On location in Jamaica with the Anglican Consultative Council: A presentation given on the Covenant and covered by Anglican Satellite Television by Archbishop Diesel Addams with Bishop Patercake-Baker, Bishop Graham Aspidistra, (Bishop-select) Canon Dr. Philip Crumb Monarch Bootslick, Canon Hatton Coaton, Bishop Scot Wales, Doctor Stephen Niall N. Coffin and Canon Christopher Emmerdale, a reporter. Archbishop Roald See O'Vee tries to chair proceedings. Dr Art Tickle Righter is elsewhere writing an essay on the principles of a Covenant from the perspective of dioceses.
Archbishop Roald See O'Vee (RSV): I would like to introduce Archbishop Diesel Addams, chair of the Covenant Design Group (CDG), who has something to say and who will take questions.
Archbishop Diesel Addams (DA): OK, I have worked day and night, night and day, when not consecrating people who are now going to ACNA, on this Covenant, to keep this international Church we all love in pieces together. If we keep it in pieces, I will be very pleased that in true Anglican fashion on the one hand I have done so much to keep it together while, on the other, I helped to pull it apart.
Given what I have done, we really now need to adopt the thing. I don't wish to sound desperate, but in the Windies we can feel a gale coming along unless we adopt it and this is the draft in here to do it. So it is the last draft to save us from the final gale.
I should say that three Anglican Churches, that's three provinces not dioceses, though perhaps Church now has a very loose definition, have openly asked whether there should be a Covenant at all. This could be the tip of a very cold iceberg, very cold because I have to say in all seriousness that this particular iceberg is suffering from global warming and could break up. And if it comes off the landmass then we could be turning the worldwide Anglican Church into a leaky Noah's Ark.
Canon Philip Crumb Monarch Bootslick (PCMB): Could you tell us which provinces are favouring a Federal Communion solution?
Archbishop RSV: The Archbishop's statement is not yet finished and then we will take questions.
Canon PCMB: I most humbly apologise, Your Grace. Please forgive me! I am nothing but a humble sinner not worthy of personal sacrificial alteration.
Archbishop DA: We have to commit ourselves, we really have to commit ourselves, otherwise we shall go mad. There is a madness staring at us in the face. We have to be a family, a proper family, where the parents argue with each other and the children cry from distress. Like this event has cost a third of a million: and families ask, "Where is the money coming from?" And families get divorced, with children from different families meeting each other as new mums and dads marry. Do we want that? No we don't. So it's family first and individuals second. And in this light, we can imagine a family where the children of two parents, must be male and female, have grown up and there are no jobs. So they are under the same roof. This is like the Anglican Communion situation then, this family, where the family guides and the individuals decide. The parents can no longer smack the children, you see, but money is tight and they are interdependent but individuals decide. But after all the arguments they need to draw up an agreement to say we are a family and that the agreement obviously isn't going to remove anyone from the house or do anything if they keep arguing. But if they keep arguing there is an advisory not a coercive procedure for solving the disputes. So OK they may choose to stay in separate rooms but at least they are in the building. I think this family can draw up an agreement by 2014. I've said enough now.
Archbishop RSV: That was a very clear explanation and I think we will take questions.
Canon PCMB: Very clear; I must note down how he said all that.
Bishop Patercake-Baker (PB): Which three provinces? Does that include mine, Aotearoa New Zealand?
Archbishop RSV: So that's how you do not incorrectly say it.
Archbishop DA: No I cannot tell you. It could start a trend. Look this thing has got to go out for consideration and adoption. We're not doing it again.
Canon Christopher Emmerdale (CE): My question from your humble reporter is whether we should have a Covenant that lets Churches join which reject biblical principles: surely a Covenant that is worthy is based on acceptance of biblical principles, at least according to members of the Primates' Council.
Archbishop DA: The question is, "Do we wish to remain a communion?"
Canon CE: That wasn't my question.
Archbishop DA: It was my answer.
Doctor Stephen Niall N. Coffin (SNNC): Where do you identify the discipline existing? On the way in, or on the way out?
Archbishop DA: The new draft firmly states that each Church decides for itself, and the text says quite clearly that nothing in the Covenant can or should change the constitution and canons of any province.
Canon CE: So what is the urgency to have something that doesn't do anything: how can something that does nothing save a Communion by adopting it?
Dr. SNNC: No. Er, to answer my own question, as I do: it saves the Anglican fellowship when you join and get these biblical Churches and dioceses joining quickly.
Bishop Scot Wales (SW): May I say something?
Archbishop RSV: Yes, I would like to introduce Canon... sorry Bishop Scot Wales, who of course has just joined our happy family.
