Senior English bishops say a firm 'no' to the Anglican Covenant

By agency reporter
July 8, 2011

Two senior retired English bishops have been unveiled as official backers of a campaign group working for comprehensive Anglican unity.

The Rt Rev Dr John Saxbee and the Rt Rev Dr Peter Selby have been appointed Episcopal Patrons of the international No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

“The Anglican Communion doesn’t need a Covenant because Anglicanism is a Covenant, predicated on grace and goodwill,” Dr Saxbee said. “If there is grace and goodwill, a Covenant is unnecessary. If there is no grace or goodwill, a Covenant will be unavailing.”

Dr Saxbee was Bishop of Lincoln from 2001 until his retirement in January of this year. Dr Selby, Bishop of Worcester from 1997 to 2007, has been a supporter of the Coalition since its launch in November 2010.

“This proposed Covenant is not the solution to the tensions in the Anglican Communion,” he declared. “It will inevitably create a litigious Communion where every serious disagreement will become a possible occasion to seek a province’s exclusion.”

“More and more questions are being raised about the potential pitfalls of the proposed Anglican Covenant,” said the Rev Dr Lesley Fellows, Moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

She added: “We have consistently seen that support for the Covenant tends to collapse in the face of full and fair discussion and analysis. We are very pleased to welcome Bishops Selby and Saxbee as our first Episcopal Patrons. They are well respected in the Church of England and throughout the Anglican Communion. We expect that their views on the Covenant will persuade many more people to take a harder look at the risks inherent in this radical proposal.”

* More on No Anglican Covenant: Anglicans for Comprehensive Unity -


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