Anglican Covenant rejected by Church of England

UPDATED and corrected: Three of six dioceses voting today have rejected the proposed covenant, three have voted in favor. The covenant has been rejected by the Church of England


So far today the Dioceses of Lincoln and Oxford have both voted “no” on the question of returning the Anglican Covenant to the General Synod for consideration by the Church of England. With at least 22 dioceses voting against the Covenant, the Church of England will not be able to be part of the Covenant, at least for the immediate future. If signing on to the Anglican Covenant means that a province is a full member of the Anglican Communion, then the Church of England, which includes the Diocese of Canterbury is going to be on the outside.

Lincoln voted overwhelmingly against the Covenant in all three orders. Oxford appears to have rejected the Covenant in the clergy, the bishops and the laity voted in support.

UPDATE: The diocese of Guildford has also voted “no”. The diocese of Peterborough has voted “yes” along with the diocese of Exeter.

The Diocese of Blackburn has voted strongly in support of the Anglican Covenant this morning.

The total is now 23 dioceses voting “no”, 14 dioceses voting “yes”.

Thinking Anglicans has the detailed vote tallies so far. (As it appears to be their turn to be suffering technical difficulties, for the moment you’ll have to go to their main page (linked) to see the results.)

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has released a statement that reads in part:

“While today’s diocesan synod results are exciting and gratifying, we are well aware that there is still work to do. However, if the proposed Anglican Covenant does not stand up to scrutiny in the Church of England, we are confident that it will not stand up to scrutiny elsewhere.

“We hope that the Church of England will now look to bring reconciliation within the Anglican Communion by means of strengthening relationships rather than punitive legislation.”

The full statement follows

COALITION STATEMENT ON THE DEFEAT OF THE PROPOSED ANGLICAN COVENANT IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

LONDON – No Anglican Covenant Coalition Moderator, the Revd Dr Lesley Crawley, has issued the following statement on the defeat of the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant in the Church of England.

“With today’s results from the dioceses of Oxford and Lincoln, the proposed Anglican Covenant is now dead in the water in the Church of England. This also poses serious problems for the Covenant in other Provinces as it seems nonsensical to have the Archbishop of Canterbury in the second tier of the Anglican Communion and excluded from the central committees.

“When we launched the No Anglican Covenant Coalition 18 months ago, we were assured that the Anglican Covenant was an unstoppable juggernaut. We started as simply a band of bloggers, but we would like to thank the hundreds of supporters and our patrons for their dedication to promoting debate. The Covenant needed the approval of 23 diocesan synods, as of today, that result is no longer possible.

“Especially we would like to congratulate people in Diocesan Synods across the Church of England who, despite attempts in many dioceses to silence or marginalize dissenting voices, endeavoured to promote debate, ensuring that the Anglican Covenant was subjected to significant and meaningful scrutiny. We found, as the debate went on, that the more people read and studied the Covenant, the less they liked it.

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“Under Church of England procedures , this proposal to centralize Communion-wide authority in the hands of a small, self-selecting group cannot return to the agenda of General Synod for at least three years.

“We are seeing the momentum turning internationally as well. The Episcopal Church of the Philippines has officially rejected the Covenant, the opposition of the Tikanga Maori virtually assures that the Covenant will be rejected in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and we are seeing increasing opposition in other Provinces of the Communion.

“While today’s diocesan synod results are exciting and gratifying, we are well aware that there is still work to do. However, if the proposed Anglican Covenant does not stand up to scrutiny in the Church of England, we are confident that it will not stand up to scrutiny elsewhere.

“We hope that the Church of England will now look to bring reconciliation within the Anglican Communion by means of strengthening relationships rather than punitive legislation.”

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The No Anglican Covenant Coalition is an international group of Anglicans concerned about how the proposed Anglican Covenant would radically change the nature of the Anglican Communion.

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12 Comments
  1. This is the best news possible with respect to the proposed Anglican Covenant! Now, let us get back to strengthening and deepening our unity as Anglicans in the way we have done it best — cultivating the bonds of affection and missional zeal together.

  2. Savi Hensman

    Great news – unity above uniformity!

  3. Chris Hansen

    It’s great news. And even greater news: Bishop Gene Robinson is in town for the premiere of the movie about him at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival! What marvellous timing!

    Now let’s all start pulling together for the covenant that really matters: the Baptismal Covenant.

  4. Jim Naughton

    This is wonderful news, and I hope a space has now been created in which some of the good work of relationship building that has been happening on the parish, diocesan and organizational level can come to the fore.

  5. Peter Pearson

    What this says to me is that we are not alone in our understanding of what it means to be Anglican and that this definition doesn’t need to be tinkered with. Validation is a good thing now and then.

  6. There are times when a long time requirement for making major changes in the church is good — keeps us from making mistakes we’d later come to regret. This is one of those times.

    Rob Droste

  7. tgflux

    TBTG! :-D

    Thank you to the voting dioceses of the CofE, for the wisdom they displayed. God bless the Anglican Communion, via the once and future covenant: the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral (124 years, and still going strong!)

    JC Fisher

  8. E Sinkula

    Had a really bad week until now. TBTG!

    Eric

  9. Bonnie Spivey

    “We hope that the Church of England will now look to bring reconcilliation within the Anglican Communion by means of strengthing relationshops rather than punitive legislation.”

    I think this can happen now that Lambeth Palace/ABC is stepping down.

    You know there is some poetic justice here that CoE could end up in ++ABC’s inane “second tier” solution.

    I hope we too will vote “no.” If we get thrown into a “second tier” we will have some very nice company.

  10. Nicole Porter

    Sad but not surprising.

  11. As Episcopalians, we and other worldwide Anglicans, will continue the hard work of deepening our relationships through our efforts to embrace “the middle way”. This rejection of the covenant by the Anglican Church will not change the fact that we will continue to open our worshipping, praying and giving hearts to one another as we continue to be “big enough” to be in the same church, the same communion, and disagree. This is how we can be the hands and feet of Christ in our world.

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