Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Covenant debate: a shift in momentum

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has issued a news release: Momentum Shifting in Anglican Covenant Debate. (Full PDF version is over here.)

With one-third of English dioceses now having voted on the proposed Anglican Covenant, leaders of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition are detecting a significant shift in momentum. With last weekend’s clean sweep in Leicester, Portsmouth, Salisbury and Rochester, ten dioceses have rejected the Covenant while only five have approved it.

“When we launched the No Anglican Covenant Coalition just 16 months ago, it seemed like we were facing impossible odds,” said the Coalition’s Moderator, the Revd Dr Lesley Crawley. “But now the tide appears to be turning. The more church members learn about the Covenant, the less they like it.”

“I’m glad to see how perceptive the diocesan synods have been once well-rounded arguments are put to them,” said Coalition Patron and Oxford University Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch. “There were two Covenants in the Church of England’s seventeenth-century history, and in combination, they destroyed episcopacy until wiser counsels prevailed. It appears the dioceses are not interested in helping present-day bishops making it a hat trick.”

“It is heartening to see the dioceses rising up to their responsibilities instead of delegating their discernment to the House of Bishops and the archbishops,” according to former Oxford Professor and General Synod member Marilyn McCord Adams, who now teaches at the University of North Carolina. “Churches come to better decisions when parties feel free to disagree.” Professor McCord Adams is also a Patron of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

To date, the proposed Anglican Covenant has been approved by five dioceses of the Church of England (Lichfield; Durham; Europe; Bristol; Canterbury) and rejected by ten (Wakefield; St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich; Truro; Birmingham; Derby; Gloucester; Portsmouth; Rochester; Salisbury; Leicester). Approval by 23 diocesan synods is required for the Covenant to return to General Synod. Rejection by 22 dioceses would effectively derail approval of the Covenant by the Church of England.

Some historical background to the coalition can be found in this post by Malcolm French We happy few.

The current state of voting in the 44 Church of England dioceses is being tracked weekly by Modern Church at this page.

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Father Ron Smith
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It is interesting to discover, from the linked Malcolm French web-site, that though Bishop Graham Kings’ efforts to promote the Covenant to the Lichfield Synod – together with an unbalanced allowance of time for other promoters to lobby that meeting – was rewarded with an affirmative vote; his attempts to similarly persuade the Salisbury Synod was not successful – thanks in part to his Diocesan Bishop’s (Nicholas Holtam’s) adverse opinion, and a balanced presentation to the members of Synod. The problem of unbalanced time given to Covenant promoters at Diocesan Synods may just have tipped the balance away from the… Read more »

Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

It’s becoming clear that what has happened is that gradually (thanks to the work of the Coalition) synod members are becoming better informed. Where dioceses have voted in favour in some cases only one speaker, usually one in favour, has presented the case both for an against. Now, the distinctly magisterial and exclusivist nature of the Covenant is being made evident, of course people won’t vote for something so unanglican. It appears that a lot of pressure has been put on the bishops to ‘toe the line’ and as yet only a brave few have voted against. However, once the… Read more »

Peter Lear
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Peter Lear

Personally, I hope that more Diocesan Synods see the folly of tying up the existing open and free Anglican Communion in this way.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I do not know the make-up of the CofE diocesan synods well enough to make any judgment on how the present state of affairs vis a vis the Covenant is likely to play out – but it does not look wholly promising. Does it? My own Church (Wales) it seems is likely to be pressed to accept the Covenant by its entire bench of bishops, and that despite the fact that the ones I have spoken to are not really in favour of it – but say they ought to support it because one of their own (St Asaph) was… Read more »

Pluralist
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I suggest at this point to go back to the Advent Letter of 2007 and read it to get the flavour of intentions. It was before the Lambeth Conference, for sure, where there was no resolution, but the intention behind that letter confirmed my then opposition to the intended centralisation, to turn the Communion into a Church.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2012/02/back-to-2007-dont-get-drunk.html

rjb
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rjb

Father Ron, I hope you’ll keep us informed on what happens in your own dear old diocese on March 10. Do feel free to be *frightfully indiscreet*.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Well, rjb, I shall be present (hopefully) at the meeting on March 10, but without voting rights. I know there has been a Motion already confected in support of the Covenant, but I suspect that our Bishop’s membership of the Covenant Commission will sway the vote. Nevertheless, General Synod of ACANZP may not yet give its approval.

I heartily approve of our Diocesan Bishop Victoria. I just think she may be wrong on this single issue.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

A real blockbuster on you-tube, by ‘Mr.Catolick.
A must see’ for everyone worried about the Anglican Covenant. Just click on my name, below:

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Jean Vanier writes that unity “surges up from a life that flows within us and through us all together.’

Thanks Father Ron I took this from the site linked to you, beautiful.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Fr Ron is that right ?– your site when i click on your name goes to a Fulcrum piece by John Watson (i think it was) was that what you intended ?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Apologies, Laurence, for your disappointment. I did feature an article by John Watson, of Fulcrum, so that Thinking Anglicans could critique it. However. if you had scrolled down on kiwianglo, you would have found Mr.Catolick – plus a lot more items of intereste to ‘No Covenant’ believers.