The Rt. Rev. Dr. John Saxbee and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Peter Selby have been appointed the first episcopal patrons of the international No Anglican Covenant Coalition, whose slogan is “Anglicans for Comprehensive Unity.”
“The Anglican Communion doesn’t need a covenant because Anglicanism is a covenant, predicated on grace and goodwill,” Saxbee said in a news release from the coalition. “If there is grace and goodwill, a covenant is unnecessary. If there is no grace or goodwill, a covenant will be unavailing.” Saxbee served as bishop of Lincoln until January of this year.
Selby, bishop of Worcester from 1997 to 2007, has supported the coalition since its launch last November. “This proposed covenant is not the solution to the tensions in the Anglican Communion,” he said in the release. “It will inevitably create a litigious communion where every serious disagreement will become a possible occasion to seek a province’s exclusion.”
Added the Rev. Dr. Lesley Fellows, moderator of the coalition, “More and more questions are being raised about the potential pitfalls of the proposed Anglican Covenant. We have consistently seen that support for the covenant tends to collapse in the face of full and fair discussion and analysis.”
Fellows noted the two bishops are well respected in the Church of England and throughout the Anglican Communion. “We expect that their views on the covenant will persuade many more people to take a harder look at the risks inherent in this radical proposal.”
The coalition’s Canadian convener is the Rev. Malcolm French, the incumbent of St. James the Apostle Anglican Church in Regina.