other member churches to join in its own celebration, and encouraging its members to participate in the Eucharist in a member church <b>in accordance with the canonical discipline of that host church<b> . . . .’

What we have here is the real reason Canterbury, et al., were willing to go along with this show of preparing to discipline ECUSA.  All along, there was exactly ONE thing that the conservative/orthodox primates could possibly do that could threaten Canterbury and 815:  they could undermine the latter’s authority by declaring the non-orthodox out of communion, treating the non-orthodox as if their sees were vacant, and appropriately sending missionaries to replace those who had abandoned Christian faith and practice.

What I see here is a pistol-full of bullets bearing the names of Kolini, Akinola, and the other orthodox primates whose demonstrated willingness to take action is the ONLY reason anybody has thought, for the past 3 or 4 years, that ANY censure might be directed toward ECUSA/TEC.  The exhortations to Biblical faithfulness mean no more to the non-orthodox in this context than they do in the Biblical context itself, and TEC/ECUSA and Canterbury will continue to interpret them away as they have for decades.  The only teeth this has, I think, are for shredding the orthodox.

It seems to me that if the Global South primates sign on to this, it will lend a nauseating irony to the choice of a former slave market as a venue for the primates’ communion service.  Before the global south primates commit to being passengers on Williams’ boat, they may want to think twice about where he’s taking them.  They may soon feel that in the phrase ‘bonds of affection,’ the Anglo-American translation of ‘affection’ may turn out to be ‘amistad’.

[62] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 02-19-2007 at 12:39 PM • top

Right Matt (Bluto), “it’s over when we say it’s over!”

[63] Posted by JerryKramer on 02-19-2007 at 12:40 PM • top

InclusiveChurch doesn’t seem very happy with it.

[64] Posted by James Manley on 02-19-2007 at 12:40 PM • top

Matt, if the Germans had bombed Pearl Harbor it might have been. wink

[65] Posted by oscewicee on 02-19-2007 at 12:41 PM • top

It certainly wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor…the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor…

[66] Posted by johnp on 02-19-2007 at 12:41 PM • top

Matt

That would have meant a lott when they let Bishop Pike off, but now we’ve spent forty years in the wilderness.

RSB

[67] Posted by R S Bunker on 02-19-2007 at 12:41 PM • top

I just very quickly read it and it appears to be a framework for the future, a long-term goal.  As someone indicated, it is not about the last three-four years principally.  If the Primates have the final voice, it could evolve into an authoritative deposit of Anglican belief.  That process would take years though refinements could be steady across the short haul. 

The question of an immediate, two-province temporary solution or other provision for the orthodox remains.  For that, one will need to wait for the Primates’ statement.  If they provide a safe haven for the orthodox as the Covenant emerges, it will be a precursor of how they will function as the Covenant becomes clarified and more and more functional .

[68] Posted by Seen-Too-Much on 02-19-2007 at 12:41 PM • top

Matt and Jerry;
Does this mean TEC is now on “double secret probation”? 
-Jeff

[69] Posted by Puritan Souls on 02-19-2007 at 12:41 PM • top

N. wrote: “I am sorry folks but did you really read this part?  I can’t see any true revisionist signing this.  And if they do it is a lie. “


to carry on from my previous comment, “I can’t see any true revisionist claiming to be Windsor Compliant. And if they do it is a lie.” The problem is obvious: We (Anglicans) suck up lies and spit out unanimous communiques. It’s what we do. Before today there might have been doubt. No more.

[70] Posted by alfonsoq on 02-19-2007 at 12:42 PM • top

gentlemen, take a joke, anyone seen Animal House?

[71] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:42 PM • top

Widening Gyre,
I echo your comments, but add that those who were looking for the covenant to be punitive to TEC are confusing this with the communique, I think.  The Covenant was never supposed to be punitive or to deal Windsor’s presenting issue of sexual immorality.  The purpose of the document we are viewing is and has always been to define the way in which will do business in the future so that the bonds of affection won’t be torn the next time a controversial innovation is introduced (e.g., eugenics issues).  I suggest you read it in that light and set aside TEC as something that must be handled with discipline and perhaps ecclesial re-structuring.  That stuff is not the purpose of what we are reading right now….

[72] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 12:43 PM • top

nette: what was it that Frank Griswold promised (signed)?

[73] Posted by Angels Heard On High on 02-19-2007 at 12:45 PM • top

every revisionist I know thinks that he or she is deriving their positions from the context of biblical morality and acting within the constraints of communion bonds
and what is more, the communion sub group agrees.

I would not even blink to sign this as a revisionist

[74] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:45 PM • top

WG:  I agree, I think it is useful.

We acknowledge that in the most extreme circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as understood by the Councils of the Instruments of Communion, we will consider that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and a process of restoration and renewal will be required to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.

The first time ECUSA steps a toe across the “line” (and how long can that be?) the Primates can declare them to have walked apart - then the onus is on ECUSA to get back in.  As a practical concern, I’m not sure how this plays out - if 22 primates make declarations that ECUSA has walked apart after the next infraction, does that disenfranchise them from Lambeth08?  I don’t know - but if that happens and 22 primates say they will not come to the table with certain American bishops - at the very least they can claim point to the authority of this draft covenant thing…

[75] Posted by this_day on 02-19-2007 at 12:46 PM • top

Walt Disney could sign this.

[76] Posted by dogmatix on 02-19-2007 at 12:46 PM • top

Again, Covenant/Communique/Discipline is as the same does…

What does this mean?  TEC already has blown right thru the checkposts of Scripture, Tradition, BCP liturgy/doctrine, Primates, Communion Majority… all… the only significant difference in this Covenant is the explicit subjugation to the Primates…

*very significant, in theory*... BUT in practice, what happens to US Orthodox in the meantime… any real change OR just wait to get picked off, purged, run out of town…

Does this mean we all keep shifting to AMiA, Uganda, CANA, et all… start over and take our chances?

The “or get off the pot” question:  is this it—or is this only one piece of the answer? 

Admitting “no jurisdictional [but moral] authority” and all signers giving the Primates authority to declare a Province “out of bounds” sounds like a great step forward—for the year 2002.

The underlying question since Nov. 2005 in Pittsburgh has been whether TEC orthodox are willing to leave TEC if necessary. 

Is a new structure going to be closer to reality by day’s end, or are we all living in denial?

[77] Posted by hoping against hope on 02-19-2007 at 12:47 PM • top

TEC has walked accross the line and she will walk accross this one and then a new line will be drawn…but really, this is not even a line.

[78] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:48 PM • top

Phil,

No as a matter of fact I am a life long Episcopalian.  And because of that fact I know that the Aof C is not Pope and the primates aren’t the college of cardinals.  I am saying this gives a chance that the TEC leadership will opt out of the AC.  There are a lot of revisionists wanting just that.

N

[79] Posted by nette on 02-19-2007 at 12:50 PM • top

LOL, dogmatix! He may have written it!

