Entries in Section Four (5)

Monday
Jan112010

Final Covenant - CDG Commentary (Section Four)

Covenant Working Party Commentary on Revisions to Section 4

The Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Communion Covenant was considered at ACC-14 in May 2009. Resolution 14.11 included a request to the Archbishop of Canterbury, in consultation with the Secretary General, to appoint a small working group to consider and consult with the Provinces on Section 4 and its possible revision, and to report to the next meeting of the Standing Committee.

The following members were subsequently appointed to the Covenant Working Group

The Most Revd Dr John Neill (Chair) (The Church of Ireland)
The Most Revd Dr John Chew (Church of the Province of South East Asia)
Dr Eileen Scully (Anglican Church of Canada)
The Rt Revd Dr Gregory Cameron (The Church in Wales)
Staff
The Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan (ACO)
The Revd Canon Joanna Udal (Lambeth Palace)
Mr Neil Vigers (ACO)

The consultation with the Provinces of the Anglican Communion resulted in seventeen responses. These were circulated to members of the Working Group as they were received, and collated into a composite document prior to the meeting of the Working Group.

Principles

The guiding principle has been that of minimal revision. However, several areas of Section 4 have required clearer definition and a change of tone in language. In faithfulness to the provincial responses these changes have been incorporated, but with the definite intention to remain consistent with the work that had already achieved a wide measure of support. This support came across clearly in the majority of the responses received.

The Covenant Working Group gave serious attention to all the Provincial responses submitted, and reviewed them in detail. Where a point seemed to be particularly strongly and well made, or if it was made by a range of responses, the Group gave full consideration to how the text could be amended to meet that point. Not all points have been incorporated by changes in the text. The Covenant Working Group has set out its reasoning in this commentary.

Section 4.1

One of the key questions that arose at ACC-14 was the definition of ‘the Churches of the Communion’. The Working Group has drafted a new clause 4.1.1 to address this question.

In response to the question ‘who is being invited to adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant?’, the Working Group reaffirmed the principles set out in the Lambeth Commentary of September 2008, in its definition of “Churches of the Communion” as those for whom adoption is intended.

“In Anglican ecclesiology, there is a creative tension between the understanding of “local Church”, which is that portion of God’s people gathered around their bishop, usually in the form of a territorial diocese, and “Church” as a term or description for a national or regional ecclesial community, which is bound together by a national character, and/or common liturgical life, governance and canon law. Traditionally, Anglicans have asserted the ecclesial character of the national Church as the privileged unit of ecclesiastical life. The Church of England’s very existence was predicated upon such an assumption at the time of the Reformation. Recognised in most cases as “Provinces”, these national or regional Churches are the historical bodies through which the life of the Anglican Communion has been expressed, and they are the primary parties for whom the covenant has been designed. If, however, the canons and constitutions of a Province permit, there is no reason why a diocesan synod should not commit itself to the covenant, thus strengthening its commitment to the interdependent life of the Communion.”[1]

The Group recognise that any ecclesial body may express commitment to the Covenant. Some may find that the affirmations and commitments of the Anglican Communion Covenant contain helpful guides for interdependent life at other levels and in other contexts than those specific to relations amongst the Member Churches of the Anglican Communion. This sort of endorsement is to be encouraged as contributing to the covenantal life of the Communion.

In response to the question, ‘what happens if Churches other than current member Churches of the Anglican Consultative Council wish to adopt the Covenant?’ the Working Group was concerned that due process was needed. The procedures set out in the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council for amendment of its Schedule of Membership provide a suitable course of deliberation and consultation with the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting before an invitation to consider adoption of the Covenant by any such Church is agreed upon. The Working Group incorporated these principles in Section 4.1.5.

The question has also been raised about the status of Churches of the Anglican Communion who choose not to enter the Anglican Communion Covenant. The working Group considers that it is not appropriate to address this question within the text of the Covenant. Rather, there should be the flexibility for the Instruments of Communion to determine an appropriate response in the evolving situation that would accompany a process of reception and adoption of the Covenant.

Section 4.2

The most difficult part of the Covenant text has related to those sections which deal with any disruption in the life of Communion. There remains in some quarters a lingering feeling that being in communion requires only positive affirmation and encouragement. However, the fact is that not all developments aid and nurture deeper communion. From our recent history it is evident that some developments bring dispute, disruption and tension. The clear majority of responses demonstrated that a section of the Covenant which seeks to provide an ordered way for the Communion to approach disagreement remains a necessary feature of the Covenant.

