Question 11 answered

In yesterday's ACC media briefing on the Anglican covenant adoption process Anglican Communion Deputy Secretary General Gregory Cameron answered a question about the meaning of the word "Church." In his answer Cameron referred an October 2008 document entitled,

A Lambeth Commentary: The Reflections on the St Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Covenant by the bishops gathered at the 2008 Lambeth Conference together with responses from the Covenant Design Group, and in particular to Question 11 as still applicable:

11. “The Churches of the Communion”

Q: Bishops asked how the term “Churches of the Communion” should be understood in the draft covenant. If the diocese was the local Church, could a diocese sign up for the covenant?

A: In Anglican ecclesiology, there is a creative tension between the understanding of “local Church”, which is that portion of God’s people gathered around their bishop, usually in the form of a territorial diocese, and “Church” as a term or description for a national or regional ecclesial community, which is bound together by a national character, and/or common liturgical life, governance and canon law. Traditionally, Anglicans have asserted the ecclesial character of the national Church as the privileged unit of ecclesiastical life. The Church of England’s very existence was predicated upon such an assumption at the time of the Reformation. Recognised in most cases as “Provinces”, these national or regional Churches are the historical bodies through which the life of the Anglican Communion has been expressed, and they are the primary parties for whom the covenant has been designed. If, however, the canons and constitutions of a Province permit, there is no reason why a diocesan synod should not commit itself to the covenant, thus strengthening its commitment to the interdependent life of the Communion.

Cameron went on to give the example of Wales whose provincial constitution would not allow a diocesan synod to sign without the permission of the province. But he also said that it was the "opinion of the CDG" that otherwise "there was no reason a diocese could not express its solidarity with the Covenant." Cameron did not address the directly put question of whether groups like ACNA were welcome. Gomez referred directly to 4.1.5 of the Ridley draft which "opened the door to other churches" once the Covenant came "into force" (Gomez's words in quotes). Cameron answered after Gomez and it appeared he was seeking to subtly reframe Gomez's answer.

For those interested in the details the entire 30 minute briefing is worth your time. Answering a question that continues to be raised, Cameron said the JSC is recommending the ACC not get into revising the Ridley draft; it's all or nothing. Gomez answers that Section 4 is integral to the whole and should not be jettisoned. Cameron resurrects the specter of two tiers of membership in the Communion. In the last minute or so Gomez answers a question about when said resolutions for General Convention 2009 that he seen circulating on the web could imperil the Communion.

Comments (6)

One of the many problems of Anglican governance is that reports like this one, statements from Primates Meetings, paragraphs from private correspondence with the Archbishop of Canterbury take on a canonical quality they do not deserve.

Here is another question: why should the desires of the JSC and the CDG be treated as holy writ? Why can't the ACC do as the body wants to do?

Concur with your comments, Jim.

Here's another question: Why design a covenant that will impact provinces differentially depending on what their C&C say? And another: Who is the arbiter who says the C&C of Wales, for example, has the meaning Cameron gives to them?

The design invites hard feelings, particularly if the devices and desires of the JSC and CDG are allowed to be treated as holy writ. Just because it's on a piece of paper doesn't make it so.

If those who wrote it can't seem to agree on what particular phrases mean how can this lead to anything but more chaos as the conservative forces read it as they please?

Please ACC drown the whole thing or give it to a new committee.

¨Answering a question that continues to be raised, Cameron said the JSC is recommending the ACC not get into revising the Ridley draft; it's all or nothing¨

Ah, no sense in allowing the ACC commoners gathered to digest, discuss and suggest ANYTHING regarding the ¨draft¨...apparently the Board of Railroaders aka Design Draft Committee has already decided what´s what and what´s not what in accordance with Gods ¨will¨ for The Anglican Communion...the not-so-underlying ramroding of shameful force-feed movement is clearly NOT related to the Holy Spirit introducing welcome, love, inclusivity and salvation/resurrection at The Body of Christ.

Shame on the Archbishop of Canterbury for intentionally appointing such ¨despotic¨ mischiefmakers and then demanding that WE swallow their ¨brew¨ whole.

I suggest that each province take a page from the Statesonian Bush Administration and issue a signing statement along with their accession to the Covenant. In that Statement, the province would state what they Covenants clauses not only mean to them, but how they apply to them, if at all.

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