Next steps in the Covenant process

Following the discussions on the proposed Anglican Covenant in Lambeth this summer, the Covenant Design group has met in Singapore and released a compilation of the concerns raised by the bishops this summer. In addition they have outlined the next steps that they suggest be taken in the process and included a questionnaire.

From an article this week in the Church Times:

“Provinces are being asked whether they can ‘in principle’ commit themselves to the Covenant process. The Design Group is seeking to find out what this would involve for the provinces, and whether they require significant changes to be made to the draft to help it through their synodical processes.

The Commentary is packed with detail, including the results of a questionnaire, in which 28.5 per cent of the bishops who were asked said that they had some concerns about the Covenant (see story below). A further 16 per cent had serious reservations about it, but 56 per cent said they were very content or reasonably content about its place in supporting interdependence without excessive centralisation in the Communion.

[…]Many of the bishops were concerned that ‘the very concept of a covenant [was] too contractual to describe communion relationships’. Some also said the document had too many historical references, and others feared it could become ‘a fifth instrument of Communion’, or that it was an ‘innovation’ that ‘be trayed’ the Communion’s flexibility. It was a response to a ‘crisis’, and so was essentially negative. It was legalistic, punitive, and designed more to exclude than to retain provinces.

In response, the Design Group says it will change the ‘idiom’ so that relationships are emphasised more. But sustaining relationships means facing up to what threatens them, it argues. God’s covenants with his people were made in the context of crisis; so that should not be a problem.”

Read the full article here. There’s a poll linked from the article as well if you’d like to voice your opinion on the question.

There’s also an interesting report on the effectiveness of the Lambeth Conference at the end of the article. One interesting take-away is that 4 out of 5 bishops are pleased with the way the Archbishop of Canterbury is handling his office.

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