Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Covenant roundup

From New Zealand come reports that two further dioceses have voted against adoption of the Anglican Covenant:

Auckland Covenant clause ‘contrary to Anglican ecclesiology’

But, for the amended text of the resolution that was passed, please see the comments below.

Waiapu The following motion was passed by a 99.5% majority:

Waiapu affirms its desire to remain a member of the Anglican Communion. We do not believe that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will enhance the life of the Communion and request that General Synod/te Hinota Whanui declines to sign the Covenant. (All three regional conferences supported this motion going to Synod.)

The No Anglican Covenant campaign has criticised the materials recently issued in the Diocese of Oxford.

Meanwhile, the Living Church has published a number of articles in support of the Covenant, to which Lionel Deimel has helpfully provided a set of links. See this page. He explains why he did this here.

One of these is by Andrew Goddard who has published an interesting article which suggests that, in the light of the Anglican Covenant’s prospective adoption, some reforms are needed to the Anglican Instruments of Unity.

This is also available from the Fulcrum website: Commitment in Word and Deed.


  • Anne Peat says:

    Did the Waiapu defeat or pass the motion by a 99.5% majority.
    YOur previous sentence doesn’t seem to fit if it defeated it.

  • RPNewark says:

    Simon, the link to the Waiapu motion is missing the initial “h” of http://…….

  • Bill Ghrist says:

    Your Waiapu link url is missing a leading “h” and I think you meant to say that the motion was passed, not defeated?

  • Re: Waiapu – my understanding is that the synod PASSED the motion rejecting the Covenant – although I had not heard a margin.

  • Brian Ralph says:

    should read:
    Waiapu The following motion was approved by a 99.5% majority:

  • rjb says:

    Do you mean that Waiapu accepted, rather than defeated, that motion by a stonking majority, Simon?

    Also, Auckland has voted to affirm that people in same-sex relationships are not to be barred from ordination:

    And Waiapu, not to be outdone, has requested same-sex partnership rites:

    It will be interesting to see what the more cautious dioceses – Wellington and Christchurch especially – and the the highly conservative Nelson diocese make of the latter proposal if it comes to General Synod.

  • Edward Prebble says:

    Unfortunately, the source you quote has printed an early draft of the motion agreed by the Auckland Synod. The motion, which I seconded, and was passed by a 2/3 majority, was substantially changed. In particular Clause 2.a expresses a strong opinion against the covenant.

    That this Synod:
    (1) Noting that the General Synod/te Hinota Whanui has approved in principle Sections 1-3 of the proposed Anglican Covenant, and have asked Episcopal Units to respond to its 2012 Session, and noting that some other Episcopal Units have already rejected the proposed Covenant, and anticipates that the various Episcopal Units will express a variety of views on the proposed Covenant, resolve as follows:
    a. Sections 1 and 2 of the proposed Anglican Covenant may be considered to be a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the Church;
    b. Section 3 of the proposed Covenant contains an acceptable description of the basis for relationships between the churches of the Anglican Communion, and suggests a series of commitments that provide a useful framework within which churches of the Communion could discuss differences between them;
    c. Clause 4.2 of the proposed Covenant contains provisions that are contrary to our understanding of Anglican ecclesiology as a communion of churches held together by ‘bonds of affection’, contrary to our understanding of the way of Christ, and is therefore unacceptable to this Synod; and
    (2) Asks General Synod/te Hinota Whanui:
    a. Not to adopt the proposed Covenant
    b. To commit itself by Standing Resolution to following processes similar to those set out in Section 3 of the proposed Covenant if another church of the Communion raises concerns about actions this Church takes or considers taking; and
    c. To request its representatives to the Anglican Consultative Council to bring a Motion to the 2012 meeting of that Council to affirm the desire of our Church to remain as a full member of the communion, and to affirm that full member ship of the Anglican Communion is not conditional upon the adoption of the proposed Covenant.

  • My apologies for the mistakes relating to Waiapu, which I have now corrected. Sorry!

    And thank you Edward for the corrected version of the Auckland motion. I will insert this into the main body of the article shortly.

  • My ACANZP colleague, Fr. Edward Prebble, has now put to rest any doubts there may have been about the Auckland (N.Z.) Synod’s rejection of the Covenant document as it presently stands – with section 4:2 intact.

