14 June 2011

Canadian Study Guide

The Anglican Church of Canada has launched a study guide for the proposed Anglican Covenant, supported by a website with a variety of links to resources.

Designed for use in a variety of contexts, the Canadian study guide encourages an in-depth discussion in three sessions. The guide itself invites participants to consider both advantages and disadvantages, ways in which the proposed Covenant might enhance or impede the mission of each Church and the Communion. To the credit of the authors, this study guide does not seem to be designed to steer the discussion to a pre-determined outcome, such as adoption of the proposed Covenant.

The supporting web site includes links to a variety of resources, both pro and con, including even the No Anglican Covenant Coalition web site. My only question about the web resources is that the NACC web site is clearly identified as coming from a group opposed to the Covenant (just in case anyone couldn't deduce that from the name), but the Anglican Communion Institute, which is also linked, is not described. An unsuspecting user of the Canadian resource list might not realize that the ACI is not an official organ of the Anglican Communion or indeed of anything. Which is not to say that their comments should not be linked. The comprehensiveness of the links is a strength.

Another question for me has to do with the commentary on the proposed Covenant, which accompanies the study guide. The commentary on sections 1-3 of the Covenant inexplicably stops after Section 1. Is it that the authors of the study guide had nothing to comment on with respect to Sections 2 and 3? Is this an oversight? Or were they waiting for further materials to be released?

On the matter of other materials, there is still the promise of analyses of the proposed Covenant from theological and legal perspectives. We await the release of those two documents from the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, and from the Governance Working Group. If the study guide is any indication, the analyses are likely to be very helpful. I suspect that once those are in place there will be a good and very comprehensive package of resources for a serious study of the proposed Covenant, which should be of use well beyond the borders of Canada.

But the release of the study guide in advance of these other two documents is unfortunate timing. It would have been better to wait and put them all out together, as any study without a full set of resources, and especially without the detailed analysis of the proposed Covenant that was requested by the General Synod, will be both incomplete and premature.

I hope that anyone interested in conducting a study of the proposed Covenant will wait for the rest of the materials. Once they are released, then let it be studied in detail.


  1. There are surely some things to like in this document, but, I feel the need to get hold of it and do some editing. Most particularly, I would like to add a table of contents. The PDF has bookmarks, but even these are confusing. The bookmark for page 21, for example, is labeled “06-Study Guide,” but the label on the top of the page is “Exploring the Anglican Covenant.”

    The proposed study plan does cover Sections 2 and 3, but it certainly doesn’t focus on them. For an indication of what there is to talk about, see my post “A Critique of Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Anglican Covenant - Part 2.”

  2. Yes, the guide is not the epitome of perfection, but all in all I think it is a good effort and worth using. I'm sure you will agree that it is an enormous improvement over the official Anglican Communion study guide that was released just before Lent.


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