The Anglican Church of Southern Africa is one vote away from ratifying the Anglican Covenant. That vote will take place at its next general synod in three years. If the Episcopal Church is to accept the covenant, a similar process seems wise. Currently our Church must pass constitutional amendments at two successive conventions. Signing on to the covenant would be every bit as momentous as passing a constitutional amendment, and the ramifications might be further reaching. If we are to pass the covenant, we should give the matter full consideration, just as the Southern Africans are doing.
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa voted on Friday October 1st to adopt "The Anglican Covenant", the document setting out a statement of common "affirmations and commitments" by churches of the worldwide Anglican Communion which has been drawn up in response to disagreements over issues around human sexuality.
A resolution adopting the Covenant was proposed at the triennial meeting of the church’s Provincial Synod by the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, and seconded by the Dean of the Province, the Right Revd Paddy Glover, Bishop of the Free State. The decision will need to be ratified by the next session of the Synod in three years’ time.
Motivating the resolution, Archbishop Makgoba said he believed the church in southern Africa needed to try to "play a reconciling role" amid the current disputes over human sexuality in the Communion. He said the Covenant "is not a guarantee of an easy solution to the problems we face in the Communion" but hoped it would be a way of "healing and moving the Communion forward…" It was a document which, although not a complete statement on the nature of the Anglican Communion, sought to "describe our common identity in the Anglican Church… What is at stake here is to try to articulate our relationship in words."