Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Covenant: six more Diocesan Synods

This Saturday six more diocesan synods voted on the Anglican Covenant motion: Blackburn, Exeter, Guildford, Lincoln, Oxford and Peterborough.

Three Synods voted against (Guildford, Lincoln and Oxford) and three in favour (Blackburn, Exeter and Peterborough). With these results the current figures are 23 diocesan synods against and 15 in favour.

It is therefore impossible for a majority of the 44 dioceses to vote in favour. Consequently the proposed adoption of the Covenant cannot return to the General Synod in this quinquennium (ending in 2015). After that any consideration of the Covenant would have to start again and include a new reference to the dioceses.

Blackburn: covenant accepted

Bishops: 2 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 40 for / 7 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 33 for / 16 against / 1 abstention

Exeter: covenant accepted

Bishops: 3 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 28 for / 8 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 30 for / 20 against / 2 abstentions

Guildford: covenant rejected

Bishops: 2 for / 0 against
Clergy: 14 for / 22 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 23 for / 18 against / 2 abstentions

Lincoln: covenant rejected

Bishops: 0 for / 3 against / 0 abstentions (corrected figures)
Clergy: 6 for / 28 against / 3 abstentions
Laity: 2 for / 34 against / 2 abstentions

Oxford: covenant rejected (some uncertainty in exact figures, apparently the tellers did not agree, but definitely lost in house of clergy)

Bishops: 3 for / 1 against
Clergy: 14 or 15 for / 36 or 38 against / 2 abstentions
Laity: 32 or 35 for / 24 or 29 against / 3 abstentions

Peterborough: covenant accepted (please ignore earlier figures to the contrary)

Bishops: 2 for / 0 against
Clergy: 22 for / 19 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 28 for / 13 against / 7 abstentions

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Prior Aelred
Guest

So how the the PAC supposed to operate with the ABC an integral but excluded member of the structure?

Adam Armstrong
Guest
Adam Armstrong

I am always interested in the number of voters. Do they give an accurate count of the total number of clergy in a Diocese? If so, they seem to be small numbers. Or are the clergy elected to attend as representatives of the whole group of clergy?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Representatives ! Don t worry not that small!

Pluralist
Guest

This has been a victory of the broad Church over the presumptious leadership and those who had ambitions of empires. It has also been a victory of new media, of bloggers like Jonathan Hagger, Paul Bagshaw, Jonathan Clatworthy and Lesley Crawley. We kept going (the Covenant has been my most persistent topic) and the Church of England may just have been rescued from that iceberg that Graham Kings told us was unavoidable. It met its melting point. Anyway, I’m off to play marbles. Anyone fancy a game of marbles?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

So thats it no covenant for England. Or will the two archbishops try to tell us what we really think or Need

Neil
Guest
Neil

RIP the ‘punishment plans’ that wanted to exclude liberals from the ACommunion after making attitudes to homosexuals the litmus test of Orthodoxy. If the extreme Evangelicals now wish to gather round the distasteful views of eg Nigeria, then their breakaway church is not in the name of the English nor the Church of England. What Fulcrum and Rowan and his advisers, and indeed the Bishops (who are now seen to be so out of touch) forgot, is that as the Established Church, the CofE belongs in some senses just as much to its non-attenders as to its ‘members’. The CofE… Read more »

Grandmère Mimi
Guest

There’s joy in south Louisiana.

What is Plan B for the supporters of the covenant? I’m sure something is in the works.

Peter Owen
Admin

Adam

Clergy are elected as representatives. Each diocesan synod must have between 100 and 270 members with approximately equal numbers of clergy and laity. So the voting figures give no clue on total numbers of clergy.

If you interested in clergy statistics, you can find the latest available figures here:

http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1333106/2009churchstatistics.pdf

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

One of the English Bishops (who voted FOR) told me today he didn’t really want the Covenant: “It makes me heave to think we will have to go on rejecting fine priests such as Jeffrey John – without the Covenant, the pressures off!” And lest some think the anti-gay credentials of the Covenant are imagined let me share another email from someone at the heart of the Covenant process who says of the Covenant’s failure in England and likely shelving later in the year at the ACC: “It would certainly make my life easier in *********(name of diocese) as we… Read more »

UKViewer
Guest

A remarkable result and one for common sense over the vitriol poured out against the opponents of the centralising agenda seeking too be imposed over the whole communion.

