Support the Café
Search our site

The view from Salisbury’s pulpit over the Covenant

The view from Salisbury’s pulpit over the Covenant

Right Reverend Nicholas Roderick Holtam is the Bishop of Salisbury in the Church of England. In his Presidential Address to Diocesan Synod on February 18th, he expressed what many have thought about the proposed Anglican Covenant.

Living with diversity creatively is one of the most pressing issues of our times. It is the background to our decision about whether or not to support the Covenant for the Anglican Communion. There has been a good discussion in the Deaneries which reflected the sense of there being good arguments, both for and against, opportunities and dangers on both sides. Voting in Deaneries was in favour, almost exactly the same percentages among clergy and laity: 54% in favour, 32 or 31% against and 14 or 15% abstentions, a high number which might reflect the complexity of the subject.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has put a huge amount of effort into this as the way forward for the Communion. I have thought long and hard about my own position which, as a matter of public record prior to my appointment as bishop, is against. It seems to me that the Covenant will indeed create a different set of relationships in the Communion but that this will on balance be unhelpful and un-Anglican, like a piece of unshrunk cloth sewn on to an old cloak. I am particularly concerned that the effect of section 4 will be to exclude some Provinces from the heart of the Communion, particularly because the views being excluded are represented within the parochial life of our own Province. I have asked the Bishop of Sherborne to propose the Covenant and the Dean to oppose it to show that at a senior level in the Diocese we are not in agreement and that we can live with our differences.

Bishop Holtam’s reference to how the proposed Covenant changes relationships goes beyond business-as-usual. He gives pause to his consideration and conclusions around the Covenant and gives equal deference to both the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury and its current occupant, Rowan Williams. He’s never disrespectful.

I hear him saying that that not only would the proposed Covenant change relationships, but that indeed it already has, and that it is hoped that staking a claim based on conscience will not prove any further relational injury. A delicate situation to be sure.

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café