[80] Posted by Angels Heard On High on 02-19-2007 at 12:50 PM • top

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor…

+Matt,

I think you meant to say, ‘Japanese.’  smile

I think we may need a series of articles on exit-strategies.  For myself, I have no emotional investment in ECUSA, or the AC.  I am however, keenly interested in the honor of our Lord, the integrity of the Gospel in all of its offense, as well as redeeming people still in the pews. 

There are in my opinion, still folks in moderate parishes, who are reachable.  I’m certainly not suggesting that all of us play the “wait and see, wait and see” game (Per Rom 14, conscience is a dangerous thing to go against), but I am suggesting that if some of us feel called to stay, strictly temporarily, in order to take advantage of missionary opportunities, then they should do so.

[81] Posted by J Eppinga on 02-19-2007 at 12:52 PM • top

Craig,

Thanks for your thoughful comments. The issue as I see it is that the Covenant very largely replicates the current authority structure which has so clearly failed. The significant exception being that the Primates will have a formal role in offering guidance and in extreme circumstances deciding that a church has broken the covenant. For me to trust that this means anything concrete the Primates have to show themselves willing, in some meaningful way, to discipline TEC at this meeting. We’ll see.

[82] Posted by driver8 on 02-19-2007 at 12:53 PM • top

We are getting clarity.  We await just one more note of clarity from the communique, ...

[83] Posted by Philip Bowers on 02-19-2007 at 12:53 PM • top

Father Jake seems to think it’s a statement which poses no problems…
http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/

[84] Posted by Liz Forman on 02-19-2007 at 12:53 PM • top

Phil,

I am sorry if I offended - we’re on the same side on things.  I am just wanting us all to slow down a bit.  I have held on to the “Kendal Harmon Don’t Expect Much” perspective.  This is more a pivotal meeting now, sherely because this meeting has proved no only same old same old, but what appears to be a reversal of the opporobrium leveled at ECUSA by the Primates.  Note that Frank Griswold (who at least dissembled about things when he went before the primates!) was shunned by 14 of them at the last Primates’ Eucharist; KJS is an open heretic and only 7—- half!—- shunned communion with her.  And, whatsmore, she has been elevated to the Primates’ Standing Committee.  Yes, I agree, a lot of this really… well.. insert your own word here. 

BUT… for me at least… the buck stops at the Primates.  If they collapse, the communion collapses.  And, moreover, I disagree with Peter Ould: without the Communion, there is no viable Anglicanism.  Better to go to Rome or the United Methodists or the Eastern Orthodox.  This is meeting MAY prove—because the buck stops at the primates—that Anglicanism is over with.  GC doesn’t bother me.  What bothers me is that GC appears—at the moment—to stand firm and unabashed as ever while the Anglican Communion consents. 

THEREFORE, I am willing to give the Primates every second chance possible, because without them (for me at least) there is no Anglicanism.

That is why I want everyone to slow down.  This meeting is proving more important than I thought.

[85] Posted by Calvin on 02-19-2007 at 12:54 PM • top

No Moot, I meant to say the Germans. Obviously you people know nothing about classic American film

[86] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 12:55 PM • top

The Covenant Design Group has been getting a cold reception from conservatives since inception… and well before this silly report came out.  Indeed, how could any plan coming from +++Williams be expected to succeed?  The whole effort is wrong-headed.  It’s time to wake up.  Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, and can not be put back together again.

[87] Posted by Aaytch on 02-19-2007 at 12:55 PM • top

Moot,

This is from the famous Bluto speech from Animal House. It is followed by
“Germans?...Pearl Harbor? 
Let it go, he’s on a roll.”

RSB

[88] Posted by R S Bunker on 02-19-2007 at 12:56 PM • top

“This is a no-whining zone…”

Awww, Matt+, but whine goes so well with cheese like this draft.

wink

LP

[89] Posted by LP on 02-19-2007 at 12:56 PM • top

Some minor changes might clarify things:

6. We acknowledge that in <strike>the most extreme</strike> circumstances, where member churches choose not to fulfil the substance of the covenant as <u>that substance is</u> understood by the Councils of the Instruments of Communion, we will consider<u>, by simple majority decision of the Primates,</u> that such churches will have relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, and a process of restoration and renewal will be required <u>by the Primates</u> to re-establish their covenant relationship with other member churches.

[90] Posted by tired on 02-19-2007 at 12:56 PM • top

For the record, Matt, I saw that great classic the first day it came out, and I probably know every line….

[91] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 12:57 PM • top

Toga, toga, toga ...  cool smirk

[92] Posted by Conrad on 02-19-2007 at 12:58 PM • top

Driver8, I agree totally.

[93] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 12:58 PM • top

+Matt,

I’ll have to watch it again, then.  smile
I do remember though, John Belushi’s fishhooked eyebrow look.  smile

[94] Posted by J Eppinga on 02-19-2007 at 12:58 PM • top

This needs to be read this thouroughly but does it have the power to prevent the lawsuits that TEC is bringing against Congregations that are now reporting to Global South Bishops?

[95] Posted by Betty See on 02-19-2007 at 12:59 PM • top

No.  But it is not intended to stop lawsuits.  That is not its purpose.  This is more like a constitutional document, and not a law code.

[96] Posted by recusant on 02-19-2007 at 01:01 PM • top

Can’t think of anyone who would not sign this.  Because you see, it is all about how we iterpret the Bible, not what it actually says. Another collection of meaningless words.

[97] Posted by BettyLee Payne on 02-19-2007 at 01:02 PM • top

Widening Gyre wrote:

“From my perspective, I would caution against using words such as “good” or “bad” with respect to this draft and instead ask whether the proposed covenant is “useful” or “useless” in bringing TEC in line (kicking and screaming) with the rest of the Communion.”

With all respect to your views, in a word it is “USELESS”.

[98] Posted by Conrad on 02-19-2007 at 01:02 PM • top

Matt, love the movie - obviously don’t have it memorized. Sorry.

[99] Posted by oscewicee on 02-19-2007 at 01:02 PM • top

Matt, RSB, et al…
“Who put the fizzies in the swimming pool the night before the big swim meet?  Who had the medical school cadavers delivered to the alumni dinnner?  Every fall, the trees are filled with toilet paper…and every spring, the toilets explode!”  Do you think Rowan feels like Dean Wormer yet?
-Jeff

[100] Posted by Puritan Souls on 02-19-2007 at 01:02 PM • top

ps:  good note of canonical recognition, etc… scariest part… does this mean the “national church” is considered just peachy fine until that mythical next primates meeting somewhere over the ecclesiastical rainbow?

also wondering where—if anywhere—will be any language that lends credence to the “split denomination” defense in N. VA…

am another one hoping and praying to “eat words” later today… so far, tho’, not seeing anything that at first glance looks like just another speedbump for the TEC LGBT steamroller…

agree that discipline and Covenant remain separate issues… even as short term forecast for Covenant is neutral… long term, “primate power” is good… but will it be too little, too late?

