BB from New Zealand Chimes in on the Covenant

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note that this response refers to the thread below on the blog on which there are currently over 50 comments. If you have not read that thread I would encourage you to do so--KSH)

This thread must be one of the best T19 has witnessed, IMHO. Thank you to the many participants: I have benefited greatly from the discussion - not least the rigour and candour of much of it. Even if I disagree with those who do not favour the Covenant Process ...!

In my present little part of the Lord's vineyard, we have a really intriguing situation developing. For New Zealand is not generally known for its conservative style Anglican ethos (ven if it does have a strong CMS history)!. Yet, as we face the run up to its General Synod in May this year, some lines are starting to be drawn which will determine our long term future, for better or ill.

The Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia runs a quarterly national magazine called Taonga. The name is Maori for "prized treasure", a reference to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. The latest Advent edition ran two articles on the Anglican Communion Covenant, one pro and one against. As with this Church's official response to the RCD, it mostly wants a 'bob-each-way' - even as it tries to be fair in its debates! See and the third set of links beginning with "Dr Williams hails latest Covenant".

I refer the T19 readership to these links especially since the article in favour reaffirms some of the stronger points made in this thread, while the one against - by a retired bishop please note - shows very starkly why the AC seriously needs such a mechanism as the Covenant, to arrest the dribbling into the sands of endless ideological pluralism. And it is clear to me at least the GS leadership has grasped this western ideological nettle very firmly, to refute it, as it seeks to bolster the Covenant Process to achieve an AC that still might be a vessel of worth in the Lord's hands for the global mission of the Church in the 21st C. Enjoy!

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican CovenantAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and PolynesiaInstruments of UnityWindsor Report / Process

Posted January 7, 2010 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Ian Montgomery wrote:

From the retired bishop a canard.  The point with the ordination of women is that it did not go forward until a consensus said to do so.  The 1944 ordination in Hong Kong was rescinded.  It took another 20 years for consensus to allow it to go forward.  There was neither consensus not patience with the issue of Gay ordination and thus the fabric of the Communion was torn by a Bishop in Canada and by the TEC in its assent to VGR despite the consensus against such.  Indeed Lambeth 1.10 became an overwhelming statement against and +++RW is still using it as the Communion Standard (Thank God!)  I am not sure where the retired bishop gets is one third against number it was eventually voted 526:70, thus representing a huge consensus.  That mind of the Communion has now been effectively concretized a division by being arrogantly flouted by the immensely wealthy but numerically tiny TEC province.

One might ponder how the move to women’s ordination might have fared under the proposed Covenant. Given the continuing staunch opposition to such ordinations in some parts of the Communion today, an exclusively male priesthood and episcopate might still persist.

The Rev. Dr. Black from the other point of view, writes about interdependence which really is at the heart of the issue.  TEC has been a bully on the Anglican scene and sadly still wants to be so.  The Covenant may be our best chance to prevent such future bullying.  It cannot heal the divisions.  It may bring a newly defined Communion in which those participating can move on.  We shall see.  It is about interdependence and mutual accountability.

By contrast with any federalism, our own Church’s Constitution in its Preamble (18) already speaks of our being “part of and belong[ing] to the Anglican Communion, which is a fellowship ... in communion with the See of Canterbury, sharing with one another ... life and mission in a spirit of mutual responsibility and interdependence.”

It will be interesting to see how NZ resolves itself.  Sadly the face of the NZ Church most seen in the US is the lady professor whose utterances make me cringe.

January 7, 11:25 am | [comment link]
2. azusa wrote:

The retired Bishop Randerson writes: “My reading of the proposed Covenant process is that it places unity ahead of conscience, is based on a deeply flawed hermeneutic, and is contrary to the Anglican ethos…”

Yes, I have to agree that Mr Randerson’s reading is based on a deeply flawed hermeneutic and is contrary to the Anglican ethos!

Richard Randerson, the former Dean of Auckland, is in fact well known for rejecting or reinterpreting in an idiosyncratic, modernist way great chucks of Christian doctrine. Interestingly, he was replaced as Dean by Ross Bay, a man of evangelical backgound who will be the next bishop of Auckland.

January 7, 12:47 pm | [comment link]
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