Archbishop Gomez has been named by the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair the group working on an Anglican Covenant. The “Covenant Design Group” is charged with moving the discussion of an Anglican Covenant forward. Suggestions and ideas are being solicited from around the Communion.
The assumption is that the Chair would be open to a variety of materials being presented and would not have strong prior ownership of any particular proposals being brought forward. In the case of Archbishop Gomez this assumption may prove false.
The Archbishop is on the Global South Primates Steering Committee. Members of that Committee are:
President: Most Rev’d Peter J. Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria
General Secretary: The Most Rev’d John Chew, Bishop of Singapore
Treasurer: The Rt. Rev’d Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Diocese of Egypt
Most Rev’d Emmanuel Kolini, Province of Rwanda
Most Rev’d Drexel Gomez, the Province of the West Indies
Most Rev’d Bernard Malango, Province of Central Africa
Most Rev’d Gregory Venables, the Province of the Southern Cone.
This Steering Committee has, along with the Primates of that group, served in sometimes questionable ways as the “voice” of the Global South Anglicans. It has been a group committed to action on the part of the Anglican Communion and its various instrumentalities to bring the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to trial and dismissal from the Communion, assuming a form of Covenant that does not now exist and at the same time pushing for its establishment. They have gone so far as to suggest that if the current instrumentalities of the Anglican Communion are unable to do so, they will proceed to act to jettison the Episcopal Church in favor of another entity in the United States. In all this the Steering Committee has shown that it already has a well formed idea of what the Anglican Covenant ought to look like.
The Steering Committee has commissioned a task force on an Anglican Covenant which, according to the Kigali Communiqué, is hard at work putting together a Covenant it will present. Said the Primates in the Communiqué, “We are delighted to affirm the extraordinary progress made by the Global South task group on developing an Anglican Covenant. For the past year they have labored on this important task and we look forward to submitting the result of their labor to the rest of the Communion.”
At the same time, Archbishop Gomez has soundly criticized the Panel of Reference’s statement on New Westminster in effect dismissing its conclusions as inadequate to the “political and theological reality of the situation in which the applicants find themselves. Consequently, in my opinion, the recommendations of the Panel do not respond adequately to the real situation.” How can the Archbishop remain open to a variety of concerns about the political and theological life of the Anglican Communion when he dismisses views on political and theological matters that do not reach a conclusion that he agrees with?
The Archbishop has been a major contributor to the effort to call the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada to task for their actions, often using arguments that assume a polity and force for Anglican “instruments” that ought not be assumed in assessing the widest views of Anglicans concerned with the notion of covenant. It is unclear to me that the Archbishop is able to sufficently distance himself from his partner primates in the Global South or the specifics of the vision he has of the Anglican Communion and its supposed polity to be able to serve the wider Communion.
I believe Archbishop Gomez will not be able to chair this Covenant Design Group with sufficient even handedness. He should step down.