Remembering the original Covenant signing by Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson (left) and Archbishop Daniel Bohan (right) 2011
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever. Amen
When the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina entered into a covenantal relationship in 2011, they recognized already then that it would be a blessing if our respective full communion partners would be included in an expanded covenant. For many years, the Anglican, Lutheran, Ukrainian and Roman Catholic bishops have met, twice a year, to share concerns and build relations. Two years ago we began working on a draft of an expanded covenant that would include all of our churches in Saskatchewan, with the help of an expanded implementation committee with all of our churches represented.
The COVID-19 pandemic prevented an in-person meeting in mid-March, but we met through electronic means to finalize the covenant which we now rejoice in signing and making public.
This is an historic event in the life of our churches. We hope and pray that this covenant brings as much joy to our people as it does to us as your bishops.
It is our hope that the signing and release of this covenant will be a source of encouragement at this difficult moment in time, and a life-giving enrichment of our churches moving forward.
While there are many proposed initiatives in the covenant, our hope is that our communities in their local settings might begin with one or two joint actions that would enliven their parishes and congregations.
As we approach holy week, we do so mindful of the great suffering, disruption and isolation that many are experiencing at present. We bring all those negatively impacted by the pandemic before the cross of Christ. And we join the whole Christian community of Saskatchewan in calling down God’s grace as we prepare to celebrate the redemptive death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we sign this covenant, we pray:
God and Father of us all, we give thanks for the spiritual unity which is already ours as believers in the one Lord and members of the one Body. We pray that this spiritual unity may, by your grace, increasingly become a visible unity, so that your Church in every place may demonstrate the healing and reconciling power of the gospel and be an instrument of your peace in the life of the world, to the praise and glory of your name. Amen. [Prayer by Frank Colquhoun. New Parish Prayers, Hodder and Stoughton (ISBN 0 340 27237 6)]
The original covenant text was signed on behalf of the Diocese of Qu'Appelle and the Archdiocese of Regina on January 23, 2011 by Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson and Archbishop Daniel Bohan.
Ecumenical covenants have been an important catalyst for local ecumenical communities. There are many covenants between congregations or parishes of various traditions. There are a number of examples of covenants between Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses, and a few that include Lutheran synods. The acronyms ARC, LRC, and LARC are frequently used for these. The LAURC Covenant in Saskatchewan appears to be the first covenant including an Eastern Catholic eparchy.
An ecumenical covenant is not intended to be an exclusive relationship. It is hoped that our churches will continue to foster close relations with all faith communities in their neighbourhoods, and that where appropriate these will blossom into a renewed covenantal relationship. Our covenant is intended to be a witness to the unity we already share in Christ and to our commitment to work together to give this visible expression.
"Among the many ways that churches have found to express our growth in communion, covenants have a particular place. Beyond the most basic sense as a mutual agreement or contract, the biblical understanding of covenant is of a relationship initiated by God; a promise to which God remains faithful despite the failures and transgressions of the people. A covenant serves to sustain and nurture an established ecumenical partnership. It requires a fundamental commitment to working, praying, and acting together in response to God’s call, yet it is not the final stage of life in communion. We engage in this covenant as a pledge of faithfulness and in hope of the full visible unity to which we are called" (LAURC Covenant, p. 2).
The new LAURC Covenant was signed by the 10 bishops in Saskatchewan (alphabetically):
Bishop Bryan Bayda, Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Saskatoon
Archbishop Donald Bolen, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina
Archbishop Murray Chatlain, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Keewatin-Le Pas
Bishop Mark Hagemoen, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon
Bishop Adam Halkett, Bishop of Missinippi, Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan
Bishop Robert Hardwick, Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle
Bishop Christopher Harper, Anglican Diocese of Saskatoon
Bishop Sid Haugen, Saskatchewan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Bishop Michael Hawkins, Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan
Bishop Albert Thévenot, Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert
The territory encompassed by the new covenant includes the entire civil province of Saskatchewan.
Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/news/2020/04/02/anglican-diocese-quappelle-roman-catholic-archdiocese-regina-expand-covenant-include