Saturday, 21 April 2012
Anglican Covenant: two more diocesan synods
This Saturday two more diocesan synods voted on the Anglican Covenant motion: Chichester, and Southwell & Nottingham.
Chichester: covenant accepted
Bishops: 2 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy: 29 for / 9 against / 1 abstention
Laity: 39 for / 25 against / 1 abstention
Southwell & Nottingham: covenant accepted
Bishops: 2 for / 0 against / 0 abstentions
Clergy 15 for / 5 against / 0 abstentions
Laity: 31 for / 6 against / 1 abstention
25 diocesan synods have now voted against the covenant, and 17 in favour. The remaining two dioceses, Newcastle and York, will vote next Saturday (28 April).
Posted by Peter Owen on
Saturday, 21 April 2012 at 12:59pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
| Church of England
No comment today here on this - the twittersphere is uninterested -
"...the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done".
And next week GAFCON will rubbish the project some more.
RIP Anglican Covenant
S & N figures
House For Against Abstentions
Bishops 2 0 0
Clergy 15 5 0
Laity 31 6 1
Passed in all three houses.
I'm disappointed but, given the make-up of the diocese, not surprised.
Chichester's result is no surprise as the Covenant would be seen vaguely as a way to stop women bishops. Southwell and Nottingham is more unexpected.
Regardless of how the last two dioceses next week vote the overall numbers show a deeply divided Church, which is a very good reason for stopping the process of the Covenant completely. I hope that the new Archbishop will have the courage to do so.
However, the Covenant process may be like a Titanic at sea, it has a momentum that is almost impossible to stop before it hits the iceberg.
My faith in the Church of England has been strengthened by the Diocese voting on the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant, which now stands at 17 For, 25 Against, 2 still to vote, despite the majority of General Synod voting For.
This proposed covenant reveals intolerance by our hierarchical structure of those parts of our Anglican Communion that have differing approaches or views. Once an action or decision is declared incompatible with the proposed covenant, the Standing Committee is to make further recommendations as to the relational consequences which flow from that action. While the proposed covenant does not spell out these relationships, it requires the Standing Committee to address the extent of the impairment, and it is likely that will include suspension or perhaps even exclusion. As Paul explains, the reality of the Church as the Body of Christ means that we cannot say to another member of the body ‘We have no need of you’ (1 Corinthians 12:21).
Now that the proposed covenant has been rejected by the Diocesan majority, the Church authorities will continue to be able to robustly express their concerns over any action or decisions, and if necessary declare how and why an action is incompatible. We will, however, be able to maintain relationships with all covenanting Churches, whilst continuing with peaceful and caring discussions that will lead us reaffirming our close family relationships.
We watch with interested concern the outcome of voting in the wider Anglican Communion.
Professor Brian Walker MBE 21 April 2012.
Winchester Centre of Religions for Reconciliation and Peace, University of Winchester
Since we know that the Covenant is designed to control those who wish to include LGBT people as full and active members of the Church, the Chichester result could also be seen as demonstrating the disconnection between the Church and the largest LGBT community outside London, situated right in the middle of the Diocese. That is not to denigrate the hard work of many parish priests and the personal support of the current Bishop for the survey of parish attitudes to LGBT being undertaken by Changing Attitude Sussex. But this disconnection is demonstrated in the Statement of need for a new Bishop which mentions the presence of large LGBT numbers and the high rate of civil partnerships in Brighton yet all it has to say otherwise is the diocese requires a bishop 'whose teaching and lifestyle accord with Issues in Human Sexuality.'
Somewhat suprised at the small number in the Southwell house of Clergy...or didnt many bother to attend??
'whose teaching and lifestyle accord with Issues in Human Sexuality.'
Issues is just a discussion paperback - now years out of date. Why do they pretend it is something, anything more than that ?
It was lilly-livered when it came out, by now it is risible. Treating it as the holy grail makes the Church a laughing stock.
THIS kind of casual dishonesty is soul-destroying
According to the Church Representation Rules each of the houses of clergy and laity in a diocesan synod must have a minimum of about 50 members. So a significant number of Southwell clergy do appear to have been absent.
