What follows is the script for the video Mr CatOLick filmed recently. It was created in consultation with an international group who are against the proposed Covenant.
Well hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my little video putting together some thoughts about the Anglican covenant.
Firstly let me say that I am saddened by the idea of this document and whilst I can fully understand why many learned men and women have got behind the ideas contained in it I can also clearly see that it is an idea forged in a furnace of unnecessary desperation.
The most significant proponent of the AC is Rowan Williams, a good archbishop. Unfortunately it is during rowan’s time that the nature of the Archbishops post has changed radically and the AC is part of that change. Rowan now labours under the new responsibility of being a ‘focus for unity’ as heralded by the Windsor report.
The Anglican communion has never given this explicit responsibility to one man and it is something that generations of Anglicans have criticised the roman catholic church for over and over again, pointing to the inevitable abuses of power and the tendency towards punitive styles of leadership that may accompany such a singular expectation.
Poor old rowan has been duped and is now desperately trying to do his best to be that focus for unity. Well that’s all well and good whilst we have rowan at the helm, but what of future archbishops, will they downplay the punitive elements that lie within the AC?
We need to reject the AC and its un-Anglican drive to centrality, we need to free Rowan from the unrealistic and un-Anglican responsibility laid upon him in the Windsor report and return to the values that Anglicans have held dear and indeed fought and died for, that is independence and freedom to worship as conscience dictates.
Apart from the basic Christian understanding that the bible along with the creeds, and the Lord’s prayer contain the essentials of faith and indeed the essentials that tell us that we all belong to the family of humanity, the very use of the word covenant is misleading.
The word covenant is reserved for an agreement between people and God. The New Testament heralded the new covenant between humanity and God as revealed in Jesus Christ and we believe that in it is revealed fully the nature of the relationship between God and humanity that exists in truth, that through it we achieve salvation and that by it we know that God is a loving and indeed a forgiving God.
To broker a new covenant that is aimed at more forcefully requiring us to live together nicely may be to show some disrespect to the completeness of scripture. Clearly we can benefit from people helping us to understand the Bible, the creeds and indeed the Lord ’s Prayer. However this is something more, much more and it can be argued that it attempts to supersede scripture.
The AC offer us a new way of relating to one another and tells us that if we do not adhere to this new way then there will be relational consequences. We are fully adult and fully able to think independently, that is the Anglican tradition. We are able to work out for ourselves that if we fall out over matters in church life, in family life, in general, then there will be relational consequences. Why is it included in this document? It is because of the desperate desire to put unity before independent thought.
One of the consequences of independent thought is that other things arise. Were it not for independent thought the c of E would not exist, we would all be RC’s. Were it not for independent thought the Methodist movement would not have come about and were it not for independent thought e would not be created in the image of God; in other words, God has given us our spiritual and moral independence which of course brings with it moral responsibility, but moral responsibility cannot demand that we give up our inheritance as independent people.
So you see that the AC is wrong and misguided. The proponents, Rowan amongst them, mean well and are struggling to achieve unity in a divided world. Yet they are misguided, and in Rowan’s case I think he has been forces into a place he should not be by the Windsor report.
So let us free the church and free Rowan, let us continue to be the Anglican Church we are and accept that our forefathers have relied on the Holy Spirit, prayer, the bible, the creeds and the Lord ’s Prayer, and that we should continue to do likewise.
To seek a holy grail, to clutch at straws in the teeth of ad adversity is to forget your core values and your founding documents, in them lies our salvation and to be called to other shores will lead to a rocky and disastrous outcome.
Support Rowan, support the Anglican tradition, keep your independence, resist centrality and let Jesus Christ be the focus of our unity, which is what the Windsor report should have advocated in the first place.
Bye bye for now.