Scotland and the St Andrew's Draft

The minutes of the 2008 general synod of the Episcopal Church of Scotland have been published (here).

They include an account of the debate about the proposed covenant. Members were generally leery of the covenant, and even more so of the process. They were pleased that aspects of their submission to the process had been taken on board.

There was a feeling that the original motion before them asked too much because it seemed to commit them not only to the process but to the idea of a covenant altogether:

“That this Synod affirm an ‘in principle’ commitment to the Covenant process at
this time (without committing itself to the details of any text).”

Ian Paton dug them out of the hole:

The Rev Canon Ian Paton (Edinburgh) said that he spoke with some trepidation and
hesitation. The current debate in the Communion required clarity and he
asked what one should do if “one liked fish but not chips”. The wording of
the motion implied an acceptance of the principle of Covenant. He did not
wish to vote against anything but the motion left him with no choice but to do
so. The document on page 75 of the General Synod papers suggested that a
negative response would signify the Church’s rejection of the very idea of an
Anglican Covenant and might mean that the Church would exclude itself from
future discussions regarding a Covenant. He considered that everyone had a
commitment to remain together as Anglicans and that could still allow scope for
disagreement regarding the nature of God or the authority of the bible. He
was interested in a Covenant of the sacraments and queried why the Covenant of
Baptism was not sufficient. Because he wished a choice of things other
than just “chips” with his fish, he proposed that the motion be amended to read
as follows:-

“That this Synod affirm an “in principle” commitment to continue to participate
actively in discussions regarding the future shape of the Anglican Communion at
this time (without necessarily committing itself to the concept of a Covenant).”

Which was duly passed.

Furthermore the synod remitted the St Andrew's Draft to dioceses for comment by December 31st.

The Americans consulted fully on the covenant at and earlier stage. The New Zealanders discussed the covenant in their diocese. So why can't the English?

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