General Synod 2010

A137: Anglican Communion Covenant (carried as amended)

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Subject: Anglican Communion Covenant

Moved by: The Right Reverend George Bruce, Diocese of  Ontario

Seconded by: The Right Reverend Greg Kerr-Wilson,  Diocese of Qu’Appelle

Be it resolved that this General Synod:

  1. receive the final text of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
  2. request that materials be prepared under the auspices of the Anglican Communion Working Group, for parishes and dioceses in order that study and consultation be undertaken on The Covenant for the Anglican Communion;
  3. request that conversations, both within the Anglican Church of Canada and across the Communion, reflect the values of openness, transparency, generosity of spirit, and integrity, which have been requested repeatedly in the context of the discussion of controversial matters within the Communion;
  4. request that the proposed Covenant be referred to the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee and to the Governance Working Group in order to support these conversations by providing advice on the theological, ecclesiological, legal, and constitutional implications of a decision to adopt or not to adopt the Covenant;
  5. direct the Council of General Synod, after this period of consultation and study, to bring a recommendation regarding adoption of The Covenant for the Anglican Communion to the General Synod of 2013.

Source: Faith, Worship and Ministry

Submitted by: Janet Marshall, Chair of Faith, Worship and Ministry

Does this motion contain within it any financial implications?    Yes __ No x

If yes, has the General Synod Expenditures Committee considered the implications?   Yes __  No __


Since the decision of General Synod 2007 to commit to participate in the process of drafting of “A Covenant for the Anglican Communion”, the Anglican Communion Working Group, established by the Primate and the Anglican ecclesiology Working Group of the Faith Worship and Ministry Committee, has offered considered comment and critique of the various drafts. These comments have been reviewed by the Council and after amendment/revision have been forwarded to the Anglican Communion Office. On each occasion, the comments of the Anglican Church of Canada have been clearly heard and have for the most part found their way into subsequent revisions of the text. By April 2009, consensus had been achieved with respect to sections 1-3 of the Covenant.

Following ACC 14 in Jamaica, a decision was taken to reexamine section 4 of the Ridley-Cambridge Draft, comments were prepared and forwarded to the Communion Office. A revised text of Section 4 was approved by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion at its meeting in December 2009 and a final Covenant text has now been circulated to national provinces under cover of a letter from the General Secretary, Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Three key areas were clarified:

First, was clarification about the meaning of the word, church. This clarification was necessary because of expressed concerns that anyone could claim to be an Anglican church and then sign up to the Covenant, in effect opting themselves into the Communion.

The second key area addressed was the completion of the change in tone from the juridical to pastoral and relational.

The third key clarification dealt with who was to manage and administer the Covenant. In successive drafts this has changed from the Primates meeting (Nassau) to the ACC (St Andrews), the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC (Ridley Cambridge) to The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (Ridley Cambridge revised). This is significant in that the Primatial members(4) are nominated by the Primates Meeting and the remainder are elected by the ACC. The overall operation of the Standing Committee functions under the Constitution of the ACC. This change resolves one of the key concerns raised by Canada and a number of other provinces at ACC 14.

Additionally,  the final Covenant text makes it clear that “Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance.”


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