Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant

The Diocese of Los Angeles has issued this press release: Diocese of Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant.

And there is this video documenting the process by which Diocesan Convention initiated the response.

Here is an extract:

… We are concerned about the omission of the laity from Section 3. As St. Paul teaches, we are all of us the Body of Christ and individually members thereof (I Corinthians 12). There are four orders of ministry in the Church – bishops, priests, deacons and lay people, who also minister as members of the baptized people of God. Such an ecclesiology should both undergird the theology expressed in the Covenant and the church structures developed as means of connecting and serving the churches of the Communion. A Covenant to which we could subscribe would need to re-imagine the Instruments of Communion to provide a stronger representation from all the orders of ministry.

Section 4 is of greatest concern. It creates a punitive, bureaucratic, juridical process within the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, elevating its authority over the member churches despite previous affirmations of member church autonomy (see, e.g., Section 4.1.3). It contains no clear process for dispute resolution, no checks and balances, no right of appeal. The concept of mediation, introduced in Section 3.2.6, is not mentioned in Section 4. The covenant’s focus on “maintenance, dispute and withdrawal” bodes of an immobilized church mission instead of one that is flexible and prophetic. For these reasons, we cannot agree to Section 4.

We cannot endorse a covenant that, for the first time in the history of The Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion, will pave the way toward emphasizing perceived negative differences instead of our continuing positive and abundant commonality. We strongly urge more direct face-to-face dialogue, study, prayer and education before the adoption of a document that has such historic significance in the life of the Anglican Communion and The Episcopal Church. Our differences should not be seen as something that must be proved wrong or endured but rather a motivation to dig deeper into discerning God’s purposes for God’s church…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on T.A. – Wednesday, 13 April 2011

________________________________________________________________

I’m not sure whether you can access the actual video, noted here, from the Los Angeles Diocesan meeting which recently decided, by an overwhelming majority vote, NOT to endorse the Anglican Covenant as it presently stands – with Section 4 included.

The basic tenet of the argument against the Covenant is that it provides a form of governance which is entirely foreign to the Provinces of the Communion as they are presently constituted. What needs to be considered also – in any thought of a different basis of relationship within the Anglican Communion, is that the Chicago/Lambeth Quadrilateral has, for a long time now, been the agreed testament to the delicate matter of how the various Provinces of the Communion should carry out their independent statutary governance – in the context of a world-wide fellowship of individual Anglican Churches.

It could logically be argued, for instance, that The Episcopal Church of the United States, like the Episcopal Church in Scotland, has a title and polity which differs from the Church of England. For instance, bishops are chosen in TEC – not by the Sovereign or the State, but by the Laity, Clergy and Bishops of their Church. The laity have a much larger say in the governance of the Episcopal Church, which fact alone makes it different from the ‘top-down’ polity of the Church of England.

Without stating what must be now seem to be the obvious; it can be clearly seen that any form of central governance over any of the constituent Churches of the Anglican Communion could have both positive and negative influences for the witness of the local Church in their very different contexts of ministry. It seems that the Los Angeles Diocese of TEC does not see any advantage to a Covenant relationship which would disadvantage their initiatives in ministry towards LGBTs.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch

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About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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One Response to Los Angeles declines to endorse Anglican Covenant

  1. Pingback: New Zealand Maori Diocese Rejects Covenant « Discernable Futures

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