Responses to Episcopal Church non-position on Anglican Covenant

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A news release from the No Anglican Covenant Coalition:

COALITION STATEMENT ON THIS WEEK’S VOTES ON THE ANGLICAN COVENANT


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Two days ago, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia rejected the Anglican Covenant. Yesterday, the Episcopal Church voted to “decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant,” and to continue to monitor the progress of the Covenant until the next General Convention in 2015. No Anglican Covenant Moderator, the Rev. Malcolm French, has issued the following statement:

The wind has clearly gone out of the sails of the Anglican Covenant. There was not even a single dissenting vote when the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia declared itself unable to adopt the Covenant. While our Coalition would have preferred a clearer “no” from the Episcopal Church, the resolution passed in Indianapolis is scarcely more than an abstention – and the commitment to “monitor the ongoing developments” rings hollow when we consider that the same General Convention phased out funding for the Episcopal Church staff position for Anglican Communion affairs. Perhaps they will monitor the situation by following #noanglicancovenant or #nocovenant on Twitter.

The next major step in the Covenant process will be at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, this fall. We understand that there will be an attempt to introduce a ratification threshold and a sunset date to the Covenant process. Depending on the details, our Coalition is likely to be broadly supportive of both initiatives.

The Anglican Communion News Service reports:

The House of Bishops concurred with the deputies July 10 to affirm their commitment to building relationships across the Anglican Communion, especially through the Continuing Indaba program, and to decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant.

After considering eight resolutions, the General Convention’s committee on world mission recommended adoption of two resolutions on Anglican Communion relationships and the Anglican Covenant, a document that initially had been intended as a way to bind Anglicans globally across cultural and theological differences.

Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, (and member of the ACC, ed. note) chair of the World Mission Committee, told ENS following the vote that the resolutions are “a genuine pastoral response because we are not of one mind, and to push a decision at this time would cause hurt and alienation in our church on both sides and instead we chose to stay in the conversation.”

In both houses, an amendment to remove the section that declines to adopt the covenant, as well as to set up a task force, was defeated.

Throughout the Anglican Communion, seven provinces have approved or subscribed to the Anglican Covenant. They are Ireland, Mexico, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, South East Asia, Southern Cone of America, and the West Indies.

Two provinces – the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia – have voted against adopting the covenant. The Episcopal Church in the Philippines bishops also have rejected the covenant.

In March, it became clear that the Church of England could not adopt the covenant in its current form when a majority of its dioceses voted the document down.

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has adopted the document pending ratification at its next synod meeting later this year.

The Church in Wales last April gave the covenant “an amber light, rather than a green light.” The church’s governing body said it feared the recent rejection of the covenant by the Church of England jeopardized its future and clarifications about that were now needed before a decision could be made. It sent questions on the matter to the Anglican Consultative Council, the church’s main policy-making body, which meets later this year.

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