Thinking Anglicans

General Synod: Anglican Covenant debate

updated Wednesday afternoon

General Synod is debating debated the Anglican Communion Synod this (Wednesday) morning. We will update updated this article as the debate proceeds proceeded.

There is a briefing paper (GS Misc 966) available, which includes the text of the Anglican Covenant. The text of the draft Act (GS 1809) is reproduced below the fold.

The Bishop of Bristol (The Rt Revd Michael Hill) moved

504 ‘That the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant be considered.’

After much debate Mrs Mary Johnston (London) proposed that the debate be adjourned to July 2011. The proposal was defeated on a show of hands. Synod then immediately agreed to close the debate and move to a vote. The voting was by houses and motion 504 was carried in all three houses with the voting figures below.

Bishops 39 for 0 against 1 abstention
Clergy 145 for 32 against 11 abstentions
Laity 147 for 25 against 8 abstentions

Mr Justin Brett (Chichester) moved as an amendment [to the draft Act of Synod]:

505 In recital (1) after “the Anglican Covenant” insert
“, subject to the exception referred to below,”; and
After “GS Misc 966” in paragraph 1, insert
“, with the exception of section 4.2,”; and
Before “solemnly covenants” insert
“subject to that exception”.

Item 505 was defeated on a show of hands.

Dr Brian Walker (Winchester) moved as an amendment [to the draft Act of Synod]:

506 Insert as new recital (3) —
“The Church of England understands the Anglican Communion Covenant as a means for maintaining continuous inclusive relationships between all covenanting Churches.”; and
At the beginning of paragraph 1, insert
“Subject to paragraph 2.”; and
After paragraph 1. insert
“2. The Church of England will not participate in or support any limitations or suspensions of the kind provided for in Section 4.2.5 or sanctions effected under Section 4.2.7.”.

This amendment lapsed, since fewer than 40 members stood to ask for debate to continue.

The Revd Canon Robert Cotton (Guildford) moved a following motion.

507 That this Synod, recognising and affirming the difficult issues addressed by the Anglican Communion Covenant:
(a) request that the date determined by the Presidents for the reference of the draft Act of Synod to the dioceses under Article 8 should be no earlier than November 2011;
(b) direct the Business Committee to ensure that the documents circulated to diocesan synods for the purposes of the Article 8 reference include a range of briefing material, properly reflecting the diversity of views on the Covenant within the Church of England; and
(c) invite the House of Bishops to encourage in the dioceses a process of widespread education about, and engagement with, the substance and text of the Covenant.

The motion 507 was defeated on a show of hands.

Here is the official summary of the morning’s business: General Synod – Summary of business conducted on Wednesday 24th November 2010 AM.

GS 1809

GENERAL SYNOD

DRAFT ACT OF SYNOD
ADOPTING THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION COVENANT

Affirmed and proclaimed an Act of Synod – ***
Ratified and confirmed by the Presidents of the General Synod – ***

WHEREAS:

(1) It is intended that the Church of England should enter into and adopt the Anglican Communion Covenant and that effect should be given to that intention by resolution of the General Synod of the Church of England; and

(2) It is desired to give formal publication to the same as the embodiment of the will of the Church of England as expressed by the whole body of the Synod by its affirmation and proclamation as an Act of Synod

IT IS RESOLVED by the Archbishops, Bishops, Clergy and Laity of the General Synod of the Church of England, assembled in their Synod at [Westminster], as follows—

1. The Church of England hereby enters into and adopts the Anglican Communion Covenant as set out in Annex 1 to GS Misc 966 and solemnly covenants with the other Churches which enter into and adopt it in making the affirmations and commitments that it contains.

2. This resolution shall come into force upon being affirmed and proclaimed an Act of Synod and ratified and confirmed for their respective provinces by each of the Presidents of the General Synod.

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Susannah Clark
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I have been reflecting this morning on the scripture reading for today from the daily office I follow, ‘Celebrating Common Prayer’. These thoughts come to me in the silence and the peace, after reading and reflecting on Ezekiel 37:24-28 “I will make a covenant of peace with you,” says God. “It will be an everlasting covenant. My dwelling place will be with you. I will live within you and make a sanctuary of your souls. I will be your God, and you will be my people. I will dwell with you and make my sanctuary with you forever. You will… Read more »

Marshall Scott
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So, please remind an American where the process goes from here?

And, one wonders what will come in general, and in English discussions, of the statement of the GAFCON primates that they cannot adopt the Covenant as presented.

eponym
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eponym

Is it possible to know how the vote broke down according to diocese, parish, and/or individual?

ettu
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ettu

And the response to the GAFCON “Oxford” statement?? How long will Rowan Williams be able to maintain leadership after this rejection of the Covenant by Gafcon??

Charlotte
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Charlotte

@Marshall Scott: My guess is that the Anglican Covenant has now acquired the kind of status possessed by certain international treaties. That is, many nations will sign on, in order to express the correctness of their sentiments, but in the knowledge that the treaty is utterly without effect, because a core group refused to ratify.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Marshall

General Synod has voted to send the Covenant proposal to all Diocesan Synods, thereby giving a much wider number of people the chance to look at it and to vote on it.

Diocesan Synods must approve it with a 51% majority by 2012 when General Synod will vote on it again.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Marshall

Apologies, I made a mistake there.
The draft Act of Synod now goes to the 44 diocesan synods, 51% of them must approve it.
Then General Synod votes again.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Well the GAFCON Primates timed their press release pretty well. We know the United Churches of N and S India have said they cannot sign up to the Covenant. We have yet to hear from the “liberal ” provinces but it is quite likely that TEC and Canada wont sign.nor Scotland probably, nor NZ.Just how many will? And even those who do ( eg Mexico) are never going to see their signing the Covenant as involving breaking communion with TEC.As a way of bringing coherence to an ever fragmenting Communion it simply isnt going to work…yet the Abp et al… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“It is RESOLVED that the Church of England hereby enters into and adopts the Anglican Covenant – and solemnly covenants with the other Churches which enter into and adopt it in making the affirmations and commitments that it contains.” Di this resolution happen BEFORE or AFTER the statement from the Provinces of the Global South that they would not sign up to it? For my, the timing is important because, if the answer is AFTER – then the Church of England is willing to make a Solemn Covenant with everyone in the Communion – except the Global South Provinces! That… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

That’s all beautiful. Thanks. Especially ‘and make a sanctuary of your souls’.

JCF
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JCF

So the Covenant’s being “considered.” But that’s not the same as “adopted” is it? (Or does one basically guarantee the other? O_o)

Simon, help an Ignorant (and Confused) Yank out!

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Howdy to Perry Butler. Will Canada sign on? To date, there is no clear process mapped out here for a transparent process to study and consider the covenant diocese by diocese with feedback to Canada’s next General Synod in 2013. Unless one is developed, then I suspect there will be some dioceses that study the covenant in depth, others that will banter it about, and some that will do nothing. Feed back will be undifferentiated, a top down resolution will be developed, and in the end Canada’s GS may will sign. There will be some sort of spin about how… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Whatever the Church of England decides, whether to accept or to reject the Covenant – after the due consideration by the dioceses is completed – it may be that the Covenant Document will still not be what other Provinces of the Communion really want. Now that the Global South is out of contention, perhaps it would be best to just let each of the Provinces carry out the work of the Gospel in situ – as we have done (in the case of New Zealand), fairly successfully, for 160 years! Each of the Overseas Provinces of the Communion has their… Read more »