Three member bishops of Communion Partners have submitted a General Convention resolution that affirms the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant. The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee, proposed the resolution, joined by the Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield, and Michael G. Smith, Bishop of North Dakota.
The resolution recognizes that the Covenant “can only be entered into according to the procedures” of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons.
Four or the resolution’s seven resolves, repeatedly citing the Covenant’s text, explain what affirming the Covenant would mean for the Episcopal Church from 2012 until the 79th General Convention in 2015:
- Resolved, that The Episcopal Church … affirm the Anglican Covenant and commit itself to adoption of the Covenant in order to live more fully into the ecclesial communion and interdependence which is foundational to the Churches of the Anglican Communion (4.1.1);
- Resolved, that The Episcopal Church recognize that such mutual commitment does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction (4.1.3) and can only be entered into according to the procedures of The Episcopal Church’s own Constitution and Canons (4.1.6; cf. 4.1.4);
- Resolved, that the Convention ask its Presiding Officers to appoint a task force to assist the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons in the preparation of whatever changes may be needed in order to make the Covenant constitutionally and canonically active and effective, accompanied by a historical and theological study guide and whatever other teaching materials may be deemed useful;
- Resolved; that the Task Force on the Anglican Covenant and the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons complete their work in time for the 79th General Convention to take whatever appropriate action may be required.
General Convention now faces three possible responses to the Covenant: the Communion Partners resolution; a task force report that says the Episcopal Church is “unable to adopt the Anglican Covenant in its present form”; and a resolution from the Bishops of Connecticut, North Carolina and Texas that neither affirms nor rejects the Covenant in whole but asks for continued Communion-wide discussion of its fourth section, which has attracted the strongest resistance.
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