    There can be no doubt that, in our New Zealand context, the ethos of disciplinary exclusivism that is contained in section 4:2 is seen to be against the traditional Anglican Way of Unity in Diversity.

    Other dioceses have still to offer their own ideas on the Covenant, but I find it encouraging that 2 of our dioceses have already affirmed the presence of LGBT persons within the Church, with, hopefully, more to follow.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    Another “interesting article” can be found over at the American Anglican Council website where Stephen Noll gives his views on the story so far. He has several things to say about the Covenant but here are some worth a read:

    “Having acknowledged a problem, Williams skipped past the questions and uncertainties and stated that “when enough Provinces had adopted the Covenant, then the Standing Committee could think about behaving as if the Covenant were in force.” His skip in logic and process was similar to the tactic employed at the 2010 ACC meeting in Jamaica, where serious procedural irregularities had been revealed but were met with mild embarrassment and brushed aside with vague promises of further investigation. “Move right along, folks, nothing to see here,” seems to be his response to such objections.

    “By the time of the next Standing Committee, the Covenant seems to have been reduced to an item of equal weight among the many other pieces of the busy agenda, such as the Theological Education in the Anglican Communion (TEAC) curriculum. Indeed its purpose is now seen as educational rather than governmental, as noted in the Minutes: “The Covenant was seen as a useful tool in understanding Anglicanism.” The flurries of commentary about making the Covenant an effective Instrument, including those by this writer, were never taken seriously, and I would frankly be surprised if the Covenant does not fade away, since its real purpose – buying time for Lambeth to postpone any action against TEC – has been fulfilled.”

    In his penultimate paragraph he writes:
    “From 2007 on, provinces like Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Southern Cone have stopped participating in the so-called Instruments of the Communion. They are not reading the Minutes of the Standing Committee, nor are they participating in the various Communion networks.”

    One can only assess this as a false hope, as both Nigeria and Southern Cone, among others were “participating in various Communion networks” this summer. They were notable by their attendance at the gathering of Provincial Secretaries and at the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation.

    Noll writes: “It seems to me clear from the Minutes of the Standing Committee that the turmoil following Lambeth 1998 has now been settled. The Lambeth bureaucracy has won” – perhaps the bureaucracy has won a deeper victory than Noll imagines?

    Read the piece here

  • Thank you, Martin, for drawing our attention to the Stephen Noll extravaganza. One sentence sticks out a mile in his very extensive overview of what he says is going on in the Communion at the moment:

    ” Strong theological objections were raised by scholars of the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI)”

    The objections raised by the oddly-named ‘Anglican Communion Institute’- (4 theologians and a web-site) – are little more than an agglomeration of opinions from these disaffected North American conservatives, who are hell-bent on getting rid of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada out of the Anglican Communion.

    Their theological stance is securely founded on the dissident fellowship of the GAFCON group of Provinces – all of which are scared of the Church moving into areas of sexuality and gender that threaten the archaic status quo of antedeluvian theory on such matters.

    Dr. Noll’s connection with the Churches of the Global South are testimony to his theological stance on LGBT issues in the Church – a position that has led certain African governments to invoke and enact severe treatment of Gays and anyone who happens to support them. Where is the Gospel in all of this?

  • Robert ian Williams says:

    the only real growth in new zealand Anglicanism is amongst the evangelicals, who recently establsished their own theological college. I fully expect the Diocese of Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch to approve the Covenant.

  • I wouldn’t want Robert Ian Williams’ last post to be the last word about N.Z. Evangelicalism on this thread. It needs to be realised by readers that R.I.W. was once one of the Evangelical candidates for ministry from the Nelson Diocese in New Zealand.

    Being now a lay convert to the Roman Catholic Church in Wales – he is not privy, locally, to all that goes on here in N.Z. His talk of ‘their own theological college’ is one situated in his old diocese of Nelson – quite small and evangelical in timbre – but not representative of N.Z.’s ethos.

    Strangely, Robert’s Catholicism has not precluded him from regular comment on things Anglican, both in his former N.Z. context and in the wider world. One wonders why he bothers.

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