Monday, February 05, 2007

Anglican Covenant Progress . . . Is Actually Progressing

In the process of giving his Primates Meeting predictions, Greg Griffith of Stand Firm noted the following:

In addition, expect the Anglican covenant to be on the table far sooner than TEC would like - certainly at Lambeth '08, and perhaps before that. This is not to TEC's favor no matter how you slice it. Word is that a draft version is nearing completion . . .

That got my attention. So I sniffed around and found strong confirmation at, of all places, The Episcopal News Service in a story that begins:

The Anglican Communion's Covenant Design Group's report to the February meeting of the Communion's Primates will include a draft covenant, according to one of the two Episcopal Church members of the group.

That member adds, “The covenant process is moving at a great speed.”

So there will already be a draft covenant for the primates to consider in Tanzania in a few days with a final draft likely ready by Lambeth ‘08. This is a very significant and overlooked development – and, frankly, one I overlooked amidst all the other . . . stuff going on.

I had considered the Covenant to be perhaps a good part of the long term solution but a serious problem for the short term since it would take so long to bring about that orthodox remaining in the Episcopal Church would be decimated in the meantime.

But if the Covenant is indeed put in place at Lambeth ’08 with provinces afterward having to choose to sign up in order to stay full members of the Anglican Communion, such speed (by Anglican standards) changes things.

The Episcopal Church will then have to choose at General Convention ’09. And they certainly will chose not to sign the Covenant and thereby will formally and finally “walk apart” from the Anglican Communion.

I know that may not seem speedy to those enduring this process, but it is certainly speedy by Anglican standards. And these reports give realistic hope that TEC’s status in the Communion will be firmly resolved by summer 2009. That’s just over two years.

And remember that the strong orthodox Primate of the West Indies Drexel Gomez chairs the Covenant design committee. He will not allow the Covenant to be weasel words.

As messy as things are and will be, this apparent progress on the Covenant gives good reason to be optimistic about the future of the Anglican Communion. Again, this progress is a significant development.

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