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Covenant subcommittee declines to release key report

Covenant subcommittee declines to release key report

ENS reports (towards the bottom of this story) that the sub-committee formulating the Executive Council’s response to the proposed Anglican Covenant is refusing to release a report on whether the covenant would require changes to the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons.

Mary Frances Schjonberg writes that the council:

heard a report from Rosalie Ballentine, council member and chair of its Anglican Covenant Task Force. She said that there were “a few” among the 64 responses the group received from a request for comment on the final draft of the covenant who would approve the covenant in full. “Almost all” respondents objected to Section 4, which contained a disciplinary process, she said. Ballentine also said that the group will not yet release a report it requested from the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons outlining the changes that would be needed if the General Convention decided to sign on to the covenant. “We’re reluctant to have it out there” because some people may assume that decisions have already been made, she said. The report will eventually be appended to the task force report to General Convention. Council will receive a draft of the Blue Book report in October, according to Ballentine.

Conversely, the Anglican Church of Canada, which apparently regards its members as adults, has released its report, which is here, along with an executive summary, which is here.

The Cafe pushed hard to make the names of the members of the House of Bishops Secret Theology Committee on same-sex blessings public. This is much more significant information, and we implore the Council to release this document which will clearly influence the sub-committee’s deliberations about the covenant, and therefore should be public.

And if you happen to come across a copy, please email it to


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Lelanda Lee

I have posted “Response from an Executive Council Member” at my blog at

Lelanda Lee

I have posted a response on both the HoB/D list and on my blog at entitled “Response from an Executive Council Member.”

Jim Naughton

The issue of releasing the long-ago completed report from Constitution and Canons was raised at Executive Council. The sub-committee chair declined to do so. That constitutes withholding information by my definition.

People who don’t want to run for Executive Council because they fear public criticism probably don’t belong on Executive Council. If they are afraid of what a blogger might write, imagine what putty they would be in the hands of stronger members of the Council.

Bruce Garner

The minutes will be available as soon as someone has time to transcribe them and get them approved. That is the normal process. Why don’t you just submit a direct request or question to Rosalie instead of all this back and forth?

Me saying that there is no intent to deprive anyone of information will fall on your deaf ears. Sometimes the processes do not move at the speed or direction others might like, but that is how it is. And when that happens immediately crying foul or jumping to conclusions doesn’t help the situation.

As I have already said, I appreciate the work you do. But you also need to know that the attacks that get directed at well meaning folks who are on the same side of the discussion as you go a long way toward disuading others from standing for election to bodies such as Executive Council.

Bruce Garner

Jim Naughton

If the Constitution and Canons report on this issue was still in process, I’d have no objection. But it was submitted to the task force months ago. It is done. The entire church has been invited into the discernment process on how we should respond to the covenant. Our discernment cannot help but be influenced by the opinion of these legal experts. Why can’t we know what it is?

Why don’t we even have minutes at

If the report says that constitutional changes are required, but that news isn’t reported to the church until it is too late for supporters of the covenant to prepare the appropriate legislation and organize support, our likely rejection of the covenant will be viewed as suspect. I don’t want that to happen. But holding on to this report makes it possible that it will.

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