A Third Answer

My grandmother taught me quite young that “God has three answers: Yes,  No. and  Wait.”  It looks like the Episcopal Church response to the Anglican Communion regarding the proposed Covenant is that third answer. The Church is also affirming participation in the wider Anglican Communion. Eight resolutions regarding the covenant were reduced to two – the first affirms continued participation and the second refusing to either sign or reject the Anglican Covenant at this time.

(The Anglican Covenant is in essence by-laws recently created for the Anglican Communion in response to actions by the churches in the United States, Canada and New Zealand.  Among its provisions are a disciplinary section to deal with members of the communion who act in ways not supported by the rest of the Communion. To this point the Anglican Communion has been an informal gathering of churches related to the Church of England and not in any legal or binding relation ship with one another except a common history and loyalty to a way of being church.)

The framers of the resolutions realized that in any specific decision on the Covenant there would be winners and losers and decided we needed to continue our participation with the Communion and not take a steadfast position on the Covenant at this time. According to the Rev Mark Harris who introduced the resolutions to the House of Deputies “We realized we are under no compulsion, save our own, to give an immediate answer to the question of adopting the Covenant.”  A task force of Executive Council will be created to continue to monitor ongoing developments in the Anglican Communion.

In our era of microwave cooking, instant message and minute rice “wait” may not be answer we are comfortable with or want. We may want a yes or a no to have it over and done with. But it should not really about what we want but what will keep us in relationship with our brothers and sisters in faith of the Communion as well time to sort through our differences and find ways to remain in communication and communion even with those with whom we do not agree on anything except the love of God and mandate to love our neighbors as ourselves.


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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