Executive Council responds to the draft covenant

The Executive Council took several actions at its recent meeting one of which was to make public its response to the Draft Anglican Covenant. Some excerpts from that response:

The tensions of the present moment notwithstanding, we believe that there is a strong common identity that unites Anglicans worldwide. Anglicanism flourishes in geographical and cultural contexts of remarkable diversity. Yet we share a distinctive character that is familiar wherever it is found. Anglicans embrace a provisionality that argues for freedom in non-essential matters and humility in those matters where faithful Christians may err. We share a profound desire that the church be comprehensive of all sorts and conditions of people, and that it bring both justice and the saving grace of Jesus Christ to all. At our best, we are characterized by a genuine pastoral sensitivity to those with whom we have differences and by a profound respect for all people. In our lives together, we delight in a particular love of liturgical worship and the sacramental life of the church in all its various expressions….

In this age of globalization and post-colonialism, our Anglican identity fosters a powerful and creative dynamic between the particular and the universal, the local and the global, the contextual and the catholic. The question then, before Anglicans today, is: how can we live more deeply into what God, in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is calling us to be in the variety of our local circumstances while, at the same time, remaining in unity with sisters and brothers in Christ who live in different circumstances? How can Anglicanism move beyond the confines of a mono-cultural privileged, English-speaking church of the West to a multicultural and global plurality of post-colonial churches without losing a sense of our common purpose and identity? What role can an Anglican covenant play in negotiating the life of the Anglican Communion lived between the local and the global?

Our study process has led us to the conclusion that The Episcopal Church, as with the Executive Council, is not of one mind as to the efficacy of this particular Draft Covenant in either form or content. Furthermore, some parts of the Covenant have received broad endorsement within The Episcopal Church, whereas other parts have engendered vigorous debate and opposition. Recognizing this diversity of opinion, we will now discuss each section of the Draft Anglican Covenant, seeking to be responsible to the variety of opinions within our church.

While some of our members consider the draft adequate as it stands, the majority believe that we must work in the hope that the final form of this document will provide a better means of engaging one another respectfully and with mutual regard, as we seek to agree on essential matters of faith and order while celebrating our differences.

Read it all here.

Mark Harris has some reflections here. (See, too, his pre-council post here.) Context: Harris writes,

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

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