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Anglican Covenant - St. Andrews Draft
an attempt to reunite the Anglican Communion

[COMMENT:   The document comes in five parts.  See Contents below. 

This is an attempt to find a focus of unity in a disintegrating Anglican Communion.  The Anglican Communion grew with no plan, just meandering.  As the British Empire grew, the Church of England followed.  As the empire disintegrated, the local provinces of the Anglican Communion became autonomous entities, but connected to each other by a common loyalty to the Archbishop of Canterbury.  It was based on an English understanding of a "gentleman's agreement", which worked reasonably well until the invention of relative truth -- which meant that people could continue using the same language (as in the Bible, the 49 Articles, or the Book of Common Prayer), but mean entirely different things by it. 

The Anglican Communion began disintegrating theologically and morally, but the conservative, orthodox folks had no capacity, skill, or courage to preserve unity.  They kept offering token resistance to the disintegration, barking a bit, but then following right behind in the "new" way of doing things.  They never had an offensive strategy, always on the defense.

This problem has been the plague of all of Western Christendom, not just the Anglican Church, because we moderns have lost our capacity to explain how we know that we have the truth about anything. Few have an answer to relative truth.

That is a resolvable issue, but it will mean the rewriting of Biblical theology so that it can stand with intellectual, moral, and spiritual credibility.  (See The Narrow Gate section on A Quick Intro to Christian Apologetics.)   

The document appears to me to be a good start, preserving the autonomy of the individual provinces, i.e., not allowing any part of the Anglican Communion to dictate to any other part.  But there is a proposal which allows declaring a misbehaving province no longer in communion with the Anglican body.  It does so without interfering with the internal aspects of that province, allowing it to leave with its property, etc. 

That principle should be adopted by each province with respect to its dioceses and local parishes.  See Property Rights in the Episcopal Church.  E. Fox]


Part 1. History;   Part 2. Introduction;    Part 3. The Covenant;     Part 4. Commentary;     Part 5. Appendix on Resolution of Disagreements

Part 1.   History


An Anglican Covenant - St Andrew's Communique

The Covenant Design Group (CDG) held its second meeting at the Anglican Communion Offices, St. Andrew’s House, London, UK, between Monday, 28th January, and Saturday, 2nd February, 2008, under the chairmanship of the Most Revd Drexel Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies.

The main task of the group was to develop a second draft for the Anglican Covenant, as originally proposed in the Windsor Report 2004; an idea adopted by the Primates’ Meeting and the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates in their following meetings. At their meeting in January 2007, the CDG produced a first draft – the Nassau Draft - for such a covenant, which was received at the meeting of the Primates and the Joint Standing Committee in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in February of that year. This draft was subsequently sent to the Provinces, Churches and Commissions of the Anglican Communion for consultation, reflection and response.

At this meeting, the CDG reviewed the comments and submissions received and developed the new draft, which is now published. In addition to thirteen provincial responses, a large number of responses were received from commissions, organisations, dioceses and individuals from across the Communion. It is intended that these responses will be published in the near future on the Anglican Communion website. The CDG is grateful to all those who contributed their reflections for this meeting, and trust that they will find their contributions honoured in the revised text prepared.

The current draft – known at the St Andrew’s Draft – will now be offered for reflection in the Communion at large, and in particular by the Lambeth Conference, which has been convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury to meet in his see City of Canterbury, England, between 16th July and 3rd August of this year. The CDG hopes that bishops will study the present draft in their preparations for the Conference, consulting in their dioceses and sharing their reflections at the Conference.

The draft is accompanied by a number of supporting documents, including a brief commentary which outlines the thinking of the CDG on some of the issues considered, and which also gives responses to some of the specific suggestions and criticisms made to them. It also includes a tentative draft of a procedural appendix, the status of which is set out in the commentary.

Following the Lambeth Conference, the CDG will meet to review the progress on the development of the Covenant project within the Communion, and will submit a Covenant draft to the Provinces and ecumenical partners of the Communion for formal comment and response. It is the intention to produce definitive proposals for adoption in the Communion following that further round of consultation. Proposals for the process of consultation on, and reception of, the Covenant and its ultimate consideration by synodical process will be presented to the Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates at their meeting in March 2008.

