Maori reject Anglican Covenant

Māori Anglicans in New Zealand have rejected the Anglican Covenant as out of keeping with the constitution of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, because it seeks to impose by law what should be accomplished through relationship.

The Synod of the Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa serves the churches of the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand.

The Anglican Toanga reports:

Moving today's resolution, Archdeacon Turi Hollis noted that the Covenant applied at provincial level. "If one diocese makes a decision that another objects to – then the whole province will be held accountable," he said.

“We are being asked to conform to the standards of the rest of the world. Yet we have a constitution that the rest of the world does not understand.

“Would that have been agreed to had the Covenant been in force?

“The proposed Covenant is trying to impose on us something that should be based on relationship – on whanaungatanga or manaakitanga.”

Seconding the motion, the Rev Don Tamihere said the Covenant was not about homosexuality.

“It is about compliance and control.

“We are being asked to sign over our sovereignty, our rangatiratanga to an overseas group… To a standing committee over whom we have no choice or control. And they have the power to recommend punishment.

“The proposed Covenant offers us nothing new – or nothing we need as Anglicans, as Hahi Mihinare, or as disciples of Jesus Christ.

“We don’t need it to have faith in Jesus Christ: We already have a covenant that binds us to our saviour, Jesus Christ. And that is the only covenant we need.”

Philip Charles (Te Waipounamu) said: “Over the years, the practice has been: If you disagree with the church, you leave.

“And those groups who have left have often withered and died.

“The Covenant changes that. If you disagree with a group – you kick them out.

Comments (2)

The clear, theologically grounded reasons they give for this rejection are superb. I particularly appreciate hearing this from a body of Anglicans who were given and claimed their distinct voice after an experience of colonialism and marginalization. As a "communion" we've claimed we were bound together by history, relationship and love. The Covenant would substitute (as our Maori sisters and brothers say here) "compliance and control." They're preaching Gospel, so let's give them a good "Alleluia!" and an "Amen!"

I'd give them a simple "Thank you". :-)

JC Fisher

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