A majority of the synods of the Church of England have spoken and are agreeing not to return to the discussion of further supporting the proposed Anglican Covenant. But this doesn’t make the Covenant a dead letter.
An odd possibility discussed by Café editor Jim Naughton on his Facebook page, as well as by Tobias Haller in a comment to a Wounded Bird article, describes the potential for who might pick up the ball and in what general direction it might be run.
I’m not so sure the thing is quite completely dead in England yet. However, it’s rejection at this point may well lead Southern Africa not to give final approval later this year. I don’t think TEC is going to adopt. The English action may well have a chilling effect — but it may inspire some of the Gafcon folks who were against it to sign on, and then amend the thing to their liking. I think that may have been in their minds all along, and Ephraim Radner suggested as much not too far back.
Now, what that means is that there will be a new group of “Covenant Anglicans” who will more or less go their own way once they’ve amended the Insturments out of the Covenant and turned over decision making to the Primates of the Covenant group. Thus the plan to bring unity will have accomplished exactly the opposite.
Mark my words.
That seems plausible in the ear of this blogger.
If it turns out to be the case, the Covenant could become not the imagined ground for ecclesial unity articulated by its promoters, but rather the fundament of further, deeper schism. Perhaps some sanity could be injected into the process of administering the Covenant by those provinces that have already signed on (however provisionally), but in the hands of those declaring other provinces out of communion, what are the chances cooler heads would prevail?
Or would the provinces that have already signed/assented/joined with/affirmed the Covenant like to rethink their positions on it?