I think The Episcopal Church (TEC) has been in a similar state of ambivalence when it comes to the Anglican Covenant. But the recently published report of the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons (SCCC) has changed the whole picture. We are being asked to sign on to an agreement which was basically created because some of the other former British colonies don’t like what we are doing, even though we have followed our own discernment process to the letter. Now the SCCC has declared that it is “of the view that adoption of the current draft Anglican Covenant has the potential to change the constitutional and canonical framework of TEC, particularly with respect to the autonomy of our Church, and the constitutional authority of our General Convention, bishops and dioceses.”
So, if we sign the covenant, we are not just providing a way for the other members of the Anglican Communion to tell us off if we get out of line again, we are actually agreeing to change who we are. Something in that reminds me of what can happen after a family goes into uproar when their favored son comes out. “Yes Mom, I know you’ll disown me if I introduce my boyfriend to your friends. In fact now I know how upset you are I’ll just forget the whole thing and make like I’m straight.”
I don’t think so. It doesn’t work for us to pretend we’re not who God made us to be. It doesn’t work for TEC to pretend it’s something it’s not. Increasingly it seems like signing on to the Covenant would limit our ability to welcome more and more people into the freedom which we find in Christ Jesus. Why would we do that?
Our forebear’s God, to Thee, author of liberty, to Thee we sing;
Long may our church be bright with freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by thy might, great God our King.