A draft covenant for the Primates

ENS is reporting that: “The Anglican Communion’s Covenant Design Group’s report to the February meeting of the Communion’s Primates will include a draft covenant, according to one of the two Episcopal Church members of the group. ”

The representatives of two of the more liberal provinces Ireland and South Africa, were unable to attend. Given that, and the excerpt below, I think we have reason to be apprehensive:

[Kathy] Grieb [of Virginia Theological Seminary, a member of the Design Group] said the fact that the group’s members from Ireland, South Africa and Ceylon could not be at the meeting was “unfortunate [because] it meant that the representation was unbalanced.”

“Ceylon has just ordained women. South Africa has been through the whole apartheid experience and Ireland has struggled with religious conflict,” Grieb said. “We could have used their experienced voices.”

“There weren’t very many of us to speak for the use of the covenant as binding the whole Communion together with different points of view represented in it,” she said.

“The most-well-represented view was that the purpose of the covenant is preventative. According to that view, a covenant would prevent any significant change from happening in Church’s doctrine and practice,” she said. “Proponents of this view are eager to have a covenant in place as quickly as possible so that there will be procedures available to prevent any unwelcome innovations from their point of view.”

“For some in our group, the voice that matters is the voice of the Primates,” Grieb said. “The Anglican Communion, as important as the Primates are, is much bigger than the Primates. We need to hear the voices of women, of laity and of clergy. They are the Anglican Communion on the ground.”

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