Tuesday, February 20, 2007

the dar es salaam communique

Here is my very short response to the Dar Es Salaam communique, which I read for the first time on a plane this afternoon: it is good. The media was buzzing with wild predictions before the meeting, and as it progressed. The sheer volume and wildness of the coverage had me starting to think wild thoughts too, I confess. But in the end this fact remained: there is at this moment no mechanism for the disciplining of the Episcopal Church the way that many would like for it to be disciplined. Such a mechanism will be embodied (presumably) in the proposed Covenant, the outlines of which have not been made public.

I would have liked to have seen something more heavy-handed from the Primates' (such as a request that ECUSA withdraw from the Instruments of Communion until the Covenant is ready to be ratified), but what we have is good. It is clear-cut and honest; it proposes hard-and-fast deadlines and sets out a concrete and measurable plan which allows ad-hoc structures (such as AMiA) to remain in place, and proposes a concrete protocol allowing alternative oversight to those who cannot in conscience accept the episcopal / primatial ministry of ECUSA's Presiding Bishop. And perhaps above all: the communique is unanimous. I cannot stress how important that fact is. We will have to wait for these things to pan out, which is a challenge, but I believe this communique proposes a realistic scheme within which the orthodox will have the space we need to wait for a final solution (an unfortunate phrase) to be worked out -- one that gives meaning to the Anglican "bonds of affection" which ECUSA was doing its best to show to be meaningless.

I urge everyone to take time to read the whole thing very carefully.

UPDATE: I guess a draft version of the Covenant has been made public after all. Its gotten lost in the other news.

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