jump to navigation

Archbishop—Covenant Adoption Limited to Provinces: TLC 9.30.09 September 30, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Central Florida, Living Church.
First published in The Living Church

(Author’s note: This article published by the Living Church was taken down from their website after I spoke to their editor.  What I submitted for publication was re-written in house by the Living Church  — changing the thrust and theme of the story.  The corrected version has been put on line and can be found at the link above.  GC)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed an endorsement of the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant by the Diocese of Central Florida’s board and standing committee, but said only provinces can officially adopt the covenant.

On Sept. 17, the diocesan board and standing committee adopted a resolution stating that they “affirm sections one, two and three of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant, as we await the final draft of section four.”

Central Florida also asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to “outline and implement a process by which individual dioceses, and even parishes, could become members of the Anglican Covenant, even in cases where their provincial or diocesan authorities decline to do so.”

In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called the diocesan bodies’ endorsement a step in the right direction. However, he stated, “as a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces).”

The archbishop added that “I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the covenant.” Such an action would not have an “institutional effect” but “would be a clear declaration of intent to live within the agreed terms of the Communion’s life and so would undoubtedly positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider communion, he said.

The resolution was offered to the board by the dean of Southeast Central Florida, the Very Rev. Eric Turner, rector of St. John’s Church, Melbourne, Fla. Originally titled a “Resolution in Response to General Convention,” the first two clauses backed Bishop Howe’s endorsement of the Anaheim Statement issued at the close of General Convention, and reaffirmed the “teaching of the Anglican Communion” on “matters of human sexuality.”

The second half of the resolution drew upon the Sept. 7 call by the bishops of Albany, Dallas, North Dakota, Northern Indiana, South Carolina, West Texas and Western Louisiana for “dioceses, congregations and individuals” to “pray and work for the adoption” of the covenant, and asked that they “endorse [its] first three sections.”

Objections to adopting Dean Turner’s resolution came over the question whether it was wise to endorse the covenant absent completion of its final section. However, when put to a vote, there were only two objections among the diocesan board; the standing committee passed it unanimously.

Bishop Howe said that as “chair of the meeting I did not vote, but I fully support those who did.” The committee resolutions will now go to the diocese’s January convention for further action.

%d bloggers like this: