We have learned today from Bishop Mouneer Anis that he has submitted his resignation from the former joint standing committee. Following so closely the release in December of the final text of the Anglican Communion Covenant, this resignation underscores the extent to which the Anglican Communion is at a major crossroads. At this decisive moment, however, substantial doubts have been expressed both publicly by Bishop Mouneer and privately by others as to whether this committee, now the standing committee of the Anglican Consultative Council, is the appropriate body to coordinate the implementation of the Covenant. These concerns point to the steps that we believe are necessary to restore the Communion so badly damaged by actions in North America over the last decade. In what follows, we seek first to outline the current structural challenges to the Covenant’s initial implementation. This will involve some important, if technical, analysis. Only then, however, can we make clear what, in our mind, these necessary steps for implementation are.
In summary, and on the basis of our continued conviction that the Covenant itself as currently formulated is a positive, faithful, and necessary basis for the renewal of the Anglican Communion and its member churches, we argue that:
1. The final Covenant text envisions a Communion of responsibly coordinated Instruments, ordered episcopally, that the current ACC-led standing committee is in fact undermining;
2. The current ACC standing committee is not necessarily the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” indicated by the Covenant text, and cannot therefore automatically claim the authority it seems to be assuming;
3. The current ACC standing committee has little credibility in the eyes of a large part of the Communion and ought not to be claiming the authority it seems to be assuming;
4. Those Churches of the Communion who move fully and decisively to adopt the Covenant must work with a provisional and representative standing committee, continuous in membership with the other Instruments, that will direct the implementation of the Covenant in a way that can eventually permit a Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to be formed as envisioned by the Covenant text.