[101] Posted by hoping against hope on 02-19-2007 at 01:03 PM • top

How did a discussion on Anglican ecclesiology turn into an “Animal House” quoting contest?  Maybe later we can debate soteriology and eschatology and quote “Caddyshack” to boot.

Gman

[102] Posted by gman on 02-19-2007 at 01:06 PM • top

OMG!
That whining ban is brilliant! 

Craig,
I’m afraid that ANYTHING short of discipline of TEC will be read by many in our camp as a loss, tragedy or the end of the world.  Short of your read and one or possibly two others, most comments have highlighted shortcomings.  There is virtually no focus on anything which can be gleaned from this covenant which has any merit - at least for most.  This is a sad commentary on our abilities to live in communion.  It must be our way or the highway.  Did anyone in their right mind really think that we were going to go into Tanzania and get TEC kicked out or disciplined AND that we would get a new province?  What drugs were they taking? 

Clearly, we are in the minority in this Communion.  Our best strategy is what can we get out of Tanzania?  What can we live with?  If that isn’t our strategy then we should have walked away a long time ago.  I personally think this is what Atwood, Roseberry, Overland, Minns and Yates did.  I believe they were pragmatic and decided it was time to leave.  Meanwhile the rest of us have been smoking some Morroccan stuff and now are upset about the results.  You have pointed out as have one or two others, some of the positive things in the Covenant.  If we can not live with this and what is coming, then start packing.  I for one am holding out that we will have the beginning of a new province.  I suspect we may get our Province sans any current property - but then that may be a hallucination as a result of the second hand smoke from the Morrocan pipes. wink

richardc
http://www.thinkingreasserters.blogspot.com

[103] Posted by richardc on 02-19-2007 at 01:07 PM • top

Once again, we get heresy today in exchange for promises of discipline and orthodoxy tomorrow.  If the Primates can’t draw the line for KJS when she and TEC have spit in their beers for the past four years, what makes anyone think that someone’s going to utter a peep later on?

[104] Posted by Jeffersonian on 02-19-2007 at 01:07 PM • top

Gman, I take full responsibility for the descent…but then again, I’m not really sorry. At this point we need a good laugh

[105] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 01:08 PM • top

I agree with what Craig wrote further up this thread.  One of the hallmarks of The Episocpal Church is its autonomy and signing this document will mean that The Episcopal Church will give up its autonomy and recognize the authority of the primates of the Anglican Communion.  That is what the document says.  In their lawsuit against the Virginia Churches, the national church takes pains to make it clear that they are not accountable to the wider Anglican Communion (it’s just a bunch of churches that meet for dinner, basically).  This document completely changes that and says that those who sign belong to a global orgnaization which has limits on what the individual provinces can do unilaterally.  This goes against the culture of The Episcopal Church at General Convention.  I can see individual dioceses signing on to something like that, but no longer will General Convention have the last word on anything. 

bb

[106] Posted by BabyBlue on 02-19-2007 at 01:09 PM • top

“And if I laugh at any mortal thing, ‘tis that I may not weep.”

[107] Posted by Jeffersonian on 02-19-2007 at 01:10 PM • top

richardc,

You are quite correct that we cannot live in a communion that cannot discipline a heretic church.

[108] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 01:11 PM • top

Well said, Matt and Jeffersonian.  After reading the Covenant draft, I took any thoughts of returning to the Anglican faith and threw them in the trash.  I’ll proceed with having my daughter confirmed as a Lutheran, and get on with life.  But this is a sad, sad day…not to be confused with Daniel Simpson Day (who has no grade point average)!

[109] Posted by Puritan Souls on 02-19-2007 at 01:12 PM • top

Thanks, bb.  In addition, I have vivid memories of discussing Windsor with Bishop Curry and a bunch of revisionists.  I made the mistake of mentioning Dromantine.  It became a lynch mob and I was the guest of honor.  There entire case is based on the notion of autonomy.I am certain that Bishop Curry would be very upset with this.

[110] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 01:14 PM • top

You know Liz, the fact that Fr. Jake doesn’t have a problem with it should speak volumes.  And I’m so glad to see that we have the usual suspects rearranging the chairs on the Titanic deck.

Here is a link called “Biblical Laments: Prayers out of Pain”.  I suppose it is ironic when you consider its source.  I recommend Psalm 4
http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Mar2002/Feature2.asp

[111] Posted by Gayle on 02-19-2007 at 01:16 PM • top

I don’t think he would be upset at all. Just sign it and count on the fact that you will never be held to it. Again, what on earth makes anyone think that if the primates do not hold TEC to the Windsor process that they will hold them to the covenant process?

[112] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 01:17 PM • top

My sympathies to Matt Kennedy. Long time ago, on a blog far, far away, I posted a comment that used a paraphrase of

“Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”

Sadly, one of the orcs deleted the comment thinking it was a scurrilous attack on someone. When I protested, I was surprised (nay, shocked!) that they had never heard of the “Treasure of the Sierra Madres”. So, for anybody else who shall we say doesn’t get out much, here’s a handy reference for the culturally challenged.
http://www.afi.com/tvevents/100years/quotes.aspx#list

And since most of the news out of the “House of Surrender” is either contentious or confused, reviewing movie quotes seems more edifying.

[113] Posted by Stefano on 02-19-2007 at 01:17 PM • top

Matt,

Maybe the primates can put heretical dioceses on Double Secret Probation.

As an outsider reading the draft I agree with Matt’s take on it.
The main problem is that heretics truly believe they are being true to Scripture.  They are confident that the Holy Spirit is bringing a new revealation to the Body of Christ.  They know that their fight for inclusion is a godly one.  And that what once was called sin was just a matter of cultural bias.    But that has always been true of every Heresy.    All heresy uses Scripture to bolster its debate.  All heresy thinks its fight is godly.  And all heresy claims a better understanding than what was believed in the past.

That is what makes heresy so dangerous.  And that is why anything less than a lion’s response only serves to make it stronger.

[114] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 02-19-2007 at 01:17 PM • top

And so, on the last day, the happy, smiling faces of the dear primates could be seen in the Family Room, having finally all agreed unanimously that Apple Pie and Motherhood were A Good Thing!

(Or should that be Good Things? - someone will decide in time for the next family party, children. All we need to know for now is that they All Lived Happily Ever After.)

[115] Posted by dogmatix on 02-19-2007 at 01:17 PM • top

Calvin and nette - you’re right.  My apologies.  And thanks to Fr. Matt et al. for the Animal House quotes - though I have to admit I view the supporters of this draft as the guy on the stairs singing the really bad song and playing the guitar.  Those who know the movie know what happens next.  (I kid!  I kid because I love!)

