Category : Anglican Covenant

Tobias Haller–Anglican Disunion: The Issues Behind “the Issue”

But matters are proceeding apace. The world is changing. The Global South objected to the consecration of a gay bishop with a partner, but Gene Robinson is no longer alone in that category even in the US House of Bishops (If he ever really was…). They objected to the idea of bestowing a blessing on a same-sex couple, and yet now in many states of this Union, including our own, the church is not only bestowing its blessing, but either seriously considering or already solemnizing the civil status of marriage.

In short, the process of organic development is afoot, it is not going to stop, and reception is or isn’t happening as I speak. In the meantime, the mainstream via media of the Episcopal Church is steadily reasserting our understanding of our authority to vary”” to live out the variety of rites in our own context, which is very different from that in much of the Global South. As I learned intimately and personally at the conversation I attended in South Africa just a few weeks ago. The people in those places represented at that conference are free to maintain their various rules and traditions, suitable as they are for their contexts. I will say more in the open discussion about the extent to which the friction between the North and South has been exacerbated by misunderstanding and misinformation. But it is my sincere hope that corrections to those misunderstandings, and better information, through the mandated listening process and the Continuing Indaba ”” in both of which I have been involved ”” will assist to lessen the friction and perhaps even help calm the storms that have swept through our beloved Anglican Communion ”” not just the issue, but the issues behind the issues of Anglican disunion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, Instruments of Unity, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Windsor Report / Process

(AnglicanTaonga) Maori quash Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Covenant is all but dead in the water as far as this church is concerned. This follows a crucial vote by Tikanga Maori at its biennial runanganui in Ohinemutu today.

The Covenant will still come before General Synod in July, but a decision to accept it requires a majority vote in all three houses ”“ lay, clergy and bishops ”“ and by all three tikanga.

Today’s runanganui decision effectively binds all Maori representatives on General Synod to say no.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

(Blackburn) Bishop Nicholas Reade's Presidential Address to Diocesan Synod

I do not say that these three early developments [Canon, Creed and Episcopate] necessarily settle the issues currently facing the Church of England, but we do need constantly to look back to these three early developments, which is one reason why, before being ordained or appointed to any office within the Church, each person must make the Declaration of Assent.

I recognise that the Church of England tolerates a pretty broad range of understanding and that we need to distinguish between those things which are fundamental to the Faith and those about which agreement is less clear, but if the Church is to stand for anything there must surely be limits to what interpretations are acceptable, and that is one of the duties of a bishop and one reason why we may feel that there is a need for the Anglican Communion Covenant.

St Paul tells us, in the first letter to the Corinthians, that there must always be charity as a dominant motive and also that we must look for what builds up and not what confuses and destroys. I hope we would also take those words to heart today and in the months to come as we continue to discern the Lord’s will on the two subjects we are currently looking at, and that we will honour and respect one another and not let suspicion and mistrust sour our relationships, remembering always the General Synod’s endorsement in 2006 of the Lambeth Conference Resolution in 1998 that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are loyal Anglicans.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

CEN–US Executive Council rejects Anglican Covenant

The report further noted that “to adopt the current version would mean changes to both the Constitution and Canons which would significantly alter our current understanding of what it means to be an autonomous province.”

While the executive council remained committed to “continuing engagement in thoughtful dialogue within the Anglican Communion around issues that may be divisive,” it could not “recommend adoption of the covenant in its present form.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council

(CEN) Sydney rejects Anglican Covenant

Sydney has rejected the Anglican Covenant. The 11 October vote by the 49th meeting of the Diocese of Sydney Synod likely spells the death knell for Dr Rowan Williams’ plan for a global agreement to set the parameters of doctrine and discipline for the Anglican Communion.

Support for the Covenant peaked in the run-up to the 2009 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Kingston, however, Dr Williams’ untimely intervention into the Covenant debate and changes made to the document have alienated both left and right.

