Our Unity in Christ
In Support of the Anglican Covenant
An Apologetic Series
At the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, bishops and deputies approved resolution D020, which restated the church’s commitment in 2006 to engage the Anglican Communion’s Covenant process. Since then, the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies have called on Episcopalians to study the final text of the Covenant, and the Executive Council has produced a study guide to this end. Similarly, other provinces of the Communion are engaging in study, discussion, debate, and occasionally reception of the Covenant — from Mexico to New Zealand, from South Africa to Singapore, from Japan to the Church of England. Most recently, members of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order have produced two enormously useful aids to reflection on the Covenant, available on the Anglican Communion’s website. The first is a study guide “intended for parishes, deaneries, dioceses or groups of individuals wishing to explore the Covenant and the way it describes Anglican identity.” The second document “seeks to address some commonly asked questions” about the Covenant.
Where are we, individually as provinces and together as a Communion, in this discussion? And how, in particular, is “the case for the Covenant” faring among the undecided or wavering? Are there signs of progress in answering basic questions about and objections to the Covenant, and do we under- stand the reasons for whatever persistent hesitation, confusion, or frustration there may be? Are there especially nettlesome problems — concerning, for instance, the very idea of a covenant between “autonomous” churches — that are not easily resolved, short of making difficult decisions that may require further divisions among Anglicans, given divergent understandings of what truth and integrity demand?
It seems appropriate that those who are more favorably disposed to the Anglican Covenant make the case for it, addressing whatever concerns have been and continue to be expressed, in the United States and elsewhere. To this end, The Living Church will publish an apologetic series over the next months that will aim to address calmly and charitably whatever persistent worries may be lingering in the minds and hearts of those Anglicans who remain undecided about the prudence of the proposed (or perhaps any) Covenant.
We will take up some of the well-known and well-worn objections to and worries about the Covenant. We do this in order to encourage high-quality communication and thoughtful, theological reflection among Anglicans. And we do it in the hope of making progress in clarifying basic issues, why they matter, and what may be necessary if Anglicans are to contribute again to the healing of divisions in the wider Christian body.
—The Rev. Matthew A. Gunter and Christopher Wells, conveners
The Complete Series
Our Unity in Christ: Introduction
Feb. 25, 2011
By 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
Feb. 25, 2011
By Christopher Wells
Embodying a Self-aware Anglicanism
March 11, 2011
By the Rev. Matthew A. Gunter
Catholicity Outweighs Autonomy
April 1, 2011
By the Rev. Canon 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).
April 8, 2011
By the Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Rowell, third Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe.
Committing Unity to Print
April 29, 2011
By 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
May 5, 2011
By 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).
May 20, 2011
By the Rev. George R. Sumner, principal and Helliwell Professor of World Mission at Wycliffe College, Toronto.
Families and Accountability
June 3, 2011
By the Rt. Rev. 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 (ACC) and the Advisory Council of the Anglican Health Network.
June 17, 2011
By the Most Rev. Thabo C. Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
July 1, 2011
By the Rev. Canon 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
July 22, 2011
By the Rev. Michael Cover, a doctoral student in theology at the University of Notre Dame and an assisting priest at St. Paul’s Church, Mishawaka, Indiana.
A Covenant of Consideration
Aug. 5, 2011
By the Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt, 11th Bishop of Tennessee.
Section 4: Commitment in Word and Deed
Aug. 19, 2011
By the Rev. Andrew Goddard, a member of the leadership team of Fulcrum who has taught at Trinity College, Bristol, and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
Relationship, Definition, Accountability
Aug. 26, 2011
By 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
Sept. 12, 2011
By the Rev. Robert Prichard, a professor of church history at Virginia Theological Seminary and current president of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church.
Greeting the Saints
Sept. 23, 2011
By the Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, eighth Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, and a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order.
From Autonomy to Communion
Oct. 23, 2011
By 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
November 20, 2011
By the Rev. Canon Michael Poon, director and Asian Christianity coordinator 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.
Cranmer’s Elegance and the Wondrous Exchange
December 18, 2011
By Brian Crowe, a member of the Church of Ireland who blogs at catholicity and covenant.
Covenants and Fragments
December 16, 2011
By the Rev. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, who served on the Covenant Design Group and is a member of the Living Church Foundation.
March 5, 2012
By Mark D. Chapman, vice principal and lecturer in systematic theology at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, is the author of Anglicanism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2006) and Anglican Theology (T&T Clark, 2012).