[116] Posted by Phil on 02-19-2007 at 01:18 PM • top

Life is funny.  For more proof that Matt and I are really twins separated at birth, I point out that many years ago I used the exact quotation from Animal House (without citation, of course) to respond to one of those really important things we like to comment on around here and got the exaxt reaction (“Uh, WG, I think you meant to say…”)!  Matt, join the club, brother!  Now we have yet one more thing in common.  Funny, ain’t it?  Although I might have posted it over at T19.  I can’t remember but I think one of the Phil’s had my back once the history nuts started complaining about my revisionistic ways.

[117] Posted by Widening Gyre on 02-19-2007 at 01:21 PM • top

Col.2:1-3
Praying for you all ,know that you’re loved and appreciated in the wider church(outside the Anglican communion) for your faithfulness
Paddy

[118] Posted by paddy on 02-19-2007 at 01:22 PM • top

Anglicanism in the U.S. is dead. I guess it has been for a long time. I just didn’t know I was sold a bill of goods when I ex-communicated myself to hell by leaving the Church of Rome.

[119] Posted by LA Anglican on 02-19-2007 at 01:23 PM • top

While this doesn’t have any teeth with which to discipline TECUSA, I bet we find out that it has plenty of teeth when it comes time to discipline ++Akinola et al for crossing boundaries.

[120] Posted by Russell on 02-19-2007 at 01:25 PM • top

The revisionists opinion of this Covenant will be determined by the Primates’ Communique.  I can guarantee all of you that if the TEC doesn’t get exactly what it wants from the Primates that the revisionists will be howling with rage at the Covenant as violating the time honored cornerstone of Anglicanism that every Province gets to do exactly as it wants.
We still need to wait for the Communique.  I think the Covenant is promising for the long term situation.  It would be woefully inadequate for the short term situation.  I agree with Craig U. that we need to wait for the Communique.
I still have great doubts that the TEC revisionists would ever agree to sign this Covenant when push comes to shove.  Of course, they won’t say that right away.  They will say exactly what Fr. Jake says and then try to excise those parts they don’t like.  TEC revisionists will NEVER sign any document that acknowledges the authority of the Primates Meeting over that of General Convention.  NEVER!  Not in their sleep, not while awake.

[121] Posted by jamesw on 02-19-2007 at 01:26 PM • top

Remember, progressive thinkers don’t hold the text in high regard (except when it comes to the canons, that is).  So the way they view this convenant is as they see fit to interpret it.  That is one of the major cultural and theological divides in the Communion.  If the progressives are endorsing the loss of Episcopal Church’s autonomy then it’s clear they haven’t actually read the covenant or they don’t really care what it says.  It reveals more about them then it does the covenant.  By its very nature, signing a Convenant means a loss of autonomy.  Episocpalians who want to continue their “prophetic witness” should pause a bit before they starting calling for covenants.  General Convention or the Executive Committee or the Presiding Bishop (or the House of Bishops) will no longer be able to speak the final word.  That loss of autonomy is either being spun away or ignored by the progressives - and that speaks again more about them then it does the Covenant.  The Primates should take note!

bb

[122] Posted by BabyBlue on 02-19-2007 at 01:28 PM • top

Game Over.

[123] Posted by Going Home on 02-19-2007 at 01:36 PM • top

Since when does ECUSA care about what it signs? They know very well no one will enforce it.

[124] Posted by Angels Heard On High on 02-19-2007 at 01:37 PM • top

“That loss of autonomy is either being spun away or ignored by the progressives - and that speaks again more about them then it does the Covenant. ”  True, but what we have seen—and perhaps will see at 3PM EST—is how spineless the AC is to enforce anything.  Remember, we get trolls around here ever so often who claim things like “it is optional to believe in the Virgin Birth” or “it is consistent with the Creed to believe Jesus was not literally, bodily resurrected from the dead.”  For many, many progressives, you sign certain documents and recite certain words simply for the historic, ceremonial power of it.  And they get away with it because the leadership of first the Episcopal Church and then the Anglican Communion lets them get away with it.

Let’s face it: any Covenant is only as good as those instruments entrusted to enforce discipline of it.  And what I am afraid we are seeing is that this church—national and international—is cravenly fearful of judging anyone or anything.  That is what is involved.  Judgment, pure and simple.  And if there is not a discipline of doctrinal and spiritual judgment at work in your church, you will never, ever retain a meaningful unity.  It will always be a flimsy, lip-service unity, a feel-good thing for those who feel good about such things, but not much more.  Certainly, that is not in the least consistent with the Gospel imperative to transmit of the faith of the Apostles, once received to new generation and unto the ends of the earth.

If there is no discipline today, I fear that the apostlic witness of Anglicanism is done.  Finished.  And do not expect it back.  Ever.

[125] Posted by Steve Lake+ on 02-19-2007 at 01:39 PM • top

Ok, Matt…..

So if they have to take any kind of oath/pledge, etc. over this covenant, will it go something like this?:

Repeat after me: “I….. (State your name.).......”
“I, State Your Name.”

smile  Animal House is always good for a little Riso Therapy!  There’s healing in laughter!!

[126] Posted by Liz Forman on 02-19-2007 at 01:41 PM • top

I suppose it isn’t the Christian thing to do, but perhaps we could start a betting pool?  What champagne will Schori order on her flight back to Manhattan?  Veuve Clicquot or Dom Pérignon?  I’ll start by taking the Dom.  This is the victory of a lifetime.  An earthly lifetime, that is.

[127] Posted by Phil on 02-19-2007 at 01:43 PM • top

All right I’m in….

“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son….”

Father forgive me….

Gman

[128] Posted by gman on 02-19-2007 at 01:44 PM • top

OK,...

Face up, you (blanked up), you trusted us.

RSB

[129] Posted by R S Bunker on 02-19-2007 at 01:47 PM • top

Steve,

Unfortunately, I am afraid that I argree with you…it is gone forever.

[130] Posted by Fr. Chip, SF on 02-19-2007 at 01:48 PM • top

Whining, whose whining? Is telling the truth whining? This is just another piece of Anglican fudge. The sooner those who wish to be orthodox Christians get the h*ll out of ECUSA the sooner they will be happy and the sooner ECUSA can go on becoming nothing more than a nice Universalist Church in drag.

Find a Church that subscribes to the DECLARATION OF ST. LOUIS. And if one in not available in your area check out Rome or the Orhodox or the LCMS. All of which preach the true gospel of savaltion through faith in Christ and not the watered down hog-wash of KJS and ECUSA.

The time for the orthodox Episcopalians to act is NOW. Now tomorrow and not next week but now. From everythign coming out of Tazania right now it is time to admit YOU HAVE BEEN SOLD OUT. Come out of Babylon before you to partake of her punishment. For the time will come when ECUSA will be punished for her wickedness and departure from the historic faith.

