Saturday, April 11, 2009

UPDATED: Preludium + Off Topic = Real Anglicans (NOT)

Father Mark began a post with a discussion about the "latest and greatest" covnenant draft and focused in on the following section of the re-re-re-revised document:

"(4.1.5) It shall be open to other Churches to adopt the Covenant. Adoption of this Covenant does not bring any right of recognition by, or membership of, the Instruments of Communion. Such recognition and membership are dependent on the satisfaction of those conditions set out by each of the Instruments. However, adoption of the Covenant by a Church may be accompanied by a formal request to the Instruments for recognition and membership to be acted upon according to each Instrument's procedures."

The comments section was fairly normal at the beginning but then along comes BabyBlue, a notorious reasserter and a blogger of enormous "clout" in the sphere and hear what she says:

Blogger BabyBlue said...

Would the therm(sic) "Church" not also include Episcopal Dioceses to join if - should that time ever come - General Convention rejects the Covenant?

9/4/09 5:38 PM

Comments such as these might be construed as a mere comment or is it?  Perhaps, BB has tipped a bit of the next attack on The Episcopal Church.  Why do I say that.  Well, what follows is the Diocese of West Texas and one of the most insidious resolutions to pass ever.

WHEREAS, the General Convention Budget has historically been funded by dioceses based on their financial capability and voluntary choice;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the 105th Council of the Diocese of West Texas affirms that the Diocese of West Texas is in union with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ directly through the Anglican Communion, its Instruments of Unity, and our Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge; and 
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Council accepts no actions by General Convention that would reverse the authority roles between Dioceses and the General Convention, or would grant the Office of the Presiding Bishop executive powers over Dioceses and their Bishops; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Council accepts no specific actions by General Convention that would

  • mandate financial assessments from Dioceses to the General Convention budget;
  • unilaterally impose trust interests on diocesan and congregational assets.
It appears that there are several issues at work here.  One separating from TEC so that the property does not belong to The Episcopal Church but to the diocese.  Second, it allows the diocese to circumvent a Province and go it alone.  This goes back to the issue of 4.1.5 of the Covenant.  

So what do we have? Well, this suggests at least a two-pronged approach to the covenant.  First, ACNA approves the latest and greatest revised Windsor Covenant and thereby circumvents the "routine" procedure and in effect gets expedited treatment toward a recognized province, IN LIEU of  The Episcopal Church.  The second prong is those diocese such as West Texas, Central Florida, Louisiana et. al. reject the Episcopal Church as a province and approach the Covenant as an independent diocese and recognize the covenant. That in turn puts the Episcopal Church in an awkward situation to say the least.  

Based on section 4.1.5 the covenant should be dead before arrival and I am hopeful that 815 is alerted to the nonsense perpetrated by some diocese that looks a lot like separation with property.
One of the major architects has this to say about the issue of church versus province:
31. Ephraim Radner wrote:

Dr. Noll asks one of the question very much in some people’s minds.  The answer is that the word “church” is not carefully defined because it would have been overly limiting of a number of potential situations we did not feel it was wise to constrain in advance, including churches now in a relationship of ecumenical partnership, as well as future uniting churches, currently extra-jurisdictional dioceses, or future ones, etc..  The specific issue of ACNA or an individual diocese in a non-covenanting province was placed on the table, discussed at length, and we agreed that no limitation on this possibility would be defined.  I.e., of course ACNA or siuch a diocese can sign and formally request recognition and participation.  (The latter might finally function under some metropolitan aegis as currently happens with e.g. Lusitania.  The seeming inconsistency between the Preamble and these kinds of possibilities was noted, and understood to be acceptable as the price paid for the organic transformation of the Communion under the covenant as I have noted it in a previous comment (I think!):  the Communion is not static.

In fact, we are now looking not at what is good for the "Anglican Communion" but rather what punishes people.  So, this covenant is good for who?  It promotes what?  I am hopeful that not only does this covenant not see the light of day but the revisers are chastised for this most recent revision in which they politics above everything else.

Thank you to Father Mark and to Lynn, Episcopal Cafe.

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