Who is this “they” you speak of?

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Update: The Rev. Grieb has told numerous sources that she did not offer the characterizations attributed to her.

Here is a perplexing little nugget from a report on the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. The Rev. Katherine Grieb of Virginia Theological Seminary, a member of the original Anglican Covenant Design Team, is reported to have said the following:

“The Rev. Grieb noted that no provinces have yet ratified this Covenant. She said that from TEC’s perspective the document has progressed from being very rough to being a draft ‘that they could live with.’ “

If this in fact is what the Rev. Grieb said, it would be interesting to know how she has come to this conclusion. TEC’s perspective can only be articulated by the General Convention, which has said not a word about the final draft of the covenant. Executive Council hasn’t spoken in any kind of conclusive, or, for that matter, even suggestive sort of way on the matter, either. Section IV, the disciplinary section of the covenant, has been referred to the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons to determine whether it conflicts with the governing documents of our Church. But that’s about the sum total of official Church activity on the matter.

Most of the folks who will consider this document at the 2012 General Convention haven’t been elected yet, and even people who keep their large ears very close to the ground aren’t picking up much in the way of rumblings, pro or con. So if the Anglican Church of Canada has been given the impression that the Episcopal Church has decided to “live with” the Covenant, they’ve been given bad information.

The Rev. Grieb is scheduled to brief the bishops of the Episcopal Church on the Covenant at their upcoming meeting in Texas.

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tobias haller
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tobias haller

Let me throw in my two denarii and suggest that while there is significant and vocal opposition to the proposed Covenant, Dr. Grieb did not suggest there was widespread support, but that this was something many have said they could "live with." I count myself among those, as Paige has noted. I do not enthusiastically support the whole idea of a Covenant, but I note that the GC has officially pledged itself to remain part of the Covenant process -- and that includes taking the final draft under consideration. Those who are opposed to the whole "idea" of a Covenant have it seems removed themselves from this process of discernment, and my efforts to pin down what exactly the problems are with the draft on the table are generally met with few details, but just the general opposition to the "idea." I admit there are some things I don't like about the document -- but none, for me, are poison pills. What is required is some elucidation of precisely how we understand the Covenant document -- a testing to see if we are all really meaning the same things by certain words and phrases -- and then to see if we can indeed "live with it" -- and each other.

The signs of greater cooperation in the face of disagreements in the Communion -- witness the recent meeting of Canadian, English, and African leaders, and the comments of the Bishop of Liverpool on the basis of his own experience of the Listening Process -- give me great hope for getting the Communion to a point where we can learn to stay together even in disagreements: which was the goal of the Covenant process.

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Jim Naughton
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I don't want to make too much of this issue, nor do I want to overlook it. We don't know exactly what was said, or whether the Rev. Grieb (it's AP style, and I make no apologies for using it.) was simply representing her sense of where the Episcopal Church is at. That said, if that's her sense, I think her sense is wrong, and it worries me because someone of her stature might be seen by other provinces as having her finger on the pulse of our church.

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Paul Woodrum
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Paul Woodrum

And if anyone calls Katharine Grieb "The Rev. Grieb" one more time they must wear a hair shirt under sack cloth and cover themselves with ashes for the duration of Lent.

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

The report in "The Journal" (your link) covers the March meeting of the Canadian Council of General Synod (CoGS). There have been problems with the advancement of the human sexuality issue at CoGs. This group, which governs the Canadian Church between General Synods, was directed by General Synod 2007 to develop an amendment to the Marriage Canon of the Canadian Church to be presented for first reading at General Synod 2010. The direction given was to develop an amendment that would make marriage available to both homosexual and heterosexual couples. CoGs was unable to follow through on the direction given to it by General Synod. The coverage that is emerging about the development of the agenda for the Canadian General Synod 2010 suggests a struggle by CoGS and the Canadian House of bishops to get a handle on the agenda. He who controls the process, has the best opportunities to control outcomes. It will be interesting to see how much unfiltered "floor time" is given to the several Canadian dioceses that have already decided to allow the blessing of same sex marriages. See the link attached here for more information. http://www.anglicanjournal.com/canada/cogs/002/article/cogs-wont-ask-for-change-to-marriage-canon-in-2010/?cHash=811f379a3f

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paigeb
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paigeb

This attempt to create facts on the ground has become a running plot line in the Anglican Communion soap opera. I hope someone in the House of Bishops has the good sense to call the Reverend Grieb on that statement.

Even more than that, I hope that there is a groundswell--and soon--against the whole IDEA of a covenant. I know I break ranks on this issue with people whom I respect greatly (Tobias Haller comes to mind), but I continue to believe that the Anglican Covenant is a rotten idea. Dr. Grieb has a vested interest in presenting it as a fait accompli, but IMO, the rest of us should be wary of any covenant but the baptismal one.

Paige Baker

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