An update from Scotland

Hugh Magee, the No Anglican Covenant Co-ordinator in Scotland, sent this summary of the progress, or otherwise, of the Covenant in Scotland.  It comes with the caveat "subject to verification" - see below.
If you are at all familiar with the Scottish Episcopal Church, you will know that we have seven dioceses in this Province: Aberdeen, Argyll, Brechin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moray and St. Andrews.  At this stage, all but the first two of these diocese have held their Synods and all have rejected the Covenant, and a prevailing view (though perhaps not the only one) is that Aberdeen and Argyll will follow suit.
The only fly in the ointment at this stage is the possibility that the Provincial Synod will be asked to make assent to the Covenant a canonical matter, in which case the normal two-year ratification process would be set in motion (assuming such a canon were initially accepted).  At this stage, it seems more credible to assume that the Covenant is dead in the water in Scotland.
Bear in mind that the Scottish Episcopal Church has close historical and liturgical ties with the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and is perhaps therefore predisposed to be supportive of its American counterpart, which is seen as a presumed culprit in the present debate.  After all, it could be argued that the Anglican Communion itself was born in Aberdeen in 1784, with the consecration of Samuel Seabury to be the first American bishop. 
Added later by Hugh:
I've checked out the information I posted yesterday and all is OK - with one exception: the Diocese of St. Andrews "was not permitted to vote", though I'm told that "the feel of the meeting was generally opposed to the Covenant."
Hugh also sent a link to a post from last October by the Venerable M. Edward Simonton OGS, who blogs at Whitterings. It is entitled The Anglican Covenant and the Experience of The Scottish Episcopal Church: Rewriting History for Expediency's Sake and begins,
In this short paper I contend that the disestablished, non-juring history of the Scottish Episcopal Church and her ecclesiology and sacramental theology establishes a valid historical model of Anglicanism which is at odds with the example set by the Church of England. Thus the Anglican Covenant’s insistence on a historic commonality within the Communion, whether out of ignorance or design, effectively rewrites history and reduces historic diversity to an historical fiction for the sake of ecclesiastical expedience.
And it ends,
An argument that the Scottish and American Church are the odd ones out and that most of the rest of the Provinces do share a commonality with the Church of England may be made. However, a system that seeks to forge a new community out of thirty-eight members by pretending that two of them are ‘just like us’ is playing loose with historical and cultural respect. This approach disregards who they are, their unique history and culture, and builds the new relationship on a false understanding. Any marriage that starts this way is sure to fail, or at least leave one party dominated. The Scottish Church has been through this before. The almost three hundred year relationship between the Episcopal Church of Scotland and the Church of England from 1689 to 1977 is a deeply troubling one. To have the Anglican Covenant gloss over it and rewrite history is even more so.


  1. Thanks for the update. This is encouraging note. I can say that a Scottish Episcopal friend said to me last year, "Please don't let the Scottish Episcopal Church be the only one to say No to the Covenant." (This was before the English phenomenon we are witnessing.) At this point I think TEC will be a "No, but we love the Communion anyway" message. Not a bad message, I think.

  2. Tobias, we forget that the Philippines have already said 'No' and New Zealand will say no (or else there will be a major breach of its polity).

    And the reason the Covenant is arousing such opposition is because we love the Communion and don't want to change it into something else.

  3. Regarding the Scottish Episcopal Church you report that: 'The Provincial Synod will be asked to make assent to the Covenant a canonical matter' ... by whom we may ask and for what reason? Is this a back door attempt to get the Covenant through even after a majority of dioceses have voted against or have I got it wrong?

    In any case jiggery pokery is certainly suspected in the C of E amongst the hierarchy. First, by the now discredited attempts by early voting diocesan bishops to have only one speaker for and against the Covenant at their synod and in some cases that one was actually in favour. Where that happened not surprisingly votes in favour emerged.

    Secondly, I hear from reliable sources that, if the English dioceses vote against, there is now discussion in Lambeth of representing the Covenant in an amended form with an 'adjusted' section 4. This whole thing smacks of a magesterium that the Latin Church would be proud of.

    Lastly, the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome is still claiming that the Covenant will go through.

    Just what is going on?

  4. Thanks, Paul. I should have clarified that my Scottish friend said that to me last year... before some of the other votes were in.

  5. Concerned Anglican, do you by any chance have more detail on Lambeth Palace's Plan B?

    I'm going to blog your comment later today.

  6. Dear Paul,

    Alas, like a journalist I can't reveal the name of my source, but I can assure you there has been no 'hacking' of telephones!

    I guess that there is quite likely now a disconnect between the 'top' in Lambeth and the working secretariat. RW is seen as increasingly detached and distant and morale is not good.

  7. Well, I don't know about the other Scottish dioceses but I understand that the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, whilst voting firmly against the Covenant, emphasised that they were in favour of the Anglican Communion ( which their Province started, of course). The English Church is at a disadvantage in a sense, in that it is the Established Church and a Protestant Church in that country only and therefore it has to reflect official UK Government attitudes and the 'status quo'. The disestablished Scottish Episcopal Church has always taken an independent line since the English Penal Laws against its existence . In order for the Anglican Communion to remain it has to change and reflect society's new needs.