A kicking on the Covenant

The English General Synod, from the Daily Telegraph
General Synod's vote on the Covenant was certainly a kicking for those of us who oppose it.

I was out of radio contact all day so I haven't been able to hear or read any of the detail.  

However my instinct is not to think that the great majority of Synod members have read and considered the issues and on that basis have come to a considered judgement in its favour.  

The Covenant has always been a minority interest, this is a new Synod, and the general rule is that things, even threats, that are far away (in geography or time) seldom give people cause for concern.  The campaign to oppose it was, I think, as good as we could have managed given that we started very late.  (The No Anglican Covenant press release.)

I am afraid my initial suspicion is that General Synod will (almost) inevitably acceded to any proposal strongly led by senior bishops and the Archbishops.  And a flaccid, compliant legislature cannot be good for any aspect of the Church.  

But what about GAFCON?
However, from the other end of the theological spectrum, the news that the GAFCON leaders reject the Covenant is very interesting.  It's not a surprise, and the timing of their announcement was intended as a grenade lobbed towards the Archbishop, though it didn't explode. The emphasis on a Covenant as the way forward for unity in the Communion has generated a predictable but unintended consequence: a different Covenant (the Jerusalem Declaration) can be the basis for a different Anglicanism.

As I read the statement the GAFCON leaders are asserting that, led by God, they will no longer be part of the future of the Anglican Communion as lead by the Archbishop of Canterbury - not the Primates' Meeting and not the Covenant.  In fact,
3. We believe that we are now entering a new era for the Anglican Communion. 
4. As we have made clear in numerous communiqu├ęs and meetings those who have abandoned the historic teaching of the Church have torn the fabric of our life together at its deepest level. We have made repeated attempts to bring repentance and restoration and yet these efforts have been rejected. We grieve for those who have walked apart and earnestly pray for them and the people under their care.
5. For the sake of Christ and of His Gospel we can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy 
From Enough About Me: An Autobiography
9. We are, however, determined to lead our churches away from unhealthy economic dependency and to teach our people the importance of becoming effective stewards of their own resources. We must reclaim a vision of financial self-sufficiency.
11. We remain convinced that the unique character of GAFCON/FCA with its diversity of cultures and its embrace of the Jerusalem Declaration as a common theological confession is a vital contribution to the future of the global Anglican Communion. [I.e. without churches which have " 'bowed the knee' to secular liberalism".]
The glacially slow schism has taken another step forward.  I believe it's now irrevocable.

Which raises a question for the rest of us: What is the point of the Covenant without 8 (or more) of 39 Provinces? Why is it still important? Who will it be important to?


  1. No Paul you've got it wrong, which is unusual for you.

    The Synod voted to pass it on to the dioceses. There is still all to play for. If just one diocese votes against the whole issue will go up into the air.

    The final vote is not until 2012 which is a long time away. Keep up the information offensive.

  2. Penwatch,

    Perhaps you're right - it'd been a pretty depressing day yesterday all round.

    I know this was a vote to send the matter to the dioceses. But, truth be told, I doubt that the dioceses will do anything except their masters' bidding. Let us hope I'm wrong.

  3. And I should also add, the fight goes on.

    The Covenant is no better because of the Synod's vote, nor will its consequences be less pernicious.

    There is always another day.

  4. Anonymous25/11/10

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This is my 2nd go at a new post as my last one was so badly spelt and full of typos that I was embarrassed by it!

    So- Glad to hear from you Paul that the battle goes on. I don't agree about the dioceses.

    Diocesan synods can have a maverick tendency, their particular masters (their bishops) may have an anti-covenant bias and Rowan won't be there.

    Remember the final vote is two years away and 'a week (to misquote former Prime Minister Harold Wilson) in ecclesiastical politics is a long time, never mind two whole years!'

    It's a nice sunny but chilly day here. If it's the same where you are, why not take a bracing walk, and I assure you that you'll feel less sad.

  7. Penwatch,

    Special pleading:

    Here it snowed yesterday and is icy underfoot. And we had to tell a lady who has just been made destitute by our government (and who has just been relocated by the government from another city to Newcastle and knows no-one) that we couldn't even give her a regular £10 and some food because we don't have enough money. We found her some short-term help.

    That's my daily reality and I try not to let it intrude into this blog but sometimes the Covenant seems a tad irrelevant.

    Never mind: the fight does go on. Somehow justice for the destitute and a Church grounded in and focused on its ordinary members are linked for me. I don't know how they are linked but I do know that Anglican globalisation is antipathetic to a practical concern for this lady.