General Synod 2016 will not be asked to vote for or against adopting the proposed Anglican Covenant when it meets this July. Instead, a draft motion directs Council of General Synod (CoGS) to “continue to monitor developments related to the Anglican Covenant.”
The covenant is a statement of principles intended to heal relationships among the provinces of the Anglican Communion said to have been damaged by deep divisions over human sexuality. In 2010, General Synod directed CoGS to bring a recommendation on adopting the covenant to General Synod 2013. But in 2013, the recommendation was put back; a group, the Anglican Communion Relations Advisory Council (ACRAC), was tasked to “monitor continued developments” around the covenant and report to the spring 2016 meeting of CoGS. For its part, CoGS was again instructed to put a recommendation on the covenant before the next General Synod in 2016.
But at this March’s meeting of CoGS, ACRAC told CoGS it had found there was no “common mind” in the Anglican Church of Canada about adopting or rejecting the covenant, and so recommended a motion that does not ask General Synod to reject or accept the covenant.
The motion also “acknowledges that the Anglican Covenant process has had the positive effect of leading many to think deeply about the nature of Anglican ecclesiology and the nature of inter-Anglican relationships.”
It also asks General Synod to commit the Anglican Church of Canada to take part fully in the Instruments of Communion and other Anglican Communion initiatives.