The London diocesan synod today voted against the Anglican Covenant. This brings to 24, a majority, the number of Church of England dioceses against;
23 22 dioceses against was sufficient to defeat the covenant and that number was reached this past weekend. The Church of England is, for now, an associate, not a constituent, member of the Anglican Communion — if we take Rowan Williams at his word.
15 dioceses have voted in favor and 5 have yet to vote. Voting concludes April 28th.
As reported on its website:
The London Diocesan Synod met tonight to debate The Anglican Communion Covenant.
After deliberations which included constructive contributions from a number of speakers representing a range of perspectives, the Synod voted against the motion to approve the draft Act of Synod adopting The Anglican Communion Covenant.
The voting figures in the Diocesan Synod debate were:
For Against Abstain House of Bishops 2 1 0 House of Clergy 17 32 1 House of Laity 26 33 2
The approval of the Diocesan Synod depends upon the motion being carried in the Houses of Clergy and Laity.
The synod also passed a following motion:
‘This Diocesan Synod, following the reference from the General Synod of the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant, requests the General Synod to debate the following motion:
“That this Synod:
a) rejoice in the fellowship of the world-wide Anglican Communion, which is rooted in our shared worship and held together by bonds of affection and our common appeal to Scripture, tradition and reason;
b) thank the Archbishop of Canterbury for his tireless efforts throughout the Communion to sustain and strengthen unity in difficult times; and
c) call on the House of Bishops:
i. to find ways to maintain and reinforce strong links across the world-wide Anglican Communion and to deepen the Church of England’s involvement with the existing Communion ministries and networks (especially the continuing Indaba process);
ii. to publicise and promote this work within the dioceses of the Church of England in order to broaden understanding of, and enthusiasm for, the Anglican Communion; and
iii. to encourage a wide understanding of, and support for, the next Lambeth Conference.” ’
London’s no vote is a mild surprise. The vote, perhaps, and the motion suggest that once the issue became decided by last weekend’s vote it’s time to make the best of things. Under its own procedures the Church of England can not take up consideration of adoption of the covenant before 2015.
In the meantime, it is by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s definition in a second tier of provinces in the Anglican Communion:
Those churches that were prepared to take this [Covenant] on as an expression of their responsibility to each other would limit their local freedoms for the sake of a wider witness: some might not be willing to do this. We could arrive at a situation where there were ‘constituent’ Churches in the Anglican Communion and other ‘churches in association’, which were bound by historic and perhaps personal links, fed from many of the same sources but not bound in a single and unrestricted sacramental communion and not sharing the same constitutional structures.
The Modern Church has a summary of voting, by diocese, and the dates of future votes of dioceses.
Overall votes, including bishops, thus far: 1447 for, 1437 against, 140 abstain.
Excluding bishops (since the approval of the Diocesan Synod depends upon the motion being carried in the Houses of Clergy and Laity) the overall vote thus far is: 1386 for, 1426 against, 135 abstain. In percentages, 47.0% for, 48.4% against, 4.6% abstain.