Canon PCMB: Excellent, excellent! I bet that was a fine ceremony. Where was it?
Bishop Scot Wales (SW): Gogledd Cymru i chi. Of course it remains to be seen how many do adopt the Covenant. It could be some, it could be many. At the moment, there is no linkage between adoption of the Covenant and participating in the life and activities of the Communion. The more the merrier: the more that join, the more it might gain some mass like a big ball that knocks down buildings, and thus demonstrate real Anglicanism inside the knocked down building as opposed to those who stay outside the building.
Bishop PB: That's not what's been said so far. That's doing it by the back door, and Anglicans don't like the back door. Anglicans say use the front door, not the back door.
Bishop SW: It's all been done by the back drws as well as the front drws isn't it? Beth ydych i'n eisiau?
Archbishop RSV: Modern somewhat informal way of asking what do you want.
Archbishop DA: The new draft keeps as many doors and windows open as possible, so that as many can get into the building as possible.
Canon CE: That's my point.
Dr. SNNC: So what you are saying is, Canon sorry Bishop Scot, it is not the entry conditions that matter but the mass. I've been saying, the doors and windows that are open are coloured evangelical, see, and thus only can anyone come in through them; but you're saying have the lot open and then the house gains occupants and gives it importance or mass. But we don't do mass in Anglicanism.
Canon PCMB: Surely this is a most excellent Communion solution. As a bishop I would be prepared to do mass. This is the breadth of a central evangelicalism, doing mass. I think I am an Affirming Evangelical now. Or perhaps not.
Archbishop DA: What? Look, this is my presentation and I am answering the questions. Bishop Scot Wales is entitled to put his spin on it about mass and commitment over association but it is not mine.
Canon Haton Coaton (HC): Frankly, with this document, none of us have a clue. It is utterly plasticine, utterly elastic. We just want to get the thing out there and not to be a total flop after so many years of pointless activity. If we just keep waiting and waiting it will die like a plant without water.
Canon PCMB: But this is a good thing, to have the flexibility to call ourselves an Anglican family. We can go around watering the plants like families look after their gardens, their pot plants, their flowers.
Canon HC: For goodness sake.
Archbishop Graham Aspidistra (GA): May I make a comment?
Archbishop DA: If you must. This is supposed to be my presentation.
Archbishop RSV: Welcome to our Australian friend Archbishop Graham Aspidistra.
Archbishop GA: These independent Churches of ours, you know, have lots of different polities, and some of them will take two synod meetings to decide to adopt, and, let's face it, some of them are going to drag the thing out.
Archbishop DA: It is just too long into the future. Look, this is my presentation. I've done all the work here, with a few others. This airport, that airport, this hotel, that hotel. Do you know how much money it costs flying to all these different places in order to prop up this Anglican Communion? It's not as if we can have a bulk package deal and go to Rome every time, is it? And then all these consecrations. Perhaps that's what we need, not just centralisation but an ecclesiastical equivalent of Adolf...
Archbishop GA: Look the Churches can adopt this thing whenever they like. Any Church can move very soon should it wish to but if the Communion guides and each Church decides...
Archbishop DA: Now you are pinching my lines. Look, I'm ending this now. Just someone do something with this load of verbiage, right? The Covenant offers us a description of what Anglicans are, care about, how to discuss, and it might not hold any of us together but hell's teeth there is bugger all else. Perhaps we should adopt a blank sheet of paper? Would that make everybody happy? Well it is not a blank sheet of paper because I, we, worked hard on this, and the 660 bishops gathered in Lambeth have delivered our verdict...
Canon CE: Sorry, I thought the idea was that you did not deliver a verdict of any sort: indaba and all that.
Archbishop DA: Phew. We were positive in what we said. Let's look at the work before and after. Those provinces that have responded have, OK, mainly said that we worked hard and where they said we got things wrong we put them right until the document became meaningless. So not everyone agrees, there is no unanimity. But can we here in Jamaica volunteer to get this thing sent out?
Canon CE: Sorry, what is the substance of the thing to be sent out? I'm just a reporter asking questions.
Archbishop DA: There is no appetite, Canon Emmerdale, for an Anglican Confession or Statement of Belief, and we don't do creeds.
Canon PCMB: But, may I ask, can we not adopt a Communion Conservative approach and use this at least as a definitive move against a Federal approach, either liberal or conservative?
Archbishop DA: Well just to contradict my deepest desires, out there there is certainly no appetite at all for the centralisation of the life of the Communion. So it makes no difference there either. And I'm afraid, with that, I'm taking no more questions and have nothing further to say, until next time. Good bye to you all.
Canon PCMB: I think that was a most excellent presentation and... Oh everyone seems to be leaving.