Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Covenant rejected in Scotland

The official notice from the SEC website: General Synod votes against adoption of the Anglican Covenant.

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church today voted against the adoption of the Anglican Covenant. Following a variety of views expressed by members of General Synod, the Motion that Synod agree in principle to adopt the Anglican Covenant was put to vote – 112 votes against; 6 votes in favour; 13 abstentions. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane then presented a resolution on the Anglican Communionin support of Motion 27, saying “The Anglican Communion matters deeply to us in the Scottish Episcopal Church. We invoke the history of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America. We want to be part of the re-founding – the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life.”

The Primus’ full speech on the Anglican Communion is available below as a PDF document.

Primus address on Anglican Communion (PDF)


  • Martin Reynolds says:

    I still think the US of A should adopt the Covenant, perhaps with a couple or twenty reservations – something like the South East Asian accession that came with a 3000 word ultimatum, but stronger.

    It is time to move the Covenant into the discussion phase. We have had the confrontational phase and that did not work, now we need to engage with what the Primus says so well:

    “We want to be part of the re-founding – the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life”

    TEC should be at the centre of that re-founding.

  • Jean Mayland says:

    Three cheers for Scotland!

  • Concerned Anglican says:

    Well, if the English diocesan votes didn’t hole the Covenant below the waterline, this will.

  • JeremyB says:

    Martin — The USA and TEC are not co-extensive.

    That said, I see no reason for TEC to adopt this Covenant. Indeed, to reject it will send a stronger and clearer message than to accept it with 20 reservations.

    Although it would be difficult to match the clarity of this message. 112 to 6! Well done, Scotland, indeed.

    Any re-founding cannot be by means of the Covenant.

    Let TEC join the Philippines, England, and Scotland in the supposed outer circle. Christ the Nazarene is there too.

  • And an extra cheer for ECS from the South Pacific.

  • Martin, please, let’s give the Covenant the burial it so richly deserves.

    As for re-imagining the Communion, we should be asking what an Anglican Communion would look like if we were inventing it from scratch. (It would look very different, I suggest.) That question would necessarily lead to others, such as what is the nature of true Anglicanism. The answer to that is not given by the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, which was invented to answer a different question altogether.

  • JCF says:

    You canna fool a canny Scot! 😉

  • Chris Smith says:

    The Holy Spirit at work in Scotland! Hats off to all of you in the Episcopal Church of Scotland. A giant step towards diversity and inclusion. I rejoice that they choose to reject this “divisive” Covenant.

  • rjb says:

    “TEC should be at the centre of that re-founding.”

    Why so? I don’t deny that ECUSA is a valued member of the Anglican family, but surely we have to get beyond the idea that any one part of the Communion is more important, or – God help us – more ‘central’ than any other.

  • Father David says:

    112 votes against; 6 votes in favour; 13 abstentions.
    That’s what I call decisive and in being so – how very un-Anglican!
    Next comes the Referendum on Scottish Independence – I wonder if that is going to be equally as decisive? Please may we – as a constituent part of the Union – have a vote in England on this important issue?

  • cseitz says:

    Reading the blogs and taking in all the infighting re: PB versus Bonnie Anderson; budget issues — half goes to governance, etc; communion without baptism; no allocations for youth, GOEs, seminarians, etc; and the actual composition and remit of GC itself, I doubt much time will be given to the Covenant. It will be rejected, and properly so. TEC is a special church with its own charisms.

    As for the SEC, my hunch is there are more people in Sunday attendance in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas than in the whole province. The real question is what will happen in the GS.

  • Counterlight says:

    Perhaps what is needed is not a Covenant among the various and disparate churches of the Anglican Communion, but a treaty or a charter.

  • ‘What will happen in the G.S.?” – cseitz-

    I presume, Christopher, that you mean the independent ‘Global South’ conglomerate,. which includes the even more indepependent GAFCON.

