Anglican Covenant Design Group meets in London

The Anglican Covenant Design Group is in London this week to review responses to the draft Covenant and fashion steps towards a final document.

The Covenant was first proposed in the 2004 Windsor Report as a means of rebuilding trust and cooperation between the churches in the Anglican Communion after relations became strained over a number of contentious issues, most notably homosexuality.

The 70 million-strong Anglican Communion has been in consultation on the draft Covenant since it was presented by the Covenant Design Group at the Primates Meeting at Dar es Salaam in February 2007.

Responses have been mixed. The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Rev Dr Barry Morgan, warned that the Covenant could end up excluding those who do not conform to its beliefs, while the Primate of All Ireland, the Most Rev Alan Harper, said that unless the Covenant were "open and generous and broad" it may be a "further means of obstruction" to unity.

The Church of England General Synod affirmed its commitment to the process of drafting an Anglican Covenant last July. In his Advent letter last December, the Archbishop of Canterbury said, "Not everyone carrying the name of Anglican can claim to speak authentically for the identity we share as a global fellowship. I continue to hope that the discussion of the Covenant before, during and beyond Lambeth will give us a positive rallying-point."

Canon Gregory Cameron of the Anglican Communion Office, Secretary of the Covenant Design Group said on Wednesday, "The focus of this week's meeting is to examine responses to the draft Covenant from the provinces and to prepare a subsequent text to move the process forward to the Lambeth Conference and beyond."

The group is chaired by the Archbishop of the West Indies, the Most Rev Drexel Gomez, and Provinces represented on the Covenant Design Group include Wales, Southeast Asia, Indian Ocean, USA, Canada, West Africa, Southern Africa, West Indies, England, as well as the Diocese of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Anglican Communion and
Lambeth Palace staff.