I for one have never been so grateful in my entire life that I am no longer in ECUSA. She is now been confirmed, as has the entire Canterbury Communion, with being nothing more than an apostate sext. So I would see that Pope Leo XIII was right way back in 1896 when he declare Anglican orders null and void. This proves it. Without valid orders to uphold Apostolic Faith and Tradition—this is what happens—the Church descends into rank heresy. God have mercy on all of us. And to those still in ECUSA come out now. Find a Church that believes the Bible and go there even if it is not Anglican.

[131] Posted by FrRick on 02-19-2007 at 01:49 PM • top

driver8

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose?

A fellow RUSH fan?  Something we agree on already!

[132] Posted by Brian from T19 on 02-19-2007 at 01:49 PM • top

Winston Churchill: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour . . . you chose dishonour and you will have war”

To paraphrase, “you were given the choice between Anglican fudge and schism… you chose Anglican fudge, you shall have shism

[133] Posted by BillS on 02-19-2007 at 01:51 PM • top

Fr. Rick - Emotions are high and nerves are frayed.  I am calling on you to tone it down.  This is not the time or place to seek converts.

[134] Posted by commenatrix on 02-19-2007 at 01:52 PM • top

Chip, do you say based on this? Or based on this plus a projection that there will be no discipline and sanctuary for the orthodox?

[135] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 01:52 PM • top

Correction:

Winston Churchill: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour . . . you chose dishonour and you will have war”

To paraphrase, “you were given the choice between Anglican fudge and schism… you chose Anglican fudge, you shall have schism

[136] Posted by BillS on 02-19-2007 at 01:53 PM • top

Sorry - Jake likes it and Coward is only mildly put off by it - proof positive that it is a disaster.

ANd I am NOT whining that, I’m stating it with gusto! wink

[137] Posted by MJD_NV on 02-19-2007 at 01:53 PM • top

Five days of meetings have resulted in in an enormous mound of manure all tied up with a pretty bow. 

All in all, I have learned again what I already knew:  Anglicans are a tiresome bunch—masters of equivocation, doublespeak, meaningless rhetoric, denial of every common sense insight.  How can such as these be trusted to communicate the Gospel to a weary world?  As the old Communion continues to shrink and die, it is becoming more clear that it has not been so entrusted.

So, what will become of the Virginia churches and the others?  What will StandFirm Episcopalians do? Stay in ECUSA? Recommit to an empty Anglicanism? Scatter to the wind?  What is worth fighting for among these ruins?

Jason Suggs
Ukrainian Catholic
Notre Dame, IN

[138] Posted by J. Suggs on 02-19-2007 at 01:54 PM • top

As we wait, I don’t think anyone is more pessimistic than I am, yet I am not in despair. My hope is in Christ, not the Primates. I am still praying that there will come some discipline from the communique, even if the Covenant, the appointment of Schori, and the sub-committee report on TEC compliance all point toward the dissolution of the Anglican Integrity—the small remnant, that is, that existed until today. If there is discipline, then the covenant could be read in that light, instead of all else we currently have heard.

[139] Posted by alfonsoq on 02-19-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

MerseyMike

The real question is - are those who wish that to happen, going to remain within or not?

Are you kidding?  God gave these people rose colored lenses…ON THEIR EYES!  The great Exodus once threatened is dead.  +Duncan et al will lobby the Instruments for a few more years before finally giving up or running out of money. The Dioceses of San Joaquin, Fort Worth and possibly South Carolina once (=)Lawrence is refused may leace and will lose their status.  The writing is on the wall.

[140] Posted by Brian from T19 on 02-19-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

Let’s all take a moment, breathe and pray. Speculating and fussing do not give God the glory. Even in sorrow and confusion . . . praise Him!

[141] Posted by JerryKramer on 02-19-2007 at 01:55 PM • top

Dear friends,
This is so sad.  However, this proposed covenant is as vague and doctrinally unsatisfying in our current cultural context as were the 39 Articles in that context.  Imagine you were a catholic or reformed in the 16th century and you cared about doctrinal consistency and firmness, you would have been as disastisfied with the 39 articles as current folk who care about doctrinal consistency and firmness are upset by this covenant. 
The historical reality is that Anglicanism always was and is a compromise based project. 
This covenant process and result remind me of battles regarding legislation that I have participated in.  When there were significant differences which could not be reconciled and the parties had a political need to get something passed, they crafted ambiguous language that both sides could claim as a victory and their constitutents would only be partially upset with.  Margaret Spellings said to John DiIulio, “John, just get me faith-based legislation, any faith-based legislation.”  President Bush had a political need to be perceived to moving on the faith-based initiative, so we had to get him something. 
The Anglican Communion, lacking an authority structure,  is ultimatley driven by politics.  Willaims, appointed by the Queen in conslutation with the Prime Minister Blari and some bishops, had a political need to get something done here without losing TEC.  Anglicanism was also driven by politics in the 16th Century resulting in the Elizabethan settlement and it is now, resulting in what you see unfolding before your eyes. 
If you want any measure of doctrinal clarity Anglicanism is not for you.  Try the PCA or LCMS.  You may also want to consider a church with a living breathing teaching office that is rooted in Christ.  Aikinola and a few others may stand firm and not be mislead by this compromise, then we will have a schism, which is the other option in Protestantism, endless schism.

[142] Posted by closet catholic on 02-19-2007 at 01:57 PM • top

Thanks for the levity, Matt+.  Read the whole dialog from Animal House:  Interesting line, “I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.”

D-Day: War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he’s rolling.
Bluto: And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough…
[thinks hard]
Bluto: the tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go!
[runs out, alone; then returns]
Bluto: What the ..... happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ... from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer…
Otter: Dead! Bluto’s right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.
Bluto: We’re just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let’s do it.
Bluto: LET’S DO IT!

[143] Posted by Maria Lytle on 02-19-2007 at 01:58 PM • top

“I am sorry folks but did you really read this part?  I can’t see any true revisionist signing this.  And if they do it is a lie.”

Unfortunately, revisionists sign and affirm all sorts of things they really don’t mean. When I was in seminary, I heard all sorts of reasons why different folks could actually affirm the creed. Many of the reasons had nothing to do with classical Catholicism. For instance, one person affirmed the creed as a “common sign of unity” and that was it. Trust me, if a revisionist bishop can go through the consecration ceremony without blinking, he or she can affirm this statement with no problems.

[144] Posted by DavidBennett on 02-19-2007 at 01:59 PM • top

BillS, What was the correction, both quotes are the same?

[145] Posted by Conrad on 02-19-2007 at 01:59 PM • top

What this means:
1. As many have stated, TEC believes this now.
2. TEC will not sign this as-is because it really does cross their dreaded line in “independence” and moves to “interdependence”. That will be taken care of in future drafts - independence will be fully defined and to use a liberal word - inclusive in the final draft.
3. It will take 3 or more years for this to make the rounds in all the individual provinces - not to mention dioceses in the USA.

And possibly the most important - 4. The Primates cannot be counted on to rescue, or even lead a biblically based movement. Anglicanism is dead as many of us have known it. Many of us will remeber this date like Pearl Harbor.

