Savi Hensman reports on a better and older Anglican Covenant in Ekklesia
Attempts to bring in an Anglican Covenant which can be used to define Anglicanism and discipline member churches have run into difficulties.
Many are uneasy with this development. In November 2011, it became apparent that the province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia would reject it.
In the words of a diocesan resolution, one of its clauses contains ‘provisions which are contrary to our understanding of Anglican ecclesiology, to our understanding of the way of Christ, and to justice’.
Fortunately, there is a shorter, clearer Covenant which has already been agreed, though in some provinces (such as the Church of England) it seems to be little known.
In Resolution 27 of the 2005 Anglican Consultative Council, the Covenant for Communion in Mission was commended “to the churches of the Anglican Communion for study and application as a vision for Anglican faithfulness to the mission of God”. It was also forwarded “to those bodies of the Anglican Communion tasked to consider an Anglican Covenant”, though they chose to go down another route.
The Covenant for Communion in Mission reads:
This Covenant signifies our common call to share in God’s healing and reconciling mission for our blessed but broken and hurting world.
In our relationships as Anglican sisters and brothers in Christ, we live in the hope of the unity that God has brought about through Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Nourished by Scripture and Sacrament, we pledge ourselves to:
1. Recognise Jesus in each other’s contexts and lives
2. Support one another in our participation in God’s mission
3. Encourage expressions of our new life in Christ
4. Meet to share common purpose and explore differences and disagreements.
5. Be willing to change in response to critique and challenge from others
6. Celebrate our strengths and mourn over our failures.
7. Share equitably our God-given resources.
8. Work together for the sustainability of God’s creation.
9. Live into the promise of God’s reconciliation for ourselves and for the world.
We make this covenant in the promise of our mutual responsibility and interdependence in the Body of Christ.