Resolution B005 – Ongoing Commitment to the Anglican Covenant Process was passed as a substitute resolution on July 10th. The original resolution moved to adopt the Preamble and Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the proposed Anglican Covenant, and to establish a Task Force to monitor developments in the Anglican Covenant process, especially regarding Section 4. The substitute resolution most significantly differs from the original language with the addition of the third resolve, “that as a pastoral response to The Episcopal Church, the General Convention decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant at this convention….” I strenuously objected to this additional language, and my remarks to the House of Deputies follow:
“The request in this resolution for Executive Council to appoint a task force to continue to monitor the ongoing developments with respect to the proposed Anglican Covenant and how this church might continue its participation is redundant and unnecessary.
The 2009 Resolution D020 commended the Ridley Cambridge Draft and successive drafts of the proposed Anglican Covenant to the dioceses for study and comment during this triennium, and that a report to Executive Council in keeping with 2006 Resolution A166 be made. Such report was made by the D020 Task Force and is now a Blue Book Report that recommends Resolution A145 with a final Resolve that says “The Episcopal Church is unable to adopt the Anglican Covenant in its present form.”
It is not a pastoral response for the General Convention to decline to take a position on the proposed Anglican Covenant when the work requested by previous General Conventions has been done and a recommendation not to adopt the Anglican Covenant in its present form has been made.
The D020 Task Force report says, “A significant number of responses raised the question about the effectiveness of the covenant as a way of holding the communion together when some of the provinces which had initially supported the need for a covenant appeared no longer to support it.” In fact, the majority of the Church of England’s dioceses have voted to decline to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant.
The D020 Task Force report further says, “the task force noticed what it came to call ‘covenant fatigue.’” It is not a pastoral response to request the church to hold another three year wake for the proposed covenant. The proposed covenant is dead and needs to be buried.
The church needs to be freed from the dead body of the proposed Anglican Covenant so that we can complete our restructure work and focus our time, energy, and resources on building relationships, lifting up our youth and young adults, nurturing our ecumenical and interreligious relationships, and cultivating new resources for being Jesus’ disciples in a hurting world.
We have work to do and convening another task force and another season of study is no longer needed. This General Convention has been speaking with a clear, prophetic voice and is giving the church policy on which the future can be built. Let us continue to be courageous and stand for what we believe. Let us say no to the dead body of the covenant, and defeat this resolution.”
I was an endorser of resolution D007-Response to Anglican Covenant, proposed by Susan Russell, which said “General Convention, having prayerfully considered the merits of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and believing said agreement to be contrary to Anglican ecclesiology and tradition and to the best interests of the Anglican Communion, respectfully decline to adopt the same….”
I opted to endorse Susan’s resolution, which gives a clear “No,” versus the Executive Council’s resolution A126-Consideration of the Anglican Covenant, which says, “The Episcopal Church is unable to adopt the Anglican Covenant in its present form.” I think it’s important to speak plainly.