I’ll be interested to see if the ACN bishops are willing to cast of the yoke which is now more heavy than ever. To them I say “It’s cup-check time, fellas!”

[146] Posted by Festivus on 02-19-2007 at 01:59 PM • top

Thanks for the reminder, Jerry+.  Our God is not a God of chaos - and He reigns supreme.  It is His call whether the Anglican Communion survives and in what form.  We have about an hour and a half.  Let’s fill it up with prayer.

[147] Posted by JackieB on 02-19-2007 at 02:03 PM • top

Looks like “inclusive church” has actually read the Draft Covenant and the last section has them very worried (and rightly so) because it does indeed gut TEC’s autonomy and moves the power base to the Primates (not the ACC).  TEC again maintains in its filing against the Virginia Churches that its a heiarchical church (which it really isn’t, which is why TEC endorses “local option” and permits dioceses to elect their own bishop, rather than the House of Bishops).  Now the Anglican Communion will strengthen its heiarchical stance by placing final consult with the Primates and not General Convention on matters of of serious dispute (which of course, is at the heart of the Virginia Churches vote).  Who decides what are matters of serious dispute - we know the current matter is because we have the Windsor Report.  It seems to me that this covenant is created to halt the type of behavior that The Episcopal Church has been engaging in for over thirty years.  This is a document for the future.

What we are awaiting for is the document for the present crisis, the present “matters of serious dispute.”  If the primates are not firm on this matter than the covenant means nothing.  If they are firm, then the covenant has authority and how TEC will give up its autonomy to sign it would be fascinating.

And that is why we must pray.

bb

[148] Posted by BabyBlue on 02-19-2007 at 02:03 PM • top

My experience with following these meetings is that the orthodox, i.e. me and others blogging around me, always react extremely negatively to these things, but after a few days, once the materials are unpacked, start to see light at the end of the tunnel.

We talked about the covenant this morning in my Systematic Theology class.  We discussed the fact that, even though we call ourselves the Anglican Communion, we really do not have a communion, and we are in the process of developing what communion really means for us for the first time.  The problem is that communion cannot be created overnight.  This report will be looked at over and over again, and I think there are some good things in here.  Patience my dear friends.  Patience…

[149] Posted by Townsend Waddill+ on 02-19-2007 at 02:04 PM • top

Actually Liz, the oath/pledge will be,  “I double-dog dare you to sign this”

[150] Posted by Old Soldier on 02-19-2007 at 02:04 PM • top

Here’s the link for the IC posting.

[151] Posted by BabyBlue on 02-19-2007 at 02:05 PM • top

Even more than Animal House I am reminded of This Is Spinal Tap.
” [Asked by a reporter if this is the end of Spinal Tap]
” David St. Hubbins: Well, I don’t really think that the end can be assessed as of itself as being the end because what does the end feel like? It’s like saying when you try to extrapolate the end of the universe, you say, if the universe is indeed infinite, then how - what does that mean? How far is all the way, and then if it stops, what’s stopping it, and what’s behind what’s stopping it? So, what’s the end, you know, is my question to you.”

and
” David St. Hubbins: I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem *may* have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being *crushed* by a *dwarf*. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object.
Ian Faith: I really think you’re just making much too big a thing out of it.
Derek Smalls: Making a big thing out of it would have been a good idea. ”

[152] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 02-19-2007 at 02:06 PM • top

Jerry is right and so is Craig. 

“Chip, do you say based on this? Or based on this plus a projection that there will be no discipline and sanctuary for the orthodox”? 

Please, all, wait for the Communique before freaking out. 

Again, there is a strong difference between theory and practice.  But, if I were a revisionist, I sure as hell would not sign this Covenant.  Perhaps everyone needs to read it a little more carefully.  It uses a lot of significant Scriptural references to back itself up, and it cuts into a lot of “my” autonomy.  Do you all believe that TEC wants to have a Primates’ Litmus test before one of their “prophetic” acts?  NO WAY!! 

If Jake is saying this is fine and he would sign it, then he needs to go back to 8th grade Reading/Comprehension. 

Jerry is right—Pray like mad, and wait just a little longer…

IC,

Jen

[153] Posted by Orthoducky on 02-19-2007 at 02:06 PM • top

Fr. Rick - Emotions are high and nerves are frayed.  I am calling on you to tone it down.  This is not the time or place to seek converts.

I didn’t read Fr. Rick’s post that way. We’re not talking about getting people to join one “team” or another, or trying to sign people up to the local Rotary Club. We’re talking about the salvation and sanctification of mankind.

I read Fr. Rick’s post as an expression of pastoral care & genuine spiritual concern. Analogous more to someone in a life-raft calling to those still amid the wreckage of the torpedoed ship “here, over here!” An effort not to gain something for himself, but to offer something to others. Not even insisting on his own “Continuing church” lifeboat, but calling out the location of other ships as well.

There may be something of a “cultural divide” here in expression, though. Every PECUSA church I’ve been to in my life has specialized in mealy-mouthed sermons which apologize for the Gospel, tone it down (or ignore it), strive to be “nice” to everyone, and never ever suggest that someone has made a mistake or been culpably sinful.

In the Continuing churches, by contrast, I’ve regularly heard a real call to repentence and reformation—calling mistakes mistakes, sin sin, and heresy heresy.

Perhaps Fr. Rick’s expression, in this more honest & Scriptural vein, of his pastoral concern is, thus, a bit “alien” to some. But I read it as genuine pastoral & spiritual concern for fellow children of God… not as partisanship.

pax,
LP

[154] Posted by LP on 02-19-2007 at 02:08 PM • top

Conrad,

I misspelled schism in the first. My bad, should have used spell check.

Obvious point is that I believe we will see a flood of Orthodox departures from TEC over the next two years.

The Global South has not yet been heard from, but if they are at all consistent with their rhetoric, I do not see how they can stay in an Anglican Communion that apparently has accelerated its leftward Unitarian post Biblical direction. Not that they leave today, but their espoused theology is just too far from Schori etc for them to stay in for long.

[155] Posted by BillS on 02-19-2007 at 02:12 PM • top

matt,
I suspect Mr. Dague may soon be representing more than one church in the snowbelt.

[156] Posted by richardc on 02-19-2007 at 02:16 PM • top

Wise words, Bro. Townsend.

[157] Posted by James Manley on 02-19-2007 at 02:17 PM • top

Sitting in a library trying to do some research is a good way to tone down my jitters . . .

Anyway, it might be useful, whatever happens at 3:00 EST, for people to calm down a bit and consider some of the longer term implications here.  What, for example, will this mean, not simply for North American Anglicans, but for the C of E?  How will this impact on those put forward their own “covenant” and requested that they not be required to submit to liberal bishops?  How will this effect the call for a Third Province in the C of E?  How will the effect the Continuing Churches?  Etc.  There is much to think about, pray about, meet about over the next few days and weeks no matter what.

