During the 2010 Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Edward Konieczny asked every church to take time to study the Anglican Communion Covenant and provide responses. In the spring of 2011 the bishop formed an “Anglican Covenant Response Group” that would develop a “listening process” and form a proposed diocesan response. The Rev. Dr. Mark Story, The Rev. Mary Ann Hill, Dr. Donna Farrior and The Rev. Dr. T. Lee Stephens were asked to serve in this capacity. Their work was to be independent of the Bishop’s Office, but would provide a report to the bishop and the dioceseThe proposed response can be found here.
The Anglican Covenant Response Group arranged for a regional meeting in each quadrant of the state and two meetings in bothTulsaandOklahoma Cityfor a total of eight gatherings. Each two-hour session had designated facilitators and listeners. A study guide was provided along with background information on the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Covenant. The listeners were charged with taking notes of the discussions which were used in forming the response.
The regional meetings were well attended by clergy and laypersons in each area. The discussions were open, thoughtful and considerate. In addition, various churches and groups submitted written comments and formal statements for consideration by the Response Group. In the gathering and comparing responses from each of the meetings a consensus became apparent to the Anglican Covenant Response Group. The following is a proposed response to the Anglican Communion Covenant from the diocese. The proposed response will be discussed at the Diocesan Convention in November.
The proposed response is very respectful, but, in the end, firm in its opposition to the proposed Covenant. The introductory section of the document ends with this paragraph:
We must report, however, that the consensus opinion of those who participated in the conversations focused on discerning the Spirit's guidance for our Diocese and its relationship within the Anglican Communion believe that the proposed Covenant does in fact change the nature and the character of the Anglican Communion as we have known it. Therefore, speaking the truth in love, we must express our desire to withhold our consent in this final consideration of the proposed Covenant. We encourage a renewed focus on our common worship and mission in the Anglican Communion as an expression of the Body of Christ in the world today.After brief commentary on the sections of the Covenant, the proposed response ends with this:
While we appreciate the best intentions and efforts of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Covenant Design Group as well as the conversations that have taken place around the world, we have found minimal support within our Diocese for the changes proposed in the Anglican Covenant. We are willing to wait and pray and trust in God that reconciliation will be achieved in due time.Let us hope that the Oklahoma convention adopts this response next month.