The CDG is grateful to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who received the CDG at Lambeth Palace on Tuesday, 29th January, and to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey, who welcomed the group to Evensong later that day. The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion hosted a dinner for the group on the Thursday.

Because they have been unable to attend the meetings of the CDG, Ms Nomfundo Walaza of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and Ms Sriyangani Fernando of the Church of Ceylon have graciously resigned their membership of the CDG. The Archbishop of Canterbury has nominated Mrs Rubie Nottage (Church in the Province of the West Indies) to membership of the group. He further nominated Dr Eileen Scully (Anglican Church of Canada) to be a member of the group for the London meeting, and Professor Norman Doe (Church in Wales) as a consultant for that meeting.

The members present in the meeting in London were:

The Most Revd Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies, Chair
The Revd Dr Victor Atta-Baffoe, Anglican Church of West Africa
The Most Revd Dr John Chew, Primate of South East Asia
The Revd Dr A Katherine Grieb, The Episcopal Church (USA)
The Rt Revd Santosh Marray, Bishop of the Seychelles
The Most Revd Dr John Neill, Archbishop of Dublin
Chancellor Rubie Nottage, Church in the Province of the West Indies
Dr J Eileen Scully, Anglican Church of Canada
The Revd Dr Ephraim Radner, The Episcopal Church (USA)

The Revd Canon Gregory Cameron, Anglican Communion Office, Secretary
Professor Norman Doe, Cardiff University, Consultant
The Revd Canon Andrew Norman, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative

The Covenant Design Group will meet again later this year after the Lambeth Conference.

For further information, please contact:
Canon Gregory K Cameron
St Andrew’s House, London
+44 (0) 207 313 3900

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Part 2.  Introduction


Introduction to the Anglican Covenant (St Andrew's Draft)

"This life is revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us – we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have communion with us; anf truly our communion is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ" (I John 1.2-3)

God has called us into communion in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:9). This communion has been "revealed to us" by the Son as being the very divine life of God the Trinity. What is the life revealed to us? St John makes it clear that the communion of life in the Church reflects the communion which is the divine life itself, the life of the Trinity. This life is not a reality remote from us, but one that has been "seen" and "testified to" by the Apostles and their followers: "for in the communion of the Church we share in the divine life" (The Church and the Triune God[1], par. 1-2). This life of the One God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shapes and displays itself through the very existence and ordering of the Church.

Our divine calling into communion is established in God’s purposes for the whole of creation (Eph. 1:10; 3:9ff.). It is extended to all humankind, so that, in our sharing of God’s life as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God might restore in us his own image. Through time, according to the Scriptures, God has furthered this calling through covenants made with Noah, Abraham, Israel, and David. The prophet Jeremiah looked forward to a new covenant not written on tablets of stone but upon the heart (Jer.31.31-34) In God’s Son Christ Jesus, a new covenant is given us, established in his "blood … poured out for the many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt. 26:28), secured through his resurrection from the dead (Eph. 1:19-23), and sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit poured into our hearts (Rom. 5:5). Into this covenant of death to sin and of new life in Christ we are baptized, and empowered to share God’s communion in Christ with all people, to the very ends of the earth and of creation.

We humbly recognize that this calling and gift of communion entails responsibilities for our common life before God as we seek, through his grace, to be faithful in our service of his purposes for the world. Joined to one universal Body, who is Christ the Lord, spread throughout the earth, we serve his Gospel even as we are enabled to be made one across the dividing walls of human sin and estrangement (Eph. 2:22-12). The forms of this life in the Church, caught up in the mystery of divine communion, reveal to the hostile and divisive power of the world the "manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:9-10): faithfulness, honesty, gentleness, humility, patience, forgiveness, and love itself, lived out among the Chu rch’s people and through its ministries, contribute to building up the body of Christ as it grows to maturity (Eph. 4:1-16; Col. 3:8-17). (See The Windsor Rep ort, par. 2).