The Covenant Working Group has taken very seriously the representations of a number of Provinces that this section should avoid a punitive or juridic tone, that it should emphasise relational and communion aspects, and defer to the dispersed model of authority, which places emphasis on the autonomy of the Churches as final arbiters of maintaining the Communion which their relations constitute. In particular, the Covenant Working Group has taken very seriously the concern that relational and conciliatory approaches should figure highly, but also acknowledges the point made, amongst others, by the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission in their report “Communion, Conflict and Hope”, that mutual accountability is a fundamental Communion value which should draw the Churches into a common life. The links between the processes in Section 4 and the principles of interdependence in Section 3 are therefore made explicit (4.2.3), and the Standing Committee is called upon to “make every effort to facilitate agreement” (4.2.4).

The question ‘who should be responsible for the maintenance of the Covenant?’ proved to be one of the enduring problems with which the Covenant Design Group worked. The Nassau Draft sought to reflect the actual working of the Communion at the time, and gave the central role in discernment to the Primates’ Meeting. In response to extensive criticism, the Anglican Consultative Council was placed in this role in the St Andrew’s Draft. This also met with considerable criticism. However, the Covenant Design Group did not see its role as inventing new structures for the Communion, but rather explicating and strengthening existing structures. Hence, in the Ridley Cambridge April Draft, the Joint Standing Committee was placed in this role. Current responses have also questioned this, wondering whether the Covenant exalts the Joint Standing Committee into a fifth instrument of Communion.

In the meantime, the Joint Standing Committee as such has ceased to exist. By the constitutional changes which became active at ACC-14, following approval by two thirds of the Provinces, the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting has developed into “The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion”, in which membership is constituted by elections from the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting.

The Ridley Cambridge November Text continues to accord the Standing Committee with the crucial role of monitoring the functioning of the Covenant. The Covenant Working Group considers that the Standing Committee with membership from all four Instruments of Communion, combining bishops, clergy and laity, is best placed for this role. What is made explicit in the current draft is that the Standing Committee derives its authority from its responsibility to the two Instruments of Communion which elect its membership, and on whose behalf it acts. It provides a co-ordinating function for matters to do with Covenant maintenance, supported by relevant expertise (cf 4.2.2) and in close communication with both the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, on whose advice it acts. (cf 4.2.6 and 4.2.7)

A further question has concerned the “relational consequences” which may follow a declaration of “incompatibility with the covenant”. A reality which has to be acknowledged is that if there is autonomy of governance in the Churches of the Anglican Communion, then a necessary corollary of this is that the autonomy of a Church’s relationships of Communion also cannot be constrained. What the covenant seeks to do is to find an ecclesial framework by which a common response to tensions can be discerned and articulated. This contrasts with the present situation where no agreed mechanisms for action exist, and this lack has seriously threatened the integrity of the Communion. What the relational consequences might be were explored by the Covenant Design Group in their meeting in Singapore in September 2008, and were set out in the Lambeth Commentary at page 25. There they were deliberately listed in a range from the lightest “no action”, to the most serious “breaking of ecclesial communion and walking apart”.

The Covenant Working Group note that since Anglican Churches value autonomy over a central jurisdiction, the Communion can only ever guide - it must be left to the Churches to decide. (cf Ridley Cambridge Commentary, note on Section 3, page 3) However, in the face of certain fears being expressed by some Provinces that chaos could result as each Church decides to act in a different way, Churches are now invited to accept or reject specific recommendations from the Standing Committee.

The Covenant Working Group accepts the argument that it is only appropriate for the representatives of Churches which are participating in the life of the covenant to determine questions relating to the maintenance of the covenant (April text, 4.2.7; November text, 4.2.8)

4.3.1 – Withdrawing from the Covenant

There may be circumstances in which it might be appropriate for a Church to withdraw from the Covenant for a period of time in order for it to resolve a particular issue in its own life. For example, a Church entering into an ecumenical agreement which includes living with bearable anomalies in order to move toward the goal of full visible unity, may wish to withdraw until such time as the anomalies have been resolved (cf Lambeth 1998 Resolution IV.1). In such circumstances the Standing Committee may wish to give advice as to whether such withdrawal is appropriate or not.

The United Churches of South Asia

As full members of the Anglican Communion, the four United Churches in South Asia (the Church of South India, the Church of North India, the Church of Pakistan and the Church of Bangladesh) would be invited to adopt and to enter into the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant and fully participate in covenantal communion life and relationship when it is in effect. Given the diversity of their traditions there may be particular challenges regarding their capacity to adopt the Covenant.

