DECEMBER 2, 2010
The Associated Press reports:
Conservative Anglican leaders have rejected a proposed covenant to hold their global communion together just as the Church of England gave preliminary approval to the plan.
The covenant, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, aims to contain deep splits in the Anglican Communion over sexuality, the role of women and the authority of the Bible.
The communion is a fellowship of churches with ties to the Church of England in more than 160 countries.
Last week, the Church of England's governing General Synod voted to approve draft legislation that could lead to a final vote on the covenant in 2012. The covenant will now be referred to dioceses for consideration.
But in a statement, traditionalist leaders representing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the GAFCON movement, dismissed the covenant as "fatally flawed." The plan also has been attacked by liberals within the church.
The conservative statement was endorsed by archbishops from West Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Australia and Anglican Church of North America, a breakaway group from the Episcopal Church.
Long-developing divisions among Anglicans broke wide open in 2003, when the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire elected an openly gay man, V. Gene Robinson, as bishop.
The draft covenant would commit national churches "to act with diligence, care and caution in respect of any action which may provoke controversy."
Disagreements would be referred to a panel of Anglican leaders, which could declare a proposed action to be incompatible with the covenant. National churches would be free to withdraw from the covenant at any time.