[158] Posted by Id rather not say on 02-19-2007 at 02:19 PM • top

We’re talking about the salvation and sanctification of mankind.

Understood LP but this is not the time.  Let’s temper our comments by keeping in mind that in a very short time the Ring of Steel will open and we will have more news than we can handle.  All this fussing and fretting and one upmanship that has been tossed around all day must stop if we are to survive the day.  Greg, Sarah, Matt, Jackie and Andy can all hold their own.  All I ask is that you make your comments keeping in mind the other readers and where they may be in this process.  I do my best to stay in the background occasionally stepping out to sharpen my axe.  The easiest way to get me to go away is to PLAY NICE!

[159] Posted by commenatrix on 02-19-2007 at 02:20 PM • top

One small addition to appropriate lines from Animal House:

“Only one thing to do at a time like this…...Road Trip!”

Thanks, Matt, for starting this - we need to laugh a little to keep from crying as this unfolds.

[160] Posted by Horseman on 02-19-2007 at 02:21 PM • top

horseman:
“Noooooooooooooooo…not my brother’s car!  He’ll KILL me!”
-Jeff

[161] Posted by Puritan Souls on 02-19-2007 at 02:23 PM • top

Phil, re: champagne.  In the Susan Howatch CofE books, the sinful yet sincere Christians drink Veuve Clicquot, so I guess it will be Dom on board the PB’s plane.

[162] Posted by Miss Sippi on 02-19-2007 at 02:23 PM • top

BabyBlue

signing this document will mean that The Episcopal Church will give up its autonomy and recognize the authority of the primates of the Anglican Communion.  That is what the document says.  In their lawsuit against the Virginia Churches, the national church takes pains to make it clear that they are not accountable to the wider Anglican Communion (it’s just a bunch of churches that meet for dinner, basically).  This document completely changes that and says that those who sign belong to a global orgnaization which has limits on what the individual provinces can do unilaterally.

Nice try, but these are internal matters of discipline reserved to the national autonomous churches, not matters spiritual/theological.  To quote Bob, as I have been waiting for 3+years to use this one: “It’s all over now, Baby Blue.”

[163] Posted by Brian from T19 on 02-19-2007 at 02:25 PM • top

To be exact it’s the Affirmation of St. Louis, here’s a link, for informational purposes only.

http://www.acahome.org/submenu/docs/affirm.htm

Hugs and kisses to Maria for that wonderful segment from Animal House, which I think I will rent tonight.  kiss

[164] Posted by Gayle on 02-19-2007 at 02:27 PM • top

Two notes:
1. Graham Kings says “there is much to be encouraged about in this draft Covenant” and highlights basically the points that the deck hands here have already mentioned.

2. We must remember that this is not a covenant just for American refugees from TEC, but rather something with words that have to be meaningful to someone in England, Kenya, Hong Kong, and maybe even down under. The language then ought not be aimed at TEC and our problems, but at something much broader than our concerns.  If we think it is written for just us, we may err in our reading of it.

[165] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 02:29 PM • top

Looks as though the constituent vs. associate member status Rowan himself suggested in the recent past was also ignored in the draft. So sad.

So this is how judgment continues to feel. Can’t forget the teaching on the prophet Jeremiah, Kendall H. gave to all who would listen in the months following GC2003 and that we are a church under judgment. I’m recalling that scripture says our faith will be tested by fire. We are now at D-year+3 going on 4 and it seems as though our Lord continues to apply the heat. May He continue to give us the strength and the will to endure, and the courage to obey.

[166] Posted by WillyBill+ on 02-19-2007 at 02:31 PM • top

Friends,

I think deep down many people in the church actually know when they are rejecting the apostolic witness in matters central to our faith. (I’m speaking right now apart from the sexuality issue.) This is part of the reason at a certain point in discussion people can become angry and offended. It’s because they do perceive the difference. The “hound of heaven” is always at work.

Our responsibility is to faithfully share Christ, to share the gospel, and the result is totally up to the Lord. And, many times His timing in people’s lives, and in the life of the church is not the same as our timing. smile
But, God is faithful. Regardless of any of our opinions in the end, His will for the church of God will not be thwarted, and eventually none of us will “see through a glass darkly,” anymore.
All praise to His name.

[167] Posted by Grace17033 on 02-19-2007 at 02:31 PM • top

Of course Graham Kings likes it. I defy the Communion to publish anything Mr. Kings does not like

[168] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 02-19-2007 at 02:32 PM • top

now you’re quoting Will Rogers…

[169] Posted by Craig Uffman on 02-19-2007 at 02:34 PM • top

Two scenarios:

1.  “Draft” Covenant means that everyone gets invited to Lambeth (of course to finalize the final, etc), we have to wait for GENCON 2009 and all TEC diocesan conventions to study and report… ad nasuem… delay = death.  Final version makes primates input advisory… Present Communion folds.

2.  Draft goes to TEC HOB SOON with an up/down vote forced by a timeline mandated… which results in their rejection and automatic “other” status that never reverses.  In the meantime, US orthodox now under or getting under GS automatically are assumed to be “full members” based on their (new GS) primates’ acceptance.  Some departing TEC parishes keep property, even if most do not.  Ecclesiastical darwinism proves true as only the fittest survive.

[A third scenario from the dept. of over-the-horizon thinking] 3.  If any semblance of #2 holds, also in the meantime, talk of CoE being disestablished proceeds, and the primates end up as the long-term functional international Congress of a new AC minus Western liberal $... geopolitical and population shifts radically change AC makeup and governance (largely depending on SE Asia Anglican evangelism and new $ in concert with African work).  Remember the rate of global change is increasing… think China/US relations 1975 vs. now…

Hoping hints of News now posted may lean toward #2/#3…

[170] Posted by hoping against hope on 02-19-2007 at 02:34 PM • top

Dear faithful brothers and sisters in Christ,

  Now we know that whatever comes out of this meeting will be as meaningless as this Covenant draft.  But do not despair.  Look what God has done in creating so many faithful new churches dedicated to upholding a Biblically orthodox form of Anglicanism.  I am in one and we are being wonderfully blessed week after week.

We have all been brought together and we have united in the only truth that matters, His truth.  That’s the faith reality.  I continue to rejoice and give thanks to God for that reality.  I give thanks for all of you who share your faith here on Stand Firm.  Please join me in doing so.

As for Anglican structures, it now appears to me that for those of us in the US—CANA and AMiA will be the logical Anglican structures with which to affiliate, or perhaps the REC (or perhaps a union of all three?!).  AMiA is not in communion with Canterbury, which I now see as a wonderful plus, and they are up and running with a track record of living what they say they believe, bringing many new people into the Kingdom of God (that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?).  All is not lost, by any means for those of us wishing to follow Christ in the Anglican tradition.  I do think that the Anglican Communion will be increasingly meaningless from this day forward for Biblically orthodox Anglicans, given its leadership.  There are still faithful leaders in it, but as a whole it will not make decisions that will uphold the “faith once delievered,” so it will become increasingly irrelevant in the body of Christ.  All the spinning in the world will not convince me otherwise after what we have seen this week.

