Thursday, December 31, 2009

Anglican Churches sent final text of Covenant — ‘not a penal code’

From The Church Times-

THE proposed Anglican Covenant will not solve all the Communion’s problems, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned, as the final draft went out to all the provinces for approval last week.

It was not going to be a constitution, “and it’s certainly not going to be a penal code for punishing people who don’t comply,” Dr Williams said in a short video address, posted on YouTube, after the Communion’s Standing Committee had met from 15 to 18 December.
The meeting approved the revised Section 4, a sticking-point at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Jamaica in May. After long debate and a confused voting procedure, that meeting delayed the dispatch of the full Ridley Draft until a working party had made any revisions consequent on consultation with the provinces (News, 15 May 2009).

At issue was who was entitled to adopt the Covenant, which hinged on what “Churches” meant in the sentence: “It shall be open to other Churches to adopt the Covenant.” It was also deemed unclear from the draft whether groups (the Anglican Church in North America, for example) not currently recognised by the Instruments of Communion could sign. There was also concern that systems of dispute resolution had not been assessed by the provinces.

Eighteen provinces responded in time for their views to be considered. All had been given “serious attention”, the working party wrote in an explanatory note that accompanied the final text. The responses show opinion as divided as ever: Uganda is asking for expulsion to be made specific as a penalty for “erring members”, while Japan, Southern Africa, and Ireland all gave the briefest of responses, approving the Ridley text without alteration.

Tanzania had “NO [sic] issues over unclarity or ambiguity”. The President-Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Most Revd Mouneer Hanna Anis, suggested that any province that had not signed by the end of 2011 should be barred from taking part in any Anglican councils until it had adopted the Covenant.

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States cannot consider the Covenant until its next meeting, in 2012. If a change to its constitution were required, that could not be made until 2015.

More here-

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