First, may I congratulate the Executive Archdeacon on the birth of his most recent chick: a small, perfectly formed and timely book entitled The Anglican Covenant: how we can make it work for us (Chilly Publishing, 2010).
I am also delighted to say that it was deep blessing for the whole Province and for me personally to be able to confirm some thirteen thousand young albatross at the Mission of the Archangel Gabriel, Disappointment Island, our most recent mission church plant. At this rate of growth we will soon be entitled to an additional place on the ACC.
Discussion with the Diocese of Christchurch over territorial jurisdiction have been entirely cordial, despite media reports. There has definitely been no question of any breach of any moratoria.
To all members of the Church of Antarctica.
It has been decided by the Provincial Synod of Antarctica that the proposed Anglican Covenant shall be sent to all members of the Church for study and comment.
Please note: There is no opportunity to amend the Covenant.
The Anglican Covenant has been sent to each Province to be accepted according to the decision making mechanisms in each Province. In the case of Antartica the Covenant has been deemed 'Section 8 business'. This means that it must be sent to all congregations for comment and their comments will be weighed carefully and prayerfully. The final decision will be made by the Provincial Synod's Executive Committee - currently (following the recent resignation of Revds. Chillblain and Pinnacle) comprising the Executive Archdeacon, The Primate and the Primate's Chaplain.
Therefore you are asked to give the Covenant many hours of prayer, study and considered reflection, and to submit your views in full-winter-length papers, to support the Executive Committee's decision.
The closing date for submissions is St Wolfgang's Day, 2011.
1. General questions
- What difference will it make to my parish or deanery?
- How much will it cost? [some observations on cost]
- How will the Covenant, with its capacity to excluded a member adjudged to have acted in ways 'incompatible with the Covenant', help unity?
- Who will say what constitutes 'unity'?
- How will the Covenant serve the sanctity of the church?
- How will contractual relationships (in place of 'bonds of affection') help churches evoke its holiness in practice?
- Will the Covenant tend to a wider catholicism or is it likely to lead to a narrower church?
- What will be the impact on existing ecumenical relationships of restating the basis of Anglicanism in revised terms?
- It what ways will the Covenant enable the church to fulfill its mission to all the world?
- If we have to go out, how long will we be?
- It may be argued that the archetypal covenant is that of the 10 commandments in which God spoke from the mountaintop and the people did (or should have done) what they were told. Compare.
- Scripture gives us examples of successive covenants culminating in God's covenant with us through Jesus Christ. Each covenant was necessary because the people hadn't done what were told. Discuss.
- To what degree will central, global, decision making strengthen the authority of bishops?
- Once a central decision has been made on a particular issue, how may any bishop - or province - be able to re-open it?
As is well known, in our own Province the blessing of the partnership between Emperor and Macaroni penguins was frowned on, formally condemned in 1961, permitted in 1987 and the official liturgy was finally authorized ten years later in 1997. Our debates were often rancorous and the scars they have left behind are still painful for many. Nonetheless, in the end, it was our prayerful honesty with one another which led us forward together in the discovery of God's greater truth. The Church of the Southern Cone undertook a similar conversation and came to a different conclusion. They do not accept such relationships as acceptable before God.
- How might this issue now be addressed under the Covenant?
May God bless you all in your discussion and debate on this issue.
+++ Primate of Antarctica
The Province of the True South