“The General synod has voted to press ahead with the Anglican Covenant, a worldwide deal designed to keep Anglicans around the world united. Backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the Covenant will now be sent to dioceses for consideration. But the traditionalist lobby group GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference) rejected the covenant, saying it was “no longer appropriate”. We hear from Bishop Martyn Minns, a member of the Secretariat of the GAFCON Primates’ Council and Dr Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne in the Diocese of Salisbury.”
– Religious Affairs Report, Radio 4 Sunday 28 November –
I have just been listening to an interview with Stephen Bates, the Religious Affairs correspondent on their newscast on the web. He is of the opinion that the GAFCON Primates’ mind was made up about their non-acceptance of the Covenant at their Oxford, UK, meeting in October. Just why they chose to inform the ABC of this just before the end of the recent General Synod of the Church of England, seems to be a matter of disrespect to the Archbsihop of Canterbury, at the very time he was hoping that the Covenant would help to keep dissenting voices (such as GAFCON) within the Communion.
One cannot help (along with Stephen Bates) but see the calculated malice involved in their decision – one of many in recent times that Archbishop Rowan has had to take from a cadre of mainly African Bishops who have decided to make a break from the usual allowance of diversity of opinions – about the theological implications of gender, sexuality, and biblical interpretation methods within the various Provinces of the communion.
Whatever happens now about the progress, or not, of the Anglican Covenant; it so obviously could never have catered for the desire of the dissidents in the mix who steadfastly refuse to engage in the theological work involved in coming to terms with the learnings about gender and sexuality as they are being investigated and discerned in the modern world.
Who knows? Without the GAFCON, ACNA and other Dissidents who will be missing from the Primates’ conference in Dublin, in January of next year, there may just be a chance of a return to a more focussed and effective mission of inclusivity within the remaining Provinces of the Communion. Lord have mercy!
Fr. Ron Smith, Christchurch