The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church begins today. I had hoped to be there as an alternative clergy representative, but sadly I am too far down the list.
This afternoon there will be a debate on three motions about the proposed Anglican Covenant:
Motion 3: That this Synod affirm an ‘in principle’ commitment to the Covenant process at this time (without committing itself to the details of any text).
Motion 4: That this Synod ask the Faith and Order Board to respond to the ‘three questions’ in the letter from the Joint Standing Committee, incorporating this Synod’s response to Question 1.
Motion 5: That this Synod:
a) note the St Andrew’s draft Covenant, and ask dioceses to discuss it and submit comments to the Faith and Order Board by 31 December 2008;
b) ask the Faith and Order Board to prepare a response to the Anglican Communion on the draft Covenant, taking due cognisance of the views of this Synod and of dioceses.
The three questions mentioned in motion 4 are:
1. Is the Province able to give an “in principle” commitment to the Covenant process at this time (without committing itself to the details of any text)?
2. Is it possible to give some indication of any synodical process which would have to be undertaken in order to adopt the Covenant in the fullness of time?
3. In considering the St Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Covenant, are there any elements which would need extensive change in order to make the process of synodical adoption viable?
Links to the St Andrew’s draft and related documents are here.
It's been said that one reason some Piskies are so averse to the proposed Covenant is because they don't like the word because of its association with the 17th century Covenanters. Ironically, it was the Covenanters who faced the toughest of times in the face of enforced Episcopacy. Whatever the case may be, I know we are supposed to be into tradition, but come on, can't we find a little healing and forgiveness for past wrongs? I fear that our deeper reasons for rejecting any notion of covenant are because our sense of accountability to the wider church is weak and we have an arrogant desire to have our way. Sadly, this is the stuff of sectarianism.
I do hope, at least at this point, we don't say, "Church says, 'No'". In that case, we could be construed as saying we really don't want to be part of the Anglican Communion anymore. Maybe we'll be angling to be part of some kind of new Episcopal Communion instead?