Friday, February 08, 2008

Anglican Covenant, Round 2

A new draft of an Anglican Covenant was released yesterday in London. You can find a copy of the Saint Andrews draft here, an important appendix here and the accompanying communiqué here. The group also issued commentary to the draft here.

The good folks at the Episcopal Cafe did a fine job in the initial reports. Mark Harris provided an early analysis.

We were also pleased to receive this notice from the British group, the Modern Churchpeople's Union.

Press Release - for immediate use

The proposed Anglican Covenant (The St Andrew's Draft) would only make the church more autocratic and outdated, says the Modern Churchpeople's Union (MCU).

'It takes the Anglican out of Anglicanism and there wouldn't be much left', says the MCU General Secretary, Jonathan Clatworthy. 'Until now we have lived together respecting differences of opinion. This Covenant would mean every time there's an objection someone will lay down the law'.

The wording of the Covenant itself is a clear improvement on previous drafts. But the sting is in the tail. An Appendix to the Draft Covenant sets out ways in which members of the Communion could be disciplined.

Members of the Anglican Communion would be asked to commit themselves to accept a 'request' from the Archbishop of Canterbury or the global Primate's Meeting. If they refused the request they could ultimately be expelled from the Communion.

MCU objects to the Covenant because it would centralize decision-making and reduce the traditional autonomy of Anglican Provinces. Just one Anglican Province could object to developments elsewhere and so changes could only be made at the speed of the slowest. Churches would become increasingly out of date.

MCU believes that the threat of expulsion will impoverish Anglican church life. The short timescales envisaged are likely to stunt discussion and suppress the search for consensus. The character of the international 'Instruments of Communion' which currently bind the Communion together would be changed as they take on semi-judicial roles.

The practical result of the St Andrew's Draft Covenant would be a much more centralized, authoritarian and unadventurous Communion. It is likely to magnify disputes and to turn them into judicial processes. It is likely to leave the Church less able to face the challenges of the modern world.


MCU Contact Details:
Jonathan Clatworthy, 0845 345 1909, 07729 886272,
Paul Bagshaw, 01777 702515,

The St Andrew's Draft Anglican Communion is at:
Further comments on this Draft will be published at:
where there are links to MCU responses to earlier drafts.

The Modern Churchpeople's Union is an Anglican theological society established in 1898. It is committed to promoting liberal theology and to the open-minded search for truth.

This email is from the MCU:
Blog - Only Connect -

Jonathan Clatworthy, General Secretary
MCU Office, 9, Westward View, Liverpool, UK L17 7EE • Tel: 0151 726 9730 • Email:


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