LONDON – The Anglican Covenant Design Group was in London this past week to review responses to a document that aims to rebuild trust and cooperation between the churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The 70 million-member Anglican Communion has been in consultation on the draft Covenant since it was presented by the Covenant Design Group at the meeting of worldwide Anglican leaders in Dar es Salaam in February 2007. The Covenant was first proposed in 2004 after relations became strained over a number of contentious issues – most notably homosexuality.
So far, responses have been mixed.
The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev. Dr. Barry Morgan, warned that the Covenant could end up excluding those who do not conform to its beliefs.
The Primate, or Anglican leader, of All Ireland, the Most Rev. Alan Harper, meanwhile said unless the Covenant was "open and generous and broad" it may be a "further means of obstruction" to unity.
The Church of England General Synod affirmed its commitment to the process of drafting an Anglican Covenant last July. In his advent letter last December, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, said: "Not everyone carrying the name of Anglican can claim to speak authentically for the identity we share as a global fellowship.
"I continue to hope that the discussion of the Covenant before, during and beyond Lambeth will give us a positive rallying-point," he added. Lambeth is a global Anglican conference that takes place every 10 years. Lambeth 2008 opens in July.
"The focus of this week's meeting is to examine responses to the draft Covenant from the provinces and to prepare a subsequent text to move the process forward to the Lambeth Conference and beyond," Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office, secretary of the Covenant Design Group, said Wednesday.
The group is chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev. Drexel Gomez, and provinces represented on the Covenant Design Group include Wales, Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean, the United States of America, Canada, West Africa, Southern Africa, West Indies, England, as well as the Diocese of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Anglican Communion and Lambeth Palace staff.