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Archbishop Says Central Florida Act a Positive Step: TLC 10.01.09 October 2, 2009

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

First published in the Living Church.

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.

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 endorsement from the diocesan bodies a step in the right direction. “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 noted. But “I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the covenant.” Such an action may not have an immediate “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” [TLC, Aug. 9].

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” [TLC, Sept. 27].

Bishop Howe stated that he was aware that some believed that “only the General Convention can decide whether or not to ‘opt into’ the Covenant, but there is nothing in the Covenant itself, and nothing in our Constitution or Canons, that stipulate this. If a given person, parish or diocese agrees with the Covenant, what is there to prevent saying so?”

Bishop Howe added that “should it be that the General Convention were to ‘opt out’ of the Covenant while some of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church have endorsed or adopted it we will have a number of interesting questions to address.”

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