So far, only the Church of North India has made response on Section IV of the Ridley Cambridge Draft of the Anglican Covenant to the Anglican Covenant Working Group. The response as to whether it would be constitutionally and legally possible for the Church of North India to sign onto the proposed Anglican Covenant was somewhat unclear. It is highly desirable for the structures of the Anglican Communion to engage as fully as possible with the four United Churches to ascertain the best way to enable their participation in the Covenant.

Footnotes

1. A Lambeth Commentary on the Saint Andrew’s Draft for an Anglican Covenant, question 11, page 11



Monday
Jan112010

Ridley Draft - CDG Commentary (Section Four)

Section Four: Our Covenanted Life Together

This is a completely new section for the covenant text addressing the matter of joining, participating in and leaving the covenant, and resolving matters of dispute. The Nassau Draft provided that the Primates' Meeting should act as a body which could respond to controversy in the Communion. Matters of serious dispute could be submitted to them, and they would give guidance and direction (6.5). A provision was included that in extreme circumstances Churches would be recognised as having "relinquished for themselves the force and meaning of the Covenant's purpose" (6.6), in a way which implied that such a relinquishment would be understood as fracturing or impairing communion, and leading into a period which would have to seek "restoration and renewal". The provisions of these sections were an attempt to describe how the Communion was actually living its life at the time, rather than to invent new ways forward, knowing that the draft would be tested in consultation.

These proposals in the Nassau Draft were widely criticised. There were two grounds. First, many responses indicated that there was great unhappiness with the idea that the Primates' Meeting should become formally the body within the Communion which could give final direction on a matter. The proposals appeared to create a centralised authority located with the Primates, which overrode Provincial autonomy, a much cherished concept. Secondly, it was felt to be too punitive in its construction, in that the provisions were oriented towards possible exclusion.

A further criticism was also voiced. It was felt that the procedures set out in Section 6 of the Nassau Draft were not sufficiently clear. Since any elaboration of principles would be likely to be lengthy and complicated, it was also felt that such language might be incompatible with the aspirational and relational language of the Covenant. It was therefore proposed (in the Primates' Meeting in Dar es Salaam) that it might be appropriate to develop a more detailed set of procedures in an appendix to the Covenant.

In the St. Andrew's Draft, there was an attempt to develop a more balanced and therefore complicated procedure. The relational processes of arbitration in the Nassau draft were repeated (3.2.1-3.2.5.c), but now the autonomy of the Churches was more explicitly respected. The Instruments of Communion could not give "direction", but they could make a "request". A refusal to accept the request might be understood, but not necessarily so, as a "relinquishment" of the Covenant. The CDG also developed an initial draft for an Appendix. This set out lengthy procedures for the handling of disputes, and, mindful of the criticism of the Nassau Draft that placed the Primates' Meeting in the role of arbitrator, the Appendix placed much more emphasis on the work of the Anglican Consultative Council. The Appendix sought to incorporate established principles of natural justice into the process.

The general feeling was that the St Andrew's Draft was an improvement. However, it still drew substantial criticism, both from Provincial responses, and at the Lambeth Conference. If the role of the Primates' Meeting in the Nassau Draft has been criticised as too curial, then the role now given to the ACC was considered beyond their capacity as a consultative body. The detailed rules of the Appendix were felt to be too juridical and complex in their approach. Within the St Andrew's Text, the concept of "relinquishment" and what it might mean was felt to be too unclear, and still too oriented towards punishment. The status of the Appendix was felt to be uncertain, and its relationship to the Covenant text unclear.

In the Lambeth Commentary, we set out some of our thinking in response to these criticisms. In the first place, we indicated that the CDG was inclined towards the development of a new Section Four of the Covenant which would include the sort of material needed. It would address questions of how to join as well as how to leave the Covenant. It could offer a system of dispute resolution, which respected the autonomy of the Churches. It could indicate who would be responsible for the maintenance of the Covenant, and even floated the idea of a "Covenant Commission" in the life of the Communion.

In Section Four of the RCD we have attempted to meet these criteria. However, there is one criterion which is even more fundamental. It is clear that one of the main fears attached to the idea of a Covenant is that it would limit Provincial autonomy. In the responses, this fear worked itself out in two directions. In the first place, there was substantial resistance to the idea that there should be any development of a body which could be seen to be exercising universal jurisdiction in Anglican polity. Anglicans wished to keep the autonomy of their Churches. Secondly, it became clear that the processes of adoption of the Covenant would be immensely complicated if the Covenant were seen to interfere with or to necessitate a change to the Constitution and Canons of any Province. The surrender of any legislative autonomy would in itself prove a stumbling block to the implementation of Covenant.

