While The Episcopal Church General Convention meets in Indianapolis, the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is meeting in Fiji. According to Anglican Taonga (the news site of the Province) the big issues are resource sharing, the Anglican Covenant, sexuality and more:
The 60th General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui of this church begins today in Fiji – the place where, in 1990, the church adopted its three tikanga constitution.
The new constitution spoke about the need for “each partner… to ensure adequate provision and support is available to the other partners.”
To commit to resource sharing, in other words.
And that’s an issue which is likely to feature big in Fiji this coming week.
It will first surface when Professor Whatarangi Winiata tables a motion in the name of the Te Aute Trust Board, seeking at least $1.7 million more from the St John’s College Trust to save Te Aute College and its sister, Hukarere College....
Later in the synod, Professor Winiata will move a second motion triggered by the Te Aute crisis.
He will ask synod to act to place 50 percent of the St John’s College Trust assets “under the control” of the Pihopatanga.
In the preamble to this motion, Professor Winiata notes that while the assets of the St John’s College Trust Board are “in excess of $300 million and continue to grow”, four Maori Anglican boarding schools – St Stephen's, Queen Victoria, Te Waipounamu and Hukarere – have been shut because they’ve run out of cash.
The clear implication of this motion is that if Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa had more say about where the money went, things might have turned out better for those schools.
Last year’s runanganui – the synod of Te Pihopatanga – rejected the Covenant, and so have the Diocese of Polynesia, and four of the seven Pakeha dioceses.
So it would be highly surprising if this General Synod didn’t – as far as the province is concerned – put the Covenant out of its misery.
On Monday morning, Dr Tony Fitchett and the Ven Turi Hollis will move that synod “declines to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant”, while at the same time affirming the commitment of the Anglican Church in these islands “to the life of the Anglican Communion.”
The Covenant debate may be about to finish.
But where sexuality is concerned, there’s plenty more to address.
The Diocese of Waiapu will ask this synod to affirm “the long tradition and practice of Episcopal autonomy in the discernment of a person’s call to ordination,” and it will also ask synod “to move forward” with the provision of an approved liturgy for the blessing of same-gender relationships “for use by those dioceses which wish so to do.”
And the Rev Glynn Cardy, Vicar of St Matthew-in-the City in Auckland, will move a motion on the nature of marriage.
This asks Episcopal units “to hold conversations in our Church and with the wider community” about the nature of marriage – to “explore how the Church might theologically and liturgically respond to gay and lesbian Anglican couples who request this rite” and to report progress by 2014.
It’s heady stuff. Alarming too, for conservatives.
The Rev. Bosco Peters discusses the revisions to A New Zealand Prayer Book and questions the hasty nature of these revisions.
Read more here.
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