In the providence of God, which holds sway even over our divisions caused by sin, various families of churches have grown up within the universal Church in the course of history. Among these families is the Anglican Communion, which provides us a special charism and identity among the many followers and servants of Jesus. Recognizing the wonder, beauty and challenge of maintaining communion in this family of churches, and the need for mutual commitment and discipline as a witness to God’s promise in a world and time of instability, conflict, and fragmentation, we covenant together as churches of this Anglican Communion to be faithful to God’s promises through the historic faith we confess, the way we live together and the focus of our mission.

To covenant together is not intended to change the character of this Anglican expression of Christian faith. Rather, we recognise the importance of renewing our commitment to one another, and our common understanding of the faith as we have received it in a solemn way, so that the "bonds of affection" which hold us together may be affirmed. We do this in order to reflect in our relations with one another God’s own faithfulness in his promises towards us in Christ. (2 Cor 1.20-22)

We are a people who live, learn, and pray by and with the Scriptures as God’s Word. We seek to adore God in thanks and praise and to make intercession for the needs of people everywhere through a common voice, made one across cultures and languages. We are privileged to share in the mission of the apostles to bring the Gospel of Christ to all nations and peoples, not in word only but in deeds of compassion and justice that witness to God’s character and the triumph of Christ over sin and death. We give ourselves as servants of a greater unity among the divided Christians of the world. May the Lord help us to "preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake" (2 Cor. 4:5).

Our faith embodies a coherent testimony to what we have received from God’s Word and the Church’s long-standing witness; our life together reflects the blessings of God in growing our Communion into a truly global family; and the mission we pursue aims at serving the great promises of God in Christ that embrace the world and its peoples, carried out in shared responsibility and stewardship of resources, and in interdependence among ourselves and with the wider Church.

Our prayer is that God will redeem our struggles and weakness, and renew and enrich our common life so that the Anglican Communion may be used to witness effectively in all the world, working with all Christians of good will , to the new life and hope found in Christ Jesus.

1. The Cyprus Statement of the International Commission for Anglican Orthodox Theological Dialogue, 2007.

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Part 3.  The Covenant - St. Andrews Draft


An Anglican Covenant - St Andrew's Draft Text

The St Andrew's Documents are also avalable as a PDF document


We, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, solemnly covenant together in these following affirmations and commitments. As people of God, drawn from "every nation, tribe, people and language"[1], we do this in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the Grace of God revealed in the gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and together with all God’s people to grow up together to the full stature of Christ.

Section One: Our Inheritance of Faith

1.1 Each Church of the Communion affirms:

(1.1.1) its communion in the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit[2];

(1.1.2) that, reliant on the Holy Spirit, it professes the faith which is uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as containing all things necessary for salvation and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith[3], and which is set forth in the catholic creeds, and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England[4] bear significant witness, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation[5];

(1.1.3) that it holds and duly administers the two sacraments ordained by Christ himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with the unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution, and of the elements ordained by him[6];

(1.1.4) that it upholds the historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church[7];

(1.1.5) that our shared patterns of common prayer and liturgy form, sustain and nourish our worship of God and our faith and life together;

(1.1.6) that it participates in the apostolic mission of the whole people of God, and that this mission is shared with other Churches and traditions beyond this Covenant.

1.2 In living out this inheritance of faith together in varying contexts, each Church of the Communion commits itself:

(1.2.1) to uphold and act in continuity and consonance with Scripture and the catholic and apostolic faith, order and tradition;

(1.2.2) to uphold and proclaim a pattern of Christian theological and moral reasoning and discipline that is rooted in and answerable to the teaching of Holy Scripture and the catholic tradition and that reflects the renewal of humanity and the whole created order through the death and resurrection of Christ and the holiness that in consequence God gives to, and requires from, his people;

(1.2.3) to seek in all things to uphold the solemn obligation to sustain Eucharistic communion, in accordance with existing canonical disciplines as we strive under God for the fuller realisation of the Communion of all Christians;

(1.2.4) to ensure that biblical texts are handled faithfully, respectfully, comprehensively and coherently, primarily through the teaching and initiative of bishops and synods, and building on habits and disciplines of Bible study across the Church and on rigorous scholarship, believing that scriptural revelation continues to illuminate and transform individuals, cultures and societies;

(1.2.5) nurture and respond to prophetic and faithful leadership in ministry and mission to equip God’s people to be courageous witnesses to the power of the Gospel in the world.

