Monday, November 8, 2010

What ACANZP can do to forward the Covenant in our life

Commenting on my Go + Gregory post below, my colleague Bosco Peters rightly notes, "Our province only recognises one (count them 1) instrument of communion: the Archbishop of Canterbury (that’s one more than is recognised by “Anglican” Nigeria). In order to recognise other instruments of communion (let alone the “Standing Committee”) this requires a very complex process which takes at least 3 years and no one has even started that process which cannot start until 2012 here. So nothing is even possible IMO in our province until 2015."

Obviously any constitutional changes for our church consequent upon a resolve to sign to the Covenant will take the required number of years envisaged by statute. If we did quite a bit of work and secured quite a bit of prior agreement, we could begin the necessary process in 2012 (our next General Synod year) and complete by 2015 (= the General Synod year 2014 plus one year for any appeals). Nicely in time for the next Lambeth Conference in 2018!

In the meantime we could, without constitutional change, resolve to introduce no new developments in the life of our church which would likely be disputed by a fellow member church in the Communion.

That is, we could begin living as though the Covenant was in existence.

4 comments:

Howard Pilgrim said...

Now we are getting down to tin tacks, Peter, as you spell out your personal vision of the Covenant in action ... "In the meantime we could, without constitutional change, resolve to introduce no new developments in the life of our church which would likely be disputed by a fellow member church in the Communion. That is, we could begin living as though the Covenant was in existence."

So how does it work then? Here at Down Under, our General Synod would gather to consider possible developments in our life and mission, as we do every two years. Getting away from the hot topic of sex, which we know is sure to raise someone's hackles somewhere, we might be considering a new policy about the disposition of our financial resources within the province and abroad, say. Under the covenant we would be required to determine in advance if the proposed changes could possibly offend any Anglicans (a majority/a primate/a vocal blogger?) anywhere in any other province. If that possibility occurs to us/to others/ to anyone we are bound to avoid the proposed change, no matter how much sense it makes here?

What is the mechanism proposed by the Covenant for establishing such a binding obligation?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Howard,
I do not think it would be too difficult to work out that there would be three kinds of developments our GS could consider:

(a) inconsequential developments (most of the decisions we make)

(b) possibly consequential developments for which we might like to seek a Communion response before a member church protested (an example, I suggest, would be the ecclesiastical oddity of the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki which has two bishops and two cathedrals)

(c) definitely consequential developments for which only the obtuse would imagine there would be no protest (an example I suggest, travelling backwards in a time machine, would be the change from being one province to being a three tikanga church).

Worth remembering is that the Covenant would not forbid (c), but it would require securing Communion wide approval if we wished to remain in the Communion.

Further, the Covenant concerns the life of the Communion. Individual member churches wishing to pursue an autonomous Anglican agenda without reference to the Communion are welcome to not belong to the Communion!!

David |Dah • veed| said...

Being a member of the only province that has actually signed onto the damned thing, which has everything to do with being Mexican, and almost nothing to do with being Anglican, I cannot imagine submitting ourselves to that process.

This trial idea that we are supposed to run up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes, who do we actually submit it to? Primates have differing levels of authority in their home provinces, so I cannot imagine submitting to primates.

The bodies with the real authority in any one province to pass such judgement is its provincial synod/convention. None of which all meet in any uniform cycle; one, semi-annually, some annually, some bi-annually, and some of us tri-annually.

How long would that process take to get an answer? Then the answers come back and 13 of 38 say this is a covenant breaker, four abstain and for 21 it is no big deal.

So lets say 9 years later after the idea was run up the pole, the originating province has the go ahead or no to canonically consider its idea. We all may have that kind of patience in eternity, but not in this life.

Peter Carrell said...

But David that patience may be required of us because, precisely because we belong to a Communion. There is always an alternative for member churches who want to go it alone on a matter: to leave the Communion which constrains them.