What if the Covenant vote is close?
Canterbury voted for the Covenant on Saturday, as was to be expected.
Update: Bishops: 1, 0, 0; Clergy: 26, 14, 0; Laity: 39, 13 (For, Against, Abstained)'
However this leaves the balance at the moment at 6 Dioceses against the Covenant and 5 for it.
If a bare majority of Dioceses vote in favour the proponents will claim it as a sufficient victory. Nonetheless there will be stiff opposition in General Synod on the not unreasonable grounds that so fundamental a change should not be pushed through with such uncertain support.
After all the reference of the question to the Dioceses is to elicit opinion across the country on matters of significance more extensively than is done through the elected representatives alone. It is part of the process of reception of change (which, admittedly, the Covenant ignores).
Conversely, if a bare majority of Dioceses vote against then opponents will declare they have won.
But I doubt the proponents will give up so easily. I would expect some last ditch manoeuvring - or playing fast and loose with the constitution - to attempt to push the Covenant through General Synod despite the vote. A lot of reputations are on the line. A lot of work done at the international level could come to a grinding and confusing halt if England doesn't join.
Though it would still be open to other Provinces to adopt the Covenant and leave England (and a number of Provinces) out. Perhaps the Global South Provinces will sign up en bloc and claim control of the mechanisms the Covenant creates.
Or, maybe, the Communion carries on much as it is now for, say, another five years when the matter can be reintroduced to Synod.
It would still be open to the officers of the ACO to work as though England was part of the Covenant - after all, they have not yet made public how the Communion will work differently should the Covenant be generally adopted.
Posted by Paul Bagshaw at Monday, February 06, 2012