THE working group set up by the Church of Ireland General Synod to formulate
a response to the Windsor report has recommended a strong and open procedure
for dealing with contentious issues.
Offering overwhelming support to the Windsor report itself, the working
group said that past procedures for dealing with disputes in the Anglican
Communion had been found inadequate, and might prove to be of no use in the
Their report is critical of the US dioceses involved in the sexuality debate
which have ignored mechanisms for dealing with breach in the Communion. "Any
further such actions would have a devastating effect on the Communion," the
report warns. Other factors at play include the expansion of the autonomous
provinces worldwide, as well as the sexuality debate.
Introducing its report to the Synod, the group's chairman, the Revd John
McDowell, said that something more systematic and far-reaching than the
existing informal conventional arrangement was needed.
"The provision of a Covenant as a base document seemed to us a helpful and
practical suggestion. And in the absence of any more constructive suggestion,
the draft Covenant provided in the Windsor report seemed to us to be a good
place to begin that debate," he said.
Also favoured is an enhancement of the teaching authority of the Archbishop
of Canterbury supported by a council of advice. "We feel this can be achieved
he creation of a curia within Anglicanism, but we are aware that such a
danger should not be ignored."
The Working Group said such a development would be possible only if the
method of appointing the Archbishop of Canterbury were agreed by the entire
The Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd Michael Jackson, said that the group was
not "starry-eyed" about the Communion, but sought to be constructive about its
On sexuality, he said: "We make reference to the complexity of issues
affecting members of the Anglican Communion that remain largely unacknowledged
"It was an African bishop whom I heard asking the question: 'When will
Africa admit that Africa is Africa's problem?' - to be greeted only by
embarrassed silence on the part of his African Episcopal brothers."