General Synod members have been sent the following paper outlining how the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will be considered for adoption by the Church of England.
GS MISC 934
THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION COVENANT
1. I received on 18 December from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion the final text of the Anglican Communion Covenant, approved for distribution that day by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, for formal consideration for adoption. The full copy of the text is available at http://www.anglicancommunion.org/commission/covenant/final/text.cfm.
2. The approval of the text by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion comes at the end of a long process flowing from the publication of the report of the Lambeth Commission – The Windsor Report – in October 2004. Synod has subsequently discussed governance issues in the Anglican Communion and the possibility of the draft Covenant in February 2005, July 2007, February 2008, July 2008 and February 2009.
3. GS 1716, which was prepared for last February’s debate, gave some indication of the synodical process which would need to be undertaken to adopt the Covenant, though it made clear that certain matters could not be resolved until the final text of the Covenant was available.
4. What happens now is that the Faith and Order Advisory Group, which has led the work on earlier Church of England responses to drafts of the Covenant, will consider the text and offer an assessment which will be available to the House of Bishops when it next meets in May. In addition the Legal Office will consider whether the text means that the Synod’s process of adoption will need to follow the Article 7 and or 8 procedures.
5. Once the House of Bishops is satisfied that the Covenant should be commended to the Synod for adoption it will be for the Business Committee to decide when to schedule the initial debate. As noted in GS 1716 it is likely that, from receiving the final text the Church of England will need “at least 18 months to 2 years to come to a final decision.”
12 January 2010