(1.2.6) pursue a common pilgrimage with other Churches of the Communion to discern the Truth, that peoples from all nations may truly be set free to receive the new and abundant life in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Section Two: The Life We Share with Others: Our Anglican Vocation

2.1 Each Church of the Communion affirms:

(2.1.1) that communion is a gift of God: that His people from east and west, north and south, may together declare his glory and be a sign of God’s Reign. We gratefully acknowledge God’s gracious providence extended to us down the ages, our origins in the Church of the Apostles, the ancient common traditions, the rich history of the Church in Britain and Ireland shaped by the Reformation, and our growth into a global communion through the expanding missionary work of the Church.

(2.1.2) the ongoing mission work of the Communion. As the Communion continues to develop into a worldwide family of interdependent churches, we embrace challenges and opportunities for mission at local, regional, and international levels. In this, we cherish our faith and mission heritage as offering Anglicans distinctive opportunities for mission collaboration.

(2.1.3) that our common mission is a mission shared with other churches and traditions beyond this covenant. We embrace opportunities for the discovery of the life of the whole gospel and for reconciliation and shared mission with the Church throughout the world. It is with all the saints that we will comprehend the fuller dimensions of Christ’s redemptive and immeasurable love.

2.2 In recognition of these affirmations,each Church of the Communion commits itself:

(2.2.1) to answer God’s call to evangelisation and to share in his healing and reconciling mission for our blessed but broken, hurting and fallen world, and, with mutual accountability, to share our God-given spiritual and material resources in this task.

(2.2.2) In this mission, which is the Mission of Christ[8], each Church undertakes:

(2.2.2.a) to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God;

(2.2.2.b) to teach, baptize and nurture new believers;

(2.2.2.c) to respond to human need by loving service;

(2.2.2.d) to seek to transform unjust structures of society; and

(2.2.2.e) to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth.

Section Three: Our Unity and Common Life

3.1 Each Church of the Communion affirms:

(3.1.1) that by our participation in Baptism and Eucharist, we are incorporated into the one body of the Church of Jesus Christ, and called by Christ to pursue all things that make for peace and build up our common life;

(3.1.2) its resolve to live in a Communion of Churches. Each Church, episcopally led and synodically governed, orders and regulates its own affairs and its local responsibility for mission through its own system of government and law and is therefore described as autonomous-in-communion[9]. Churches of the Anglican Communion are not bound together by a central legislative, executive or judicial authority. Trusting in the Holy Spirit, who calls and enables us to live in mutual affection, commitment and service, we seek to affirm our common life through those Instruments of Communion by which our Churches are enabled to develop a common mind;

(3.1.3) the central role of bishops as guardians and teachers of faith, leaders in mission, and as a visible sign of unity, representing the universal Church to the local, and the local Church to the universal. This ministry is exercised personally, collegially and within and for the eucharistic community. We receive and maintain the historic threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, ordained for service in the Church of God, as they call all the baptised into the mission of Christ;

(3.1.4) the importance of instruments in the Anglican Communion to assist in the discernment, articulation and exercise of our shared faith and common life and mission. In addition to the many and varied links which sustain our life together, we acknowledge four particular Instruments which co-operate in the service of Communion:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, with whose See Anglicans have historically been in communion, is accorded a primacy of honour and respect as first amongst equals (primus inter pares). As a focus and means of unity, he gathers the Lambeth Conference and Primates’ Meeting, and presides in the Anglican Consultative Council;

The Lambeth Conference, expressing episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and serves as an instrument in guarding the faith and unity of the Communion and equipping the saints for the work of ministry and mission[10];

The Anglican Consultative Council is comprised of laity, clergy and bishops representative of our Provincial synods. It facilitates the co-operative work of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, co-ordinates aspects of international Anglican ecumenical and mission work, calls the Churches into mutual responsibility and interdependence, and advises on developing provincial structures[11];

The Primates’ Meeting is called by the Archbishop of Canterbury for mutual support, prayer and counsel. The Primates and Moderators are called to work as representative of their Provinces in collaboration with one another in mission and in doctrinal, moral and pastoral matters that have communion-wide implications.