Liberal dioceses in New Zealand, Australia and the US have rejected the plan as un-Anglican, while the Global South Primates last year stated that “while we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned, we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

(ENS) Executive Council submits GC resolution saying church is 'unable to adopt Anglican Covenant'

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, General Convention, House of Deputies President, Presiding Bishop

Dale Matson–Rowan Williams And The Deposition Of Bishop Lawrence

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Living Church) Bishop William Franklin responds to Ephraim Radner

…I appreciate the cautions about this linking of conciliarism too easily to Anglican provincial autonomy that Professor Radner makes me aware of. What are we to do in the 21st century with the international vision of Christian fellowship that was so much a part of the idealistic program of the medieval canonists who crafted conciliarism? What new structures might allow us to realize more deeply what it means to be members of the worldwide body of Christ? The Episcopal Church is no longer a “national church” but is made up of a family of nations, most of which do not share the English heritage of 18th-century American Anglicans (and in some nations the Episcopal Church in fact overlaps with another autonomous Anglican province). How can the 18th-century adaptation of conciliarism to one republic serve an international church that is no longer confined to one continent? The debate about the Anglican Covenant, which enters a new stage now as we prepare for the 2012 General Convention, is an opportunity for the whole people of God to engage prayerfully the issues concerning the constitutional structures of the body of Christ that Professor Radner and I have raised.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Church History, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, Instruments of Unity, Theology

(Living Church) Robert Prichard–The Anglican Communion: A Brief History Lesson

There may be good reasons for opposing the adoption of the proposed Anglican Covenant but an appeal to the perpetual independence of the Episcopal Church and a characterization of the Anglican Communion as an incursion of ambitious archbishops of Canterbury seeking to snare unsuspecting Americans certainly is not one of them. On the contrary, American Episcopalians should look with pride on the role that they have played in the creation of the Anglican Communion. The repeated American initiatives over the middle decades of the 19th century have much to do with the existence of the Anglican Communion. And the idea that Anglican Communion bodies might be appropriate fora in which to discuss matters of common theological concern is hardly a new concept created in order to combat American views on sexuality; it was an idea already present in the thinking of some American Episcopalians well before the first gathering of the Lambeth Conference in 1867.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology

Church of Ireland–What characteristics attract you to The Anglican Church?

I like it for its rootedness also and that it takes people seriously. I like it’s theology (but by no means all of it) or should I say it’s approach to theology.

– First, its diversity, tolerance and the most important : freedom of thought. Second, having TS Eliott and CS Lewis but also John Shelby Spong, Paul van Buren and Don Cupitt….

And of course, current problems surfaced and one said ”“ Sadly, what attracts me most in the Anglican Church are all the things we would lose if we were to adopt the Anglican Covenant….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Identity, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland, Ecclesiology, Theology

(CEN) Philippine ”˜no’ to the Anglican Covenant

Speaking to the 8th Philippine General Synod on 2 May, the Church’s Prime Bishop, the Most Rev Edward Malecdan, argued the best way forward through the crisis of faith and order dividing Anglicans was to keep talking while taking no action that would cause irreparable harm to the fabric of the Communion.

“I think most of us know that there are problems besetting the Communion,” he observed, noting that “one of this is the practice of The Episcopal Church USA, or TEC, in consecrating practicing homosexuals and lesbians to the episcopate. The other is the acceptance of same-sex marriages in both TEC and in the Anglican Church of Canada or ACoC.”

The responses to these breaches of Communion by the US and Canada had led some provinces to call for the isolation of “these two North American Churches. They express in no uncertain terms that the Church in Canada and TEC should be out of the Communion.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Episcopal Church (TEC), Episcopal Church of the Philippines, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Peter Carrell–On Some Gene Robinson remarks and Why the Covenant is a Great Idea

Now this is a media reported statement not a theological essay or paper, so I am not going to declare this to be evidence of heresy. But, on the face of it, here is an Anglican bishop making a christological statement which, putting it diplomatically, falls below the Nicene and Chalcedonian par.

The least we could expect of Anglican bishops around the world is that, different and diverse though they may wish to be on human sexuality, whether Hooker meant this or that re Scripture, reason and tradition, and what robes should be worn on which occasion, they all subscribe to the common ecumenical creeds.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Christology, Ecclesiology, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, Theology

TEC Executive Council Task force releases report on Anglican Covenant

An Executive Council task force has released a report it received from the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons outlining the changes that would be needed if the General Convention decides to sign onto the Anglican Covenant.

