The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, has called for a global Anglican gathering that is "much more representative than the Lambeth Conference" to explore the current challenges facing the Anglican Communion.
"The future of our Anglican family is far too important to be left just to Bishops, even meeting in the breadth of the Lambeth Conference," Archbishop Ndungane said during a Roundtable - Finding the Heartlands of Anglicanism at Trinity Theological College in Melbourne, Australia on Thursday 16 th 2006.
"If we are to take the radical step of pursuing a Covenant, I would like this process to be owned and driven by the widest possible representation of the church.
Archbishop Ndungane warns that sidelining laity, including women and young people and parish clergy from critical church decisions runs against the essence of "authentic, orthodox, Anglican self-understanding."
"We need a large gathering with a flexible, open agenda that allows people from across our global family to meet one another in informal encounters, to listen to one another, and to recognise the marks of Christ in one another, and to get to know one another's cultures and challenges," Archbishop Ndungane says.
"In this context we can discuss how we should live together, including whether a Covenant – and if so, what form of Covenant – would best enhance our shared life and calling."
Archbishop Ndungane suggests that the central themes that emerge during such a gathering could inform the Covenant Design Group, for presentation at a special meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.
The proposal to develop a Convenant must reflect a commitment to "enhance and strengthen the calling of all Anglicans, throughout the whole diversity of the globe, to faithful mission and ministry in the years – even centuries – ahead."
"We can afford to take our time over this and ensure we get it right – even ten years is a very short time in Christian history. We must not be railroaded into a quick fix that merely meets the concerns of one part of our constituency."
Archbishop Ndungane says that the task of the Church is not self-preservation, rather "the building up of God's people for God's mission and ministry within God's world."
"We desire to be a Church in which abundant, God-given, Christ-shaped, life can flourish, and this life can be shared with the world for the building of God's kingdom. This is a task for the whole Church together."
"This is God's church, and we are in his hands. Therefore I am optimistic about our future."
For more information contact:
Penny Lorimer, Media Liaison for Archbishop Ndungane, + 27 (0)82 894-1522