a1 Registrar of the Province of Canterbury
a2 Legal Adviser to the Anglican Consultative Council
This article considers some of the controversies that have troubled the Anglican Communion during the past 25 years, and some of the approaches that the Churches and central Instruments of the Communion have used to maintain communion in the face of threatened division. In particular, it looks in detail at the terms of the proposed Anglican Covenant, its provenance and its legal significance. It points out the usefulness of the Covenant as a mechanism for resolving disputes between the Churches of the Communion, but questions the assumption that its adoption as, in effect, a contract between the Churches would of itself turn the Communion into a ‘two-tier’ body, or change in a fundamental way the nature of the relationships between the Churches. Finally, it notes that communion between the Churches of the Anglican Communion, with or without the Covenant, consists (as it always has done) in a wide range of relationships at very many different levels, far beyond the central structures of the Communion as they have developed during the last 150 years.
(Online publication April 16 2012)