The Church of England is legally prohibited from signing the proposed Anglican Covenant on which Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has hung his hopes for saving the Anglican Communion. We reported on this two days ago and nothing has changed, but really, it can't be overemphasized.
The Anglican Church of Australia is also an established (that is, state-chartered) Church, and may face difficulties similar to England's although I don't know that for sure. Additionally, the leaders of the semi-schismatic GAFCON movement, which include several African primates have already rejected the most recent draft of the covenant.
The question then is why conversation about the covenant is frequently framed as follows: Will the North Americans sign it? If not, will Rowan throw them out?
The covenant, it seems, faces far more serious problems than whether the Episcopalians and the Canadians will sign on, yet the media won't give up on this story line, and neither will those who grasp at any impediment available to deny gay and lesbian Christians the birthright of their baptism. Unfortunately, one member of the latter camp is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seldom misses an opportunity to make it seem that the future of the Communion hinges on North American's willingness to betray the GLBT members of their churches.
For further discussion of this issue, visit this thread on Thinking Anglicans and pay particular attention to the comments of Martin Reynolds who writes, in part:
Take the matter of the statistics recently reported to the Design Group on the responses from Lambeth.
There were 670 questionnaires issued at the Lambeth conference – only 370 bothered to fill them in and only 343 of these find their way into the statistical survey! So though they claim some 64% approval for the idea of a Covenant – in fact only 37% of those polled at Lambeth registered their contentment and only just over 24% of the bishops eligible to vote are known to be content.
The attempt to poll those not present has not been a success, we are told. In this case silence cannot be seen as consent – indeed rather the opposite might be assumed.
That 300 bishops should have shrugged their shoulders and trashed the questionnaire is an amazing fact bearing in mind how vital to the future of the Communion this new covenanted relationship was claimed to be. There was a massive input at Lambeth, Drexel’s introduction no fewer than FIVE separate lectures on the present draft – TWO whole indaba sessions – and still 45% of the bishops who TURNED UP – and were a captive audience - couldn’t be bothered to comment in this short questionnaire..
Taking into consideration the pathetic responses to the Covenant from the Communion’s Provincial structures – it is plain to see that there is no will for this – no will at all. If I were associated with this proposal I would be ashamed at the lack of genuine engagement that Provinces (other than TEC!) have shown to this proposal, and the failure of the Lambeth bishops to engage and approve of it.