Friday, May 29, 2009

Covenant Working Group Announced

The task force charged with revising the problematic fourth section of the proposed Anglican Covenant will consist of four members from the previous 12-member task force, according to an announcement made May 28 by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The Most Rev. John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin in the Church of Ireland, will serve as chairman. The other three members are: the Most Rev. John Chew, primate of the Church of the Province of South East Asia; Eileen Scully, coordinator for faith, worship and ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada; and the Rt. Rev. Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St. Asaph in the Church of Wales.

In addition to the four appointed members, staff support will be provided by Neil Vigers, administrator for ecumenical affairs for the ACC, and the Rev. Canon Joanna Udal, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s secretary for Anglican Communion affairs.

The proposed covenant failed to pass during the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting May 1-13 meeting in Jamaica. Representatives from The Episcopal Church were among the most vocal in expressing concerns about the fourth section during debate on the covenant. Neither of the Episcopalians on the original Covenant Design Group—the Rev. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto, and the Rev. Katherine Grieb, professor of New Testament at Virginia Theological Seminary—was included on the new working group.

Under the timetable proposed in the announcement, the so-called Ridley Cambridge draft text that was rejected by the ACC in Jamaica has been sent to provinces for comment on Section 4. Responses are due by Nov. 13. The working group is scheduled to meet Nov. 20-21 in London and will report its findings and recommendations to the Joint Standing Committee of the ACC and the primates, which meets Dec. 15-18.

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