Monday, 27 February 2012

Anglican Covenant passes in two more English dioceses

Last Saturday two more dioceses considered the proposal to approve the Anglican Covenant, and the motion passed in both cases.

In Sheffield the voting was:

Bishops: 2 for, 0 against
Clergy: 16 for, 6 against, 1 abstention
Laity: 31 for, 9 against, 0 abstentions

In Winchester the voting was:

Bishops: 3 for, 0 against
Clergy: 22 for, 11 against, 4 abstentions
Laity: 38 for, 10 against, 2 abstentions

Subsequently, the Yes to the Covenant campaign issued this press release:

Immediate release

BISHOPS RALLY TO SUPPORT ANGLICAN COVENANT CAMPAIGN AS TIDE TURNS

Supporters of the Anglican Communion Covenant expressed optimism this weekend, after Diocesan Synods in the Winchester and Sheffield dioceses voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Covenant. This represents a significant turnaround from only a week ago, when four dioceses voted against the Covenant.

The shift follows the establishment of the new grassroots campaign, ‘Yes to the Covenant’, whose Patrons are the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, and the Bishop of Sherborne, the Rt Revd Graham Kings. A number of other Bishops have also expressed their support, including the bishops of Peterborough, Southwell & Nottingham and Brixworth. Other high-profile supporters include eminent theologians Professor N T Wright (formerly Bishop of Durham) and Professor Oliver O’Donovan.

Prudence Dailey, co-founder of ‘Yes to the Covenant’, said the campaign had clearly succeeded in presenting a more balanced view, against a background of determined negative campaigning by a small group of detractors. Diocesan Synod members now stood a better chance of being fully informed before casting their votes, she said.

Voting now stands at 7 dioceses in favour and 10 against. If the Covenant is approved by a majority of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses, it will then go forward to the General Synod to decide whether to adopt it formally.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

The Anglican Communion Covenant is being promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to foster greater unity among Anglicans worldwide. The need for a Covenant was initially recognised as a result of divisions originating following the consecration of the actively gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in the USA. All Anglican Provinces are being encouraged to adopt the Covenant, as a way of establishing general mutual accountability by agreement.

The initial press release from this group which was only received at TA today, is dated 21 February.

NEW PRO-ANGLICAN COVENANT CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

The Church of England is in danger of sleepwalking into a terrible mistake, according to a new campaign group launched today.

‘Yes to the Covenant’ is urging the Church of England to sign up to the Anglican Communion Covenant. The Covenant is being promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to foster greater unity among Anglicans worldwide, amid deepening divisions which originated following the consecration of the actively gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in the USA.

Campaigners warn that Anglicanism—the third largest church in the world after Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox church—is on the verge of collapse as a coherent global entity, and that local Synods are in danger of unwittingly aiding its disintegration. The Covenant has to be approved in a majority the 44 Church of England Dioceses before it can go forward to the General Synod for a final vote; but it has been rejected by a majority of the Diocesan Synods which have voted to date.

According to Prudence Dailey, co-founder of the ‘Yes’ campaign and a lay member of General Synod, preoccupation with issues such as women bishops has resulted in a failure to take the Anglian Covenant sufficiently seriously. ‘Many Diocesan Synod members are turning up to vote with very little idea of what the Covenant is or why it matters, and many are not turning up at all—if you compare the totals of those present and voting with the recent Diocesan vote on women bishops, for instance, the figures are significantly lower.’

At the same time, there had been an orchestrated campaign against the Covenant, with opponents spreading ill-founded fears that it was somehow ‘un-Anglican’, without providing any realistic alternative, she said. Whenever the Covenant had been discussed previously in the General Synod, it had received overwhelming support, and might reasonably have been expected to be adopted comfortably, until a vocal minority began sowing doubts about it.

A number of other Anglican Provinces—mostly in poorer parts of the world—have already signed up, and regard the Covenant as of great symbolic importance in reinforcing their identity as part of a worldwide community of fellow Anglicans. ‘The Anglican Covenant is about mutual accountability, mutual trust. For the Church of England to walk away from it now would be interpreted as us saying to the poor and marginalised, “we don’t trust you, and we don’t need you”. That might not be what was meant, but it is undoubtedly what would be heard—and we would all be the poorer for that’, said Miss Dailey.

