It is the day after the end of Lambeth 2008 and things are pretty quiet. While searching around for several follow-up quotes from various materials on issues about covenant I came across the Common Declaration proposal that was put forth in 1988.
Reading it again I was struck by its positive tone, its echo of the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and its value as a rather broad statement of Anglican values. It died at the time, but perhaps it ought to be commended again to as an alternative to a covenant. Perhaps the national and regional churches in the Anglican Communion could agree on a common declaration of this sort.
The Common Declaration can be found in Anglicanism & the Universal Church: Highways and Hedges 1958-1984, by John Howe, (Anglican Book Centre, 1990) pg. 239-240. A shortened summary of the commentary on this document :
The Common Declaration was a statement proposed as one to be used at major events in the life of the Church, (for example the founding of a new diocese). It was published in the Lambeth 1988 Conference paper “Instruments of Communion and Decision-Making.” Resolution 19 of that Conference referred this to the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission for consideration. Since IATDC had not yet met, the Primates meeting in 1989 commended the paper to the churches for comment prior to their 1991 meeting.
Here is the final form of that document, taken from Anglicanism and the Universal Church.
The Common Declaration of Anglican Churches:
(i) The Church (of the Province) of …. declares itself to be united under one divine head in the fellowship of the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(ii) It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the Catholic Creeds, to which faith the formularies of this Church bear witness and which the Church is called to proclaim afresh in each generation.
(iii) It celebrates the divinely instituted sacraments, particularly those of Baptism and Holy Communion, as ordinances of the universal Church.
(iv) It expresses its continuity with the apostolic tradition of faith and witness, worship, fellowship and ministry by means of the historic episcopal order. It is in communion with each of those Churches which preserve the historic threefold order of the ordained ministry and are in communion with the See of Canterbury.
(v) It looks forward to the unity of all Christians based on a common recognition of the place of the Holy Scriptures, the Catholic Creeds, the dominical sacraments and historic episcopal order in the Church of God.
Maybe it's just the day, but it looks pretty good to me, and it is no six page document that can't be agreed to without legal counsel. And, for those who read my comment on the use of the term Province, there is no reference to Provinces at all.