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New Zealand “unable to adopt” Anglican Covenant

New Zealand “unable to adopt” Anglican Covenant

A full report of Monday’s (in New Zealand) deliberations on the proposed Anglican Covenant from General Synod meeting in Fiji.

As expected, the General Synod said a final: ‘No’ to the proposed Anglican covenant today.


But it did so quietly, and the original motion was amended to stress this church’s desire to remain tightly knit with the Communion.

And to suggest that the early parts of the covenant – the non contentious bits about “Our Inheritance in Faith” etc – “are a useful starting point” for future Anglican thinking about their church.

The first clause of the draft motion, as proposed by Dr Tony Fitchett and Ven Turi Hollis, and set out in the Synod agenda, was short and to the point.

That simply proposed that this church: Declines to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant.

That’s been replaced by the resolution which says this church:

Is unable to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant due to concerns about aspects of Section 4, but subscribes to Sections 1, 2, and 3 as currently drafted as a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church.

And where the second clause of the proposed motion – as set out in the synod papers – had proposed that this church

affirms the commitment of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to the life of the Anglican Communion.

The resolution passed turns the fullstop after ‘Communion’ into a comma, and adds a clause which reads:

including the roles and responsibilities of the four Instruments of Communion as they currently operate.

The amendments are subtle. And they sparked some subtle debate, too, as to the exact nuances of meaning of the word ‘subscribes’, and whether ‘considers’ or ‘regards’ might be better choices.

But Archbishop David Moxon, who drove the changes, felt they were necessary to send the right signals.

Read it all at Anglican Taonga

Malcolm French, moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition comments on the progress or lack of progress at General Covention at his blog Simple Massing Priest. He wonders if Bishops Douglas and Little (on the legislative committee) are trying to avoid a simple yes/no vote.

If I might risk to make an outsider’s observation about process, it appears to me that the committee structure which exists in the Episcopal Church, while providing the appearance of collegial transparency in the development of legislation and resolutions may actually do just the opposite. The subcommittee proceedings seem less a healthy exchange of views than a self-reinforcing echo chamber. The Primus of the Episcopal Church of Scotland referred the other day to the “smoke-filled rooms” of the General Convention. This allusion to the bad old days of political powerbrokers and machine politics should, perhaps, be a clarion call to reconsider the whole approach to “managing” the debates of the Church.

Full text below:

Amendment to Motion 3

Proposed Anglican Covenant

Whereas in 2010 the General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui approved the provisions of Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the proposed Anglican Covenant in principle, and referred the whole of the proposed Covenant to the Episcopal Units of this church for consideration and reporting to the 2012 Session of the Synod,

And whereas Te Runanganui o Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa, and the Diocese of Polynesia, and four of the Dioceses in New Zealand, Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Waiapu, have rejected the proposed Covenant,

And whereas some of those bodies responding to the Resolution of 2010 have suggested that this church should, if it rejects the proposed Covenant, nonetheless commit itself to using procedures similar to those set out in Section 3 of the proposed Covenant, if another church in the Communion should raise concerns about actions or proposed actions of this church, and should seek an affirmation from the Anglican Consultative Council that churches which do not adopt the proposed Covenant remain full members of the Anglican Communion,

Now therefore, this General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui resolves that this Church:

1 Is unable to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant due to concerns about aspects of Section 4, but subscribes to Sections 1, 2, and 3 as currently drafted to be a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church.

2 Affirms the commitment of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to the life of the Anglican Communion; including the roles and responsibilities of the four Instruments of Communion as they currently operate.

3 Asks the General Secretary to inform the Secretary General of the Communion of the passing of Clauses 1 and 2 of this resolution

4 Asks its representatives to the Anglican Consultative Council to bring a Motion to that body at its 2012 meeting affirming that those churches of the Communion which are unable to adopt the proposed Covenant remain full members of the Communion

5 Commits itself, if another church in the Anglican Communion raises concerns with it regarding actions it takes or proposes to take, to utilizing procedures similar to those set out in Section 3 of the proposed Covenant, in an attempt to resolve that issue

6 Asks the Judicial Committee to include Clause 5 of this resolution in the schedule of resolutions of the 2012 Session of the General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui which it recommends should be made Standing Resolutions by the 2014 Session of the Synod.

More from ACNS (Anglican Communion News Service)

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