There can be but one interpretation of the announcement that an international Anglican coalition has been formed with the name 'No Anglican Covenant: Anglicans for Comprehensive Unity.' That is that the coalition favours a covenant binding Anglicans together, for what is an Anglican coalition with a website but a fellowship with a binding document, and what is a fellowship with a binding document but a covenantal community!
So unfortunately this coalition has the wrong name. It should be called 'Not that Covenant but this one: Anglicans for Comprehensive Unity'! Incidentally 'Comprehensive Unity' is a covenantal idea since it values unity around an agreed conception of comprehensiveness.
The website for the covenanting coalition describes its view in this way:
"We believe in an Anglicanism based on a shared heritage of worship, not on a set of doctrines to which all must subscribe. Our understanding of Anglicanism leads us to view the covenant as profoundly un-Anglican."
A 'shared heritage of worship' means what, these days? The Book of Common Prayer (1662, C of E)? Wait, every province has moved away from the BCP to one degree or another! A shared theology of worship? No. Some of us are to the right of Zwingli and some to the left of Benedict XVI!
Ah, but a 'shared heritage of worship' could mean something more precise, a 'shared heritage of worship' as defined by certain Anglicans, a sort of covenantal understanding of that heritage: here is our definition of it, do you sign up to it?
This description is also curious in another way. It pits 'shared heritage of worship' versus 'a set of doctrines to which all must subscribe' yet I am constantly told by Anglicans that we Anglicans express our doctrine in our liturgies. If I subscribe to the liturgies I subscribe to the doctrines!! What is this coalition trying to say here?
Then finally, note the nail which completes the building of an Anglican covenantal community, 'Our understanding of Anglicanism leads us to view the covenant as profoundly un-Anglican.' Here is covenantal Anglicanism smuggled into a sentence which appears to deny its possible existence: how can something be declared to be 'un-Anglican' if there is not a shared definition of what 'Anglican' is? Indeed the first part of the sentence makes just that claim: 'Our understanding of Anglicanism leads us to view ...'
In a nutshell this coalition is saying 'we prefer our covenant to the official Covenant'. As Anglicans we are free to express such preferences, but it would be more persuasive if better arguments for the preference were forthcoming.
PS I am surprised that there is not an Australian presence on the coalition when prominent theologian Bruce Kaye is a publicly declared opponent of the Covenant. Perhaps that presence is being negotiated as we speak!
PPS I am even more surprised that this kind of nonsense is being put out and about re the Covenant (source here):
"We believe that acceptance and approval of the current proposed
o Bring historic changes to the nature of Anglicanism.
o Trade a vibrant and colorful Anglicanism for drab uniformity.
o Impede local mission and destroy creative evangelism.
o Trade local oversight for centralized decision making.
Thank you for your consideration of this message."
Trade a vibrant and colourful Anglicanism for drab uniformity?
Impede local mission and DESTROY creative evangelism?
Trade local oversight for centralized decision making?
Has the coalition read the Covenant?
As for 'Bring historic changes to the nature of Anglicanism': it looks like an egregious offence, until we consider that 'historic changes' happen continuously with or without a Covenant ... Synod of Whitby ... Wycliffe translating the Bible ... Henry VIII dismissing the pope's jurisdiction ... Cranmer rewriting the liturgies ... (jumping a few centuries) ... all provinces revising the BCP ... setting up Instruments of Unity ... ARCIC ...
I think global Anglicanism deserves a better quality of opposition to the Covenant!!