Covenant February 8, 2012 Craig Uffman and Christopher Wells founded Covenant (covenant.livingchurch.org) in August 2007 as a weblog community of “evangelical and catholic” Christians. We take our place within the Living Church Foundation’s mission to seek and serve the full visible unity of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, starting in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We are grateful for the continuing support of four patrons: Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne, United Kingdom; Edward S. Little II, Bishop of Northern Indiana; Daniel H. Martins, Bishop of Springfield; and James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas. Our Mission cov•e•nant (kuv’en ent) from the Latin convenire: agree, assemble, summon, combine, be convenient or suitable, unite. [1250–1300; ME < AF, OF, n. use of prp. of covenir < L convenire to come together, agree; see convene] We are evangelical and catholic Anglicans, and fellow travelers from the wider household of God, assembled and summoned to a common labor in the ecumenical Church of Christ, not least through the present struggles and gifts of our communities. We recognize that the Anglican Communion — the first instance of ecclesiality with which we, in this particular online assembly, wrestle for a blessing — is incomplete by itself, because we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands the wounds of our Lord’s body: the countless factions and disputes that do not bring him glory, leaving us all together far short of our call to “share,” as sisters and brothers visibly united, in the “partnership” of his offering (1 Cor. 10:14ff.). In a sense it has ever been so. We recall Saint Paul’s outrage with the Corinthians, who “came together (synerchesthai) … not for the better but for the worse,” a sobering point too little reflected upon in our day by those, on all sides, who find the Church’s unity and orthodoxy uncomplicated — either simply given, or obviously taken away. Against both of these views, Paul insists that “there have to be factions (hairesis) among you, for only so will it become clear who among you are genuine” (1 Cor. 11:17-19). And yet the Apostle does not on that account “commend” the Corinthians for showing “contempt for the Church of God and humiliat[ing] those who have nothing” (1 Cor. 11:22). Rather, Paul’s argument devolves to his prior exhortation to learn from the “example” of “Israel,” “written down to instruct us,” “so that we might not desire evil” but instead the singular “blessing that we bless.” Only upon this, objective basis: the blood and body of Christ unveiled, will the Corinthians learn to “do everything for the glory of God,” that is, to “give no offense to Jews or Greeks or to the Church,” to “please everyone in everything,” and not seek their “own advantage,” so that “many … may be saved” (1 Cor. 10). In this “communion” (koinonia) of the humiliated church of Corinth, a church with “nothing that it has not received” — thus learning “of unity through its nothingness before the Cross of Christ,” and seeing “in the Apostolate its dependence upon the one people of God, and the death by which every member and every church bears witness to the Body which is one”  — we come together again, even online (though not primarily here!): because we have already been assembled, “convoked or convened by an act independent” of ourselves that reflects the Church’s very “character as a community” . In this shared experience of death and life, over and over again (see 1 Cor. 15:31), we recognize a common faith and hope in Christ’s twofold call upon our lives: to humility and penitence in the teeth of painful division, and to reconciliation in love. Indeed, we “eat” together as we “wait for one another,” the two actions indistinguishable as they are joined in the single body of the One whose blood is our “new covenant” (1 Cor. 11:33, 25).  Michael Ramsey, The Gospel and the Catholic Church (Longmans, 1956), 220.  Rowan Williams, Why Study the Past? (Eerdmans, 2005), 111.