Section Four of the RCD is therefore constructed on the fundamental principle of the constitutional autonomy of each Church. The Covenant of itself cannot amend or override the Constitution and Canons of any Province. The Instruments of Communion cannot intervene in any jurisdictional way in the internal life of any of the Anglican Churches. The Covenant can only speak to the relationship between the Churches, and of the relational consequences of internal autonomous actions by a Church.

The draft text of Section Four therefore explicitly reaffirms that the Covenant and the Instruments of Communion of themselves do not impose or have any jurisdiction or authority to alter the internal governance of any Church of the Communion. Such a limitation on the Covenant undertakings is repeated in the latter parts of 4.1.1, 4.1.3 and 4.1.4. The Covenant is not intended to alter the Constitution and Canons of any of the Churches; it does not give any power to any Communion body to intervene in a Church's life.

However, the RCD also acknowledges that if any Church of the Communion chooses to exercise its autonomy in a way which lessens the basis on which communion is built - mutual recognition of faith and order, of vocation and a readiness to live in interdependence - then other Churches may wish to respond in a way which demonstrates how the bonds of affection and communion have been diminished by that action.

Section Four seeks to provide a way in which the response of the Communion may be evaluated, harmonised and regulated. It does not provide a system which undermines the autonomy of the Churches. There is no power to direct, either on the matter which may be causing offence, nor the nature of the response - that is left firmly within the sphere of a Church's autonomy. It does however provide a mechanism by which the response of the Communion to a controversial action may be considered, moderated, co-ordinated and handled with patience and care. Since there were objections to the Primates' Meeting and the ACC exercising this sort of role independently, the RCD gives it to them both, with the Joint Standing Committee acting in the role of co-ordinator, and as the body which is charged with overseeing the maintenance of covenanted life.

The concept of "relinquishment" has been replaced with the possibility of a determination that a controverted action is "incompatible with the Covenant". Both this determination and the recommendation of how this action may impair or limit the expression of communion and entail relational consequences is referred back to the Churches, or to any Instrument, so that it can make its own decision.

By offering this Section, the CDG seeks to address the responses which wished to preserve the autonomy of the Churches, and yet give real substance to the nature of the commitments made in the Covenant. Section Four explicitly leaves the Constitutions and Canons of the Provinces untouched, and acknowledges the autonomy of the Churches to govern the internal affairs of the Province. But while it respects the juridical category of "autonomy", it also emphasises the relational and theological category of "communion". It provides a robust system by which an action can be determined to have a destructive impact on the common life and witness of the Communion, and an ordered way to assess the relational consequences which such an action may have.

The CDG notes that there is a potential problem as the life of covenanting Churches develops, as more Churches adopt the Covenant. There may be members of the Instruments of Communion who represent a Church that has not adopted the Covenant, and there would be an increasingly anomalous situation as the Covenant becomes active and forceful in the life of the Churches which have adopted it. A short clause (4.2.7) limits participation in the arbitration processes of the Covenant to representatives of Churches who have either adopted or who are in the process of adopting the Covenant, but there will in time be a question of how both covenanting and non-covenanting Churches participate together in the life of the Instruments of Communion. At the moment, the Covenant text provides that these matters are uncoupled (see 4.1.5 and 4.3.1), but the CDG note that such matters may become the subject of agreed conventions alongside the Covenant.

Finally, the section also makes provision for the amendment of the Covenant. We felt that a fairly high threshold (the consent of three quarters of covenanting Churches) was required for any change, given the profoundly important nature of the affirmations and commitments involved.



Sunday
Jan102010

Final Covenant Section Four

Section Four: Our Covenanted Life Together

 

4. Each Church affirms the following principles and procedures, and, reliant on the Holy Spirit, commits itself to their implementation.

4.1 Adoption of the Covenant

(4.1.1)  Each Church adopting this Covenant affirms that it enters into the Covenant as a commitment to relationship in submission to God. Each Church freely offers this commitment to other Churches in order to live more fully into the ecclesial communion and interdependence which is foundational to the Churches of the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is a fellowship, within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, of national or regional Churches, in which each recognises in the others the bonds of a common loyalty to Christ expressed through a common faith and order, a shared inheritance in worship, life and mission, and a readiness to live in an interdependent life.

(4.1.2)  In adopting the Covenant for itself, each Church recognises in the preceding sections a statement of faith, mission and interdependence of life which is consistent with its own life and with the doctrine and practice of the Christian faith as it has received them. It recognises these elements as foundational for the life of the Anglican Communion and therefore for the relationships among the covenanting Churches.
(4.1.3)  Such mutual commitment does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance. The Covenant does not grant to any one Church or any agency of the Communion control or direction over any Church of the Anglican Communion.

