Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland, comments on a speech on the Anglican Covenant made by The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia in which …
She stressed the point that it was not the work of IASCUFO to promote the Covenant, but rather to monitor its reception. “As we have sought to do that,” she told delegates, “I have often thought that the document people discuss and the actual Anglican Covenant are two different documents.
“One is the document that people have in their mind and the other is the Anglican Communion Covenant on paper. So I really want [people] to read the Covenant and be focused on that. Because often, when people start talking about the Covenant, what they describe in their mind as the Covenant is unrecognisable.”
“Remember most of the Covenant reminds us who we are in Christ,” she said.
Bishop Victoria Matthews is not merely patronising, she is actually wrong.
I have to say that I find the suggestion that we really need to read the actual Covenant quite insulting. No church could have done better at reading the thing than the Scottish Episcopal Church. … We talked about it until people were sick of talking about it. We printed it out so many times that people complained about the environmental impact of the Covenant process.
And then we finally made a decision and the decision was a resounding “No.” We really don’t need to go back and read the text. We read it plenty and we made up out minds very clearly and overwhelmingly.
Bishop Victoria also said, “Remember most of the Covenant reminds us who we are in Christ.”
You know, the predominant thing that we said was not that we were worried about the punitive sections. That was true for very many of us. However the thing I heard people saying again and again was, “This just doesn’t represent who we are”.
The claim that the Covenant reminds us who we are in Christ is a rather foolish one. The Covenant is an imagined identity which we have firmly rejected.
It is certainly patronising of Bishop Victoria Matthews to imply that we in Scotland just have not read the Covanant enough. More than that though, it isn’t true.