July 6, 2011

No Anglican Covenant Coalition Names Episcopal Patrons

A surprisingly small numbers of “ordinary” bishops have had much to say publicly about the Anglican Covenant that churches are being asked to adopt. There are exceptions, of course—the Archbishop of Canterbury is the head cheerleader for the pact, and some of the GAFCON primates have derided it as too little too late—but, for a document that promises to remake the Anglican Communion and redefine Anglicanism itself, it is odd that bishops are not falling over one another to assure that their voices will be heard on the matter. This is especially remarkable in the U.S. and Canada, the churches of which are expected to make a decision about the Covenant (or, perhaps, defer a decision) in their forthcoming meetings. It is perhaps less notable in the Church of England, where there seems to be inordinate deference paid to the Archbishop of Canterbury, leading to a reluctance to oppose his views in public.

In a welcome development, however, two English bishop, albeit retired ones, have chosen to make their opposition to the covenant more prominent. Bishops John Saxbee and Peter Selby have just been designated as Episcopal Patrons of the No Anglican Coalition.

Here are statements from them from the Coalition’s press release, first from Bishop Saxbee:
The Anglican Communion doesn’t need a Covenant because Anglicanism is a Covenant, predicated on grace and goodwill. If there is grace and goodwill, a Covenant is unnecessary. If there is no grace or goodwill, a Covenant will be unavailing.
From Bishop Selby, we have this:
This proposed Covenant is not the solution to the tensions in the Anglican Communion. It will inevitably create a litigious Communion where every serious disagreement will become a possible occasion to seek a province’s exclusion.
Perhaps the boldness of Bishops Saxbee and Selby will encourage more bishops to speak out against the ill-conceived Covenant.

You can read the whole statement from the No Anglican Covenant Coalition here.


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