(4.1.4)  Every Church of the Anglican Communion, as recognised in accordance with the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, is invited to enter into this Covenant according to its own constitutional procedures.

(4.1.5)  The Instruments of Communion may invite other Churches to adopt the Covenant using the same procedures as set out by the Anglican Consultative Council for the amendment of its schedule of membership. Adoption of this Covenant does not confer any right of recognition by, or membership of, the Instruments of Communion, which shall be decided by those Instruments themselves.

(4.1.6)  This Covenant becomes active for a Church when that Church adopts the Covenant through the procedures of its own Constitution and Canons.

4.2 The Maintenance of the Covenant and Dispute Resolution

(4.2.1)  The Covenant operates to express the common commitments and mutual accountability which hold each Church in the relationship of communion one with another. Recognition of, and fidelity to, this Covenant, enable mutual recognition and communion. Participation in the Covenant implies a recognition by each Church of those elements which must be maintained in its own life and for which it is accountable to the Churches with which it is in Communion in order to sustain the relationship expressed in this Covenant.

(4.2.2)  The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, responsible to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, shall monitor the functioning of the Covenant in the life of the Anglican Communion on behalf of the Instruments. In this regard, the Standing Committee shall be supported by such other committees or commissions as may be mandated to assist in carrying out this function and to advise it on questions relating to the Covenant.

(4.2.3)  When questions arise relating to the meaning of the Covenant, or about the compatibility of an action by a covenanting Church with the Covenant, it is the duty of each covenanting Church to seek to live out the commitments of Section 3.2. Such questions may be raised by a Church itself, another covenanting Church or the Instruments of Communion.

(4.2.4)  Where a shared mind has not been reached the matter shall be referred to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee shall make every effort to facilitate agreement, and may take advice from such bodies as it deems appropriate to determine a view on the nature of the matter at question and those relational consequences which may result. Where appropriate, the Standing Committee shall refer the question to both the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting for advice.

(4.2.5)  The Standing Committee may request a Church to defer a controversial action. If a Church declines to defer such action, the Standing Committee may recommend to any Instrument of Communion relational consequences which may specify a provisional limitation of participation in, or suspension from, that Instrument until the completion of the process set out below.

(4.2.6)  On the basis of advice received from the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, the Standing Committee may make a declaration that an action or decision is or would be “incompatible with the Covenant”.
(4.2.7)  On the basis of the advice received, the Standing Committee shall make recommendations as to relational consequences which flow from an action incompatible with the Covenant. These recommendations may be addressed to the Churches of the Anglican Communion or to the Instruments of the Communion and address the extent to which the decision of any covenanting Church impairs or limits the communion between that Church and the other Churches of the Communion, and the practical consequences of such impairment or limitation. Each Church or each Instrument shall determine whether or not to accept such recommendations.

(4.2.8)  Participation in the decision making of the Standing Committee or of the Instruments of Communion in respect to section 4.2 shall be limited to those members of the Instruments of Communion who are representatives of those churches who have adopted the Covenant, or who are still in the process of adoption.

(4.2.9)  Each Church undertakes to put into place such mechanisms, agencies or institutions, consistent with its own Constitution and Canons, as can undertake to oversee the maintenance of the affirmations and commitments of the Covenant in the life of that Church, and to relate to the Instruments of Communion on matters pertinent to the Covenant.

4.3 Withdrawing from the Covenant

(4.3.1)  Any covenanting Church may decide to withdraw from the Covenant. Although such withdrawal does not imply an automatic withdrawal from the Instruments of Communion or a repudiation of its Anglican character, it may raise a question relating to the meaning of the Covenant, and of compatibility with the principles incorporated within it, and trigger the provisions set out in section 4.2 above.

4.4 The Covenant Text and its amendment

(4.4.1)  The Covenant consists of the text set out in this document in the Preamble, Sections One to Four and the Declaration. The Introduction to the Covenant Text, which shall always be annexed to the Covenant text, is not part of the Covenant, but shall be accorded authority in understanding the purpose of the Covenant.

(4.4.2)  Any covenanting Church or Instrument of Communion may submit a proposal to amend the Covenant to the Instruments of Communion through the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee shall send the proposal to the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates’ Meeting, the covenanting Churches and any other body as it may consider appropriate for advice. The Standing Committee shall make a recommendation on the proposal in the light of advice offered, and submit the proposal with any revisions to the covenanting Churches. The amendment is operative when ratified by three quarters of such Churches. The Standing Committee shall adopt a procedure for promulgation of the amendment.



Sunday
Jan102010

Ridley Draft Section Four

Section Four: Our Covenanted Life Together

Each Church affirms the following procedures, and, reliant on the Holy Spirit, commits itself to their implementation.

