At the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2012 in Indianapolis, the deputies and bishops will be asked to decide whether to sign the Anglican Covenant.
The Anglican Covenant is the result of further work after the Windsor Report, which came out after Gene Robinson was elected and consecrated as Bishop of New Hampshire. Wouldn't you know it, some place as isolated and, in the scheme of things, as insignificant as the Diocese of New Hampshire, would cause a tidal wave of concerns, anger and angst within the far-flung Anglican Communion.
Gene is a gay, partnered man. Gay Bishops are a dime a dozen in the Anglican Communion. But Gene was bold, honest and authentic enough to let it be known he was a gay man in a committed relationship. Sounds like the right thing to do, right?
But no. The Windsor Report and the resultant Anglican Covenant was all in response to the fair and democratic election of a great priest to be the bishop of New Hampshire. (Tiny things, in life, cause huge responses.)
Anyway, the Episcopal Church is faced with saying yes or no to this Anglican Covenant.
Honestly, 75 percent of the stuff in the first three sections of the covenant consists simply of stuff most every Anglican in the world agrees on--the Creeds, the Trinity, the Archbishop of Canterbury being 'first among equals', the autonomy of each of the 39 churches that make up the Communion, stuff about the Eucharist and independence of the various churches to make their own decisions.
So, if we all agree about that stuff already, WHY WRITE IT DOWN?
My wife and I agree on even more of life than that--90% or more. And it has never occurred to us to 'write down' what we agree on.
The rest, the stuff we don't agree on, 7% or so, is simply worked out day by day, week by week, year by year between us. Sometimes we reach a compromise. Sometimes we don't. Be we remain 'in communion' even when we don't agree at all.
The 4th section of the Anglican Covenant--look it up, you can Google it--is so dramatically Un-Anglican and non-democratic and anti-autonomous that it would be laughable if there wasn't a lobby that wanted it to be agreed to.
That 4th section violates with violence everything that comes before and sets up a process to deal with 'disagreements' between churches. (For 'disagreements' read 'how to deal with GLBT folks'--like not making them bishops.)
Gene Robinson, a duly elected, validly consecrated bishop of the Anglican Communion was not invited to the Lambeth Conference--the every 10 year meeting of all bishops in the Communion. I guess the Archbishop of Canterbury ran out of printed invitations. Something like that. Why else on earth would he neglect to invite a valid bishop of the clan?
Oh, because large and bullish members of the Communion in Africa and other parts of the developing world are frailty scared of gay folks who are honest about being gay folks since they are Biblical fundamentalist and don't think gay folks are 'children of God'. God help them.
The 4th section of the Anglican Covenant is a way to either discipline or exclude the American and Canadian Churches from the Communion since those two churches are dealing honestly and compassionately with Gay folks. (Not compassionately or honestly in CT to allow priests to follow civil law and sign the marriage licences of same sex couples who, legally, can marry in CT.)
It's all a nightmare. Goggle noanglicancovenant.org and read people more reasonable and logical that me.
The Anglican Covenant is neither 'Anglican' nor an honest, relational 'Covenant', so far as I can see.
Anglican Covenant, NO! Autonomy for the Episcopal Church, SI!
More about all this later....
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