The call for an Anglican Communion Covenant resulted directly from the Windsor Report (sec. 113-120), and the Windsor Report itself was a crisis response document. It is therefore not possible or desirable to evaluate any document that emerges from a drafting process without asking the question: “Will it address the crisis facing the Communion?”
That said, the crisis has also raised issues of the identity and governance of the Anglican Communion that have lain dormant for many decades. From time to time, the Lambeth Conference began to address these issues, but more often than not it punted them further down the field. Now many of us feel that the conflicts and contradictions of Anglican identity and governance must be squarely faced. A covenant could be just the sort of document to do this. Or not.
It is my contention in this essay that the official Anglican Covenant process under the direction of Abp. Drexel Gomez will not be able to produce an adequate document to meet the requirements of the hour. In the two years since the formation of the Covenant Drafting Group in September 2006, a new team has taken the field, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. Meeting in Jerusalem in June 2008, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) published a statement of identity ”“ “The Jerusalem Declaration” ”“ and formed a Primates’ Council claiming extraordinary authority to separate from a heterodox Province or to recognize an orthodox Province. It seems likely that this Council will soon recognize a North American Province separate from The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.