Do not forget what we have gained in a short amount of time.  God has provided a way forward and out from under apostate leaders with the help of the Global South Primates and now it will be totally up to us to figure the rest of it out, with His help of course.  A quick assessment is pointing straight to the AMiA and CANA and perhaps a union of the two as a Biblically faithful Anglican pathway forward in the US.  As approval of Canterbury is now meaningless, they both become even more appealing.  Those of us who are out of TEC would never dream of returning under any circumstances, so we have to continue to look forward.  As I said earlier today on another thread, the only name with which it is essential to be associated is the name of Jesus.  Let us continue to encourage one another to rebuild what has been lost, to finish the race.  Blessings and peace in Christ.

[171] Posted by BettyLee Payne on 02-19-2007 at 02:35 PM • top

Ah, no, Brian.  It’s not over until the end, when you face the Lord to watch the re-run of your life and fall down (it will be a reflex action) in the Presence of such Majesty/Goodness/Beauty.  The next thing will be to account for those ‘deeds done in the body’ and for ‘every idle word’.  In the end, you explain who exactly was your first love the Lord Jesus Christ or your sexual proclivity or some other form of self-gratification.

[172] Posted by Theodora on 02-19-2007 at 02:37 PM • top

WillyBill+,

Does the Associate Member status need to be stated in the Covenant?  I would think that maybe it would be covered later, like maybe at Lambeth 2008, when the boundaries are set.  Churches would be given Associate Member status if they cannot sign on to the Covenant, or violate the Covenant.  Seems to me that it does not need to be in this text.  Please let me know if you feel differently…

[173] Posted by Townsend Waddill+ on 02-19-2007 at 02:38 PM • top

Some of the despair over the Covenant Draft really does seem a little premature.  It will take a long time to see how this plays out, and increasing the authority of the Primates is not a good development for TEC.  That said, as a now-outside observer I have often thought that what seems to distinguish the orthodox from the revisionists is that the latter seem just as committed to their ultimate goal but considerably more optimistic about eventually getting there.  They never admit defeat, you may have noticed.  And why should they, since time, at least in the short run, is on their side?  But all they’re going to end up with is an empty shell of a “church” with an ideology instead of a faith, and I ask you: Who really cares?  What has kept a lot of orthodox Christians from leaving their TEC parishes is, let’s face it, buildings and tradition (lower case “t”).  So now it looks like the revisionists are going to end up with most of the buildings?  Well, take ‘em and be damned!  After all, “if your eye offends you… ”

[174] Posted by rcavett on 02-19-2007 at 02:59 PM • top

Townsend:
Can’t say I disagree with you. Perhaps the draft should only be judged and evaluated on the merits of its content where my comment mistakenly appears to apply to a later process.

[175] Posted by WillyBill+ on 02-19-2007 at 03:04 PM • top

” It will take a long time to see how this plays out…”

Hence the problem.  After years of promises the people want action not platitudes.  Another fudge, another six to 12 years, in the meantime TEC is free to continue down its own road, and the AC will make excuses.  No thank you.

Action should have been taken after Pike, and strong action taken after Spong, but no, we waited and now I fear it is too late.

We have not been good stewards of God’s good church.  We have let the wolves amonst the sheep in the pasture.

[176] Posted by R S Bunker on 02-19-2007 at 03:07 PM • top

May I suggest (as some already have) that we calm down? We don’t know everything yet. Let us wait, watch, and be circumspect in reaching conclusions. The time may have come to bail, but I don’t think things are quite as clear (yet) as some are suggesting. In our eagerness for closure let’s not peddle self-fulfilling prophecies of defeat…

[177] Posted by Fr. David McElrea (formerly farstrider+) on 02-19-2007 at 03:29 PM • top

And as someone said above, it’s been a long road we’ve traveled-Oh, boy, has it ever!-and we need to finish it out.

Hiryu

[178] Posted by rcavett on 02-19-2007 at 03:32 PM • top

Wave to Matt.  ohh Dumb me.  I just figured it out, it’s us rowdy, loud, insensitive orthodox that have been on double-secret probation all along.

[179] Posted by Gayle on 02-19-2007 at 03:59 PM • top

Just up on Jim Naughton’s site…. Looks PROMISING!!!!

http://blog.edow.org/weblog/2007/02/the_communique.html#more

“The communique from the Anglican primates meeting isn’t online yet. It supposedly allows the border crossings to continue and says we need not to authorizing rites of same sex blessings. Says there will be a primatial vicar for conservatives. Wants legal actions stopped.

Not good for TEC is the analysis from reporters there. “

[180] Posted by jamesw on 02-19-2007 at 04:30 PM • top

From the Daily Episcopalian: “The communique
The communique from the Anglican Primates Meeting isn’t online yet. It supposedly allows the border crossings to continue and says we need not to authorizing rites of same sex blessings. Says there will be a primatial vicar for conservatives. Wants legal actions stopped.

Not good for TEC is the analysis from reporters there.

More soon.”

Not sure what it is worth.

[181] Posted by KGL+ on 02-19-2007 at 04:31 PM • top

Good news indeed…hope it is true.

[182] Posted by johnp on 02-19-2007 at 04:32 PM • top

Hope it’s worth something…
The primatial vicar idea is not a new one, +Iker et al rejected it out of hand when it was proposed in NY - but the proposal had the primatial vicar accountable to the PB.

[183] Posted by this_day on 02-19-2007 at 04:34 PM • top

primatial vicar is Shori’s idea, gang.

[184] Posted by Going Home on 02-19-2007 at 04:34 PM • top

KGL+

Too late.  Seems like a bunch of people have already swum the Tiber, the Bospherus, the Rhine, the (whatever swiss river there is), and won’t be around to hear it.

[185] Posted by James Manley on 02-19-2007 at 04:36 PM • top

RE: “Not sure what it is worth.”

The revisionist are just as tense as the reasserters at this exact moment.

[186] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 02-19-2007 at 04:39 PM • top

Is that the same “primatial vicar” that reports to KJS++ ?  (Sorry, but I can’t remember which end the crosses go on with her name…)

[187] Posted by Liz Forman on 02-19-2007 at 04:40 PM • top

“. . . We also hope that the provisions of this pastoral scheme will mean that no further interventions will be necessary since bishops within the Episcopal Church will themselves provide the extended episcopal ministry required.”

Translation:  CANA and AMiA are to be hung out to dry, to be overseen by a dwindling minority of TEC/ECUSA not-so-apostate bishops (providing a quorum of the same can be kept in office without the requisite consents to replace members of that vanishing breed).

[188] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 02-19-2007 at 04:51 PM • top

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