Thursday 17 February 2011

Not a Whiff of No

The Study Guide to the Anglican Communion Covenant gives not one hint of suggestion that it might not be wanted, but boy does it give the lie that this is only about high level Church relations in the Anglican Communion. It is about every parish church, every Anglican believer.

We know about the emphasis on purple:

3.1.3 we affirm the role of bishops and the threefold ordained ministry in leading and equipping the ministry of all God’s people

3.1.4 we acknowledge 4 Instruments of Communion that serve our life in communion: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates’ Meeting

But here we go with this guide, and look at the question, and by 'church' it does not mean Church of England:

Read each subsection (4.1., 4.2, 4.3). What might this mean for your church?

4.2.1 each church recognizes and seeks to live by the common commitments made in the Covenant

4.2.2 the Instruments of Communion monitor the Covenant through the Standing Committee

Is this a one off? Is it hell (it could be hell!):

This study guide is intended to help Anglicans engage with the text of The Anglican Communion Covenant: to understand it, to deepen their faith as Anglican Christians, and to become more committed to life together in the Anglican family.

The Covenant can be understood as a description of life in the Anglican family. It contains an agreement about what the family’s values are, what its purpose is, and how it lives together.

The fourth paragraph speaks of the specific Anglican community of faith and the need to work together within this family.

Anglicans are making their commitment to each other through a Covenant.

Anglicans as people engaged with Scripture, in worship, mission, service and proclamation. about our mission and how we are to undertake it.

How is each of these affirmations and commitments lived out in your church?

How do you understand the work of your church in furthering the mission of God in the world?

The Covenant was, and is, a document about restriction. This document makes it clear: it is about every church, every believer. It must mean a Communion built on excluding a specific group of people, of further restriction, and this is further placed down into every parish, every attender. It further confuses Communion and Church.

Now we know. It is not just a document about restricting one Church to another within Anglicanism, but it is about every parish and every believer who is Anglican. I'm glad I'm gone.

This Covenant has slipped through every little goal put in its way, and now it will go to the dioceses for approval, and when they say 'yes' through those goalposts it will be pressure on the General Synod to say the final 'yes' too.

I suggest, as a friend who got out: find a way to say No.


MikeB said...

ive got the ddo form from the priesthood here on my desk , but the more I read about this bloody covenant the more I dont want to ba apart of the rotten instiution!

Together with the vote aginst blessings of same sex unions ( we should be doing full blown marriages and leading on this), I really dis inclinded to through my hat into the ring - Im really attracted to the OEC and like the mission to all.

Being in the coe feels like a cross between watching a car crash in slow motion, and king canute.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Well the difference is that in the OEC you always pay your own way, and in the C of E you might be stipendiary. Congregations are bigger in the C of E. On the other hand, you can be more creative in the OEC. The crunch point will come with the General Synod vote - three houses and a simple majority in each (and only the House of Clergy offers the possibility of scuttling it, at present).

Lesley said...

I've responded in my post Please don't go .

Red said...

Come on Mike! I have just seen your comment thanks to Lesley of Lesleys blog fame... I am in the same place as you (only the form has just gone in). I firmly believe part of my calling to the vocation is about reform and change. How will the CofE change without fresh blood coming through it? I still passionately believe the Chruch of England has a place in our soicety and a very important one at that. yes it has its faults, but but we shouldnt judge the whole by the few. Be strong, send in the form and stand up for what you believe in :)

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Mike, if you feel uncomfortable now, you will in future. You should make clear comparisons with other groups like the OEC (contact Simon Mapp) and the like to make a decision. Don't end up (like I did) riding two horses for too long because it will always show.

By the way, if you were a minister of some experience, I (who can't find myself a job) could just about offer you a job! That is, if I know enough to go on with, there's a ministry job going begging and I can inform those who need to know and it might just be a shoe-in.

Is there anyone out there interested?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
I was in similar position a few years ago. My position was / still is that I'm traditional ( catholic ) in practice and yet progressive theologically, I'm a member of the 'Sea of Faith Network'.

My concern with the Anglican church ( although I have not read the covenant word for word as yet ) is a belief that the CofE missed their change for reform when Bishop Ramsey failed to endorse 'Honest to God' in the 60' has been down hill ever since - one only has to look at 'Alpha'

I applied for and was accepted into the OEC a couple of years ago and obviously see the OEC as a truly wonderful and progressive and creative catholic church.

Downside: No stipend so one must be self-supporting - where to worship on a Sunday? I have a wonderful relationship with a catholic CofE church as well as taking services every other Sunday in care homes.

Upside: Theologically progressive, creative, all inclusive, members of World Council of Churches and Churches Uniting in Christ... and as a result one can apply for chaplaincy posts!

It has worked for me, but I appreciate the struggles in making such a decision. If you want to chat further then please feel free to contact me.

MikeB said...

thanks guys - its all pretty encouraging!

I guess i like the cofe becasue of the people I worship with and the latent potential the church has. However it constantly misses the point, fails to engage, and can offer a bland non questioning faith - anyone for alpha? Thought not

I am progessive socialy, but am quite othrodox theologically but willing to push away at the boundaries and rethink.

In practice though I find myself becoming increasing Catholic which is quite a pleasent suprise for someone who started off in a welsh free evangelical church.

As for experience - ive only been a pcc member & church warden, though I have led worship before but not in the anglican church.

Ill drop you an email Simon if thats ok


Anonymous said...

Great Mike,

Look forward to chatting further.

I'm away for a few days, so I will not be able to correspond until the middle of next week.

All the best,