Better relationships rather than punitive legislation are the way forward for churches, a leading opponent of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant says.
The comments from No Anglican Covenant Coalition Moderator, the Rev Dr Lesley Crawley, were issued after the defeat of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant in the Church of England.
“With [last week's] results from the dioceses of Oxford and Lincoln, the proposed Anglican Covenant is now dead in the water in the Church of England. This also poses serious problems for the Covenant in other Provinces as it seems nonsensical to have the Archbishop of Canterbury in the second tier of the Anglican Communion and excluded from the central committees," she declared
Ms Crawley continued: “When we launched the No Anglican Covenant Coalition 18 months ago, we were assured that the Anglican Covenant was an unstoppable juggernaut. We started as simply a band of bloggers, but we would like to thank the hundreds of supporters and our patrons for their dedication to promoting debate. The Covenant needed the approval of 23 diocesan synods, as of today, that result is no longer possible.
“Especially we would like to congratulate people in Diocesan Synods across the Church of England who, despite attempts in many dioceses to silence or marginalise dissenting voices, endeavoured to promote debate, ensuring that the Anglican Covenant was subjected to significant and meaningful scrutiny. We found, as the debate went on, that the more people read and studied the Covenant, the less they liked it.
“Under Church of England procedures , this proposal to centralise Communion-wide authority in the hands of a small, self-selecting group cannot return to the agenda of General Synod for at least three years.
“We are seeing the momentum turning internationally as well. The Episcopal Church of the Philippines has officially rejected the Covenant, the opposition of the Tikanga Maori virtually assures that the Covenant will be rejected in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and we are seeing increasing opposition in other Provinces of the Communion.
“While [the recent] diocesan synod results are exciting and gratifying, we are well aware that there is still work to do. However, if the proposed Anglican Covenant does not stand up to scrutiny in the Church of England, we are confident that it will not stand up to scrutiny elsewhere.
“We hope that the Church of England will now look to bring reconciliation within the Anglican Communion by means of strengthening relationships rather than punitive legislation,” Ms Crawley concluded.
The No Anglican Covenant Coalition (http://noanglicancovenant.org ) is an international group of Anglicans concerned about how the proposed Anglican Covenant would radically change the nature of the Anglican Communion.