A website, www.yestothecovenant.org, has been set up, with information about the Covenant and reasons for supporting it.

ENDS

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 3:20pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England
Comments

Not surprised at Winch. Any reflections on Shef from those in the know?

Posted by: Dan BD on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 4:47pm GMT

Although the covenant may or may not pass, electioneering like this convinces me that it has already failed.

Posted by: Rleduc on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 5:10pm GMT

Does anyone know what 'actively gay' is supposed to mean (as indicated in the 'Note to editors' as the prime cause of there being a Covenant). Has it ever been defined anywhere? I don't think it has and am not really sure what it would mean.

I think it's an indicator that the Covenant is (at least in the minds of its main supporters) for and by heterosexuals to ward against those nasty "active gays", whoever they might be. The inactive gays are presumably tickety boo.

Or maybe not.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 6:10pm GMT

The 'Yes' campaign is deeply unprincipled. It is already obvious that there is no consensus within the C of E about the covenant: to appeal to even the prospect of majority backing is gruesomely opportunist. It is completle impossible to respect these people - 'these people' being the people who react in this particular way.

Posted by: John on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 7:20pm GMT

I hope total equality was granted to both points of view and their representatives-if the No side had any representation; and that there was freedom from duress.

Without the freehold clergy are much more susceptible to episcopal bullying than even before.

There is something almost demonic about the so-called covenant and its anti-gay genesis and intention.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 7:44pm GMT

"The Covenant is being promoted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to foster greater unity among Anglicans worldwide, amid deepening divisions which originated following the consecration of the actively gay Gene Robinson as a bishop in the USA."

There, in a nutshell, is exactly the Covenant should be REJECTED. ["actively gay": please, what year is this again? I *thought* it was 2012, but in Lambeth Palace, apparently...]

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 8:11pm GMT

"the actively gay Gene Robinson"

Really? As opposed to the passively gay Gene Robinson? The retired homosexual Gene Robinson? Who the heck talks like this?

Posted by: Jim Naughton on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 8:15pm GMT

'...a background of determined negative campaigning by a small group of detractors.'

Just in from the Archdeaconry of Westminster's Synod debate held jointly by its 3 Deaneries (Paddington, St Margaret , St Marylebone) held at Kings College London. They voted in houses and in both the houses of clergy and laity in each deanery the proposed Covenant was overwhelmingly rejected by margins of 8 or 9 to 1.

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 8:56pm GMT

'Does anyone know what 'actively gay' is supposed to mean...'

I'd like to know what a 'gay lifestyle' is. I want to know what I have been missing all these years and yet no one I challenge will tell me.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 9:15pm GMT

Are there any active or passive straights?

Posted by: Counterlight on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 9:59pm GMT

Presumably, ordinary gays and lesbians living on low incomes in countries where they face harsh repression are not considered poor and marginalised.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 10:05pm GMT

Richard its all about pastel colours and knitting patterns - I think. You know know I'm having my doubts about it all --oh dear maybe I'm not really queer at all-- or at least not queer enough for them ! They want their homos real active- whatever that may mean !

Neil that is a shot in the arm ! thank you.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 10:10pm GMT

These Baptists are against the marriage ban too

http://queeringthechurch.com/2012/02/27/religious-freedom-baptists-oppose-gay-marriage-ban/

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 10:27pm GMT

I wouldn't describe Winchester and Sheffield's voting figures as 'overwhelmingly in favour' ... strongly perhaps? Neither would I call this a 'significant turnaround', it's only two dioceses and a clear majority have still voted against.

With reference to 'Neil's' report of the voting in the Archdeaconry of Westminster. He is correct in drawing our attention to the fact that support for the Covenant in the very large diocese of London is probably very low. My own observations of London would support that view.

How anybody can imagine that the Covenant could produce 'mutual trust' is beyond me. It is profoundly divisive.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 10:48pm GMT

There are priests who, after taking the oath of canonical obedience, do not abide by the 2005 HoB Pastoral Statement 'Sexual intercourse, as an expression of faithful intimacy, properly belongs within marriage exclusively,’ Marriage, it states, ‘is a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace.

Marriage, defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman, is central to the stability and health of human society.'