3.2 Acknowledging our interdependent life, each Church of the Communion commits itself:

(3.2.1) to have regard to the common good of the Communion in the exercise of its autonomy, and to support the work of the Instruments of Communion with the spiritual and material resources available to it;

(3.2.2) to respect the constitutional autonomy of all of the Churches of the Anglican Communion, while upholding the interdependent life and mutual responsibility of the Churches, and the responsibility of each to the Communion as a whole[12];

(3.2.3) to spend time with openness and patience in matters of theological debate and reflection to listen, pray and study with one another in order to discern the will of God. Such prayer, study and debate is an essential feature of the life of the Church as its seeks to be led by the Spirit into all truth and to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation. Some issues, which are perceived as controversial or new when they arise, may well evoke a deeper understanding of the implications of God’s revelation to us; others may prove to be distractions or even obstacles to the faith: all therefore need to be tested by shared discernment in the life of the Church.

(3.2.4) to seek with other Churches, through the Communion’s shared councils, a common mind about matters understood to be of essential concern, consistent with the Scriptures, common standards of faith, and the canon law of our churches.

-173(3.2.5) to act with diligence, care and caution in respect to actions, either proposed or enacted, at a provincial or local level, which, in its own view or the expressed view of any Province or in the view of any one of the Instruments of Communion, are deemed to threaten the unity of the Communion and the effectiveness or credibility of its mission, and to consent to the following principles and procedural elements:

(3.2.5.a) to undertake wide consultation with the other churches of the Anglican Communion and with the Instruments and Commissions of the Communion;

(3.2.5.b) to accept the legitimacy of processes for communion-wide evaluation which any of the Instruments of Communion may commission, according to such procedures as are appended to this covenant;

(3.2.5.c) to be ready to participate in mediated conversation between parties, which may be in conflict, according to such procedures as are appended to this covenant;

(3.2.5.d) to be willing to receive from the Instruments of Communion a request to adopt a particular course of action in respect of the matter under dispute. While the Instruments of Communion have no legislative, executive or judicial authority in our Provinces, except where provided in their own laws, we recognise them as those bodies by which our common life in Christ is articulated and sustained, and which therefore carry a moral authority which commands our respect.

(3.2.5.e) Any such request would not be binding on a Church unless recognised as such by that Church. However, commitment to this covenant entails an acknowledgement that in the most extreme circumstances, where a Church chooses not to adopt the request of the Instruments of Communion, that decision may be understood by the Church itself, or by the resolution of the Instruments of Communion, as a relinquishment by that Church of the force and meaning of the covenant’s purpose, until they re-establish their covenant relationship with other member Churches.

(3.2.6) to have in mind that our bonds of affection and the love of Christ compel us always to seek the highest possible degree of communion.

Our Declaration

With joy and with firm resolve, we declare our Churches to be partakers in this Anglican Covenant, offering ourselves for fruitful service and binding ourselves more closely in the truth andlove of Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory for ever. Amen.

"Now may the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13.20, 21)


1. Revelation 7.9

2. Cf. The Preface to the Declaration of Assent, Canon C15 of the Church of England.

3. Cf. The Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888

4. The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons

5. Cf. The Preface to the Declaration of Assent, Canon C15 of the Church of England.

6. cf. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886/1888, The Preface to the Declaration of Assent, Canon C15 of the Church of England.

7. Cf. The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886/1888

8. Cf. The five Marks of Mission as set out in the MISSIO Report of 1999, building on work at ACC-6 and ACC-8.

9. The Windsor Report, paragraph 76

10. Ephesians 4.12

11. cf. the Objects of the ACC are set out in Article 2 of its Constitution.

12. cf. the Schedule to the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of the Primates’ Meeting, February 2007

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Part 4.  Commentary on St. Andrews Draft of Covenant


An Anglican Covenant - Commentary to the St Andrew's Draft

General Comments

The Covenant Design Group (CDG) received formal responses to the 2007 Draft Covenant from thirteen (13) Provinces. The Group were hopeful that the lack of formal discursive responses from other Provinces does not necessarily signal disapproval. The CDG is cognisant of mitigating factors (such as the lack of translations of the text available, other foci in the local lives of Provinces and lack of consultative resources, etc.). Of the formal responses we did receive, all signalled a willingness to move forward, despite various questions and concerns, and a clear mandate was given to this meeting of the CDG.

