Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Design Group and the Covenant

Richard of the blog, Caught by the Light, is doing masterful reporting as he attends Epiphany West 2007: Re-visioning Anglicanism, at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California. He has three long posts up about the conference. It's a long read, but full of great stuff, if you can take the time.

One of the speakers was The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, Rector of Church of the Ascension, Pueblo, Colorado.

Dr. Radner is an outspoken apologist for both the Windsor Report and the Anglican Covenant that he is helping develop as part of the Design Committee. He minced no words in stating his belief that "the world needs this, and God wants it for the sake of life."

After reading Richard's third post titled "Head, Heart, and Hope," in which he summarizes Dr. Radner's talk, I left this comment on his blog:

Again, regarding The Design Group, I wonder about the whole covenant movement in the Anglican Communion, why we need another covenant in addition to the New Covenant given us by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Why would sinful human beings come up with a better covenant than one that includes The Two Great Commandments and The Beatitudes, which Our Lord gave us? It seems to me that a further covenant would be limiting the work of the Spirit in the church, rather than freeing us to follow the Spirit.

If the Episcopal Church is to humble itself and take a lesser role in the Communion - say as an associate member church - then, so be it, but I don't foresee that The Design Group will come up with a covenant that TEC will sign on to.

Perhaps I am naive, and I'm missing something important, but I truly do not see the need for an Anglican Covenant, no matter what it includes. We have the Gospels, the Creeds, and The Book of Common Prayer. Are these not sufficient to bind us together to approach the table of the Lord in peace and to do God's work in mission as a Communion? Won't a covenant serve to further divide the Anglican Communion, rather than bring us together?


  1. Mimi,
    Of course a covenant would divide the Communion. That's the whole point of it.
    I was going to write a good deal more, but anything I might say has been well expressed by others, elsewhere.


  2. Allen, you're right. My reading has not been wide enough. I thought I was having an original thought.

    Perhaps, though, it has not been written about enough, since I had not read anything like that. There does seem to be a certain reluctance, even among progressive Episcopalians, to come right out and say, "We don't need an Anglican Covenant." Perhaps, they're resting their hopes on the covenant turning out so flawed that few churches will sign on.

    The Anglican direction from the ABC seems to be to try to placate both sides, tip-toe around the subject, and drag out the process, with the hope that the idea will die somewhere far in the future. However, those who favor the idea of the covenant will not stand for that and will push to move the process forward rather quickly.

  3. What the "Windsor" bishops really want is a politcal covenant, spelling out terms for membership in the Anglican Communion. It isn't a covenant with God in any form.

  4. I'm getting tired of the whole business of dragging things out. Do what you have to do, and say what you want to say, and let's move on, And, when you speak, please, speak plainly and without mincing words, so we'll all understand what you mean.

    I have a cold, and I don't feel well, and I'm cross, as you can probably tell.

  5. Hope you'll soon be feeling better, Mimi. :) Bundle up, get plenty of rest, and drink chamomile tea with honey.

    Those colds can be nasty. Mine can linger in for weeks!!

  6. Thanks, Grace. I've had two cups of tea already. I'll come around.

  7. Tea? Tea? Mimi, don't you know about hot toddies? Put some liquor it it, honey!

    Warm hugs to you. Get better soon.

  8. Susan, of course I know about hot toddies. I take them in the evenings, which start around noon.


Anonymous commenters, please sign a name, any name, to distinguish one anonymous commenter from another. Thank you.