GC2009: Don't Rip Communion to Shreds, Pleads Albany Bishop
By Michael Heidt in Anaheim
The Rt. Rev. William Love Bishop of Albany gave a stark warning to delegates of the World Mission Committee meeting to hear testimonies pro and con Resolution D020, which asks the Convention to "abide" by the terms of the draft Anglican Covenant. If the Convention rejects this and signs on to any of the multiple (thirty) LGBT resolutions, Love said the consequences would be grievous.
Such action, said Love, would "not only break the bonds of affection, but rip them to shreds." They were strong words in favor of legislation supporting the developing Anglican Covenant.
Resolution D020, proposed by Deputy Martins of Indianapolis, asked, "That the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church make a provisional commitment to abide by the terms of the Anglican Covenant proposed in the most recent text of the Covenant Design Group (the "Cambridge-Ridley" draft)."
The covenant arose from the communion breaking actions of ordaining and consecrating unrepentant homosexuals and the ongoing "pansexual steamroller" increasingly endorsed by TEC. The Covenant seeks to introduce Communion accountability to member Churches. Members of the World Mission Committee, however, showed little eagerness to commit to the only resolution being put before the Convention supporting the Covenant Process.
One Committee member called the Resolution "vastly immature", while another questioned, "How can we commit to something that we haven't studied?" In the same vein, "we need to see all the fine print... (D020) seems to shortcut the Covenant process." In response to testimony urging the Resolution's acceptance, because it would bring about a "deepening of Communion relationships," a Committee member asked, "Why commit to the Covenant instead of relying on our existing network of relationships?" Again, testimony stating that the adoption of D020 would assure the Communion of TEC's continuing interest of remaining in it, met with the response, "Who is it, anyway, that thinks we're not already interested in it?"
The question is, will D020 be adopted by the World Mission Committee and put before the Houses of the Convention? Not if its chilly reception at Committee level is anything to go by. If that is the case, then Love's words of warning will swing into effect and the 76th General Convention of The Episcopal Church can add "ripping" the Communion "to shreds" to it's collective conscience.
The text of D020 follows below.
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church make a provisional commitment to abide by the terms of the Anglican Covenant proposed in the most recent text of the Covenant Design Group (the "Cambridge-Ridley" draft); and be it further Resolved, That the text of the proposed covenant be commended to the various dioceses of this church for study and comment during the coming triennium; and be it further Resolved, That the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies appoint a Special Task Force to determine what constitutional and/or canonical measures may be necessary in order to make a permanent commitment to the Covenant; and be it further Resolved, That this Special Task Force prepare a report to the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church that includes draft legislation that could be considered should the convention decide to make a permanent commitment to the Covenant.
The 75th General Convention passed resolution A166, which supports the participation of the Episcopal Church in the development of an Anglican Covenant. Since then, the Covenant Design Group has produced several drafts, culminating in what the members of the CDG believe is the final product of their work, the Cambridge-Ridley Draft.
The 75th General Convention also passed resolution A159, which affirms not only our commitment to interdependence in the Anglican Communion, but a desire to live in "the highest degree of communion possible." The same convention also passed resolution A160, which offers an apology that "our failure to accord sufficient importance to the impact of our actions on our church and other parts of the Communion" has "strained the bonds of affection" between the provinces of the Communion.
Since 2006, these strains have only grown more severe. Given our share in their creation, and in keeping with our long-held ecumenical position that for the greater good of the larger Church's unity, "this Church is ready in the spirit of love and humility to forego all preferences of her own," and as a sign of good faith toward our sisters and brothers across the Communion, it seems appropriate that we voluntarily and temporarily agree to order our life according to the terms of the Cambridge-Ridley Draft until such time as we can ascertain the level of its acceptance by other churches, and consider more fully the nature of our identity as a constituent member of the Anglican Communion of churches.
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