Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion sat down with with the Church of Ireland Gazette editor, Canon Ian Ellis recently for a wide-ranging interview. In it, he stated his belief that a revived Anglican Covenant is the best way forward for the future of the Anglican Covenant.
IG What is the future for the Windsor report and the Lambeth commission is it still a way forward, the idea for the covenant
JIF Oh yes, yes
IG You think it is still a way forward
but if the Church of England doesn’t accept it
JIF But the Church of England is not the communion, Church of England is one province
IG Well it’s pretty key
JIF Yes yes, very key
IG Well all provinces are key provinces
JIF Of course, that is the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury
However, I’m sorry the Church of England is not the communion but Canterbury is an essential part of the Communion
IG Could you see a covenant without the Church of England?
JIF Why not? Why not? You see the thing is, the last ACC, from the soundings we received from the Order Faith and Unity part here
the problematic section is section 4 (some call it section D). That is, the administration, that is the problematic thing. What we are trying to do now…
IG That would be the including, excluding piece?
JIF Right, yes. What we want to do now is to actually test within the Communion; if we all agree on sections 1, 2, and 3 that talk about
what it means to be a communion… if we agree on this description on what it means to be a Communion; we can move on to the second stage – how do we therefore relate together as a Communion?
IG Are you saying that section D, or part 4, might be renegotiated?
JIF Oh yes. Because the majority of those who’ve turned it down is based on that. And if…
IG So we could have another time, a Lambeth Commission part 2 looking at this section again?
JIF Yes! If we do that; I’m hoping between now and 2019 well be able to go around..
IG Is this part of the Anglican task force?
JIF Well, it’s been passed on…
The standing committee passed it on to the Archbishop of Canterbury and its part of what we expect the task force to do
IG And of course the archbishop of Armagh is part of the Task Force
IG Archbishop Richard Clarke
JIF Oh yes
IG So that’s one of the things that the…
JIF We shouldn’t throw the baby away… You see, without the covenant there is no Communion the way things are going now. At
least, we need to agree, are we a Communion? If we all agree we are a Communion then how do we relate together?
There hasn’t been much enthusiasm for or action on the Covenant in several years. Idowu-Fearon suggested much the same at the most recent meeting of the Anglican Consultative Commission in Zambia, where it apparently made little headway. It seems likely that it will continue going nowhere for the time being, while serious strains still affect the bonds of the Communion.