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3 NZ no’s for the Anglican Covenant: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 9, 2011 p 7. September 11, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Covenant, Church of England Newspaper.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Three New Zealand dioceses have voted in favour of autonomy over communion and rejected the Anglican Covenant as being un-Anglican.

The Sept 2 votes by Auckland and Waiapu and the June 11 vote by the Maori Amorangi, or episcopal unit, the Te Hui Amorangi o Te Tairawhiti urged the church’s General Synod to reject the proposed agreement to define the limits of Anglican faith and order.

However, all three affirmed their desire to remain full members of the Communion even if they did not sign off on the document—a stance at odds with Archbishop Rowan Williams 2009 statement that a two-tiered communion, one for those who had adopted the covenant and one for those who had not, might well emerge.

Acting in response to a request the General Synod to review the covenant, the Te Hui Amorangi o Te Tairawhiti stated on June 11 the document was un-Anglican.

It offered “us nothing new or more compelling than the Spiritual Covenant that we already have with each other through faith in Jesus Christ;” while the disciplinary provisions of the covenant’s Section 4 “go against our Gospel imperative to ‘love one another’.”

The motion, which received unanimous support, endorsed the decision taken by “our sister Amorangi, Te Hui Amorangi o Te Manawa o Te Wheke,” to rejected the covenant as it “does not reflect our understanding of being Anglican in these Islands.”

New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon’s diocese of Waiapu diocese rejected the proposed covenant at their Sept 2 synod.  The motion adopted by the synod stated: “The Diocese of Waiapu affirms its desire to remain a member of the Anglican Communion, valuing highly our common faith, mission, tradition and liturgy. We do not believe that the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will enhance the life of the Communion and request that the General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui declines to sign the Covenant.”

On Sept 2, the Auckland synod passed a motion noting that the General Synod had “approved in principle Sections 1-3 of the proposed Anglican Covenant, and asked Episcopal Units to respond to its 2012 Session” resolved that Sections 1 and 2 “may be considered to be a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the Church.”

It further stated that Section 3 contained an “acceptable description of the basis for relationships between the churches of the Anglican Communion,” but held that Section 4 contained “provisions which are contrary to our understanding of Anglican ecclesiology, to our understanding of the way of Christ, and to justice, and is unacceptable to this Synod.”

Auckland further asked the General Synod to direct its representatives to the Anglican Consultative Council to bring a motion affirming that “full membership of the Anglican Communion is not conditional on adoption of the proposed Covenant.”

In a letter sent to US Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori during the Episcopal Church’s July 2009 General Convention, Dr. Rowan Williams stated there might be a “two-tier” or “two-track” model for the church with one track for those who affirmed the communion’s “covenantal structure,” and another with “fewer formal expectations” for those who valued autonomy.

“It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal, and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication but plainly as what they are — two styles of being Anglican, whose mutual relation will certainly need working out,” Dr Williams wrote.

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