Saturday, 17 January 2009

Covenant Watering

After some reading back and forth I think that the Not the Same Stream blog (Modern Churchpeople's Union related) is on to something regarding Ephraim Radner's obscure open letter to other members of the Covenant Design Group and also the Windsor Continuation Group dated 11 January.

I had my fingers burnt recently when I misread in part a piece from the Anglican Communion Institute when I said that they wanted to give God a push towards carrying out their views, as part of a larger piece that attacked the assertion made again and again without evidence that The Episcopal Church (TEC) is moving toward Unitarianism. The latter and main argument stands but these members of the ACI have decided to become something of a self-appointed witness for what they regard as tradition within TEC whilst others have set up some peculiar body called The Anglican Church of North America.

Ephraim Radner writes his letter as a:

concerned member of the Covenant Design Group... [with] ...a simple plea for us to do our work better in the midst of continuing ecclesial disintegration.

He indicates his view that his bishop, the Rt. Rev. Robert O’Neill, ordained to the transitional diaconate a publicly known partnered homosexual because, Ephraim Radner thinks, the opposition had moved away within his own diocese in Colorado. Thus statements of keeping to a wider Communion position had been overturned by the action and he thinks that this feeds structural separation.

I thought the Windsor "ban" was against ordaining partnered people to the Episcopate, not the diaconate, and thus nothing is overturned.

Not the Same Stream highlights this paragraph (I do wish it would sort out its absolute line endings, it's very untidy):

And who should offer a different testimony, if not you and us together, at least serving groups ostensibly committed to and charged with forging a better way for our Communion? We cannot control events and the decisions of others. But we can certainly engage honestly and squarely what is at stake and avoid equivocating (yes, we do too much of that); we can speak clearly and not secretly or in code; we can offer concrete and effective proposals, and not diplomatic blurs; and we can prosecute them with all the energy God has granted us rather than being sidelined by the doubtless real but nonetheless surmountable bureaucratic obstacles with which common life across the globe presents us.

Some points here need highlighting again!

  • avoid equivocating (yes, we do too much of that)
  • not [speak] secretly or in code
  • not [offer] diplomatic blurs
  • sidelined by ...bureaucratic obstacles

Given that this is addressed to the Covenant Design Group, as a concerned member, this looks like a criticism of the group, yet itself given in equivocating manner, secretly or in code, using diplomatic blurs.

Well, the early February meeting of the Primates in Alexandria will discuss the Covenant and hear from the Windsor Continuation Group that recommends a ban of partnered gay people to the Episcopate.

The suggestion from the letter is that the Covenant preparation has come under equivocation, code, diplomatic blurs and bureaucratic compromises and will be a fairly useless document - useless enough to get the nod from Western Churches and just have it as one more document.

Of more concern, perhaps, in the dark and dubious world of Anglican politics, is that the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has asked the GAFCON primates to prepare a paper and present the case for the Anglican Church of North America to the Anglican Consultative Council (to enter the Anglican Communion) and that apparently [see comments] these primates will do this at the Alexandria meeting.

Of course papers presented then go on shelves, so this in itself indicates little, but it might give false encouragement to the schismatics. On the other hand Rowan Williams may have just followed procedure, the rest is hyped by the GAFCON crowd [see comments].


June Butler said...

He [Robert Duncan] said that following consultations about the proposed new province between Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and members of the GAFCON primates’ steering committee in London last month, Archbishop Williams had asked that a paper be prepared setting out the situation and the hopes for a new structure. The Archbishop invited the primates to forward the case to the Anglican Consultative Council along with their comments.

The article in The Living Church tells us only what Robert Duncan said. Did the writer bother to contact anyone at the offices of the Anglican Communion or any of the organizers of the Primates meeting? You'd think that they would on a matter as controversial as this.

Mark Harris at Preludium has an excellent post on the subject.

Posted with the sincere hope that I have sorted out my absolute line endings and not been untidy. ;o)

Ann said...

I am not sure the ABC "asked" them to prepare a paper - that is Steve Waring and George Conger language. I think it is more likely the paper is being prepared by North Americans and given to some Primates --- ABC being ever polite probably said - oh yes I guess a paper would be fine. But he has said that the process is quite a bit more than that.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

I'm just not being careful enough, am I? I shall add a red word 'apparently'.

cryptogram said...

As I commented elsewhere, "put it all down on a piece of paper" is the standard way of kicking something into the long grass. The electronic version gets wiped, the hard copy gets lost in the post, or wrongly filed by the new junior in the episcopal office ("She only joined us in 1936")

Fret not. The schismoes are on the fast track to nowhere.