Originally, the 2007 Nassau draft cited a number of Biblical passages without showing clearly their relationship to the text of the covenant. Many Provincial Responses therefore questioned the scriptural references contained in the draft. The St. Andrew’s draft takes a different approach, showing its biblical framework primarily in the introduction and conclusion, and referencing scriptural passages throughout the draft. This present draft intentionally uses biblical language wherever possible and is rooted in Scripture, through phraseology, direct quotation in the text, through some explicit engagement with Scriptural passages in certain parts of the text (e.g. the Introduction) and through discussion and indication of the Scriptural base and soil of the Covenant.

Several comments pointed to the confusing numbering and divisions of the Nassau Draft. We have sought to make this clearer. Now, the Covenant is broadly divided into three main sections, offering first affirmations and then commitment dealing with shared faith, mission, and the maintenance of communion.

The Covenant Design Group noted that in some of the responses both the idea of covenant and the usefulness of the term "covenant" were questioned, both in terms of its use in the Old Testament and its historic connotations in some parts of the Anglican Communion. The idea of a covenant was first suggested in the Windsor Report and a sample covenant was put forward in Appendix 2 of that document. Subsequently, the desirability of a covenant has been reaffirmed by 3 out of the 4 Instruments of Communion.

As to the term "covenant", the CDG discussed other suggested alternatives such as "concordat" or "common declaration," each of which has its own difficulties, and finally returned to "covenant" as the best descriptor of the task ahead of us. Almost all of the responses received expressed a readiness to work with the idea of covenant.

The CDG was unanimous in believing that we cannot abandon the word and concept of ‘covenant’, and for several reasons: theologically, we believe that it is correct to say that covenant emerges out of communion, and also ‘serves’ communion, both in terms of God’s relations to us, but just as importantly in our mutual relations as reflective of God’s life that we share. It is related, in a concrete way, to the expression of ‘bonds of affection’ in their pneumatic, relational and responsible power. The distinction between ‘covenant’ and other possible concepts (‘concordat’, ‘compact’, etc.) is quite clear in these respects. Finally, the term now has an accepted currency within the Communion that commends its common usage.

We noted the historical use of ‘the bonds of affection’ and asked ourselves: What is the bare minimum of infrastructure that the communion needs? At a time of fragmentation, a covenant is a basis for mutual trust and reduced anxiety. Habits of civility and mutuality of respect have taken us a long way in the past. We are now in a place where our structures must provide a framework for the context of our belief.

Some have asked about the proposed covenant: What difference does it make in the life of the Communion? Does it simply make explicit what is already implicit, or is it a device for achieving something else? Some responses raised questions about the rationale for the Covenant: "what positive difference will it make?" Is it just about "conflict management" or discipline, so that the final section is the "real reason" for the Covenant? Questions have also been raised around the Communion as to why the Lambeth Quadrilateral is not enough. The present concern is to achieve sufficient accountability among Provinces to be able to work more corporately. That will mean creating some structures. The proposed draft Covenant is our answer to all of these questions.

We have sought to emphasize more obviously the missionary element constitutive to our valuing of unity. Finally, we also believe that our revisions in the final sections provide some greater clarity about what is at stake – a way of life "in communion" that is faithful to the form of our Gospel vocation.

We have sought, through the use of phraseology borrowed from the recent Anglican-Orthodox Cyprus Agreed Statement[1], to be faithful in describing the relationship of the Anglican Communion to the Universal Church. At the same time, despite the desires of some that the Covenant provide a more definitive statement of Anglican ecclesiology, we recognized the still-open-ended character of this task, and sought not to pre-empt its fruit and conclusion by too precise formulations in this way.

A key question which the group addressed was "Is the Draft ecclesiologically coherent?" Is, for instance, the final section at odds with previous affirmations regarding interdependence? We have reflected seriously on this matter, and believe that the character of ecclesial communion does not submerge the responsible choices that local churches must engage in order to be faithful to their calling by and under Christ. A model which empowers the Churches of the Anglican Communion to speak to one another and inform each others life, while respecting provincial autonomy does indeed embody the kind of "autonomy-in-communion" that informs the Draft.

