Thursday, July 09, 2009

D020 Update

The hearing for my resolution took place at 2 PM (PDT) this afternoon. I signed up first, so I spoke first. Here are the notes I spoke from:

As the principal sponsor of this resolution, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to it.

First, a word about timing:

If you check your calendar, you’ll see that the deadline for pre-filed resolutions was before the most recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

My co-sponsors and I wanted to get something in the pipeline before the deadline because we believed it important that this convention address the emerging Anglican Covenant in some way.

We gambled by referencing the most recent draft at the time: Cambridge Ridley.

As you know, ACC signed off on Secs. 1-3, but referred Sec. 4 to a sub-group for further refinement.

I can understand how some might see D020 as either moot or premature because of this—i.e. the Covenant is as yet “incomplete.”

Consequently … were I a member of this committee, I would move to amend the resolution to refer specifically only to Sections I, II, & III, rather than to the whole document, and I encourage you to do so.

Finally, I need to stress that this resolution is not, nor is it intended to be, a de facto acceptance by the Episcopal Church of an Anglican Covenant. The Covenant is still a work in progress, so there is as yet nothing to “accept.”

What D020 does do is commit us to voluntarily, for the next triennium, using the spirit and language of Secs. I-III of Cambridge-Ridley as a point of reference in our corporate actions—something that we will hold ourselves accountable to while our partner churches in the Anglican Communion also discern how a Covenant might enhance our common life in Christ.


Being limited to two minutes, I had to edit myself on the fly, so here's what I did not say:

Either in its current form, or as amended in the way I have suggested, D020 represents an expression of good faith on the part of TEC to persist in the spirit of several 2006 resolutions that were overwhelmingly passed in response to the Windsor Report; including A159 on interdependence in the Anglican Communion and A160, wherein we expressed our regret for not having properly considered the impact of certain decisions were had made three years earlier would have on the “bonds of affection” within the communion.

I would suggest that these bonds of affection remain “strained” even now, so any step we might take to ease the strain would be like healing oil on the wounds of the communion we profess ourselves to be a constituent member of.

I was questioned quite extensively. People wanted to know what the word "provisional" means (I said "temporary"), whether amending it to "receive" rather than "commit to" would gut its intent (it would), and whether the clause calling for a Task Force might be redundant (it probably is).

Christopher Wells followed me, and masterfully lifted up (as best as can be done in two minutes) sections of the text that are particularly rich and challenging (as only Christopher can do). Then Bruce Robison drove our points home eloquently. But there were at least eight other "pro" speakers, including four Deputies from Albany and their Bishop. A priest from Texas and one from Colorado were both exceptionally able and vigorous advocates.

On the "con" side were a priest from Long Island ("the souffle isn't done yet so let's not try to eat it"), the Bishop of Wyoming ("this would distract us from some other important things we need to get done"), a seminary professor from GTS ("massively premature"), and a theologian and professor visiting from Oxford ("even the C of E won't be able to adopt a covenant because it would abrogate Parliament's authority"). All these objections are easily answerable, but we've had out crack to it will have to be up to our allies on the committee.

I never expected this resolution to actually pass convention intact, and I still don't. I wanted to make sure the Covenant got serious discussion in Anaheim, and that goal has already been met. As for what will eventually get reported out to the floor, my guess is that a sub-committee will draft something that affirms our participation in the covenant process, and commits us to studying the final Covenant draft (with re-worked Part IV) when it becomes available. So D020's moment in the sun will be brief before it melts under the relentless heat of majoritarian hegemony. But the church will have to some extent been kept honest in the meantime.

1 comment:

Rob Eaton+ said...

Good job, Dan; and on reporting on the hearing's speakers.