Magazine article The Christian Century

Covenant Aims to Mediate Disputes within Anglican Communion

Magazine article The Christian Century

Covenant Aims to Mediate Disputes within Anglican Communion

Article excerpt

The final draft of a long-debated document aimed at mediating disputes between liberals and conservatives in the global Anglican Communion was sent in mid-December to the communion's 38 provinces for approval.

The Anglican Communion, which is the world's third-largest body of Christians with 77 million members, has been bitterly divided over homosexuality since the election and approval of an openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003.

The document, called a "covenant," is "not going to be a penal code," said Archbishop Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of Anglicanism, but rather "a practical, sensible and Christian way of dealing with our conflicts."

"We've discovered that our relations with each other as local churches have been strained," Williams said on December 18, "and we need to have a sense that we are responsible to one another."

Each Anglican province is autonomous, limiting the power of Williams and other Anglican leaders to police the communion. Earlier in December, Episcopalians in Los Angeles openly defied Williams by electing Mary Glasspool, who is openly lesbian, as an assistant bishop, subject to approval this year by other Episcopal Church bishops and dioceses. …

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