Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, gave the Anglican Journal an overview of what dominated the bishops’ discussions over the course of the Nov. 20-24 meeting.
The major areas discussed between the Anglican and Lutheran bishops included confirmation, marriage, open table, human resources, competency, and of course, the Anglican covenant:
Section IV continues to be the sticking point in this document, designed to deal with dissent within the Anglican Communion. “There are no difficulties with sections I to III. The language sounds very relational and very Anglican,” said the archbishop. “Section IV also starts off relational but begins to sound juridical, and that creates a problem.” While upholding autonomy, this section also makes it clear that the exercise of autonomy has consequences. “My personal concern is what happens when the direction you move in is not in accordance with the standards of the communion. You’re out. It does not end on a note of restoration or hope, so I say it falls short of the Gospel,” Archbishop Hiltz said. A guide to navigating the covenant was posted last June on the church’s national website.