Friday, September 21, 2007

Wales Rejects Draft Covenant

A draft proposal for an Anglican Covenant is being considered by various Provinces of the Anglican Communion. The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev. Dr. Barry Morgan, recently offered these words in regards to the proposed Draft Covenant:

...Although the Covenant Design Group says it is not proposing anything new, the text speaks of the need for, “A clear commitment in those areas of Anglican faith about which there has been the most underlying concern in recent events”. That obviously is a reference to human sexuality. That same paragraph goes on to say that every church needs to “uphold biblically derived moral values”. It does not say what these biblically derived moral values are or who defines them. But given what has been happening in the Communion the reference is obviously to sexuality. That seems to put sexual morality interpreted in one particular way at the heart of what might cause exclusion from the Communion. In other words, the Lambeth quadrilateral of scripture, creeds, sacraments and historic episcopate is no longer a sufficient credential for being an Anglican. A particular view of human sexuality is also required. That devalues scripture by restricting its moral values simply to what it might be saying about sexual relationships and turns the Bible into a kind of rule book where texts can be wrested out of context...

...The original intention of a Covenant was good. It was meant and I quote, “To clarify the identity and mission of the churches of, or in association with, the Anglican Communion. By articulating our ecclesiological identity, a Covenant will help the ACC in self-understanding, and in ecumenical relationships. It could provide a basis of trust, co-operation and action in relationship with one another and relation to the whole Communion”. I am willing to sign up to that kind of Covenant.

But whatever the original intention of such a Covenant, intended to affirm the bonds of affection, the indications now are that many see it as a contract, a means of ensuring a uniform view on human sexuality enforceable by the threat of exclusion from the Communion if one does not conform. I certainly do not want to sign up to that kind of Covenant.
Apparently, the members of the Church of Wales agree with the position of their Archbishop. Today we have this story:

Members of the Church in Wales have voted not to approve a draft version of the Anglican Covenant.

Dr. Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales said he fears the draft covenant will lead to one voice on controversial issues, such as homosexuality, which members would have to sign up to or leave...

...Dr. Morgan said that although he supported the principle of an Anglican Covenant, he could not endorse the proposed version on the table. He warned it was in danger of becoming a contract designed to cut off those who did not conform to a uniform view on human sexuality.
Dr. Morgan is currently in New Orleans with our House of Bishops in his capacity as a member of the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council.


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