see the press release: Governance Working Group analyzes Covenant.
…This GWG report is one step in the Anglican Church of Canada’s ongoing consideration of the Covenant. A resolution at General Synod 2010 (A137) requested several actions to advance this work. First, the Anglican Communion Working Group was asked to prepare materials for parishes and dioceses to study the Covenant and give feedback. These materials were released June 9 and are available online.
Both the GWG and the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee were asked to assess the Covenant by “providing advice on the theological, ecclesiological, legal, and constitutional implications.”
The resolution also requested that “conversations, both within the Anglican Church of Canada and across the Communion, reflect the values of openness, transparency, generosity of spirit, and integrity, which have been requested repeatedly in the context of the discussion of controversial matters within the Communion.”
After this period of consideration, the Council of General Synod will bring a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant to General Synod 2013.
I have reproduced below the fold those parts of the Executive Summary which are of most relevance outside Canada. A read of the full report is highly recommended, as many of the issues raised by it should be of concern to all Anglicans worldwide.
The Anglican Church of Canada Governance Working Group
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES PRESENTED TO THE CANADIAN CHURCH BY THE PROPOSED ANGLICAN COVENANT
…The GWG’s Memorandum identifies four broad areas of concern:
1. Lack of Definitional Clarity
Because the Covenant is intended to bind those Churches which adopt it, there are concerns about the imprecision or ambiguity of important terms used in the Covenant, which makes it difficult to know with certainty the meaning, scope and operation of the Covenant:
2. Procedural concerns
The procedures contained in section 4 of the Covenant raise a number of concerns:
The multiple roles of the Standing Committee creates uncertainty about the authority and jurisdiction granted to it under each role and cumulatively.
There is a lack of both substance and detail in the rules of process to be followed.
There are no criteria for actions or decisions which are deemed to be “controversial”, which is what initiates the procedure under section 4.
The Covenant does not contain the normal procedural fairness that is fundamental in Canadian jurisprudence.
The rules around the establishment, application and length of moratoria are ill-defined or absent.
The proposed Covenant does not provide rights for appeal.
The outcomes for a Church declining to implement recommended “relational consequences” are unspecified.
3. Constitutional Issues for the Canadian Church…
4. Consequences of Non-Adoption
Not adopting the Covenant does not affect the membership of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Anglican Communion.
How do non-covenanting churches relate to the actions of the Standing Committee?
Apart from section 4.2 of the draft text, are there any substantial consequences to the Canadian Church if it chooses not to adopt the Covenant.