4.1 Adoption of the Covenant

(4.1.1) Each Church adopting this Covenant affirms that it enters into the Covenant as a commitment to relationship in submission to God. Participation in the covenant expresses a loyalty grounded in mutuality that one Church freely offers to other Churches, in whom it recognises the bonds of a common faith and order, a common inheritance in worship, life and mission, and a readiness to live in an interdependent life, but does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

(4.1.2) In adopting the Covenant for itself, each Church recognises in the preceding sections a statement of faith, mission and interdependence of life which is consistent with its own life and with the doctrine and practice of the Christian faith as it has received them. It recognises these elements as fundamental to the life of the Anglican Communion and to the relationships among the covenanting Churches.

(4.1.3) The Covenant operates to express the common commitments which hold each Church in the relationship of communion one with another. Recognition of, and fidelity to, the text of this Covenant, enables mutual recognition and communion. Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance. Under the terms of this Covenant, no one Church, nor any agency of the Communion, can exercise control or direction over the internal life of any other covenanted Church.

(4.1.4) Every Church of the Anglican Communion, as recognised in accordance with the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, is invited to adopt this Covenant in its life according to its own constitutional procedures. Adoption of the Covenant by a Church does not in itself imply any change to its Constitution and Canons, but implies a recognition of those elements which must be maintained in its own life in order to sustain the relationship of covenanted communion established by this Covenant.

(4.1.5) It shall be open to other Churches to adopt the Covenant. Adoption of this Covenant does not bring any right of recognition by, or membership of, the Instruments of Communion. Such recognition and membership are dependent on the satisfaction of those conditions set out by each of the Instruments. However, adoption of the Covenant by a Church may be accompanied by a formal request to the Instruments for recognition and membership to be acted upon according to each Instrument's procedures.

(4.1.6) This Covenant becomes active for a Church when that Church adopts the Covenant.

4.2 The Maintenance of the Covenant and Dispute Resolution

(4.2.1) The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and of the Primates' Meeting, or any body that succeeds it, shall have the duty of overseeing the functioning of the Covenant in the life of the Anglican Communion. The Joint Standing Committee may nominate or appoint another committee or commission to assist in carrying out this function and to advise it on questions relating to the Covenant.

(4.2.2) If a question relating to the meaning of the Covenant, or of compatibility to the principles incorporated in it, should arise, the Joint Standing Committee may make a request to any covenanting Church to defer action until the processes set out below have been completed. It shall further take advice from such bodies as its feels appropriate on the nature and relational consequences of the matter and may make a recommendation to be referred for advice to both the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates' Meeting.

(4.2.3) If a Church refuses to defer a controversial action, the Joint Standing Committee may recommend to any Instrument of Communion relational consequences which specify a provisional limitation of participation in, or suspension from, that Instrument until the completion of the process set out below.

(4.2.4) On the basis of advice received from the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates' Meeting, the Joint Standing Committee may make a declaration concerning an action or decision of a covenanting Church that such an action or decision is or would be "incompatible with the Covenant". A declaration of incompatibility with the Covenant shall not have any force in the Constitution and Canons of any covenanting Church unless or until it is received by the canonical procedures of the Church in question.

(4.2.5) On the basis of the advice received, the Joint Standing Committee may make recommendations as to relational consequences to the Churches of the Anglican Communion or to the Instruments of the Communion. These recommendations may address the extent to which the decision of any covenanting Church to continue with an action or decision which has been found to be "incompatible with the Covenant" impairs or limits the communion between that Church and the other Churches of the Communion. It may recommend whether such action or decision should have a consequence for participation in the life of the Communion and its Instruments. It shall be for each Church and each Instrument to determine its own response to such recommendations.

(4.2.6) Each Church undertakes to put into place such mechanisms, agencies or institutions, consistent with its own Constitution and Canons, as can undertake to oversee the maintenance of the affirmations and commitments of the Covenant in the life of that Church, and to relate to the Instruments of Communion on matters pertinent to the Covenant.

(4.2.7) Participation in the processes set out in this section .shall be limited to those members of the Instruments of Communion who are representatives of those churches who have adopted the Covenant, or who are still in the process of adoption.

4.3 Withdrawing from the Covenant

(4.3.1) Any covenanting Church may decide to withdraw from the Covenant. Although such withdrawal does not imply an automatic withdrawal from the Instruments or a repudiation of its Anglican character, it raises a question relating to the meaning of the Covenant, and of compatibility with the principles incorporated within it, and it triggers the provisions set out in section 4.2.2 above.