“The SCCC is of the view that adoption of the current draft Anglican Covenant has the potential to change the constitutional and canonical framework of [the Episcopal Church], particularly with respect to the autonomy of our Church, and the constitutional authority of our General Convention, bishops and dioceses,” says the report.

In a statement June 24, the D023 (Anglican Covenant) task force wrote that it has released the report now because of “legitimate concerns raised about issues of transparency around a decision as important for our Church as the Anglican Covenant.”

Read it all and please follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council

Anglican Church of Canada Governance Working Group analyzes the proposed Anglican Covenant

The Members of the Governance Working Group are:

Canon David Jones, Q.C., Chair (Province of Rupert’s Land)
Canon Dr. Randall Fairey (Province of British Columbia and Yukon)
Cynthia Haines Turner (Province of Canada)
The Ven. Dr. Harry Huskins (House of Clergy)
(The) Rt. Rev. Sue Moxley (House of Bishops)
Monica Patten (Province of Ontario)

Read it all (33 page pdf).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces

(Christian Post) SEA Anglicans: Stop Divisive Actions If Adopting Covenant

Amid strained relations, the Anglican Communion Covenant offers a promise of deeper fellowship and trust.

But divisive churches need to rescind actions that oppose the biblical design for marriage before adopting the Covenant, highlighted the Church in Southeast Asia.

The statement by the Province of South East Asia appears in a preamble to the Letter of Accession.

South East Asia became the fourth province to adopt the Covenant.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, The Anglican Church in South East Asia

Synod of the Church of England Diocese of Europe approves the Anglican Covenant

Voting on the motion that “This Synod approves the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant”

Laity – In favour 20 Opposed 3 Abstentions 0

Clergy – In favour 21 Opposed 1 Abstentions 2

Bishops – In favour 2

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Europe

Philip Turner–The Covenant: What Is It All About?

It seems to me that the understanding of communion that has shaped the proposed covenant is vastly superior to the theologically vacuous one favored by many with progressive views and to the impractical confessional one favored by many with more traditional convictions. It provides a way to sustain a thick form of communion within the changes and chances of history and within the conflicts occasioned by differences in culture. It provides a way through history that does not reduce communion (as in the progressive case) to the chance overlap of moral commitments or (as in the traditionalist case) to a fixed point in the history of the church that can serve as a theological north star. The ship that is the church is best guided by common immersion in Holy Scripture and mutual recognition born of a grace filled struggle in the light of scripture’s witness to arrive at truth. That is what the covenant is all about.

It saddens me that the chances for general ratification are in decline. I am still hopeful that most of the provinces will ratify the proposal. The recent actions of South East Asia and Ireland strengthen that hope. Nevertheless, hope in this case might disappoint. It is possible that the covenant will fail. If it does fail, the present disputants, because of the positions they hold, will miss the full scope of what has been lost. The great problem in the history of the church is how fidelity to the apostolic witness is to be maintained within the changes and chances of history. Anglicans have an answer to this question that the disputants in this fight have missed. It is a powerful answer, but it may indeed be lost without the disputants knowing what has actually happened….

I believe that Anglicans have addressed this question, though unwittingly, in a different and more adequate way””largely through a Book of Common Prayer.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Analysis, Anglican Covenant, Ecclesiology, Theology

Response to the Anglican Covenant, prepared by the Deputation of the Diocese of New Jersey

Some see few positive consequences of signing on to the proposed Covenant. True, it would perhaps show some institutional humility and a willingness to “continue the conversation” with other member churches of the Communion. But we are continuing to do this now without the Covenant: Bishop Councell noted that there were three archbishops from other Communion members in attendance at the recent House of Bishops meeting. And Episcopal Church dioceses continue companion-diocese and other relationships with other dioceses throughout the Communion. Perhaps endorsing the Covenant would only furnish a perception of willingness to stay in the Communion -a willingness that is already there in actuality.

