An Anglican Covenant was first formally proposed by the Windsor Report in 2004. The Windsor Report was produced by a commission set up by a Primates’ Meeting in 2003, in response to the controversy about same-sex partnerships.
No Anglican Covenant provides a summary and timeline.
The Windsor Report appeals to the authority of the 1998 Lambeth Conference, with its Resolution (1.10) on homosexuality: Personal reports from the 1998 Lambeth Conference.
The Windsor Report has not been formally approved. Nevertheless the Communion’s leadership has consistently treated it as authoritative, together with its proposal to establish an Anglican Covenant. A critique of the Report from a liberal perspective.
A Covenant Design Group was set up, and the Archbishop of Canterbury chose Drexel Gomez, then Archbishop of the West Indies, to chair it. Gomez was a strident opponent of the North American churches and author of an influential short book To Mend the Net.
The Covenant Design Group produced a series of drafts. Running through the series was a dilemma about self-government. The aim was to oblige the North American provinces to withdraw from activities which offended other churches. This could only be done by curtailing the autonomy of those provinces. To establish the Covenant as a fair system, it would be necessary to curtail the autonomy of all provinces in the same way, but most provinces naturally wanted to retain their own self-government.
Each draft tackled the problem in its own way, until the text was finalised at the end of 2009. How the text was decided.