Friday, March 23, 2012

Will moral pressure affect debate on Covenant at our General Synod?

"The Executive Council resolution *was* mentioned by Bishop Douglas. It was thought by him and his two co-sponsors (whose identities I forget at the moment) to place TEC's presence at the next meeting of the ACC at risk, hence that "not No" options."

That is a comment by Bishop Daniel Martins in response to Mark Harris at Preludium drawing attention to two different high level motions about the Covenant being drafted up ahead of the TEC General Convention coming up in July. The ACC meeting referred to is the meeting occurring in November here in Auckland, New Zealand. The "Executive Council resolution", if agreed, would reject the Covenant in toto. The (let's call it) Douglas motion (+Ian Douglas is on ACC), if agreed, would not reject the Covenant entirely, hence the "not No" description in the comment above.

So far, so TEC's own business.

But here is the thing about our church, ACANZP: if our GS rejects the Covenant, as many pundits believe should be the case, because of episcopal unit voting to date, then it is going to be a tad embarrassing to be hosting the ACC as a member church which has rejected the Covenant circulated around the Communion by the ACC.

So, will some moral pressure be brought to bear in our GS debate not to reject the Covenant completely. Easy to do: "refer for further study" ... "await the outcome of debates in partner churches in Oceania" ... "assure the ACC of our great love of Sections 1-3 and plead with ACC to reconsider the possibility of revising Section 4."

Sir Humphrey Appleton, where are you when we need you.

Point of clarity: my own view is that we should make our decision with reference to the content and purpose of the Covenant, not to whether any embarrassment attends whatever decision we make. I would be very concerned to learn that any moral pressure was brought to bear on the course of the debate at GS.

1 comment:

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, on the Anglican Communion web-site there appears the following final para. summarising the initial response of the ACANZP Province to the publication of the final (Ridley/Cambridge) Covenant Draft:

quote: "As stated there is no consensus across this Province about the Covenant and that is probably reflective of the Communion as a whole. There is however consensus that this Province has great love and genuine bonds of affection for the Communion and it wants to remain part of the
conversation and to keep talking and keep talking regardless of the differences that are held, until
a way ahead is found. That is the prayer shared by us all" - unquote

This would seem to bear out the stance of extant C.of E. diocesan responses to the Covenant debate;
Communion: YES Covenant: NO

There are still a number of votes to be counted in the U.K. from tomorrow onwards. It would only need 2 more dioceses to vote against the Covenant for it not to be able to be brought to GS in July. If the Covenant fails in the C.of E. it hardly matters what happens in our own diocesan debate