Many are worried about the negative consequences of endorsing the Covenant. Among these consequences are the establishment of a new unnecessary hierarchy, the loss of diversity within the Communion, the loss of connection to churches that may not endorse the Covenant, destruction of the Anglican ethos, the forced abandonment of GLBTQ Anglicans, attenuation of the voice of the laity in the life of the Communion, and by putting decision-making in the hands of the Standing Committee, the hierarchical structure will reduce the incentive for churches with differing views to communicate one-to-one, as they do now. And finally, to the extent that representatives from The Episcopal Church may end up on the Standing Committee acting under Covenant Section 4.2, we may participate in being an instrument of oppression of another church within the Communion.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

(Living Church) George Sumner–Recognizably Anglican

The Covenant is a framework for just this mutual sibling encouragement and admonition around the pole of “recognizability.” This responsibility is in fact entailed in the very idea of “oversight,” of episcopacy. That is why bishops are not merely local administrators, but also constitute a worldwide collegium of stewards of the recognizability of the Gospel in the Church’s life and teaching. This is why, in the patristic era, there arose a custom that three bishops, ordinarily from neighboring dioceses, would participate in consecrations. The ministry of vouching for the catholic and apostolic nature of life and teaching was held by them jointly.

In other words, embedded in the very concept of a bishop is a ministry of recognizability beyond the merely local. A covenant of oversight for the sake of communion is implied by episcopacy itself. This ministry, to be sure, is best exercised in a flexible manner that provides for discernment over time and gathering in council. (The Covenant presents such opportunities in abundance, which makes the accusations of quasi-Romanism so extraordinary.)

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant, Canada, Church History, Ecclesiology, Theology

Church of Ireland General Synod Votes to Subscribe the Anglican Covenant

In the course of the Synod debate it was stressed that the word ‘subscribe’ in relation to the Covenant, rather than ‘adopt’, was important.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of Ireland

The Province of Southeast Asia Adopts the Anglican Covenant

This Preamble gives an account of the decisions that led to the drawing up of the Anglican Communion Covenant. It also outlines the raison d’être for the Church of the Province of South East Asia’s agreement to sign the Anglican Communion Covenant. The historical events of the past decade which caused the ”˜torn fabric of the communion’ set the context in which the Province and the constituent Dioceses see the need for this process. It follows that this Preamble also expresses our expectations that the background which has given rise to the need for this are recognised by the Churches of the Anglican Communion and provides the milieu in which it is signed.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, The Anglican Church in South East Asia

Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant

We are concerned about the omission of the laity from Section 3. As St. Paul teaches, we are all of us the Body of Christ and individually members thereof (I Corinthians 12). There are four orders of ministry in the Church ”“ bishops, priests, deacons and lay people, who also minister as members of the baptized people of God. Such an ecclesiology should both undergird the theology expressed in the Covenant and the church structures developed as means of connecting and serving the churches of the Communion. A Covenant to which we could subscribe would need to re-imagine the Instruments of Communion to provide a stronger representation from all the orders of ministry.

Section 4 is of greatest concern. It creates a punitive, bureaucratic, juridical process within the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, elevating its authority over the member churches despite previous affirmations of member church autonomy (see, e.g., Section 4.1.3). It contains no clear process for dispute resolution, no checks and balances, no right of appeal….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC)

Report on the 107th Diocesan Council of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

On Thursday afternoon, Council took up discussion of a diocesan statement concerning the Anglican Covenant. After several drafts, the current version of the Anglican Covenant is now being presented to the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church will no doubt discuss it at General Convention 2012. Although a diocese cannot make an official response to the Covenant, only a province of the Communion can do that, The Episcopal Church has invited dioceses to study and discuss the covenant and forward their comments to General Convention 2012.

In response to this invitation, in 2010, Lillibridge asked the diocese to read the Anglican Covenant, and during the past year, some discussion groups were held around the diocese. In November 2010, the elected leadership of diocesan clergy and lay leaders gathered to write a statement in response to the covenant. This statement was brought to the floor of Council this year for the delegates and clergy to discuss and affirm. After 30 minutes of discussion, the statement was adopted and will be sent forward to General Convention in 2012.

Go here for the [pdf]adode reader download, and it is pages 4 and following.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Lichfield Diocese approves Anglican Communion Covenant

The Lichfield Diocesan Synod has become the first in the Church of England to approve the Anglican Communion Covenant with overwhelming votes in favour in all three houses (bishops, clergy and laity).

