Friday 18 December 2009

A Covenant of life or death?

This morning a resolution was passed by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion meeting in London.

It resolved that, in the light of the recent episcopal nomination in the Diocese of Los Angeles of a partnered lesbian candidate, the decisions in a number of US and Canadian dioceses to proceed with formal ceremonies of same-sex blessings and continuing cross-jurisdictional activity within the Communion, the Standing Committee strongly reaffirm Resolution 14.09 of ACC 14 supporting the three moratoria proposed by the Windsor Report and the associated request for gracious restraint in respect of actions that endanger the unity of the Anglican Communion by going against the declared view of the Instruments of Communion.

This afternoon the final version of the Covenant was published and will now be sent out to the Provinces. I have read the final version of section 4, but haven’t had time to compare it with the previous version; tomorrow, maybe. The day has been taken up attending to Uganda and responses to the Bill.

I wondered what would constitute an action deserving of referral to a body now called 'The Instruments of Communion' that might endanger the Anglican Communion - or individual members of the Communion. Is Uganda breaking Anglican policy by effectively supporting a Bill which I believe is clearly in contravention of Anglican policy on homosexuality? Those Ugandan bishops who have spoken about the Bill have all given it their total support.

The Covenant has been introduced in response to actions by the Episcopal Church. Those supporting the Covenant will use it to discipline or exclude the Epsicopal Church because of the election of Mary Douglas Glasspool as the next Bishop Suffragan in Los Angeles.

As Bishop Jon Bruno says, the Episcopal Church has been working on the gradual, full incorporation of gay and lesbian people for more than 30 years. It is part of an evolutionary change moving from tolerance to full inclusion. The Diocese of Los Angeles is moving forward in supporting the full inclusion and full humanity of all people in the Church.

The actions of the Episcopal Church bring life and hope not only to LGBT members of that Church but to LGBT members of every Province of the Communion and most particularly in Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda where their lives and freedoms are most under threat.

It would be madness, wouldn’t it - a travesty of God’s justice - to discipline a Church for bringing justice to a once-persecuted minority in the USA but not to bring to justice those Provinces and their leaders which actively seek to extend the persecution of and discrimination against LGBT people.

Don’t sit back and think it won’t happen – become a supporter of Changing Attitude and help us argue the case and work for a real covenant of justice, God’s holy, sacrificial, life-giving and transforming justice.


  1. I watched the Archbishop of Canterbury deliver his little pre-Navidad message promoting suffering, exclusion, punishment and hate...I knew it was a Christmas directive because he sat in a Green Chair. Rarely in my lifetime have I seen such a full blown example of manipulation, injustice, snobbery and active disdain presented by someone who spoke as if they were a fairminded and reasonable I´ve grown in my understanding of Rowan Williams and his version of what makes spiritual sense and what doesn´t, well, I´ve changed...I once had a rather loving and idealistic idea regarding the Church of England (my Dad was English as were all my ancestors on both sides of my family... Episcopalians/Anglicans), this is the first time EVER, I felt COMPLETE disgust for the person that holds the office of Archbishop of Canterbury (I´ve always though Lord Clifton is a lightweight grandstander but not a hateful person) I think Dr. Williams to be a snob, a twurp and a dangerous bishop because HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING! Rowan Williams knows that he is fostering bloodshed and difference at The Anglican Communion. +Rowan Williams knows that instead of educating, ministering, and speaking openly and frankly regarding Human Sexuality/Persecution issues, he will not take a noble stand for basic decency for LGBT religious people, both clergy and laity. Today I saw the Bishop of Rome seated in Lambeth Palace pretending to care about the REALITY of human suffering while dressed as the Archbishop of I saw a man show a ¨thumbs down¨ to a entire group of those who would benefit greatly by his wisdom...he used his resentment instead of wholesome wisdom. Today +Rowan attempted to PUNISH those who disagreed with him in Jamaica (bloody Jamaica) and his cowardly and insecure tendencies replaced common sense. Rowan Williams shamed himself today. I hope he has the future sense to lead the Anglican Communion with compassion and Christlike love another day but he took years to perform this ugly little act of despotic leadership we saw today.

    ++Archbishop of Canterbury ought resign and take his ¨Steering Committee¨ with him.

    Lord have mercy

  2. I'm very distant, thankfully, from the institutional aspect of this, but people tell me that this will be won or lost in General Synod. I'm also told that RW is capable of using the affection people feel for him to sway the vote his way. It seems to me to be vital that work is done now to make sure that this does not happen. As I have written at Thinking Anglicans, adopting the Covenant wil turn the Church of England from a church to a Christian Union.
    Toby Forward