COLUMBUS, OH: Special Committee on Windsor Report recommends Covenant
By Hans Zeiger
COLUMBUS, OH (6/14/06)-The Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, meeting at the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church on Wednesday, voted unanimously to commend to the Convention a resolution to begin the process of a Covenant with the global Anglican Communion.
Such a Covenant, according to the Resolution, number A166, would demonstrate "our commitment to mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Anglican Communion, support the process of the development of an Anglican Covenant that expresses and fosters our unity in faith, order, and common life in the service of God's mission."
The perceived necessity of a Covenant comes in the aftermath of the 2004 Windsor Report, which criticized the Episcopal Church for its hasty actions in approving of homosexuality at its 2003 convention, including the consecration of the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, a gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire. In response to the Windsor Report, leaders of the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church have proposed a covenantal process that would enhance the communion's ability to work together.
The resolution, if passed by the Convention, will direct the International Concerns Standing Committee of the Executive Council and the Episcopal Church's representatives to the Anglican Consultative Council to keep track of the formation of an Anglican Covenant. Resolution A166 does not provide procedural instruction, but it would begin the process.
According to the Rev. Dr. Ian T. Douglas of the Diocese of Massachusetts, co-chair of the Special Committee, "Our task calls us to participate in the process and doesn't call the Episcopal Church to participate in any kind of product...We want to participate in that process, not to sign on to a bottom line of any particular kind of covenant." The process, he explained, will be more important than the covenant itself.
Rationalizing the non-specific nature of Resolution A166, another committee member declared, "I think we need a certain level of ambiguity in there to accommodate circumstances we can't anticipate."
Douglas added, "We cannot legislate here how we might be invited by the broader Anglican Communion to participate in the development process." The resolution leaves the church open for whatever dialogue it may be called upon to enter.
Rev. Canon Martyn Minns, rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, who has been a leading voice for orthodoxy at Special Committee hearings, offered his reaction to the decision. "I think they're saying we'd like to be involved in the process of a covenant, and I think it's good."
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