So this might help us to understand what term 'active' might mean. Active married is the only permissible option for the presbyter (our spiritual elders). Those spiritual elders who are actively gay and/or actively pre-marital and/or actively extra-marital are all acting outside of the framework of their canonical obedience.

Canon A3:
Of The Book of Common Prayer
1. The doctrine contained in The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the Use of the Church of England is agreeable to the Word of God.
2. The form of God’s worship contained in the said Book, forasmuch as it is not repugnant to the Word of God, may be used by all members of the Church of England with a good conscience.

BCP pg. 422:
Marriage 'is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God.' (BCP pg. 422).

Posted by: David Shepherd on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 10:56pm GMT

¨...negative campaigning by a small group of detractors.¨ Prudence Dailey

A small group of ¨campaigners/detractors¨ who have questions about the wholesomeness of the +Drexel Gomez/Dr. Williams inspired/driven document that would punish MILLIONS of Anglicans throughout the Anglican Communion?

¿COMO?

Debating the Covenant, openly/fairly with both-sides participating and without having it steamrollered into being, seems entirely appropriate when LGBT Christians (and many heterosexual women) are suffering, being demonized/discriminated against/worse at Church!

Further "excluding" them/us/anyone, by way of mirage of a "good-will-covenant" is a very spiritually ill and untidy solution to a very spiritually important CHURCH UNITY making task.

It's about EVERYONE/TOGETHER at the Body of Christ and not just those who think their "religious beliefs" are greatly smudged/bruised and demeaned by *other* kinds of human beings (who have been sitting next to them in the pews, serving at the alter/rail or sitting in the Bishops throne for LIFETIMES anyway) being equal at Church!

Hello, hello, there is a WHOLE WORLD of people who are your sneered at detractors, brothers, sisters, coworkers, best friends and ordinary pals who have already forgiven YOU for what you do (but please stop doing what you do as it hurts everyone at The Anglican Communion and you need not make self-dishonesty worse)!

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 11:01pm GMT

Has anyone ever heard the phrase 'actively heterosexual' used in any debate in the Church? I think not. Therefore, for the Covenanters to speak of 'actively gay', as a defective quality, is a sure sign of discrimination - against a minority in the Church who just happen to have been created 'in the divine Image and Likeness, but 'different'.

And most who favour the Covenant are saying that it is 'not about sexuality'. How can that be true?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 11:17pm GMT

The Yes to Covenant web site is startling - to say the least. It asserts that the Anglican Communion is considered to be a church, though it fails to say by whom... and proceeds blandly through the looking glass of assumptions standing in for truth. We need Lewis Carroll to help make sense of their arguments.

Posted by: Scott on Monday, 27 February 2012 at 11:55pm GMT

"BISHOPS RALLY TO SUPPORT ANGLICAN COVENANT CAMPAIGN AS TIDE TURNS"


It's good to know we've always been at war with Eurasia.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 4:39am GMT

Surely the more appropriate term in relation to Gene Robinson would have been 'openly gay,' thus distinguishing him from those gay clergy who feel they must suppress or hide their sexuality, for whatever reason. In other words, a man of fearless integrity.

Posted by: Betsy Everett on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 6:29am GMT

The covenant was supposed to heal the divisions between provinces in the Anglican Communion, but instead it seems to be creating new divisions within provinces and even within dioceses. The electioneering on both sides is pretty distasteful, and it's probably only going to get worse as more dioceses go either way. As an experiement in discipline, it seems to have been a complete disaster.

Posted by: rjb on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 6:38am GMT

Of course , most of these "moralists" are equivocal on divorce and re-marriage. look at Lord Carey defending marriage..with his track record on divorce and re-marriage.

All I can say is they are defending what is a parody of true marriage.True Christian marriage is based I believe on indissolubility and not just heterosexuality.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 6:53am GMT

'The inactive gays are presumably tickety boo.'


In their mindset, there is no such thing as an inactive gay.

Posted by: John Roch on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 8:53am GMT

I don't know (no real data) but I wonder whether some dioceses are being encouraged to vote in particular ways by their bishop (okay, that sounds naive). If so, I suspect this is a pretty bad model of discernment, where the goal is actually winning rather than discerning. To be fair, the suspicion cuts across all divides.

I do like the synodical governance structure of our church, not least for giving all members a voice, even if an indirect one; but one of its chief weaknesses is the way it makes contested discernment issues into battles to be won.