4.4 The Covenant Text and its amendment

(4.4.1) The Covenant consists of the text set out in this document in the Preamble, Sections One to Four and the Declaration. The Introduction to the Covenant Text, which shall always be annexed to the Covenant text, is not part of the Covenant, but shall be accorded authority in understanding the purpose of the Covenant.

(4.4.2) Any covenanting Church or Instrument of Communion may submit a proposal to the Joint Standing Committee for the amendment of the Covenant. The Joint Standing Committee shall send the proposal to the Anglican Consultative Council, to the Primates' Meeting and any other body as it may consider appropriate for advice. The Joint Standing Committee shall make a recommendation on the proposal in the light of advice offered, and submit the proposal with any revisions to the constitutional bodies of the covenanting Churches. The amendment is operative when ratified by three quarters of such bodies. The Joint Standing Committee shall adopt a procedure for promulgation of the amendment.



Sunday
Jan102010

St Andrew's Draft Section Four

An Anglican Covenant - Draft Appendix

 

Framework Procedures for the Resolution of Covenant Disagreements

 

1. General Principles

1.1. All processes for the resolution of covenant disagreements which threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission shall be characterised by the Christian virtues of charity, humility, patience and gentleness and the canonical principles of fairness, transparency, and reasoned decision-making.

1.2. No process shall affect the autonomy of any Church of the Communion.  The term “Church” and all terms in this Appendix take their meaning from the Covenant itself.

1.3. No process shall exceed five years as from the date upon which a Church consults under Paragraph 3 of this Appendix.

1.4. Any matter involving relinquishment by a Church of the force and meaning of the Covenant purposes must be decided solely by that Church or by the Anglican Consultative Council in accordance with Paragraph 8 of this Appendix.

1.5. Each Communion body or instrument involved in the following procedures shall make its own rules, in consultation with the other Instruments of Communion, for the transaction of its business in accordance with the Covenant, the Framework Procedures and the Christian virtues and canonical principles set out in Paragraph 1.1 of this Appendix.

2. The Principle of Informal Conversation

2.1. If a Church (X) proposes to act or acts in any way that another Church (Y) or an Instrument of Communion (Z) claims to threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission, then X Church, Y Church and Z instrument shall engage in informal conversation, as an act of communion, to try to resolve the matter.

2.2. The Anglican Consultative Council shall be disqualified from making a claim under 2.1, on the basis that it may later make a decision as to the relinquishment on the force and meaning of the Covenant purpose under paragraph 8, but it shall not be disqualified from entering into informal conversation under 2.1.. 

 [ie 2.2 is about natural justice and keeps ACC in reserve for Paragraph 8]

3. The Principle of Consultation

3.1. If informal conversation fails in the view of X, Y or Z, or if X Church itself considers that an action or proposed action might threaten Communion unity and mission, then X Church must consult the Archbishop of Canterbury on the matter.

3.2. Within one month of being consulted, the Archbishop of Canterbury must either (a) seek to resolve the matter personally through pastoral guidance or (b) refer the matter to three Assessors, appointed as appropriate by the Archbishop.

3.3. If after one month of its issue, the pastoral guidance of the Archbishop is unsuccessful as determined by the Archbishop, the Archbishop shall as soon as practically possible refer the matter to the Assessors who shall act in accordance with Paragraph 3.4.

3.4. Having considered whether the matter involves a threat to the unity and mission of the Communion according to Article 3.2.5 of the Covenant, the Assessors shall recommend to the Archbishop, within one month of receiving the referral, one of the following routes:

 (a) if it is clear in the opinion of the Assessors that the matter involves a threat to the unity or mission of the Communion and that time may be of the essence, a request from the Archbishop of Canterbury;

 (b) if it is unclear in the opinion of the Assessors whether the matter involves a threat to the unity or mission of the Communion and time is of the essence, referral to another Instrument of Communion;

 (c) if it is unclear in the opinion of the Assessors whether the matter involves a threat to the unity or mission of the Communion, if time is not of the essence, and if the case would benefit from rigorous theological study, referral to a Commission for evaluation; or:

 (d) if it is clear that the matter does not involve a threat to the unity or mission of the Communion, mediation.

3.5. The Archbishop of Canterbury, having considered the Assessors` recommendation, and within one month if its receipt, shall either: (a) as an Instrument of Communion, issue a request to any Church involved; (b) refer the matter to another Instrument of Communion; (c) refer the matter to a Commission of the Communion for evaluation; or (d) send the matter for mediation.

4. Route 1: A Request of the Archbishop of Canterbury

4.1. When the Archbishop of Canterbury makes a request to a Church, that Church must within six months of receiving it (a) accept the request or (b) reject the request.  The absence of a response will be considered as a rejection.

