Opposition to the proposed Anglican Covenant is hardening as episcopal units throughout these islands head into a final round of debate.
At the weekend two dioceses – Auckland and Waiapu – decided the Covenant did not fit Anglican ecclesiology.
Two hui amorangi – Te Manawa o Te Wheke and Te Tairawhiti – have already rejected it.
It now remains for the remaining three hui amorangi and five dioceses to respond to a General Synod request for recommendations by the time it meets in Fiji next July.
Christchurch intended to debate the proposal this last weekend but devoted the time instead to earthquake recovery. It will pick up the Covenant debate in March.
The Diocese of Polynesia also is expected to bring a recommendation next year.
Even after the Episcopal units decide – one way or another – Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pakeha will have one last stab at the proposal before next year’s General Synod decides finally for the whole Province.
Te Runanganui, comprising all five hui amorangi, meets in November this year and may decide on a collective response to General Synod.
Similarly, the InterDiocesan Conference, which meets in Fiji immediately before General Synod, could have something to say on the proposal.
The General Synod decision requires a majority vote in all three houses – lay, clergy and bishops – and potentially by all three tikanga.
The Anglican Consultative Council expects all provincial recommendations to lie on the table by the time it meets in Auckland in October-November next year.
General Secretary Michael Hughes points out that even though individual dioceses and hui amorangi are pivotal to the process, only “whole provinces” can accept or reject the Covenant.