A few months ago I submitted a paper in support of the Covenant to our General Synod office. It has now been distributed to GS members with a range of other papers - the range covering 'for' and 'against' the Covenant. You can read my whole paper here. A taster is reproduced below:
"Some questions have arisen about the Covenant. Is it punitive? Will it stifle new initiatives? Will it affect the tikanga life of the Anglican church in these islands? Questions such as these are fair questions to ask, but they beg some other questions which we should answer first.
Is there value in being part of a global Communion? If so, how would we describe our common life together as members of a global Communion? How would we arrange our common life together so that we celebrate our differences and resolve our disputes? If we answer ‘Yes’ to the first question, and answer ‘the Covenant’ to the next two questions, then we could answer as follows to the questions in the first paragraph above.
Is the Covenant punitive? No, it is not a criminal code; but it does prescribe what may happen where our common life together is no longer shared by a member church.
Will the Covenant stifle new initiatives? Many new initiatives are possible which cohere with the common life of global Anglicans; some new initiatives are possible which do not cohere with that common life, but even then, only those initiatives which are protested about would be examined in terms of the Covenant, and they would only be stifled if it was agreed through due process that they were not appropriate to our common life.
Will the Covenant affect the tikanga life of the Anglican church in these islands? Our tikanga life is ultimately governed by General Synod, in accordance with our constitution. In so far as our common life as three tikanga is soundly Anglican and theologically orthodox the Covenant should enhance that life not diminish it.
There is one final issue to attend to. Some are saying that the Covenant is an un-Anglican innovation: we have never had a Covenant before and we should not have one now. That is a mystifying line of argument to take: lots of innovations have taken place in Anglican history, beginning with Henry VIII’s great innovation of dispensing with papal authority over the Church of England. It is also a contradictory line of argument: the possibility of a Covenant has arisen precisely because of the innovation of an openly partnered gay man becoming a bishop. Are some innovations to be allowed by these critics of the Covenant but not others?"