The majority of speakers at World Mission’s hearings on the Anglican Covenant Friday night urged the Church not to approve the covenant, but there was no agreement on what action should be taken.
Some spoke strongly against any form of the covenant, including Malcolm French, a priest of the Anglican Church of Canada and moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.
“Nationally, I could see a risk if the Episcopal Church were the first province to say ‘no,’” he said. “But that point is now moot. … So I say to my friends in the Episcopal Church, ‘Let your yes be yes and your no, no.’ … There are times for Anglican fudge. This is not one of them.”
The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson, president of Oasis California and a visitor, agreed. “It is time to put the Anglican Covenant out of its misery. Say yes to indaba, but no to the covenant. It is a bad idea whose time has long since passed. Please dispatch it.”
But others asked for a gracious response.
Deputy Gareth Aden of Tennessee stressed that “forbearance is the heart of covenant and community,” and asked that General Convention remain in relationship with the rest of the Anglican Communion.
His remarks were echoed by the Rev. Carola von Wrangel of the Convocation of Churches in Europe. “I believe the covenant will strengthen the Worldwide Anglican Communion,” she said, and allow us “to stay at the table together.” Von Wrangel, rector of a parish with members from 35 countries, said she believed the covenant “will strengthen the Episcopal Church, which is also way beyond the boundaries of the United States.”
Lionel Deimel of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and founder and Episcopal Church convener of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, had no issue with strongly urging the rejection of the covenant.
“The Anglican Covenant is a reaction to developments in church understandings in a fast-paced world,” Deimel said. “Coming from Pittsburgh, I see in the Anglican Covenant the same dynamics that nearly destroyed my own diocese. … The underlying purpose of the covenant is not to explicate Anglican theology nor to manage change, but to suppress change and preserve a mythical ‘biblical Anglicanism’ that never was.”
–Lauren R. Stanley