Updated again Friday evening
The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia is meeting in Melbourne. The Synod debated the proposed Anglican Covenant yesterday (Monday) and agreed to send it to the 23 Australian dioceses for comment. A decision on whether or not to adopt the covenant will then be taken at the next meeting of the Synod, which will be in 2013.
There is a report by Mark Brolly at Anglican Media Melbourne Covenant to be debated for three years – Australian Anglicans.
There is also an official press release, which is copied below the fold.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports this as Anglicans try to resolve issue of gays.
Barney Zwartz at The Age writes Debate on gays brings world debate home.
The Sydney Morning Herald carries an interview with Archbishop Peter Jensen, see Church needs new vision, says Jensen.
Andrew McGowan has written a reflection on the synod, see The Grammar of Fragility: After Australia’s General Synod 2010.
Anglican Church of Australia General Synod
20 September 2010
Australian Anglicans back nationwide debate on Covenant
Australian Anglicans today agreed to an Australia-wide process for considering an international covenant designed to enhance the unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Church of Australia‟s General Synod agreed to ask all 23 dioceses to consider whether to back the Anglican Communion Covenant which aims to clarify how national members relate.
The Covenant – which is endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams – arose out of differences within in the Church in different parts of the world over human sexuality.
The decision by the Anglican Church of Australia came after Bishop Andrew Curnow of Bendigo told the Church‟s supreme decision making body in Melbourne that the Church was “at a crossroad”.
Bishop Curnow asked: “Are we just going to be a series of local autonomous churches that share a common history, or are we going to be a Church that is prepared to struggle with difference but be committed to the mission that Christ has called us to?”
“We need an Anglican Covenant to understand who we are as Anglicans,” he said. “We need an Anglican Covenant to understand what we have in common and how in the future we can work together as a communion of churches.”
Adelaide Archbishop Jeffrey Driver, who proposed the national debate, emphasised that General Synod was not being asked to accept or reject the Covenant but to initiate “a process of debate and discernment” throughout the Church in Australia.
“We owe the Dioceses of our Church the opportunity to give the Covenant careful and prayerful consideration and for us to be in a position to take their counsel seriously,” he said.
Bishop Garry Weatherill of the South Australian Diocese of Willochra said he felt “incredibly ambivalent about the Covenant”.
“I believe the Covenant as we have it now is too little, too late, too tricky and too simplistic but not simple,” he said.
Sydney priest and academic, the Revd Dr Peter Bolt, urged the Synod to reject the motion calling for a national debate saying many people around the world had already rejected the Covenant.
All Australian Dioceses are expected to comment on the Covenant by December 2012 in time for the next meeting of the Anglican Church of Australia‟s national parliament in 2013.