I’m sorry for those in favour, but hopefully they will now appreciate that a democratic decision has been made and move on to concentrate on mission and building the Kingdom of God, not foreign Bishops.

guyer
Guest

Let’s add up the numbers: there are more ‘yes’ than ‘no’ votes; only the abstentions have carried the day. The amount of support *for* the Covenant more than indicates that it will not go away any time soon. At the diocesan level the Covenant has been rejected – no one can doubt or deny that! But when we look more closely, we see that this is no resounding victory for the No Anglican Covenant crowd. To the contrary, their victory has been attained only by the narrowest of margins. But perhaps ‘Thinking’ Anglicans might wish to rename itself ‘Shrieking’ Anglicans?… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

The Covenant began in homophobia (or rather some peoples’ efforts to controls the US church’s attitude to gay people), it continued as homophobia, albeit disguised and dressed up as an effort to maintain unity (but at what/whose price?) and it rightly ends, at least in England, in failure and ignominy. At the same time society moves on to consider not whether or if, but how do we ensure complete, full and equal inclusion of GLTB people in society. The current Bishops’ working parties on attitudes to sexuality and civil partnerships look and are now irrelevant and a waste of time.… Read more »

david rowett
Guest

A silly thought, but will the rejection of the Covenant influence the thinking of those searching for ++Rowan’s successor? There’s no strong stomach in the CofE for further centralising, particularly at the cost of making ourselves look silly (which is very different from ‘foolish’, which has an honourable ancestry as a vocation) over issues of human sexuality.

Nice to see all three bishops in here Lincoln voted it down:-)

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

It is now apparent not only have cofe bishops been ignoring lgbt for all this time but also the rank and file.

Time for general Synod to be RUN more synodically ?

JeremyP
Guest
JeremyP

Thank you, Martin for what you write. The saddest bit of these quotations is not, to my mind, the ridiculous nonsense that bishops have been voting against their consciences, but that civil partnerships and gay marriage (THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GAY MARRIAGE!) are a “peril”. Who, but bishops in the C of E, and the 250,000 who have been stampeded into voting for the coalition 4 marriage’s petition, think of these things in this defensive way?

c.r.seitz
Guest
c.r.seitz

Seconding ‘guyer’ what is the percentage of Bishops in favour? Is it 85%?

One wonders how this will play out if the provinces decide to move past the first 8 adopters into the 20-25 range, should that happen. As he says (in my own words), it is a kind of fact on the ground, independent of the very narrow defeat itself. The covenant allows adopters to form associations so perhaps we will see this kind of thing play out. But it far too soon to say, and the ACC meeting is a full 6-7 months away.

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest

Joy in Guatemala (too)! Our heros in England did the deed before we had breakfast in the New World…no wonder we look to you for Comprehensive Unity! Thanks and God Save the Queen!

Fr Paul
Guest
Fr Paul

I must admit that although I voted no in one of the dioceses that rejected the covenant today I cannot quite bring myself to pop the champagne cork as over women bishops and hopefully one day over civil partnerships in church. Somehow this ‘victory’ feels hollow and I can’t explain why.

Tobias Haller
Guest

I’m not at all surprised by the efforts to turn a failure to gain a majority into a “narrow defeat” — for a document purporting to be the “only way forward” for the Anglican Communion. Even a narrow victory, on that ground, would have been a substantive defeat. It is too soon to say what will happen in the rest of the provinces as they decide what to do. I can say that from folks on the ground in Mexico and Southern Africa that the decision to adopt was political rather than deeply felt. Perhaps they will eventually choose to… Read more »

Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

This Episcopalian sends his most heartfelt thanks to all of those in England who worked so hard and against so many large and powerful obstacles to defeat this. I remember when the conventional wisdom said that this would sail through the Church of England with maybe a handful of dissenting votes. This is a remarkable accomplishment for people who started with nothing in the way of organization or budget, and with the Powers That Be arrayed against them. Congratulations on reminding the Archbishops and bishops that the Church of England, like all the Church Universal, belongs to God and to… Read more »

Tony Fitchett
Guest
Tony Fitchett

The Church of England will not be the only one, apart from the Philipines, to reject the proposed Anglican Covenant. When Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia meets in General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui, in July, the Covenant will almost certainly be rejected, as two of the three Tikanga [and 3 out of the 7 dioceses in the other Tikanga] have voted against it. As decisions of the GS/THW require assent of each Tikanga, as well as each Order, it seems doomed.

