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‘How Hard Is It To Say No?’

This is the question my friend Susan Gage wants to put to the assembled General Convention of The Episcopal Church, which met in Indianapolis from 5-12 July (neatly and annoyingly overlapping with the General Synod of the Church of England). In her latest blog post,

‘The Episcopal Church Says, “Ummmm” To Anglican Covenant’,

Susan describes the Convention from the point of view of a frustrated fellow-member of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition. Other good blog posts describing the Convention are by Jim BeyerDoug Blanchard,  June Butler,  Lionel Deimel, the Revd Malcolm French, the Revd Lauren A Gough, the Revd Dr Elizabeth Keaton,  the Ven. Alan T Perry and The Revd Canon Susan Russell.

I recommend that, if you are a member of the Anglican Communion, you read at least some of these blog posts. After all, it was a Church of England priest who said ‘No man is an island entire of itself‘. Another, more down-to-earth, way of saying the same thing is “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”


The Dog That Did Not Bark In The Night

Did anyone else notice that at the General Synod in York no mention at all was made of the fact that the Covenant, promoted so fervently by the Archbishop of Canterbury and most of his fellow bishops, was rejected by diocesan synods? In the Church of England, it seems, ‘if it is not pleasant, it does not exist‘. Or if it is awkward. Or contentious. Or embarrassing. Or all four.

Better To Call A Spade A Spade?

I expect you know this: “What is the difference between a lady and a diplomat?”

When a diplomat says “yes”, he means “perhaps”.
When a diplomat says “perhaps”, he means “no”.
But when a diplomat says “no”, he is no diplomat at all
When a lady says “no”, she means “perhaps”.
When a  lady says “perhaps”, she means “yes”.
But when a lady says “yes”, she is no lady at all.


The Dangers Of Not Learning To Say ‘No’

Flanders and Swann have a very short ditty, which I knew off by heart at about the age of eight, certainly long before I understood what it meant:

Oh it’s hard to say “Hoolima-Kittiluca-Cheecheechee” , but in Tonga, that means “No”.
If I ever have the money,’tis to Tonga I shall go.
For each lovely Tongan maiden there will gladly make a date.
And by the time she’s said “Hoolima-Kittiluca-Cheecheechee”, it is usually too late!



8 comments on this post:

Karin Rosner said...

I was scratching my head at this one, myself. I would posit that TEC is so preoccupied with itself at the moment that the Covenant, indeed the _rest_ of the Communion (especially those provinces and dioceses that TEC’s PB and most of the HOB and HOD are not in agreement with) don’t even rate being thought about. Some people think that TEC is going to split from the Communion, so why even bother thnking about the Covenant?

Lay Anglicana said...

Yes, but! I think they did spend quite a bit of time discussing the Covenant- it was a long convention. As I understand it, they don’t want to say yes (for obvious reasons) but they don’t want to say an outright no either. It is probably an example of good old Anglican fudge – after all why should the Church of England be the only practitioners? They are perhaps also hedging their bets to see what happens next in the Church of England – if we have a new Archbishop of Canterbury, we may just quietly drop the idea. I hope. Of course if you are right that TEC is heading for a split from the Communion, then what you say applies. I hope you are wrong. Certainly the members of TEC that I talk to are still attached to the Communion- it is at best a really good example of outreach where, not to put too fine a point on it, the richer Churches support the poorer.

14 July 2012 15:12
14 July 2012 11:00
Erika Baker said...

Maybe the stake are higher for TEC? After all, the CoE saying “no” to the Covenant will not remove the church from the heart of the Communion, whereas TEC doing the same could propel them to the outer edges of our ecclesiastical universe?

Lay Anglicana said...

I agree, although you will see what Karin says above, that there is a rumour that TEC might be planning to leave the Communion. On the whole, I would be surprised if this happens, although I can well understand that the levels of irritation and frustration must be high.

14 July 2012 15:14
14 July 2012 11:14
UKViewer said...

There are two aspects to this. I think that the TEC are nervous about rejecting the Covenant outright, because, in reality it’s aimed at them. By taking the action they’ve just acknowledged it’s existence and kicked it into the long grass.

For the CofE, the absence of any comment on the covenant outcome seems to me to be a tactic. There’s enough going on with both gender and sexuality issues at the moment, to bring it back to soon, might be considered to be dangerous and having it thrown out again, would discredit it completely.

I think it will depend on who the next ABC is! Because, if he’s an Evangelical (presuming it’s their turn) we could see it resurrected in some form, while I would expect the abandonment of any hope of true inclusiveness in the church for the duration.

I might be misjudging it, but cynical me takes the view that an Evangelical Arch Bishop would have a different agenda than the present one.

Lay Anglicana said...

I agree that the attitude of ‘don’t mention the war’ is likely to be a tactic. I am sure that the Church has no idea what to do next and, as you say, much will depend on the views of the next Archbishop of Canterbury. If an out and out Evangelical is chosen, we are in for a rocky ride as he will presumably attempt to resurrect the Covenant. (And some of us thought that the ride at the moment was pretty bumpy!)

14 July 2012 15:17
14 July 2012 12:52
Susan S. Hedges said...

I have heard no rumors that we are leaving the communion. Who are these people who think that a split is under consideration?

15 July 2012 02:42
Anne said...

I agree with UKViewer that the TEC tactic is masterly. They would have been condemned for rejecting the Covenant outright, so they didn’t. But they will be condemned anyway for allowing same-sex blessings and cross gender ordinations anyway.
The CofE had enough to contend with at the July GS with the women bishops legislation and reactions to the same sex marriage consultation submission.
Whatever the personal convictions of the next ABC, as Rowan Williams found, it’s harder to push your own agenda when you have the responsibility of keeping the CofE and the Anglican Communion together. The NZ Church has rejected it, the TEC has said ‘Not decided’ – I think the Covenant will just be allowed to moulder away in the back of some cupboard somewhere until things have calmed down over gender & sexuality issues

15 July 2012 10:30

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