A British commentator made this observation in an online discussion about the proposed Anglican Covenant:
…it would first have to be passed by General Synod and I am not prepared to assume that it would get over that hurdle. Unless the Covenant is fairly anodyne I would expect it to have a difficult passage in Synod.
The author then went on to point out that should the Covenant pass the Church of England Synod, it would then have to be adopted by the British Parliament as well. (The same Parliament which has required the Church of England to recognize and support same-gender unions in Great Britain.)
I think this note focuses on a key aspect that’s going to have to be true of any convenant designed by the appointed committee… the covenant is only useful if it is able to be adopted.
The comment is correct – unless the covenant is fairly mild in its language and intentionally irenic in intent – there’s little chance that a broad majority of the Provinces of the Communion will adopt it. I’m sure that the design team for the potential Covenant has already figured this out as well and is fully aware of how difficult this whole process is going to be if it’s to be successful.
According to what I’ve seen posted on blogs from both sides of the debate within the Episcopal Church, there’s roughly equal frustration on both sides with the people included on the design team. Reasserter blogs that have done a quick nose count see roughly equal numbers of reasserter, reappraiser and un-predictable votes among those named. This has apparently caused a number of the more phlegmatic voices on the reasserter side to reject the Covenant from the get-go.
For what it’s worth, I’m comfortable with letting the process play itself out.
I want to serve and worship in a Church that is truly catholic in its breadth. The design team seems as good a place as any to expect a formulary which expresses that desire to emerge. And given the political reality, any overly restrictive or burdensome language won’t be received. I’m very interested to see if God can lead us as body to a place where we can make a realistic and fair covenant with each other.
As a matter of fact I’m praying for it.