Doctor Aspinall said small group and plenary discussions focused on the way in which scripture is interpreted and how that is affected by local context. “Very powerful analogies were drawn and Archbishop Thabo’s reflections on South Africa and the ethics of armed struggle to overthrow apartheid were powerful. During this real life and death struggle the church stayed together despite deep differences.”
The Australian Primate also spoke of the afternoon session on the Covenant led by Archbishop John Chew. “Submissions will be received from provinces up until 9th of March. A new draft will then be presented to the Anglican Consultative Council.”
Dr Aspinall said there was a general warming to the possibilities of what might be afforded by the covenant and increasing realism about what a covenant can and can’t do.
“I sense a pulling back from language of ‘sanctions’ and ‘teeth’ and there was a discussion on whether that is appropriate language for the body of Christ. “There’s a growing appreciation that what we are talking about is a framework for koinonia, fellowship, for communion, for relationships and if there is a failure in koinonia the way that such a failure needs to be addressed is through further investment in koinonia, fellowship and relationships, not hitting people over the head with sticks.”
Archbishop Aspinall said that provinces are generally committed to the process of a Covenant but none can yet commit to a particular form of covenant because they haven’t seen it.