Thinking Anglicans

New Zealand response

For immediate release
June 27, 2006

Ultimatum? What ultimatum?

Anglican Archbishops here look forward to the proposed international Anglican covenant

The Anglican Archbishops in this country welcome the prospect of contributing to the shaping of a worldwide Anglican Communion covenant on doctrine, as outlined today by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

And they say that describing such a covenant as an “ultimatum” to the liberal wing of the church is a misrepresentation of his address.

Furthermore, suggestions that New Zealand’s Anglican church might find itself on the outer with the Archbishop of Canterbury is hard to imagine, says Archbishop David Moxon, one of the co-presiding bishops of the church here.

“I believe we will always be in communion with him,” says Archbishop Moxon. “And also, with this particular Archbishop of Canterbury, there’s a widespread trust in his scholarship, integrity and spirituality. Being in communion with him is a pleasure.”

The Times in England has reported a significant address by Dr Williams, which he made in response to the recent convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA). The American church had sparked concern among the worldwide Anglican Communion when it unilaterally ordained a man in a gay partnership as a bishop.

The ECUSA convention made significant concessions to the worldwide communion, including an acknowledgment that it had “strained” the communion by its actions. Even so, the American church’s moves did not satisfy Biblical conservatives, especially in some parts of Africa.

Dr Williams, in a major address, was responding to the ECUSA actions, and he suggested that a two stage “opt-in” covenant, to be developed over time by the Anglican Communion – whereby those who didn’t wish to fully subscribe to a covenant defining Biblical standards could become “associate” members of the communion, rather than full members, if they wished.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Moxon has said that the English press has gone off on the wrong foot.

“They’re assuming,” he says, “what the covenant will say” and that has yet to be shaped. Their assumptions are premature.

“There are many liberals and conservatives who trust Dr William’s scholarship and reason. He will be a key player in the wording.

“And if you look at the people, including two New Zealanders, who wrote the Windsor Report, and who suggested the covenant, there are some very deep, reflective scholars “liberal and conservative” on that group.

“They weren’t suggesting a straitjacket. They were suggesting clear claims about the Bible in coherent, contemporary terms, which we would all gather around, if we can.

“Anglicanism has only ever survived because of the genius of the wording we’ve been able to gather around, with integrity and hospitality.

“Because the classic Anglican texts, including liturgical texts, are “roomy”. We can say them, we can pray them, we can believe them – but there is also room for a reasonable variety of Christian points of view.

“Anglican Christianity has tried to say that we want a large room, of unity in diversity, which is clearly and simply described, and a covenant can do that.”


Lloyd Ashton
Media Officer to the Anglican Church
in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
Phone: (09) 521-0192
Fax: (09) 528-2219
Mob: (021) 348-470

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Martin Reynolds
14 years ago

Gosh, it seems some people still take what Ruth writes seriously.

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
14 years ago

Nothing like it! What a lovely and healing tonic.

Reading “balanced thinking” from New Zealand makes me feel all refreshed, renewed and Christian loving wholesome again…they seem to be a very emotionally/spiritually healthy “lot” down there. I remember reasonable and steadfast/ sensible which is far preferable to bitter puritancial Press Releases that keep calling for segregation, exclusion, discrimination and the demeaning of LGBT fellow Anglican human beings.

14 years ago

Just more liberal arguement that ECUSA should be “in” because they were prepared to compromise on ‘Windsor’… Neatly omitting to mention that, as Windsor was devised by liberals and conservatives, it was already a compromise..

A compromise on a compromise does not respect the people who have, effectively, been sliced up twice!

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

Again, my heart goes out to the moderates (and cheers to the New Zealanders for trying to pour calming oil on the turbulent waters). The moderates are trying to say that they do not intend to exclude anyone (and I would agree that they don’t). The liberals are saying that suppressed silence is not genuine dialogue and if they are to be repressed then it is better to be independent. The archconservatives are saying that if the GLBTs are not “repentant” and silent, women suitably submissive, and hospitable liberals denounced; then they do not want to be associated. The archconservative… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Leonardo Ricardo
14 years ago

“…does not respect the people who have, effectively, been sliced up twice!” MDB Dave

My Dear Brother Dave,

Let’s not start comparing the superficial “wounds” of extreme thinking puritans to the actual victims of brutal hatecrimes..the tragic outcomes of “preaching” fear and hate/exclusion against LGBT people (in Nigeria/Uganda and elsewhere) are bloody, tragic and demoralizing agonies beyond comprehension.

Lord Have Mercy

Patrick Bridges
14 years ago

Of course, we can all see now how seriously the conservatives like +Akinola take Windor’s calls to the listen to the experiences of gays and lesbians (throw them in jail) and respect the boundaries of other provinces. At least ECUSA has responded to the extent that it felt it could as opposed to blantantl ignoring Windsor except as a club to beat people with.

Spirit of Vatican II
14 years ago

Rowan Williams has a vision of Hegelian complexity and comprehensiveness that draws shrieks from both the left and the right. The positive responses to his most recent statement give heartening confirmation that he is on the right track. His statement is strongly condemnatory of what Abp Akinola stands for and rather supportive of what ECUSA has stood for — even suggesting that the ordination of Gene Robinson could be a prophetic risk — but one for which they themselves must take responsibility. And Covenant inspired by the Gospel is more likely to exclude bigotry than the ECUSA-style liberal daring.

Cheryl Clough
14 years ago

“…Covenant inspired by the Gospel is more likely to exclude bigotry than the ECUSA-style liberal daring.” There is an underlying premise that the liberals have not been inspired by the gospel. In fact, they have been inspired by the gospel, but everytime they try to quote the myriad of verses that have given their inspiration, the ultrapuritans deny their gospel interpretation. Do not tell us that we have not read and understood the gospel, nor drawn our inspiration from the gospel. That is deceptive misrepresentation of our inspiration, and the proof of “spin doctors” relying on us not having a… Read more »

14 years ago

So far who has expressed commitment to ++Cantaur’s Covenant process?

The Episcopal Church—committed itself at General Convention to the Covenant
New Zealand—positive
Sydney—rather negative
Nigeria—rather negative but in all fairness they havent read it but in all fairness rather negative

William R. Coats
William R. Coats
14 years ago

Thanks to New Zealand for trying to add a voice of moderation to our Anglican troubles. I dissent here. In no manner is Windsor some new, fair document. There would have been no Windsor save for the attempt to corral and rein un the US and Canada; and that is why the Right-Wingers constantly allude to Windsor. They know its purpose is to waylay the American church. Does anyone with a political bone think some Covenant or some new structure of authority will in any way allow the American and Canadiens to be where they are now. Of course not.… Read more »

13 years ago

Instead of the media release, why don’t you give us a link to the actual response. The media release is spin.

13 years ago

It’s here if you cannot find it elsewhere.

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