News release from the No Anglican Covenant Coalition:
YES TO COMMUNION – NO TO COVENANT
LONDON – With more than half of English dioceses having voted, leaders of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition are cautiously optimistic. To date, a significant majority of dioceses have rejected the proposed Anglican Covenant. Coalition Moderator, the Revd Dr Lesley Crawley, welcomes the introduction of following motions at several recent synods emphasizing support for the Anglican Communion. Four dioceses have already passed following motions (Bath and Wells; Chelmsford; Worcester; Southwark) and a further six have following motions on the agenda (St Alban’s; Chester; Oxford; Guilford; Exeter; London).
“The more widely the Covenant is read and discussed, the more likely people are to see it as a deeply flawed approach to the challenges of the Anglican Communion in the 21st century,” said Crawley. “The introduction of following motions in several dioceses has emphasized what has been our position from the beginning: we oppose the Covenant because we love the Anglican Communion.”
“The proposed Covenant envisages the possibility that Provinces of the Communion may be barred from representing Anglicanism on certain councils and commissions with the clear implication that they are no longer sufficiently Anglican,” said Coalition Patron Bishop John Saxbee. “It is precisely this dimension of the Covenant which renders the Covenant itself un-Anglican.”
“Some have argued that the Covenant is necessary for ecumenical relations to indicate how Anglicans understand catholicity, even though this is already laid out in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and the Declaration of Assent,” according to Coalition Patron Bishop Peter Selby. “The Covenant adds nothing to these other than a bureaucratic disciplinary regime which denies to Anglicanism a distinctiveness which ecumenical partners might come to appreciate or even envy.”
“I’m very disappointed that some Covenant supporters have tried to turn this into a contest about who loves the Communion more, like self-centred parents in some ugly divorce drama,” said Canadian Coalition member, the Ven Alan Perry. “Our position has always been that ‘No’ to the Covenant really is ‘Yes’ to the Communion. Companion diocese relationships came into being without the Covenant and will continue to exist, Covenant or no. Anglicans from around the world care about their Anglican brothers and sisters in places like Haiti or Zimbabwe, and we will continue to care about them with or without the proposed Anglican Covenant. Our current ecumenical relationships began long before the idea of an Anglican Covenant, and they will continue whether the Covenant is accepted or rejected. We are a family, and we shall continue to be a family regardless of what happens.”
To date, the proposed Anglican Covenant has been approved by ten dioceses of the Church of England (Lichfield; Durham; Europe; Bristol; Canterbury; Winchester; Sheffield; Bradford; Carlisle; Coventry) and rejected by 17 (Wakefield; St Edmundsbury and Ipswich; Truro; Birmingham; Derby; Gloucester; Portsmouth; Rochester; Salisbury; Leicester; Sodor and Man; Chelmsford; Hereford; Ripon and Leeds; Bath and Wells; Southwark; Worcester). Approval by 23 diocesan synods is required for the Covenant to return to General Synod for further consideration. Rejection by 22 dioceses would effectively derail approval of the Covenant by the Church of England.