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A life of mutuality before the Covenant

A life of mutuality before the Covenant

On his blog, Tobias Haller quotes from the 1878 Lambeth Conference’s Encyclical letter, section 1.5:

There are certain principles of church order which, your Committee consider, ought to be distinctly recognised and set forth, as of great importance for the maintenance of union among the Churches of our Communion.

1. First, that the duly certified action of every national or particular Church, and of each ecclesiastical province (or diocese not included in a province), in the exercise of its own discipline, should be respected by all the other Churches, and by their individual members.

Haller’s conclusion, in part:

…point 1, in one sentence, is the key to any real Anglican unity. No further “covenant” is needed. And the one currently on offer provides a mechanism to frustrate point 1, by shifting from respecting the actions of the provinces to placating those offended by them. The proposed Covenant is government by discontent and disrespect.


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Jesse Zink

As I understand it, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral was designed for relations with non-Anglican denominations, i.e. these are the conditions that need to be met for us to consider reunion with you. As I learned it, the Quadrilateral is not meant to be a statement of Anglican identity or a unifying force.

Clearly, however, Anglicans would have to agree the quadrilateral at some sort of basic level. But it seems, then, the Quadrilateral would support some kind of Anglican federation – ok, Rwanda, we see you as Christian in the same way we see the ELCA as Christ – and not a true Anglican Communion.

Of course, this leaves open the question of what constitutes that unifying Anglican identity – if anything – but appeals to the Quadrilateral seem beside the point here.

-Jesse Zink

jim Beyer

If we suppose for a moment that no one is to be tossed under the bus using the Covenant’s processes, we must ask why section four was drafted. Absent section four, I would probably be a lonely voice blogging against it. Instead I find myself part of a movement.

There it is in all its curial glory, rules to force a church to toe Canterbury’s line or leave; four “instruments of unity,” (which are all the Archbishop;) rhetoric against, “innovations;” “relational consequences;” and a punitive precedent in the Archbishop’s decisions to impose “relational consequences” on TEC and Southern Cone.

It is easy for Dr. Williams not to see issues, under the Covenant, he controls the “Instruments of Unity” and the agendas. I could see a document that gave me central power as democratic too!

Beyond that, the Anglican Communion grew strong, vibrant, and large precisely by allowing the national churches to be themselves. It is by destroying that model with its fruitless centralization that the Covenant fails the test. Yes I say, “fruitless.” I submit you must agree unless you think GAFCON is coming back.


jim Beyer

member: No Anglican Covenant Coalition

tobias haller

Adam, don’t you see that by its own text the Proposed Covenant provides a mechanism to undercut and challenge the “duly certified action of every national or particular Church” with whom anyone chooses to find fault. See sections starting at 4.2.3., which provides for raising “questions” about the “actions” of churches and the consequences which follow from a failure to “defer” an action complained about, including “suspension from the Instruments” — which sounds particularly painful.

I’m not making this up.


The worst thing about *this* proposed Anglican Covenant (as opposed to the current, blessed Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral one!) isn’t that TEC might get excommunicated under it.

It’s that any national church signing onto it is agreeing to a Centralized Excommunicating Magisteria—whether it’s TEC that gets booted by it or someone else.

To me, that’s a FUNDAMENTAL transformation (subversion!) of what Anglicanism has stood for.

I say NO. Save the Quad!

JC Fisher

Adam Spencer

I just truly do not see the harm in the Covenant. So, say we sign it. Best thing that happens is we now have some common language and room for dialogue in the Communion. We, at least on paper, deepen our bonds of affection. Worst case scenario (and I’m talking ABSOLUTE worst!), the relational consequences section is taken as permission for someone to make with the Big Bad Excommunication and we get booted from the Communion. But if we don’t sign it and just drift to that place of brokenness as a Communion anyway…I don’t know. It seems like a lot of mistrust and fear over…what exactly?

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