Maori see Anglican covenant as a threat to their sovereignty

A proposed Anglican covenant that might be used to discipline churches which ordain gay bishops and priests has been rejected by the Maori Anglican church because they felt it meant they would sign over their sovereignty.

In 1994 the American Episcopal church ordained an openly gay bishop. In the face of the ensuing uproar, The Archbishop of Canterbury set up a commission to look at ways that the Anglican Communion could stay together in the face of conflicts. The commission proposed an Anglican Communion Covenant as a way of proceeding.

At a meeting of Te Runanganui o te Pihopatanga of Aotearoa (the Maori Anglican Church) gathered at Te Papa-i-o-uru Marae, Ohinemutu, last week  the Rev Don Tamihere, when seconding a motion to  reject the proposal said the covenant was not about homosexuality.

“It is about compliance and control. We are being asked to sign over our sovereignty, our rangatiratanga to an overseas group, to a standing committee over whom we have no choice or control.”

Non-Maori dioceses are split on the matter. Wellington, Nelson and Waikato-Taranaki have expressed qualified support while Auckland, Waiapu and Dunedin have rejected it and Christchurch and the Polynesian diocese have yet to decide.

The proposed covenant will be considered by the church’s General Synod in July.



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