What is the Anglican Covenant and what does it have to do with us? What does Anglican mean? What does Covenant mean?
What does Anglican mean? Churches that grew out of the Church of England, sharing a theology, worship and structure In relationship (in communion) with the Archbishop of Canterbury
What does Communion mean? Full communion means there is mutual agreement on essential doctrines and full participation in sacramental life
Are all “Anglican” churches part of the Anglican Communion? No. Some have a shared tradition (continuing churches) but are not part of the Anglican Communion. How does “Episcopal” fit into the Anglican Communion? After the Revolution, Anglican sounded too English The term “Episcopal” means “having bishops”
What does Covenant mean? A covenant is a solemn promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action (it establishes a relationship) In the Bible, God enters into covenants with people when he has a relationship with them
Connection and Autonomy Connection: An agreement to define better the boundaries of what it means to be part of the Anglican Communion A mechanism for settling serious disagreements Autonomy Each church is independent and has its own peculiar variations of structure Each church does its ministry in a different context
Differences in the Anglican Communion America Influenced by the American Revolution (reorganized in 1789) with a more democratic structure No Archbishop Other Anglican Churches Closer to the structure of the Church of England A stronger episcopal power structure
Why have a Covenant now? The conflict over the consecration of Gene Robinson A suggestion by the Primates Task Force even before Gene Robinson’s election The recommendation of the Windsor Commission
What kind of accountablity do we have now? No Pope Archbishop of Canterbury Lambeth Conference Anglican Consultative Council Primates Meeting
What does the Anglican Covenant look like? Four drafts Four sections plus an introduction The introduction and the first three sections are mostly descriptive The fourth section addresses how to deal with disagreements
Introduction Why is Christian unity important? The life of the Holy Trinity The work of reconciliation What are the responsibilities of our unity with other Christians?
Our Inheritance of Faith What we believe One, holy, catholic and apostolic Church Holy Scriptures Creeds Two Dominical Sacraments The historic episcopate From this faith each Church, helped by the Holy Spirit, commits itself Teach and act Grounded in Scripture Spread the gospel and seek reconciliation Listen to the Spirit
The Life we share with others: Our Anglican Vocation Communion in Christ is a gift from God God’s grace and providence through the ages has formed us into what we are today We are all called to repentance, as we all fail in recognizing Christ in one another All churches are connected to the imperative of God’s mission in Christ Though the Body of Christ is the Church, still we are called to full visible unity All this means action
Our Unity and Common Life We are one Body in the Church of Jesus by baptism and eucharist. Each church has responsibility to its local context with autonomy and accountability We seek to affirm this common life through the Instruments of Communion The role of bishops is as guardians and teachers of faith, leaders in mission and as signs of unity. Instruments of Communion are: Archbishop of Canterbury Lambeth Conference Anglican Consultative Council Meeting of the Primates Each Church commits to have regard to the common good Respect autonomy of all the Churches with upholding mutual responsibility and interdependence To listen, pray and study together To act with diligence, care and caution with controversy In conflict, participate in mediated conversations.
Our Covenanted Life Together Each Church commits: Adoption of Covenant Not represent submission Each Church join according to its own procedures Covenant becomes active when adopted Participation in Covenant means balancing local essentials with accountability to the other Churches Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion shall monitor the Covenant Questions may arise from within a Church or from another covenanting Church or from the Instruments When shared mind is not reached, matter shall be referred to Standing Committee Standing Committee may request a deferral of a controversial action. If refused, may recommend a limitation in participation Standing Committee may declare any action “incompatible with the Covenant” Recommendations go to Instruments of Communion Participation in decision making shall be limited to Churches adopting the Covenant Any Church may withdraw from the Covenant