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Dioceses can adopt the Covenant: CEN 10.09.09 p 5. October 23, 2009

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

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Dioceses and other ecclesial bodies may endorse the Anglican Covenant, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams said this week, but noted the current process is geared toward adoption of an inter-Anglican agreement by the provinces of the Anglican Communion.

In a Sept 28 letter to the Bishop of Central Florida, the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Dr. Williams welcomed Central Florida’s endorsement of the first three sections of the Anglican Covenant.

On Sept 17 the Diocesan Board and Standing Committee affirmed the first three sections of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Covenant and asked Dr. Williams 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.”

Dr. Williams responded that “as a matter of constitutional fact, the ACC can only offer the Covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies, (the provinces).”

“But I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the Covenant,” he said. 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 wrote.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury declined to comment, saying it was their policy not to discuss private correspondence. However, the Anglican Communion Institute—whose members include Bishop Howe and Dr. Ephraim Radner—a member of the Covenant Design Grooup—noted that Dr. Williams was not articulating any new policies in the letter.

The ACI stated it was “in complete agreement with the Archbishop of Canterbury that endorsement of the Covenant by dioceses is a way to begin to preserve and restore “pastoral and sacramental relations with the rest of the Communion.”

They noted formal endorsement and adoption of the Covenant was a matter “committed to the ‘constitutional procedures’ of the member churches” of the Anglican Communion. Given the Episcopal Church’s “unique polity, those procedures will inevitably require consideration and agreement or rejection by [its] dioceses.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury was aware that the “adoption of the Covenant works best at the provincial level,” the ACI said. However, Dr. Williams “does not prejudge whether dioceses can adopt if a province does not because that would be to prejudge the decision of provinces to commit to the accountability demanded by the Covenant as well as the character of the Covenant in its completed form,” they said.


1. AnglicansUnited.com » Diocese of Central Florida May Endorse Covenant - December 31, 2009

[…] as a whole can officially consider the Covenant is the General Convention of 2012,” Bishop Howe wrote.  [Bishop Howe's letter is quoted at […]

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