Time to look to the Overseas Provinces? We in Christchurch, New Zealand, just rejected the Covenant in our Saturday Synod - with no 'following motion' - we might leave that to our General Synod in July. We had much more important subjects to address - the future of our Cathedral and church buildings in the Diocese.
Only twenty from the House of Clergy bothered to turn up for such a vital vote on the Covenant? It must have felt more like a Deanery rather than a Diocesan Synod and we all know the definition of a Deanery Synod ......
Thank you Laurence, my point exactly.
"Only twenty from the House of Clergy bothered to turn up for such a vital vote on the Covenant?" Father David
Perhaps they were put off by the Bishop of Southwell's catchy pro-covenant slogan "The wisest next stage" - terribly difficult to say, never mind agree with.
Thanks Peter...like Fr David I wonder why so many clergy didnt turn up...at the very least a poor example to the House of Laity. Any member of the Southwell House of Clergy willing to comment? It has long been a surprise to me how few clergy and deanery synod reps bother to vote in the General Synod elections given the importance of many of the decisions made there.
The Covenant vote is no longer vital in the CoE. Turning out to vote now must feel like turning out to vote in a safe constituency. If you do it at all you do it out of a sense of duty.
Whichever way you want to vote, if it makes no difference to the overall outcome, why bother?
"Thanks Peter...like Fr David I wonder why so many clergy didnt turn up" Perry Butler
Maybe failing to turn up was a way of abstaining without doing it publicly in front of their Bishop - a 'Yes to the Covenant' poster-boy.
(top left slideshow)
'at the very least a poor example to the House of Laity.'
? Duh ! What's this all about ? Why should 'the House of Laity'require the witness of 'good' 'examples' ?
The H of L are all grown up !
Could the same be said of the clergy ?
Let us finally be done with such paternalism.
Perry Butler & Fr. David,
As Peter Owen has pointed out, the CRRs require that the size of the diocesan synod shall be in the range 100-270 and that the sizes of the houses of clergy and laity be approximately equal. Southwell & Nottingham, one of the smaller dioceses in the CofE, aims for a synod size of about 120 and at the last count that I have, the size of the house of clergy, including ex-officio members was 59 and of the house of laity 63.
Unfortunately there were, at that same last count, 5 lay and 14 clerical seats vacant.
The attendance was, therefore 44% in the house of clergy and 64% in the house of laity.
My *perception* of the make-up of of this diocese is that there are many more "broadly evangelical" parishes than "broadly catholic" and if that *perception* is true, it *might* be reflected in the voting pattern. As I said above, when I reported the result, I am disappointed but not surprised.
I think that, as a member of the synod who attended and voted, that is as far as I should go in passing comment.
However, I have been an active member of a *deanery* synod in two dioceses now and the picture implied by Fr. David's comment above is not one that I recognise.
As a playful aside...when Bishop Butler was appointed Bishop of Southampton I received a letter from the then Bishop of Carlisle, Graham Dow welcoming me to the episcopate and inviting me to a meeting of Evangelical bishops at a hotel in Leeds.It was interesting to learn that the Evangelical bishops met separately from time to time to discuss matters..I sometimes wonder if other groupings of bishops do the same. Obviously Bishop Dow's secretary hadnt read Crockford's properly.Paul Butler then held a post in the Chelmsford diocese I think. Living in Bloomsbury I wrote to +Carlisle suggesting the letter be redirected further east. I received no reply.
Like RPNewark I'm disappointed that Southwell & Nottingham voted in favour of the Covenant. Doing so was pointless, particularly since it was dead in the water anyway.
'As a playful aside...when Bishop Butler was appointed Bishop of Southampton I received a letter from the then Bishop of Carlisle, Graham Dow welcoming me to the episcopate and inviting me to a meeting of Evangelical bishops at a hotel in Leeds.' Perry Butler
Oh, how I wish you had gone Perry ~ your aside then would have been even more playful- I can imagine !
Maybe their problem is talking to each other too much while sequestered in hotels.