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Essays Favoring the Anglican Covenant
from The Living Church
Lionel E. Deimel
 

It is widely known that I am opposed to adoption of the Anglican Covenant. I am pleased that there is a wealth of anti-Covenant material available on the Web. (See especially the Resources page of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition Web site.)

There is, however, a dearth of substantive material favoring the Covenant. The primary pro-argument is that the Anglican Communion is in crisis, largely because The Episcopal Church made Gene Robinson a bishop, and the Covenant represents the “only way forward.” It is true that a number of conservative Anglican primates have thrown extended temper tantrums, but to say that the Covenant is the only “solution” to the Communion’s problems is, at least in my view, to misdiagnose the situation and to demonstrate a serious lack of imagination.

As the Covenant is being considered by Communion churches, the sky-is-falling argument is being replaced by reassurances that the Covenant is really no big deal. The Communion will move along as it always has, but we’ll all be happier for having adopted the Covenant. It is difficult to see how anyone can fall for these assurances given the opposition to the Covenant by the extreme conservatives—they think the pact insufficiently punitive—the passionate opposition by liberals, and, of course, the sky-is-falling rhetoric that led to the Covenant in the first place. In fact, the reassurances that the Covenant is innocuous has a tendency to make adoption opponents look like Chicken Littles.

The Living Church LogoInto this rhetorical wasteland has come The Living Church. The American magazine has been running a series of pro-Covenant essays that take the Covenant debate seriously and attempt to get beyond adopt-it-or-else and it-really-doesn’t-matter. Although these essays are available on the magazine’s Web site, they have been posted individually in a manner that makes the collection difficult to identify. As a service to the community and with the coöperation of The Living Church, I am posting links to all the essays published to date below. I will add to this list as The Living Church adds to the series.

I am not personally endorsing the views expressed in these essays, but I think it is important that all issues surrounding the Anglican Covenant be fully aired. Even for Covenant opponents, the essays below make interesting reading. Moreover, it must be admitted that the articles from The Living Church have been contributed by a distinguished group of authors.

I wish to thank Christopher Wells and Douglas LeBlanc of The Living Church for their help in producing the list below.

Title Date Author(s)
Our Unity in Christ: Introduction 2/25/2011 The Rev. Matthew A. Gunter, rector, St. Barnabas Church, Glen Ellyn, Illinois; and Dr. Christopher Wells, executive director, the Living Church Foundation

An Ardent Longing

2/25/2011 Dr. Christopher Wells

Embodying a Self-aware Anglicanism

3/11/2011 The Rev. Matthew A. Gunter

Catholicity Outweighs Autonomy

4/1/2011 The Rev. Canon Dr. Paul Avis, general secretary of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity and canon theologian of Exeter Cathedral; editor of the journal Ecclesiology and author of several books on Anglicanism, including The Identity of Anglicanism: Essentials of Anglican Ecclesiology (T&T Clark, 2008)

Belonging Together

 

4/8/2011 The Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Rowell, third Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe

Committing Unity to Print

4/29/2011 The Very Rev. Canon David Richardson, dean emeritus of Melbourne and honorary provincial canon of Canterbury, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See
Building on a Solid Foundation 5/5/2011 The Most Rev. Ian Ernest, Bishop of Mauritius and Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean, and current chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA)
Recognizably Anglican 5/20/2011 The Rev. Dr. George R. Sumner, principal and Helliwell Professor of World Mission at Wycliffe College, Toronto
Families and Accountability 6/3/2011 The Rt. Rev. Dr. R. Mwita Akiri, founding Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Tarime, Tanzania. He is also a Research Professor of African Church History and Missiology at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, since 2007. He is a member of the Anglican Consultative Council
Eyeball-to-Eyeball Communion 6/17/2011 The Most Rev. Thabo C. Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Choosing Mutuality 7/1/2011 The Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan, a longtime ecumenist for the Anglican Church of Canada and Director for Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion
Make Peace, not Schism 7/22/2011 The Rev. Michael Cover, doctoral student in theology at the University of Notre Dame and assisting priest at St. Paul’s Church, Mishawaka, Indiana
A Covenant of Consideration 8/5/2011 The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt, 11th Bishop of Tennessee
Section 4: Commitment in Word and Deed 8/19/2011 The Rev. Dr. Andrew Goddard, a member of the leadership team of Fulcrum who has taught at Trinity College, Bristol, and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
Relationship, Definition, Accountability 8/26/2011 The Rev. Nathaniel W. Pierce, a retired Episcopal priest who currently serves as worship leader of St. Philip’s Church, Quantico, Maryland, in the Diocese of Easton
The Anglican Communion: A Brief History Lesson 9/12/2011 The Rev. Dr. Robert Prichard, a professor of church history at Virginia Theological Seminary who currently serves as president of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church
Greeting the Saints 9/23/2011 The Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, the eighth Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, and a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order
From Autonomy to Communion 10/23/2011 The Rt. Rev. Titre Ande Georges, Bishop of the Diocese of Aru, Democratic Republic of Congo, lecturer at the Anglican University of Congo, and a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order

Rebooting Anglican Communication

 

11/20/2011 The Rev. Canon Michael Poon, director and Asian Christianity coördinator of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, Trinity Theological College, Singapore, and a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order

Covenants and Fragments

 

12/16/2011 The Rev. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, served on the Covenant Design Group and is a member of the Living Church Foundation

Cranmer’s Elegance and the Wondrous Exchange

 

12/18/2011 Brian Crowe, a member of the Church of Ireland who blogs at catholicity and covenant

Spatial Catholicity

 

3/5/2012 The Rev. Mark D. Chapman, vice principal and lecturer in systematic theology at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, and author of Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2006) and Anglican Theology (T&T Clark, 2012)

Two (CofE) Cultures

 

3/8/2012 The Rev. Peter M. Doll, Canon Librarian of Norwich Cathedral and author of Revolution, Religion, and National Identity: Imperial Anglicanism in British North America 1745-1795.
Note:   The Living Church redesigned its Web since this list was begin, and all the links have been updated.

— LED, 8/31/2011, last updated 3/7/2012

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