Two more provinces affirm Anglican Covenant

The Church of the Province of South East Asia and the Church of Ireland have affirmed the Anglican Covenant. On May 13 the Church of Ireland’s General Synod voted to “subscribe” to the covenant and on May 8, South East Asia issued a letter of accession.

The Church of Ireland, in its press release announcing the decision, noted that the General Synod chose the word “subscribe” over “adopt.”

“Subscribing the Covenant is an indication that the Church of Ireland has put its collective name to and aligned with it,” read the statement. “The Covenant sits under the Preamble and Declaration of the Church and does not affect the sovereignty of the Church of Ireland or mean any change in doctrine.”

South East Asia issued its letter of accession with a statement detailing the historical background and the theological and ecclesiological rationale that informed the decision.

The Anglican Covenant attempts to define relations among the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion. Members of the Communion are discerning how they can stay together in light of current stresses over scriptural interpretation and human sexuality. The covenant was first proposed in the 2004 Windsor Report.

Three other provinces have already adopted the Anglican Covenant: the Anglican Church of Mexico, the Anglican Church in the West Indies, and the Church of the Province of Myanmar.

The Anglican Church of Canada is currently discerning its own response to the Anglican Covenant. An Anglican Communion Working Group, chaired by Bishop George Bruce (Ontario), is preparing study materials for Canadian Anglicans that will be released during the 2011 Pentecost season. Canadian Anglicans will be invited to send in feedback about the Anglican Covenant and their input will shape the church’s official response.

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, has asked provinces to share a progress report on their covenant work at the 2012 Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand.

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