If you are agreeable to what I say thus far, you might recognise with me that our General Synod might be open to a way forward other than a straight out acceptance or rejection of the Covenant. That is, if on the floor of General Synod a motion is proposed which is not a straight up and down for or against the Covenant motion, then the result, at this point in time, is less predictable than for a motion asking for acceptance of the Covenant. Alongside that I also wonder where Australia will head on the Covenant, knowing very little about what is going on there, other than knowing that there is a conservatism in Australia somewhat unknown to us Anglicans in ACANZP in which the whole church seems able to arrive at some positions we cannot envision here, and I wonder if one such position is support for the Covenant to some degree or another. So, to get to the point of this post:
I wonder if we might find ourselves here in Down Under Anglicanism following the lead of the Anglican Church in Wales, as reported last week, as giving an amber light to the Covenant. A classic and somewhat enticing Anglican fudge, but nevertheless a way forward for those who have genuine concerns about the Covenant while also having a deep commitment to the Communion not unravelling further than it has done.
As reported on Thinking Anglicans, the 'amber light' approach is this:
"i) affirm the commitment of the Church in Wales to the life of the Anglican Communion;I cannot see anything at all in clauses 1, 3, and 4 which would be disagreeable to any of the episcopal units of our church (ditto Australia). I see in clause 2 something likely agreeable because it neither accepts nor rejects the Covenant and because it contains a hint of the final version of the Covenant being not quite as final as has been put to us thus far. To the extent that objections to the Covenant have been objections to specific aspects of the Covenant, "any ongoing process of consideration" keeps open the door on the possibility of those objections being met. (I am well aware that there are other objections to the Covenant which involve rejecting the Covenant full-stop, whether as an unAnglican things to do, or as a complete waste of time re dealing with current difficulties. Such objections are not met by the Welsh resolution).
ii) Affirm its readiness to engage with any ongoing process of consideration of the Anglican Communion Covenant;
iii) Request clarification from the 15th meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council as to the status and direction of the Covenant process in the light of the position of the Church of England;
iv) Urge upon the Instruments of Communion a course of action which continues to see reconciliation and the preservation of the Communion as a family of interdependent but autonomous Churches."
In our church we have a particular reason for embracing the amber light approach: ACC is being held in Auckland in late October/early November, and I think it fair and reasonable if our ACC-minded folk (including our episcopal, clerical and lay reps) would feel more comfortable going into that meeting having not rejected the Covenant outright. Thus I go so far here as to say that I expect some exertion in our General Synod towards an amber light resolution re the Covenant. Working on a hint already received from beyond my own diocese, I predict that those supporting the Covenant at General Synod (but knowing the Covenant is unlikely to pass there) would vote for an amber light motion. The question would be whether the reps from the episcopal units which have voted against the Covenant feel they could reflect those decisions and the debates preceding them by voting for an amber light motion.
Whether Australia might be more explicit in its support for the Covenant is always possible, but knowing a little of the variety of forces at work in that church, I can imagine Australia also going for the amber light.
At that point the remainder of Western Anglicanism might fall like dominoes towards the ongoing consideration of the Covenant. Even by October/November this year it might seem obvious to the ACC that the Covenant's future lies in a revision of the formerly final version.