4.2. If a Church rejects the request, that Church may within three months of rejecting the request appeal against it to the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates.  The Church may appeal when it considers that there has been no threat to the unity or mission of the Communion.

4.3. On appeal, and within three months, the Joint Standing Committee must decide whether there has been a threat to the unity or mission of the Communion.

4.4. If the appeal is successful, the Joint Standing Committee shall certify immediately that the matter is closed subject to Articles 3.2.1, 3.2.4 and 3.2.5b of the Covenant.

4.5. If the appeal is lost, the Archbishop shall submit the request, rejection and appeal decision to the Anglican Consultative Council which shall deal with the matter in accordance with Paragraph 8.

5. Route 2: A Referral to another Instrument of Communion

5.1. When the Archbishop of Canterbury refers the matter to another Instrument of Communion, that Instrument must within one year of receiving the referral decide whether there has been a threat to the unity or mission of the Communion.  Having considered the matter, the Instrument shall make a request to any Church involved.

5.2. A Church shall within six months of receiving the request either (a) accept the request or (b) reject the request. The absence of a response will be considered as a rejection.

5.3. If a Church accepts the request, the Instrument of Communion to which referral is made shall as soon as is convenient certify that the matter is closed subject to Articles 3.2.1, 3.2.4 and 3.2.5b of the Covenant.

5.4. If a Church rejects the request, the Instrument of Communion to which the referral is made shall at its next meeting submit the request and rejection to the Anglican Consultative Council which shall deal with the matter in accordance with Paragraph 8.

6. Route 3: An Evaluation by a Commission

6.1. When the Archbishop of Canterbury decides to refer the matter to a Commission in the Communion, he shall choose which Commission in consultation with the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion.

[NOTE: This is without prejudice to the entitlement of any other Instrument of Communion requesting the Archbishop to set up Commissions or to any other Instrument of Communion likewise setting up such Commissions.]

6.2. The Commission shall engage in study of the issues involved in the matter, bringing in expertise as needed, and shall evaluate the acceptability of the act or proposed act of any Church involved.

6.3. Within eighteen months of the referral, the Commission shall submit its evaluation to an Instrument of Communion other than the Anglican Consultative Council as determined by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Having considered the evaluation, the Instrument shall issue a request to any Church involved.

6.4. If a Church accepts the request, the Instrument of Communion to which the evaluation is submitted shall certify as soon as is convenient that the matter is closed subject to Articles 3.2.1, 3.2.4 and 3.2.5b of the Covenant.

6.5. If a Church rejects the request, the Instrument of Communion to which the evaluation is submitted shall send the request and rejection to the Anglican Consultative Council which shall process the matter in accordance with Paragraph 8.

7. Route 4: Mediation

7.1. When the Archbishop of Canterbury decides on mediation, the Assessors shall work with the parties to set up a mediation process.

7.2. The parties shall appoint an independent third party who shall assist the parties involved to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution of the points of disagreement.
7.3. The mediator shall participate actively in the mediation, offering suggestions for resolution, trying to reconcile opposing assertions, and appeasing feelings of resentment between the parties.

7.4. The mediator has no decision-making authority and cannot compel the parties to accept a settlement.

7.5. On each anniversary of the establishment of the mediation, the Assessors shall report on the process to the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Within three years of the establishment of the mediation, the Archbishop of Canterbury together with the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and Primates` Meeting shall certify the conclusion of the mediation process.

7.6. If a party refuses to enter mediation, it will be presumed to have threatened the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission, under Article 3.2.5 of the Covenant, and the matter shall be dealt with at the next meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in accordance with Paragraph 8.

8. Rejection of a Request from an Instrument of Communion

8.1. If a Church rejects a request of an Instrument of Communion, that Instrument shall send the request and rejection to the Anglican Consultative Council.

8.2. At its next meeting, the Council shall decide whether the rejection of the request is compatible with the Covenant.

8.3. If the Council decides that the rejection of the request is compatible with the Covenant, the matter is closed subject to Articles 3.2.1, 3.2.4 and 3.2.5b of the Covenant.

8.4. If the Council decides that the rejection is incompatible with the Covenant, then during the course of that meeting of the Council either (a) the Church involved may declare voluntarily that it relinquishes the force and meaning of the purposes of the Covenant, or (b) the Council shall resolve whether the Church involved may be understood to have relinquished the force and meaning of the purposes of the Covenant.

8.5. If a declaration or resolution of relinquishment is issued, the Anglican Consultative Council must as soon as is practicable initiate a process of restoration with the Church involved in consultation with all the Churches of the Communion and the other Instruments of Communion.