Bishop George Bruce, chair of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Anglican Covenant Working Group. Photo: Art Babych
The Anglican Church of Canada’s Anglican Covenant Working Group has released the study guide on the national church’s website in time for Pentecost, June 12.
“We’re encouraging people to look at the [details of the Covenant] and to reflect on what its implications are,” diocese of Ontario Bishop George Bruce, chair of the working group, said in an interview.
Bishop Bruce described it as a “historic” and “unique” opportunity for people in the pews “to say what’s on their mind, think and reflect on what it means to be church, what it means to do what God is calling us to do.”
The study guide does not encourage people in any particular direction. “We lay [out] things as they are,” said Bishop Bruce.
The guide will have original material as well as links to numerous resources, including those that are supportive of the Covenant and those that are not. “People will have an opportunity to see both sides of the argument,” Bishop Bruce said.
The study guide will also pose questions for response, “which will help [people] come to their own conclusion and discernment,” said Bishop Bruce. The overall question that people will be asked to reflect on is this: “Having taken the time to examine the Covenant in detail, how would a decision to adopt or not adopt the Covenant further God’s mission for the Anglican Church of Canada?”
The Covenant was proposed by the 2004 Windsor Report as a way of addressing a schism that threatened the worldwide Anglican Communion following division over the blessing of same-sex unions and the consecration of gay bishops in North America. The final draft has been sent to the Communion’s 44 regional and national member churches in more than 160 countries for consideration. The Anglican Church of Canada’s governing body, General Synod, will consider the Covenant when it meets in 2013. Canadian Anglicans will have 18 months to undertake study of the Covenant.
Bishop Bruce said he also encourages Anglicans to use the study guide because “it’s very good background educational material on who we are as Anglicans, what our roots are and how we structure ourselves.”