Covenant Voting Continues

The proposed Anglican Communion Covenant has failed to achieve support from a majority of dioceses in the Church of England, but the communion’s Secretary General said the global discussion will continue.

“I have received notifications from eight Provinces that they have approved, or subscribed, the Covenant or, in the case of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, have approved pending ratification at the next synod which is usual procedure in that Province,” the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon said in a March 24 statement.

“What next steps are taken by the Church of England is up to that Province. Consideration of the Covenant continues across the Anglican Communion and this was always expected to be a lengthy process. I look forward to all the reports of progress to date at the [Anglican Consultative Council]-15 in New Zealand in November.”

Alan T. Perry, writing at the No Anglican Covenant blog, calculated these figures in voting among Church of England dioceses:

  • Bishops: 79.5 percent for, 14.1 percent against, 6.4 percent abstaining;
  • Clergy: 45.7 percent for, 50.1 percent against, 4.3 percent abstaining;
  • Laity: 48.6 percent for, 46.4 percent against, 5.0 percent abstaining.

“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,” said the Rev. Lesley Crawley, moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, in a March 24 statement. “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.”

The Rev. Andrew Goddard, writing at Fulcrum, said further discussion of the Covenant in the Church of England is postponed until 2015.

General Synod cannot reconsider the Act during this Synod. It would be open to the new Synod, elected in 2015, to again request the dioceses to approve a draft Act of Synod adopting the Covenant or consider an alternative way of the Church of England adopting it,” Goddard wrote. “However, unless there are significant changes in the text of the covenant or strong evidence of a serious change of mind within the wider church (perhaps if most provinces do adopt it and we are a small minority refusing), both of these paths would appear unwise.”


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