Monday, May 21, 2007

APLM Statement on the Draft Covenant

The proposed Anglican Draft Covenant, in a revised form, will be presented to the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops, to be followed by a final text that would be proposed to the 2009 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). If the ACC adopts the text, it would offer it to the Provinces for adoption or rejection. There has been much discussion about the flaws found within this Covenant, and questions regarding the need for such a document. For background on how this Draft Covenant came into being, you may want to review the presentation made to our House of Bishops by the Rev. Katherine Grieb, a member of the Covenant Design Group. We have also previously discussed the Draft Covenant from the perspectives of two authors; Frederick Quinn and Lionel Deimel.

The Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission has now issued their Montreal Statement, which I find to be an excellent response to the proposed Draft Covenant. Please read it carefully, and pass it on to others. A summary of the statement can be found here. What follows is the conclusion:

...The gift of God in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the healing of the divisions among us. The Gospel holds up the hope that our identity and oneness as members of Christ is strong enough, calling us to drop those defenses by which we define ourselves against others. Instead, we are called to the risk of bringing all of humanity into the Reign of God—especially those who are most unlike ourselves. In the world of the Gospel, the only true outsiders are those who, by their own choice, refuse to enter into this ever-wider healing of humanity and creation.

To try to effect an artificial unity of the Body of Christ through doctrinal enforcement will only lead to yet another scandalous division in the Body of the Lord. It is also idolatrous, substituting a written agreement for the saving work of Christ on the cross, and the living, catholic call of the Gospel to incarnate Christ’s ministry in all places and in all times.

We therefore ask our Anglican brothers and sisters to be steadfast in bearing witness to our faith and to resist the temptation to define our unity through the signing of the proposed Covenant. Instead, let us ponder God’s promise, spoken through Isaiah, the promise that God has already given us as a covenant, a living promise to all people:

In the time of favor I have answered you and on a day of salvation I have helped you. I have kept you and given you as a Covenant to the peoples to establish the land, to apportion desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, "come out!" to those who are in darkness, "show yourselves!" (Isaiah 49:8-9)

Through our Baptism and Eucharist we will find unity, beyond any enforced conformity, which is the real basis for our Communion and our common life in Christ. May we who have been entrusted with Christ’s mission live out with integrity what it means to embody God’s promise, face to face, person to person, that all might share in God’s life, and have that life abundantly.

The Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has invited all Episcopalians to respond to this Draft Covenant. To help us formulate our responses, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh are offering a response worksheet and a collection of documents entitled Evaluating the Draft. Included are the Study Guide from the Executive Council, the Covenant Design Group report with the draft covenant itself, the Windsor Report with its own covenant draft, and various background materials.

The Executive Council intends to prepare a response to the Draft Covenant at their October meeting. All Episcopalians are encouraged to submit their responses to this Draft Covenant to the Executive Council. These responses will assist and inform the Executive Council in their task of developing a response that will be representative of the Episcopal Church as a whole.

Deadline for responses is June 4, 2007. Send your responses to:

Response to Draft Anglican Covenant
The Office of the General Convention
The Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Ave, New York, NY 10017
FAX: (212) 972-9322

Or respond by e-mail to


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