As was the case with my original proposal, this resolution is stronger than anything the General Convention is likely to pass. I believe in the wisdom and pragmatism of every provision of my draft, however. Further, I must point out something that the President of the United States apparently does not know, namely, that successful negotiation is not facilitated by putting forth a proposal at the outset that incorporates all the compromises you are willing to make. As before, I encourage comments. I acknowledge that many will think my proposal too broad, and that the General Convention should simply and politely say that it chooses not to adopt the Covenant.
Title: Relation to the Anglican Communion
Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 77th General Convention desire and intend that The Episcopal Church continue its membership in the Anglican Communion, understood as a fellowship of autonomous, autocephalous churches having historical ties to an independent Church of England; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention believe that The Episcopal Church, is properly described as “Anglican” by virtue of its history, theology, and polity, irrespective of its status with respect to the Anglican Communion, and that neither its existence nor the performance of its Gospel mission in the world is contingent on Communion membership; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention declare that no person, committee, commission, church, or ecclesiastical body associated with the Anglican Communion and not part of The Episcopal Church has any authority over The Episcopal Church, its dioceses, its clergy, its parishes, its missions, or its members, except insofar as such authority has been granted by the General Convention in accordance with its Constitution and Canons; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention, believing the so-called Anglican Communion Covenant to be contrary to Anglican theology and tradition, as well as not required for Anglican Communion membership, decline to adopt said Covenant and urge other churches of the Anglican Communion to do the same; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention consider the admission to the Anglican Communion of any church claiming jurisdiction over any area within the geographic boundaries of a diocese of The Episcopal Church to be incompatible with Episcopal Church membership in the Communion; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention provide no more than 4% of the administrative expenses required for the maintenance of the Anglican Communion, which limitation does not include funds required to support travel of Episcopal Church members for participation in Anglican Communion meetings; funds directly supporting evangelism, relief, and development; or other expenditures as may be authorized by the General Convention; and be it further
Resolved, That nothing in this resolution is intended to modify or to abrogate any bilateral agreements made by The Episcopal Church, its dioceses, or its parishes insofar as such agreements are consistent with the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention.
Although The Episcopal Church, over most of its history, has experienced the Anglican Communion as a useful vehicle for consultation and coöperation, it has, in recent years, been subjected to injustices and indignities at the hands of Anglican Communion churches and bishops. Among the abuses our church has suffered have been declarations of impaired or broken communion, jurisdictional incursions by foreign bishops, the attempted alienation of church property and criticism for opposing same, the making of improper demands affecting both the internal governance of our church and its relations with the Anglican Communion, and the encouragement and recognition of a church whose claimed jurisdiction overlaps that of The Episcopal Church. Communion churches have failed to support Episcopal Church against the perpetrators of these various insults, have failed to recognize properly adjudicated depositions of Episcopal clergy, and have advocated the removal of The Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion and its replacement by a church whose physical assets and membership have largely been obtained at the expense of The Episcopal Church. Additionally, the Presiding Bishop has not been properly acknowledged as a bishop and has been ostracized by certain Anglican primates. Not all of our bishops have been invited to participate in the Lambeth Conference, and members of our church have been removed, without consultation or recourse, from Anglican Communion bodies to which they had been duly appointed. Despite these many injuries, The Episcopal Church has continued to pay substantially more than its fair share of the administrative expenses of the Anglican Communion bureaucracy.
The effort to establish an Anglican Communion Covenant is largely intended to punish or ostracize The Episcopal Church for its “innovations.” Given that those “innovations” led to the injuries and indignities enumerated above, it is clear that adoption of the Covenant by The Episcopal Church will only sanction additional interference in the internal affairs of our church and severely curtail its traditional autonomy.