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

OK, there’s a lot of celebrating here.
What is this confused Yank missing?
Did the Covenant fail in England?
If so, why? Is it because not enough dioceses voted “Aye”? What was the threshold? A majority? 2/3?

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

1. I’m sorry to note the tone of some of the ‘triumphalist’ comments rejoicing at the rejection of the Covenant by the majority of C of E dioceses (mine—St Eds & Ips—being one). Whatever one’s views on the Covenant (and I am inclined to share the views of the Bishop of Liverpool), we should acknowledge the efforts of A/B Rowan to maintain the unity of the Anglican Communion. 2. In answer to JeremyP, there is no such thing as gay ‘marriage’. Marriage, as defined by English law, is the “voluntary union for life of one man with one woman to… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Guyer and Seitz, that’s right, if you can’t win by following the rules try to move the goal posts so that you win anyway. The reality is that those for the covenant have tended to win big when they’ve won, while those opposed have more frequently won narrowly. Those opposed have still carried about 3/5ths of the dioceses so far. Call it systemic protection for those slightly in the minority.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

What is the significance of the number of bishops for or against Chris ?

Do they somehow ‘count’ more than everyone else ?

It is bishops (including archbishops !) who have done so much to wreck the Anglican Communion we had. It bumbled along, was ok, some folks linked up to do GOOD ! Not all this politcking by American financed and led mind-numbing and numbed ‘fundamentalsim’ (which is nothing of the sort ! it ignores the fundamentals of Jesus message)

And all because of a hatered of queers – well we re going no-where / Here To Stay !

as ever……….

Mark Diebel
Guest
Mark Diebel

Couldn’t dioceses in GB sign up like it was suggested of US dioceses by the ABC?

Laurence C.
Guest
Laurence C.

“Opposing same-sex ‘marriage’ is nothing to do with homophobia,”

Yeah, right.

“but a recognition that marriage between a man and a woman is a relationship ordained by God from the beginning of time”

Not if you are an atheist it isn’t – your ‘God’ has nothing to do with it.

It is civil marriage equality that is being proposed by the government. It really isn’t that difficult to understand but, one more time : “Marriage is not owned by the Church of England or any other religious body”. There.

c.r.seitz
Guest
c.r.seitz

“Those who remain, or who adopt, will be, precisely that: a subset of the whole Communion” — how can a ‘subset’ be something on the order of a majority of provinces of the Communion, a vast majority of the Bishops of the CofE, should the former adopt on the same grounds as the 8 provinces already (including non-Gafcon and Gafcon both)? Or is what you are saying, ‘I hope that the 30 provinces yet to adopt follow the lead of CofE laity/clergy’? That is a clearer logic. One can however wonder whether it will prove true. I think the frustration… Read more »

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
Guest
Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

Appreciate your pointing out just how out of touch the bishops are, Dr Seitz.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

This is coming to the General Synod in the United States this summer. ECUSA is going to be even less well-disposed towards the ACC idea than it was before, to say the least, and of course there was the unceremonious rejection in the Philippines the situation in Japan which seems to indicate almost deliberate creation of some sort of church polity equivalent of ‘development hell’, so considering what Tony describes of the situation on the ground in A/NZ/P (I know nothing about A/NZ/P and the way it does Anglicanism so I’m taking his word for it absent any correction; if… Read more »

Alan T Perry
Guest

“what is the percentage of Bishops in favour? Is it 85%?” Actually, Mr Seitz, it’s 79.5%. You will find complete statistics here: http://blog.noanglicancovenant.org/2012/03/more-voting-statistics.html Also, note that the votes of the bishops don’t actually count at all in the diocesan votes. I think what that means is that they couldn’t stop an inititative supported by the clergy and laity (or by a majority of the dioceses voting by orders), but their overwhelming support of an initiative turned down by the clergy and laity does nothing to sway the result. The fact on the ground is in fact that the Church of… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

[Is a post of mine missing?]