    Well, considering their performance of late- with their very own ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ with which to oppose and replace the ‘Lambeth Quadrilateral’, I would suppose, very little. They will probably quietly (or maybe not so quietly) do their own thing, post Conference, with little reference to the rest of the Anglican Communion.

    And what about you and your friends in ACI, will y’all be leaving TEC and joining ACNA or GAFCON?

  • Robert ian Williams says:

    In 1638 the Scots made a national Covenant against the imposition of Anglicanism on them.
    The Scots know a real covenant from a phoney one, and in 1690 they finally got rid of bishops. Ever since, Scottish Anglicanism has been a tiny denomination.

  • While Robert’s reason for bringing up the Scottish Covenant of 1638 was malicious, it does allow me to bring up one oft-forgotten point.

    Very early in the Covenant process, the Scottish Episcopal Church raised the fact that “Covenant” is a word with significant baggage and violent associations for Scots Episcopalians. This concern was completely ignored by everyone involved in the process and by everyone engaged at the leadership level of the Communion.

    Which, I think, says something most significant about the entire misguided process.

  • Martin Reynolds says:

    Thanks for reminding us that The Episcopal Church encompasses territory beyond the boundaries of the the United States Federal government, though its official name remains the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America and as I recall there were those in Scotland (and elsewhere) who were none too pleased when PECUSA/ECUSA became THE Episcopal Church!

    Lionel, I see what I suggest as the final nail in the coffin of this draft of an Anglican Covenant – though I would argue that South East Asia associated memorandum of understanding that accompanied their “accession” was the first real death blow to the Covenant and any claim there might be to its integrity.

    If your church did something along the lines I suggest above, giving a highly qualified embrace, laying down the reasons why that embrace is so limited, then that brings the sort of closure to this part of our journey we would want. Whereas just rejecting the Covenant will not.

    I full support your statement that there is a need now to go back to first principles. We are not like other Churches and we do not improve by imitating them and saying we do that for ecumenical reasons!

    We have our own way of doing things and I think the fate of this Covenant has demonstrated this wonderfully!

    My appeal to TEC to stay at the centre of Communion affairs comes in response to those who would see that Church give two fingers to the present structures and plod on as an alternative to Canterbury – creating its own independent empire.

    I have not been in amazing Texas for ten years but I remember being told that the population of the Dallas/Fort Worth area was considerably larger than that of Scotland! Quite easy to see why there is wisdom in the adage that comparison are odious.

  • Jeremy says:

    “If your church did something along the lines I suggest above, giving a highly qualified embrace, laying down the reasons why that embrace is so limited, then that brings the sort of closure to this part of our journey we would want. Whereas just rejecting the Covenant will not.”

    Why not?

  • MarkBrunson says:

    “We are not like other Churches and we do not improve by imitating them and saying we do that for ecumenical reasons!”

    If you are speaking of the AC, “we” are not a church. If it is regarded as such by someone of such intelligence and widely-read understanding, that is every reason for all of us to give the present structures two fingers, or one, in typical lazy American fashion. I would see Canterbury replaced, but by something that is not centered on any one of us. Even the Romans allow leadership by other than a Roman, and that is even more important in a confederation!

    If you were not referring to the AC but to the CofE, pardon.

  • cseitz says:

    “there is wisdom in the adage that comparison are odious” — whatever this means, The Episcopal Diocese of Dallas–or many others for that matter–do not consider themselves a “Province.” That is/was the obvious point.

    And to repeat. TEC is not going to embrace the Covenant. It is a special church with very special charisms. Moreover, GC 2012 is going to be busy with lots of other very important work: resolutions for communion without baptism; various restructuring proposals; a budgetary nightmare in content and in process; liturgies for same-sex blessings and a fight over whether this is good enough.

  • Chris says:

    Re the odious comparisons: how strange we Scots are in that most of us would consider ourselves not merely a Province but also a country – because, small or not, that is what we are. Size is irrelevant.

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