Does the intrepid Steve Waring of The Living Church have copies of what appears to be a rival to the Covenant now under consideration at the Lambeth? Drexel Gomez says he hasn’t “studied” it yet (so he obviously knows what it is) – but it’s not official. What makes anything official at Lambeth, anyway? Are there other rival alternatives to Covenants being circulated?
Here’s an excerpt from The Living Church article:
Bishops would stay in conversation with partners and seek each other’s counsel, especially of those who could be expected to disagree with them, when making decisions that may strain the bonds that hold the Anglican Communion together under “A Draft Rule of Life Covenant.” The document was submitted to the Windsor Continuation Group by two bishops from The Episcopal Church on July 31, according to an archbishop.
Read the whole thing here.
From this afternoon’s press conference with Drexel Gomez:
So what’s up – is everyone marching in lock step or there some who are breaking off from the pack?
From: A Draft Rule of Life Covenant: For members of the Lambeth Conference 2008
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may be all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that they world may believe that you have sent me …” (John 17:20f)
Joan Chittester, in speaking of the nature of a Rule of Life, tells the story of someone who visited a huge sheep station in South Australia. After driving the vast expanse of the ranch, the visitor asked the rancher, “I see you have herds of livestock all over your ranch, but you have no fences. How do you keep your sheep on the ranch?” The rancher responded simply, “We have wells.”
A Rule of Life then may be a well for our corporate spiritual journey, where we receive the Living Waters that will sustain our communion for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Below are some of the buckets with which we draw from the well. These buckets are spiritual practices that we share in common as Anglicans and help us drink from the well of Living Water and form us into a “sign of hope and a blessing to the world.”
Prayer, Study of Scripture
-Daily prayer, reading, and study according to our ordination vows, our communities and our own personal needs and rhythm.
-Anglican Cycle of Prayer
ACO: Update the Cycle of Prayer regularly including contact information for dioceses and bishops. Regular notices of prayer needs though out the Communion using currently available and emerging technology.
Provide daily lectionary for the building up [of] the Communion with with resources for common use.
-Lambeth Conference to meet every five years for three day retreat and seven day conference. (e.g., in order to make this more affordable, some provinces send fewer participants so that there is an equitable representation across the Communion; province will fund the Conference according to their resources.)
-A form of daily office for bishops is developed and bishops commit to making it their daily pattern of prayer.
-Continued commitment to relationship building and deep listening about scriptural, theological, ethical and moral understandings lived throughout the Communion.
-Commitment to practice of forgiveness of one another and our failings.
-A regular examen of our personal life in Christ as well as our local expression of the Gospel and its impact on others in the world.
The document then gives examples of “other areas where Bishops could enter into commitments with one another – as a fuller expression of our common Rule of Life.” It includes, Partnerships, Care for the Earth (God’s Covenant with Noah), Millennium Development Goals (Covenant of Faith: Commonality of Hope), Ministry Development & Theological Education for God’s Mission, Evangelism, and Development & Mission, and Human Sexuality & Other Tough Questions.
Here are the recommendations for Human Sexuality & Other Tough Questions:
-Bishops would stay in conversation with partners and seek one another’s counsel – especially of those who could be expected to disagree with them – when making decisions that may strain the bonds of Grace that hold this Communion together.
-Bishops will stand against violence and marginalization of all vulnerable people.
-In tough times bishops will commit to a personal examen around tough questions.
The final section reads:
Offered in the context of our common life together at the Lambeth Conference by bishops from several provinces of the Communion, out of concern that the current Covenant to which many people seem reactive, does not lead us into deeper communion but rather keeps us from it. We believe that we will find our salvation as a communion from drinking Living Water from the same well.