The Covenant creeps along

The Church of England spent some time debating a technical motion moving forward the process towards some kind of Anglican Covenant. We waited and listened for news reports or live blogs. The news is that not much happened and the process proceeds. There were some kernels that indicates that the Covenant idea is moving along at its own pace, with a life of its own.

The resolution actually changes nothing. It was what is called a “take note” resolution. It appears that everyone took note. During the audio of the debate, it also appears that all the same people said all the expected things, and then it was passed.

Dave Walker had this to say:


Ruth Gledhill notes in the body of her live blog that

Earlier, the Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali introduced the covenant. ‘The main purpose of the covenant is inclusion rather than exclusion. We cannot forget, nevertheless, that these questions have arisen for us because of the need for adequate discipline in the Communion on matters which affect everyone. Nor, of course, can we forget that discipline is for the purpose of reconciliation and restoration. In the meantime, such discipline will undoubtedly have what have been called “relational consequences”. This is a matter of deep sorrow and of repentance for all of us and should lead us to be committed to continue the search for that unity in truth which General Synod has asked for in its previous resolutions on the subject.’

In his introduction the Bishop of Rochester said that the only way an Anglican Covenant could work and to be constitutional would be to treat it as if it were equivalent to an ecumenical partnerships between the Church of England and other churches.

“It should be said straightaway that such a covenant would be freely entered into and would not supersede the authority of General Synod or of the Crown in Parliament. It would be comparable to agreements about communion with other churches and indeed to some forms of ecumenical commitment to which the Church of England has entered.”

Of note to American Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans was that Nazir-Ali in his summary responses to the debate spoke about his view of inadequacy of the Anglican Consultative Council and his personal approval of ACNA.

He said that the ACC is not a very helpful instrument of unity because he says that it is not a proportionally representational body and it cannot not be a truly synodical body because Bishops (Primates) don’t have a unilateral voice on faith and morals.

As for ACNA, Nazir-Ali said that he believes ACNA must “somehow be recognized as Anglicans in good standing whatever structure that may be.” He did not specify anything more about his vision for a structure nor did he address the question as to why a parallel structure would be good for North America but bad for England, or anywhere else in the Anglican Communion.

Judging from the audio of the debate, his views are not universally held and were not tested by vote because the nature and content of the motion did not touch on these issues.

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