Okay that all sounds naive....

Posted by: Joe on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 4:02pm GMT

Robert. I never thought I'd be saying this - of your comments on T.A., but in this case - your last comment on Lord Carey & Marriage & heterosexuality -please accept my sincere appreciation.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 at 10:15pm GMT

As the type of evangelical that reading the comments above would bring disdain to many on here, I frankly could'nt care less about the Covenant.

It is the brainchild of a faux committee who can't bring themselves to a real decision. It's either right or wrong to be in a gay relationship from the anglican view and we need to decide.
The covenant wants to say it is really wrong but we don't know what to do about it if it's wrong, and those in favour will ignore it anyway, so at the end it will achieve nothing for either "side",

Leave it and accept the communion is not a "church" and argue the rest out in the CofE,

Posted by: Paul on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 at 1:22pm GMT

Canon A3:
Of The Book of Common Prayer
1. The doctrine contained in The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the Use of the Church of England is agreeable to the Word of God.
2. The form of God’s worship contained in the said Book, forasmuch as it is not repugnant to the Word of God, may be used by all members of the Church of England with a good conscience.

BCP pg. 422:
Marriage 'is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman in the presence of God.'

There are priests who, after taking the oath of canonical obedience, do not abide by the 2005 HoB Pastoral Statement:

'Sexual intercourse, as an expression of faithful intimacy, properly belongs within marriage exclusively,’ Marriage, it states, ‘is a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace.

Marriage, defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman, is central to the stability and health of human society.'

So this might help us to understand what term 'active' might mean. Active married is the only permissible option for the presbyter. Those spiritual elders who are actively gay and/or actively pre-marital and/or actively extra-marital are all acting outside of the framework of obedience to the above-mentioned canon.

Posted by: David Shepherd on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 at 2:46pm GMT

rjb, you seem to be under the false assumption that without the "electioneering" of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition the matter would have been settled through a full and open discussion.

The facts are otherwise.

Had the No Anglican Covenant Coalition not started an active campaign, then synods across the country would only have been provided with blatant pro-Covenant propaganda full of bland assurances that the Covenant really wouldn't affect anyone if passed, but that the sky would fall were it defeated.

Unlike previous controvesial issues, only one point of view was permitted to be heard by the assorted apparatchiks and hangers on at Lambeth Palace, the Anglican Communion Office and Church House.

The behaviour of the authorities in the Church of England has been nothing short of reprehensible.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Thursday, 1 March 2012 at 4:28am GMT

"I don't know (no real data) but . . . ."


similarly

I have no direct evidence, but have heard comments that, after presentations, some members of deanery synods have been left with the impression that the Anglican Covenant would be similar to the Methodist Covenant. And who could possibly quarrel with that?


Posted by: John Roch on Thursday, 1 March 2012 at 5:23pm GMT

I'm actively straight - there, I'm out and proud!
:-)

Posted by: Fr Paul on Thursday, 1 March 2012 at 7:22pm GMT

Paul - one problem with what you write is that the Bible does not have a category "gay relationship", so it seems to me to be quite a stretch to say that a "gay relationship" is the kind of thing which is either right or wrong from a Biblical point of view. Neither is there a Biblical category "heterosexual relationship" and no-one would think of asserting that "heterosexual relationships", thus described without qualification, were either right or wrong in the manner you suggest for "gay relationships" - some are right and some are not, and there are examples of both in the Bible. So I think your premise is a false one, and your conclusion is misleading.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Thursday, 1 March 2012 at 8:46pm GMT

I see that 'Reform' has now issued its own manifesto - in favour of Covenant - with the warning that there is to be no more advocacy of openness to the LGBT community in the Communion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 1 March 2012 at 11:18pm GMT

Chelmsford votes against the Anglican Covenant. In a close vote the diocesan synod voted against adopting the covenant. Bishops 2 for, 1 against, 1 abstained; Clergy 27 for, 29 against, 7 abstained; Laity 31 for, 30 against, 3 abstained.

Posted by: Ray on Saturday, 3 March 2012 at 2:51pm GMT

Obviously the tide hasnt turned...and I cant see London /Southwark /Lincoln and prob Worcester voting in favour either....

Posted by: Perry Butler on Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 11:58am GMT
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