Those are just some of the initial reactions among some of us who have been writing and lobbying to have the Episcopal Church in the United States defeat the proposed Anglican Covenant. We thought we had presented a resolution that would garner enough support to stand up to scrutiny, and would give the Episcopal Church the language it needed to say, "Thanks for trying, but no thank you."
What has come out of the sausage-making process is an anemic statement that we, as a church, have too much division around this issue; therefore, we're simply deferring on the Anglican Covenant until the 78th General Convention in 2015.
The primary author of Resolution B005 is Fr. Mark Harris of Delaware, who writes at Preludium. Normally, I admire what Fr. Mark has to say, but his statement on the proposal, and its companion, D008 that affirms our commitment to the indaba process (listening with intention and attention among Anglican Communion partners), left me puzzled:
"I have to say that I understand why this may be difficult for some because it is not taking a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ stand on the acceptance of the Anglican Covenant. The belief of the subcommittee is that we grew to respect one another in the process of the discussion to a place where it was our collective sense that we needed to present to the convention the possibility that when we are in a place of considerable internal dissent of a variety of sorts, such that there is no clear mandate in one direction or another, that we say to each other, ‘Continue to sit at the table and be in discussion with each other.’”
Even one of the Florida deputation, Jack Tull, who had put forth another proposal to say, "No" to the Covenant voiced his support for the ultimate resolution that says, "Ummmm".
It's as if we are on a game show of "Who Wants the Anglican Covenant?" and the Episcopal Church is sitting on the hot seat, saying, "Gee, Meredith.... ummm... we think it's "No," but, well, gosh, "Yes" means we get to go meet with important people. Ah, gee, ummmm...maybe, well, maybe we could ask the audience, but ummmmm...."
Meanwhile, those of us sitting at home are screaming at our computer screens: "No!!! The answer is No!!!!"
Perhaps they needed the "Phone-A-Friend" option. Call Scotland. Call the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia. Heck, call the 26 diocese in the Church of England who had the guts to say "No"!
Our moderator, Revd. Malcolm French, issued the following statement on behalf of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition:
The wind has clearly gone out of the sails of the Anglican Covenant. There was not even a single dissenting vote when the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia declared itself unable to adopt the Covenant. While our Coalition would have preferred a clearer “no” from the Episcopal Church, the resolution passed in Indianapolis is scarcely more than an abstention – and the commitment to “monitor the ongoing developments” rings hollow when we consider that the same General Convention phased out funding for the Episcopal Church staff position for Anglican Communion affairs. Perhaps they will monitor the situation by following#noanglicancovenant or #nocovenant on Twitter.The next major step in the Covenant process will be at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, this fall. We understand that there will be an attempt to introduce a ratification threshold and a sunset date to the Covenant process. Depending on the details, our Coalition is likely to be broadly supportive of both initiatives.
Hats off to Malcolm and our Episcopal Church leader, Dr. Lionel Deimel, for doing what they could in Indianapolis to make our case for "No." Gentlemen, what can I say? Our church can adopt resolutions that cause the very groups the Covenant was meant to appease to go ballistic... and then can't finish the deal with a simple, clear statement of "No!"
As one friend noted, "Well, at least the NACC buttons will be good for another three years!"