“Opposing same-sex ‘marriage’ is nothing to do with homophobia, but a recognition that marriage between a man and a woman is a relationship ordained by God from the beginning of time”

DavidL: If you’re trying to say that a MARRIAGE between two men or two women is NOT “a relationship ordained by God from the beginning of time” then, ipso facto, that IS *homophobia*. You can’t disparage the God-given dignity of the Imago Dei of your LGBT brothers & sisters, IN their spousal relationships, and convince me that you’re not prejudiced.

Malcolm French+
Guest

When the issue of raw votes was first raised, I pointed out that this was an attempt by Covenant supporters to spin bad news into good by the use of creative arithmetic.

“Certainly not!” they cried.

Yet here we are – is it even a week later? – with the very same indivisuals attempting to spin the irrelevant raw vote results into the means to claim victory.

Gentlemen, I advise you that, were you public relations professionals, the phrasing of your comments here might well place you in violation of the codes and professional standards of any of the relevant professional bodies.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Claims of unalloyed joy and triumphalism ‘Shrieking’ out from these comments suggests to me that some people come here with their contributions already writ! Many of us here – and we have little if any influence on events – have opposed this process from the beginning. when the Lambeth Commission was announced (2003) I wrote this in Richard Kirker’s voice http://www.lgcm.org.uk/2003/10/anglican-church-surrenders-its-soul-to-lawyers/ I do not feel elated, like Fr Paul. Some of my close friends have put their heart and soul into this work and I share their grief. I feel the Anglican Communion has a long and honourable history yet… Read more »

JeremyP
Guest
JeremyP

David Lamming – your definition is indeed the current legal one. The point is that the government is intending to alter it. Which it can do. And as for imagining that this definition is also something that was written into the structure of the universe, that is sheer fantasy. Hardly anyone in the OT seems to have got hold of the idea. Marriage in other cultures is still extremely various – polygamy, polyandry, serial monogamy, temporary kinds of unions for various age stages – including gay unions. Methods of marrying also are nothing like our voluntary unions – think of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Well, the world-wide Anglican Communion seems to be reverting to a Trinitarian type of collegiality – if that’s the correct word in the circumstances:

1. YES to the Covenant
2. NO to the Covenant
3. GAFCON Provinces

It’s perhaps as well that Saint Paul once and for all defined true orthodoxy ‘en Christo’:

In Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, Male nor female, Yes Covenanter; No Covenanter, nor Gafconner. But all are given the same Spirit.

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Dr. Seitz, a subset is any part of a larger set that does not include all members of that larger set. I am not counting any chickens on this matter, though you appear to be doing so. If 30 provinces adopt, then 15 or so will not have adopted. What that means is that there will be some new thing, not a new Anglican Communion, made up of members of that Communion, committed to following the procedures laid out in the document should disagreements arise among them. The covenant only applies to those who have adopted it. If the whole… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
Guest

@David Lamming. You say that ‘Marriage, as defined by English law, is the “voluntary union for life of one man with one woman to the exclusion of all others” and long may it remain so.’ The definition of the word ‘long’ in your sentence is 24-36 months. I don’t know whether you consider that long or not, but it rather reminds me of the fact that the Church of England and the Church of Ireland were united ‘in perpetuity’ in 1801 – the Anglican definition of ‘in perpetuity’ has therefore been fixed as ‘around 70 years’. Marriage will be gender… Read more »

guyer
Guest

As I have previously stated on another thread on this blog, the point about popular support for the Covenant is not that canons or diocesan votes should be ignored – by no means! Rather, my point is that if one wishes to really think about the votes that have taken place, one must admit that a number of dioceses that voted against the Covenant did so not on a mass basis, but on the basis of – quite literally – nothing more than a few abstentions. The popular vote *for* the Covenant indicates that support for it will not die… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

