Friday, April 17, 2009

Autonomy emphasised in new Covenant draft

From the Church Times (England)-

THE third draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant has been published and will be put before the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) at its meeting in Jamaica next month.

The Ridley Cambridge report has had input from 21 provinces as well as from bishops at the Lambeth Conference and from individuals and organisations. Its biggest innovation is a completely new fourth section, “Our Covenanted Life Together”, which emphasises respect for the autonomy of individual national Churches, and gives assurances that the Covenant cannot override the Constitution and Canons of any province.

The Covenant Design Group (CDG), chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, has wrestled throughout the process with particular concerns over who should resolve disputes in the Anglican Communion. The first version, the Nassau Draft, was felt to be too punitive in directing its provisions towards the possible exclusion of churches. Other sticking points have been fears of a central jurisdiction, and over-importance given to the Primates as final arbiters on the one hand, and the ACC, with its limitations, on the other.
In the St Andrew’s Draft of February 2008, the CDG said that it had resisted making the Covenant a definitive statement of Anglican ecclesiology, opting for a more open-ended approach and for a more “minimalist” approach to doctrinal argument.

Section 1 of the Ridley draft, “Our Inheritance of Faith”, gives new weight to the fact that the Church of England’s formularies — the 1662 Prayer Book and Ordinal and the Thirty-Nine Articles — have been appropriated — “that is, adapted, inculturated and treated — in different ways across the historic development of the provinces of the Anglican Communion”, the commentary says.

The section now reads: “The historic formularies of the Church of England, forged in the context of the European Reformation and acknowledged and appropriated in various ways in the Anglican Communion, bear authentic witness to this faith.”

More here-

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