The vote at today’s meeting in Longton Hall near Stoke on Trent is in response to the General Synod’s decision to refer the matter to the dioceses. All 44 dioceses in the Church of England are being asked to “approve the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant.” Last week the diocese of Wakefield voted to reject the motion; and the diocese of Hereford voted to refer the matter to deanery synods for wider discussion.

An attempt to adjourn the debate in Lichfield diocese so it could be referred to deanery synods was rejected with 47 voting in favour of an adjournment and 60 voting against.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Church Times–Wakefield synod votes against the Covenant

The first English diocesan synod to debate the Anglican Covenant has rejected it. On Saturday, in Wakefield diocese, the vote was lost in the Houses of Laity (10 for, 23 against) and Clergy (16 for, 17 against, 1 abstention). Both Bishops voted for its adoption.

The Covenant, which governs how the provinces of the Anglican Communion relate to each other, is being debated in each province. Three ”” Mexico, Myanmar, and the West Indies ”” have approved it so far; none has rejected it.

In England, the draft Act of Synod adopting the Covenant has to be referred to diocesan synods before it can return to the General Synod for final approval. Lichfield diocese will debate it tomorrow.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(C of I Gazette) Dermot O’Callaghan Chimes in on the recent Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin

Two clear messages have gone out from Dublin.

First, the authorities in Dublin Diocese were happy to showcase TEC despite its promotion of same-sex marriage. They have hammered in a wedge that may split our Church in two.

Second, the Primates’ meeting may have finally demolished the proposed Anglican Covenant, section 4.1.1 of which describes a Communion of national Churches “in which each recognises in the others the bonds of a common loyalty to Christ expressed through a common faith and order, a shared inheritance in worship, life and mission, and a readiness to live in an interdependent life”.

TEC’s breaches of that common faith and order are one thing; the failure of the Primates’ meeting to address them is quite another….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Ireland, Episcopal Church (TEC), Partial Primates Meeting in Dublin 2011, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(ACNS) Study guide on the Anglican Communion Covenant published

A study guide and a Questions & Answers document was published today to assist people exploring the Anglican Communion Covenant.

The study guide (available as a pdf document) from the Anglican Communion website ( is intended for parishes, deaneries, dioceses or groups of individuals wishing to explore the Covenant and the way it describes Anglican identity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant

Japan gives Anglican Covenant Backing

In the interval between the 57th and 58th Japanese general synods, the Primates’ Meeting, the Lambeth Conference, and the Anglican Consultative Council made “requests and recommendations” that the US and Canada forebear from pursuing gay bishops and blessings, while the “Archbishop of Canterbury has repeatedly given appeals and requests to address the problems.”

Yet, “in spite of the recommendations and appeals [TEC] and the [ACC] have proceeded with the ordination of a homosexual Bishop and recognising the ”˜marriage’ (union) of same sex couples, further complicating the situation and resulting in some provinces threatening to sever relations” with the two North American provinces, while other “provinces have expressed their intention of establishing a separate ”˜Province’.”

“These unfavourable movements have created the situation where a number of Provinces, Dioceses and Churches are unsure of where they stand, dangerously affecting their identity within the Anglican Communion,” Archbishop Uematsu warned.

Read it all (from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, Anglican Covenant, Asia, Japan

Resolutions adopted at the 128th Diocesan Convention of the Diocese of East Carolina

You can find them here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Covenant, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

John Martin–The Covenant is good news for Anglicanism

A Covenant will yield a stronger, more coherent and unified Anglicanism. It may mean that some Provinces such as TEC and some of the GAFCON Provinces will opt out both from the Covenant and attendance at inter-Anglican meetings.

That does not mean a complete break-up of Anglicanism – participation in the “instruments of communion” is important but not the only expression of being Anglican. The liturgies of Anglican Provinces bear a strong family resemblance. The mission societies, the Mother’s Unions, diocesan links, fraternal links among cathedrals and schools will not cease to operate.

Meanwhile as the Archbishop of Canterbury has made clear, work will be done on reforming the “instruments” because it is largely their failure to be effective that has triggered the crisis in Anglicanism.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Covenant