ACC begins to consider next action on Covenant

In today's sessions, the Anglican Consultative Council began its work considering the latest draft of the proposed Covenant, and what action the Council might decide to take.

According to ENS, a resolution is being considered that, if adopted, would send the Covenant out for adoption with responses by the Provinces required either way by December 2014.

"The resolution came to the ACC representatives from the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the Primates, or leaders, of the communion's churches. That committee met in Kingston last week before the ACC meeting.

In presenting the resolution, Diocese of Brisbane Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, said, 'Archbishop Drexel has left us with no doubt that there is no matter that will come before us this week that is more important than the question of the covenant,' adding that a 'solemn responsibility' had fallen on the ACC.

Gomez told the representatives that 'the communion is close to the point of breaking up … The chance that the covenant offers to give something to the communion as a description of what Anglicans care about … won't last much longer.'

Gomez linked the urgency of that timeframe to the July 8-17 meeting of the Episcopal Church's General Convention and the recognition by conservative Anglican leaders and former Episcopalians of a proposed new Anglican entity in North America. He also said that 'a number of primates' had told him that their governing bodies 'are beginning to become impatient with the communion's life if the communion can't say something clear at this stage of its life.'

If the ACC does not agree to send the covenant out to the provinces for their approval, Gomez predicted, 'there will be clear breaks in the communion after this meeting.'"

Read the full article here.

ENS has posted the text of Archbishop Gomez's presentation here.

In the discussion that followed the introduction of the resolution, some voices called for the immediate adoption of the Covenant and Gregory Cameron, Deputy Secretary General of the ACC, and now a bishop in Wales, giving his opinion that 15 to 20 provinces were ready to quickly adopt the document.

The Canadian report on the day's discussions can be found here. Marites Sison's report points out that Bishop Cameron's remarks today somewhat contradict remarks by the Secretary General Kenneth Kearon earlier that participation in the Covenant would not affect a Province's status in the Communion.

Comments (6)

Gomez's fear mongering is unpersuasive. Most of the Communion didn't even submit comments when the previous drafts of the covenant were circulated. The covenant is a creation of right wing non-schismatic clergy in the US and the UK. These are the people behind it. These are the people it will empower.

+Gomez is correct that the Communion is in danger of splitting -- score one for stating the obvious. But in what conceivable way will this (or any other Covenant) prevent such splitting retroactively. The splits have happened; the Covenant will not heal the wounds inflicted on the Communion by those in GAFCON who have walked apart. If all it does is get them together with their dissident minorities in the Global North -- as you suggest, Jim -- this will be nothing other than an Instrument of Disunity.

Or explain me otherwise, please! Precisely how will or can the proposed Covenant actually promote or change anything; especially given that it appears to have no impact on membership in the Anglican Communion.

More threat and ultimatum from Gomez, nothing new there. If Provinces have until 2014 to ponder it then we can surely take until 2012 and beyond.

Let people see the greater anarchic behavior that will follow in the passing on of this document. The good news is that it ends the work of Gomez and ACI in drafting this. Having some five years to discuss it around the communion I am sure reasonable people will discover all its flaws as GafCon and the others try and make it a tool of control.

If Rowan Williams wants to show some leadership he will urge a slow down to the process. If a covenant is where we are headed, there is no harm in taking our time. The rush to close ranks is a sign of anxiety. And if, as some of us think, the whole covenant idea was a bad idea to begin with, it will give us time to come up with something better.

The fact that Drexel Gomez is chairing this thing should give anyone pause.

I'm disturbed by what Cameron is quoted as saying further in the ENS report,

Cameron also noted in response to another question that "at the moment there is no linkage to signing the covenant" and participation in the life of the communion. But, he added, "if a number of provinces were to adopt the covenant, then I think naturally the question would be asked whether some sort of assessment or change would have to take place."

Cameron's suggestion would appear to contradict Anglican Communion Secretary General Kenneth Kearon's May 2 comment that the adoption process is not envisioned as one that would require "some sort of substantial majority [of provinces to sign onto the covenant] by which time it applies to everyone." Kearon added that the covenant "would only apply to those churches of the communion which decide to covenant."

If nothing else it shows that once the cat is out of the bag there's no defined path it will follow.

I think Cameron's comments indicate that the covenant is bait and switch.

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