Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Covenant worth supporting

No, dear readers. I haven't changed my mind. I still find +Rowan's proposed Anglican Covenant a silly idea, conceived in desperation, to replace authentic Anglicanism with a centralized, curial and authoritarian quasi-papacy.

But this afternoon, a more worthwhile Covenant will be signed between the Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. The text of the agreement can be found here, and the media advisory can be read here.

The Covenant comits the two dioceses to:

1. Hold a prayer service each year, ideally during the Easter season, alternating between the two cathedrals, with our bishops present. This would take the form of an annual service of reconciliation, with participants (planning, officiants, servers, lectors, choir, etc) from both churches.

2. Commit ourselves to regularly remembering the other church and its leaders, and our relations, in our intercessions at each Sunday eucharist.

3. Join together on a justice-related initiative locally and/or sponsor a justice-related project where our churches are working together in the developing world.

4. Hold joint meetings with First Nations elders in order to promote reconciliation and healing.

5. Commit ourselves to maintaining communication between us when any new development in one of our churches has implications or challenges for the other.

In addition, local parishes and congregations are encouraged to look for ways to live out this Covenant in their local communities.

One of the key people involved in developing this Covenant was Don Bolen, who has since become the Roman Catholic Bishop of Saskatoon. Don used to work at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and is one of the Roman Catholic Church's recognized experts on relations with Anglicans. Two years ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded him the Cross of St. Augustine in recognition of his work on Anglican - Roman Catholic relations.

The picture above (courtesy Archbishop Daniel's blog) shows then Monsignor Bolen with Anglican Bishop Greg Kerr-Wilson and Roman Catholic Archbishop Daniel Bohan at a service celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle in 2009.

6 comments:

Susannah said...

Covenants everywhere - and this one seems positive and unifying and it makes me happy that Christians of diverse traditions are seeking each other in love to share faith and share service.

It makes me wish that the Episcopal Church in the US would draft a covenant for Anglicans all over the world to sign up to.

This would be a way Anglicans in every British parish could individually align with the faith and service of TEC. It would also signal that whole national churches don't break communion with others by "bloc vote".

Because I could see a situation where, in parish after parish up and down the UK, there were Anglicans who were signed up to a covenant that recognised TEC, and shared in its faith and hope, and most definitely remained in full communion with it... whatever certain leaders said.

In this way, the idea of a top-down authority of Anglican leaders enforcing 'one' expression of Anglicanism through that other covenant... would be shown to be less total than it sounds.

Because actually, many many Christians recognise the faith and values of TEC, and it's a grass roots recognition, not one driven by a leadership that speaks as if it has a unified 'orthodox' voice, whereas in truth there is no consensus at all, up and down the UK parishes, about issues such as gay sex, female bishops etc etc.

So I wish TEC would construct a covenant, expressing faith, hope, and bonds of love in diversity...

Then as individuals we could just sign up. Many would.

That 'other' covenant has powers to demand a uniformity that simply doesn't exist and doesn't need to exist.

We may be diverse, but our unity is in Jesus Christ.

As such I am in full communion with TEC, regardless of the suggestion of my leaders that TEC is somehow delinquent.

The differences of view are not between one 'bloc' (country) and another. They exist right at the heart of Anglicanism, right at the heart of the Church of England. An alternative covenant would demonstrate this. Nor would it stop each one of us serving Christ and acknowledging one another, in all our diversity.

Susannah, Cambridge UK

Raspberry Rabbit said...

isn't that the guy from Godspell?

Malcolm+ said...

No one in Godspell had a silly hat like that.

Antony said...

I had no idea how right I was when I called (on Thinking Anglicans) this for something of a sideshow by the hippie generation. The Anglican bishop really look's the part!!

Malcolm+ said...

Anthony, are you under the mistaken impression that Roman Catholics judge people by the way their hair is cut? Frankly, I'll trust Bishops Bohan and Bolen's take on official and unofficial Vatican attitudes long before I'll trust yours.

saskboy said...

Father Bolen was my Religious Studies teacher in 1998, long enough for me to forget nearly everything I learned in that class, my first year of university.