The Introduction

Several comments expressed a desire for greater theological breadth in the Introduction, that might better reflect the relation between Trinity and communion, the forms of ecclesial life this represents, and the place of the Anglican Communion in particular within this reality. The section was expanded in this direction and has now sought to offer a fuller theological rationale.

The Preamble

The Preamble uses the form, "the Churches of the Anglican Communion". These are the churches recognised in the Schedule of Membership of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC). At present they consist of 34 national or regional Provinces, the 4 United Churches of Sout h Asia and 6 extra-provincial churches, dioceses or, in one case, a parish, duly recognised by ACC procedures.

Section One: Our Inheritance of Faith

Clause 1.1.1

Some responses wondered if the first section on the "One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church" should be framed in terms of "recognition" relating to other Churches’ membership within it. We decided that, in this Covenant, the signatories needed to affirm their own self-understanding, and not their view of other churches, and therefore the covenant itself must be limited to simple affirmation.

The unity of the universal Church is the communion in faith, truth, love and common sacramental life of the several local churches. The catholic Church exists in each local church; and each local church is identified with the whole, expresses the whole and cannot exist apart from the whole.

Clause 1.1.2

Some Provinces do not formally recognise the 39 Articles within their canons and constitutions. We, however, accepted one suggestion that the realities of Scripture, Creed, and formularies be more closely linked, but in a way that did not transgress the particular canonical and historical diversity of Anglican churches with respect to the last element.

Clause 1.1.3

Some responses questioned whether the Covenant unduly limits the sacramental life of the Anglican churches to only two sacraments (Baptism and Eucharist). There are some different views held among Anglican churches regarding e.g. the "number of sacraments" and their meaning. This statement in clause 1.1.3 is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of sacramental theology or to resolve questions about the nature or number of the sacraments. The CDG decided, therefore, to stick to the express wording the Lambeth Quadrilateral in this respect, as articulating "constitutive" elements of the Church, without seeking to define further other sacramental realities.

Clause 1.1.4

The group have now incorporated (as several submissions suggested) all four elements of the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral in this opening section.

Clause 1.1.5

The group have added a clause referring to the importance of Common Prayer as one of the defining characteristics of Anglicanism and of our common bonds.

Clause 1.2.2

One of the questions addressed to the Design Group was "Where in the Covenant does the lively and responsible role of human reason, so consistently important to Anglican practice, find a substantive mention?" Taking up one suggestion, the active and disciplined use of reason in theological and moral decision-making, bound to Scriptural authority, was used to replace a previous paragraph (3.3).

Clause 1.2.3

The CDG accepted that there is an obligation to work to sustain Eucharistic communion even where there is conscientious objection.

Section Two: The Life We Share with Others: Our Anglican Vocation

Clause 2.1.3

The ecumenical dimensions of Anglican witness and mission are expressed more explicitly both here and in 1.1.6.

Clause 2.2.2

There was some discussion about the adequacy of the stated "Five Marks of Mission" and several attractive suggestions were received with respect to enlarging the outline. However, because these five marks have already emerged from inter-Anglican discussion and been given a real measure of reception around the Communion, this is one of several places where the CDG elected to honour the wording of the original text, in this case that of the MISSIO Report of 1999.

In spite of our own questions about the sufficiency of the list and ACC-8’s own questions about that sufficiency, we agreed to maintain this enumeration, cognizant (along with the original commission that proposed them) that they may not yet fully represent the summary shape of our missionary commitments. At the same time, we have tried to indicate the missionary essence of a range of elements dealt with in other sections. It remains an open question as to whether the commissions would want us to suggest revisions of their language that may occur to us?

Section Three: Our Unity and Common Life

Clause 3.1.3: The central role of bishops as a visible sign of unity was recognised in The Windsor Report (para. 64) where it was stated that, "Bishops represent the local to the universal and the universal to the local". We note the significance of the Episcopal office for the Communion of the Church as set out in Appendix Two of the Report of the Inter Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission (IATDC), "The Anglican Way: The Significance of the Episcopal Office for the Communion of the Church"[2].

