Anglicans Online made a little news in its weekly column today. To start at the end:
In the nearly 20 years that this website called 'Anglicans Online' has existed, we've tried to be a place outside politics, a via media centre where Anglicans of every stripe, opinion, background, and churchmanship (remember that word?) could come and be at home. We shunned the shrill, avoided invective, and cleaved to reason, moderation, and what we've trusted is a genuine Anglican sensibility. We've not voiced our opinion on controversial matters, holding to that fact that reasonable people can disagree — and we're proud to call many of those reasonable people our friends.
But it's time for Anglicans Online to state that we're not in favour of the Covenant and cannot imagine a Communion bound by it.
The argument is as follows:
The very looseness of the Anglican Communion (at least until the Tedious Years of the Anglican Covenant Discussion) is what will give it strength to move with relative ease in this new world. The gentle, unlegislated bonds of affection and the tolerance for variances of custom, behaviour, churchmanship, hymns, divorce, prayer books and the like are far more aligned with the way we live now. The old-speak of the proposed Covenant hearkens back to a world that is passing away, one of rigidity, structure, and complex mechanisms of governance.
It's tiresome enough that we've been considering a Covenant when there is so much about the very concept that flies in the face of all that's been characterised as Anglican. That it could be adopted is, to our mind, one that will signal the death knell of the Anglican Communion as we have known it. (And frankly we don't want to know any other kind.)
There are now wide and considerable differences amongst the provinces of the Communion about matters of importance. There have been so in the past. We just didn't know about them, really, before the Internet. And in that past, we managed to continue on as a Communion, even if every ten years at a Lambeth Conference we were surprised by (in a mild Anglican sort of way) some of the goings-on in other national churches. In the past, the constituent members of the Anglican Communion have been willing to tolerate the right of all to order their lives as may be best for them. Sydney is not Sao Paulo; Dublin is not Abu Dhabi. As long as the Anglicans in those places work through their ecclesial structures to proclaim the Gospel and advance the Kingdom of Heaven as seems right for them, we think it far too Roman to demand that they answer to an Anglican curia for their decisions. Since the late 19th century, the Lambeth Quadrilateral has served brilliantly as a strong and supple web of connection for us all. In our opinion, it's all that is needed.