I have stated elsewhere on TA, I was never in favour of the Covenant. Given the results of surveys contained in the report, ‘Civil Partnerships 5 years on’, the outcome does not mirror a shift in society’s view of civil partnership. The church’s stated position is not at variance with the wider society in rejecting gay marriage. If that happens, it will be by political fiat overruling popular opposition. The outcome is a defeat of the proposal to alter the way in which we resolve future inter-provincial differences. The Standing Committee will not have ‘cease and desist’ authority over all… Read more »

c.r.seitz
Guest
c.r.seitz

“If the whole communion does not adopt, it cannot be a document for the whole communion” — that is partly correct, partly wrong. (btw, You have your total number of provinces wrong — it’s 38, not 45). It will be a document for the whole communion in that it will show which members of the Communion have covenanted together and move forward on that basis. If a substantial number of provinces adopt, then the covenant will be the means of their common life, including internal and external representation. The problem with No campaigning has been noted elsewhere. It can only… Read more »

Jim
Guest
Jim

@guyer There remain a number of Dioceses to vote – six I think. I assume they will vote anyway, even though the covenant in its present form cannot go back to Synod. So the numbers game is not yet over. I suspect that not all of the remaining six will vote YES. But in any event, calling it a draw is no less helpful for pro-covenanters. The point is, there has been no overwhelming endorsement for it: it remains a contentious and highly divisive idea, and for that reason alone should be seen as a non-starter. The point of the… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Dr. Seitz, the current listing of the AC membership shows 44. I was including the possible split in Cono Sur. I do wish you were more careful with your use of the word “wrong.” I find your concept that the covenant is for the whole communion even as the whole communion doesn’t sign on to be unintelligible. I mean, I literally don’t understand what that you mean. No one I know of is trying to “coopt” the saying of Yes by others. What I am saying is that the Covenant will not be a document for the whole communion, but… Read more »

c.r.seitz
Guest
c.r.seitz

The AnglicanDownUnder blog has an interesting prognostication. He uses the terms ‘Anglican Association’ and ‘Anglican Communion’ to describe the portions of global anglicanism that want a ‘federation’ and those a ‘communion’, and the role of the covenant in sifting this out.

Peter
Guest
Peter

By rejecting the covenant we are saying that the Anglican family worldwide has no right to interfere in the affairs of a national church. So we see TEC dispossessing traditionalist congregations of their church buildings and removing their clergy and we say that’s OK – business as usual. We are equivalent to the Russians – only saying in religious terms what they are saying in political terms – that the world community cannot interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state – the Syrian government must be allowed to treat its people as it wishes. So much for our Christian… Read more »

Nathan
Guest
Nathan

TEC does not dispossess congregations of their church buildings and remove their clergy because they are traditionalists. We have some cases where we have done such things because they were schismatics.

c.r.seitz
Guest
c.r.seitz

“What I am saying is that the Covenant will be a document for those members of the communion who adopt it” — right you are.

Obviously Gafcon is not a grouping equivalent to this. It was generated by a group acting on its own energies and commitments, such as they are.

The Covenant–by contrast–is/was an initiative brought forth from the Communion Instruments. It has never said of itself that it is a ‘subset’ initiative. Indeed the ABC was fully behind it.

But I don’t think this is unclear. It is fully ‘intelligible.’ I suspect you know that.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“TEC does not dispossess congregations of their church buildings and remove their clergy because they are traditionalists. We have some cases where we have done such things because they were schismatics.”

Or because they were thieves.

Malcolm French+
Guest

Tony Fitchett said: “When Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia meets in General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui, in July, the Covenant will almost certainly be rejected, as two of the three Tikanga [and 3 out of the 7 dioceses in the other Tikanga] have voted against it.” I was aware that te Tikanga Maori had said no, and I was aware that three of the seven dioceses in Tikanga Paheka (do I have the name right?) had said no (with two, IIRC having said yes and two others having said nothing). Tony’s comment implies that Tikanga Pasifika (do I have the name… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

While still mainating that the granular analysis of agregate voting trends is merely an interesting factoid, I will note that such analysis – even that by my Canadian colleague Archdeacon Perry – has not to date taken into the consideration of the heavily pro-Covenant votes in several dioceses where synod members were provided with only pro-Covenant background materials and / or where the synod debates were manipulated by the inclusion of extended pro-Covenant apologia before the beginning of the formal debate. Lichfield and Blackburn are two of the obvious examples. In Lichfield, only pro-Covenant material was distributed and a request… Read more »