Clause 3.1.4: There are many and varied links which sustain our life together include: The Anglican Cycle of Prayer, the various commissions, the Mothers’ Union, companion dioceses and parish relationships, mission agencies and networks.

Some comments indicated that the Covenant was somehow "canonizing" four instruments of Communion that have evolved in a somewhat haphazard way. We have therefore amended the text to allow both for the evolution of the Instruments, and to acknowledge the existence of other informal instruments and links.

While the Covenant does not preclude or even seek to limit the possible development of these and other Instruments, we nonetheless believe that the Instruments as now working represent a special means of faithfully maintaining our common life, and ones that need to remain at the centre of our common commitments. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s place within this grouping is maintained, even while his character as a "focus" – according to the redefinition adopted from the Windsor Report by ACC-13 – is acknowledged. The Archbishop of Canterbury exercises his ministry collegially with his brother Primates.

The order of listing the Four Instruments has been changed to follow their more formal chronological development. Their ministries have been described according to various Communion documents including, in the case of the ACC, its formal constitution.

The history of the Primates’ Meeting is set out in Paragraph 104 of The Windsor Report which states that its purpose was "to initiate consideration of the way to relate together the international conferences, councils, and meetings within the Anglican Communion, so that the Anglican Communion may best serve God within the context of one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church." It is noted that in Appendix 1(5) of the Windsor Report it was suggested that the Primates’ Meeting serve as a standing committee of the Lambeth Conference, but since this has not been received by the larger church, the Covenant Design Group decided not to include it in our description.

The Commitments in 3.2

This was the most contentious section of the Nassau draft, and the one which therefore required our greatest attention, and which has been considerably rewritten. In articulating a model for interdependent life, we have tried to be faithful to a few models developed in the Windsor Report. The section therefore begins with a commitment to a common life would also respects the proper autonomy of our Churches.

Clause 3.2.2

This statement of the autonomy of the Provinces is taken from that written by the primates in their meeting at Dar es Salaam, " directly from the schedule to their communique from that meeting.

Clause 3.2.5

Many commentators on the Nassau draft did not like the pattern of consultation as proposed in the draft, which placed the Primates Meeting in a significant co-ordinating position. The St Andrew’s Draft limits the commitments made by the Churches to ones of care and receptivity with respect to Communion relations. It is open to any Province or the instruments of Communion all indeed the national or regional Church itself to identify matters which threaten "the unity of the Communion" or " the effectiveness or credibility of its mission", and which therefore invoke a higher duty of care. The clause sets out four elements to that duty of care: consultation (3.2.5.a), Communion wide evaluation (3.2.5.b), mediation (3.2.5.c) and a readiness to consider a request on the controversial matter from the Instruments of Communion (3.2.5.d). The draft stresses that there is no intention to erect a centralised jurisdiction and that the Instruments of Communion cannot dictate with juridical force on the internal affairs of any Province. However, since Communion is founded on the mutual recognition that each Church sees in the other of our Communion in Christ, we recognize that it cannot be sustained in extreme circumstances where a Church or Province were to act in a way which rejects the interdependence of the Communion's life.

We recognize that the Communion may well require more detailed procedures which offer a way in which these principles and procedural elements may be lived out in its life. The group therefore attaches to the St Andrew's Draft a tentative draft for the possible shape of such procedures might take. This procedural appendix will need much scrutiny and careful analysis. The CDG particularly welcomes comments and response on this appendix, while at recognizing its provisional nature in the St Andrew's Draft. It is important to note however that the elements set out in clause 3.2.5 not intended to form a sequential process, but to be elements which can all be active and present at any stage in the process of common discernment and reconciliation.

Clause 3.2.6

The commitments close with the renewal of the commitment to seek to live into the fullness of Communion into which we are called by our Lord.


1. The Church of the Triune God, the Cyprus Agreed Statement of the International Commission for Anglican Orthodox Theological Dialogue, ACO, London, January 2007

2. The Report, Communion, Conflict and Hope, is to be published by ACO later this year.

Page 4 of 5

Note -


Part 5.  Appendix on Resolution of Disagreements


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 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 receiving 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.

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