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Covenant, Contract, and Communion: Reflections on a Post-Windsor Anglicanism

Harold T. Lewis

Since the time of Richard Hooker, Anglicanism has been covenantal. In a church predicated on mutual trust, room was traditionally provided for many divergent views to find a happy home under a protective umbrella. Anglicanism was supple, and its membership guided by the wisdom of Isaiah: "Come let us reason together though our sins be like scarlet." The Anglican Communion in this post-Windsor era seems to be characterized by distrust; it is becoming rigid and legalistic. To many, human sexuality has become the quintessential litmus test, and the views of individuals, parishes, dioceses, or provinces on that issue determine their fitness for membership. Our default position seems to be changing from a propensity to be inclusive to a tendency to remove from Anglican fellowship those who do not meet a standard of "orthodoxy." Contract has replaced covenant as the way Anglicns live, move, and have their being.

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