Glasgow & Galloway and the Anglican Covenant

People keep asking me about how this diocese dealt with the Anglican Covenant and whether or not we passed it.

Well, we were very faithful to the current processes of the church and engaged in quite a thorough consultation session at the diocesan synod on Saturday.

I had quite a lot of input into how the processes of this synod were to work and after it was done felt reasonably pleased with what we had managed to do. People kept telling me that they thought they had been consulted and that was exactly what we were trying to do. (NB I think it was a far better process than last year’s “Indaba” Process at the General Synod, but that’s another story).

The synod in G & G this year met around little tables in a large hall. This may seem like old hat to the good people of Edinburgh who have been meeting at tables for ages, but this was the first time it had been tried here. People were assigned to tables randomly, which meant that they were almost certain to meet and engage with people they did not know during the day.

When it came to the covenant debate, we asked each table to consider three questions which flashed up on the screens.

1 – What questions remain unanswered for you about the Anglican Covenant

2 – Would your table accept the Anglican Covenant? (Possible answers were Yes, No or Can’t Decide).

3 – What would you like the Scottish Episcopal Church to be saying to the Anglican Communion at this time.

After each question, Cedric (the Vice Provost) and I did a walkabout chat-show style consultation with people in the hall, going from table to table with roving microphones asking people about their conversations and conclusions.

It was a very revealing process. Rather like General Synod last year, people had come underestimating the strength of feeling against the Covenant. The presumption had been that it would have a fair bit of support but that there would probably be quite a few against. This presumption was wrong. There was a very small amount of support for it and an overwhelming number against.

We had 24 tables on the go discussing the thing. One table came out in favour, 19 were clearly opposed and the other few couldn’t come to a common mind.

By far the most interesting part of the discussion was the last question, I think. It was very clear that the Anglican Communion is very important to us. We want it. We love it. We are not prepared to throw away and discard the bonds of affection that hold us together in favour of a legal, punitive process.

The message from Glasgow and Galloway was very clear indeed.

We don’t want the Covenant. We do want the Communion.

Comments

  1. Robin says:

    3 – What would you like the Scottish Episcopal Church to be saying to the Anglican Communion at this time

    “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye…….”

  2. Zebadee says:

    Could it be that the Anglican Communion concept is the same of the idea of ‘The British Empire’ and it’s time has passed?

    • Well, perhaps.

      If the Anglican Communion is the equivalent of the C of E abroad then yes, its time is certainly passed.

      However, if it is a communion of independent churches each with distinctive histories, only some of which go back to Mother England then perhaps there is some mileage in it yet.

      • Bruce Marshall says:

        “a communion of independent churches each with distinctive histories, only some of which go back to Mother England ”
        Yes, indeed! We must often remind fellow members of the Episcopal Church in the USA, that our origins as a separate body go back to the Church of Scotland and not to the Church of England — which could not consecrate Bishop Seabury, since he could not swear obedience to the King. Even our liturgy owes much to the Scottish rather than the English prayer book. The impression grows daily that the Covenant is a dead letter, unnecessary and divisive rather than conducive to unity.

        • Thanks for your comment, Bruce.

          Your church’s origins go back to the Scottish Episcopal Church though, not the Church of Scotland. We’re a wee bit sensitive about the difference around here.

      • Also good to recall that when England finally did get around to consecrating White and Provoost for The Episcopal Church in the US, it was on express condition that neither they, nor anyone they ordained, nor anyone ordained by anyone ordained by them, would ever minister in H.M.’s dominions!

  3. Susan Sheppard Hedges says:

    Thanks to the Scottish Episcopal Church for consecrating Bishop Seabury.
    I am not surprised that the Covenant is suspect in your diocese, as it is in more than a few elsewhere.

  4. Brother David says:

    However, if it is a communion of independent churches each with distinctive histories, only some of which go back to Mother England then perhaps there is some mileage in it yet.

    There are those of us with but tiny strings leading back to the CoE. Being a province of former TEC dioceses we have ties to both the SEC and the CoE. But our roots are originally an independent group of former Roman Catholics who turned to TEC for guidance in the early days after leaving the RC in Mexico.

    We, the Anglican Church of Mexico, approved the PAC, but that has much more to do with our national culture of not wishing to rock the boat and to get along with everyone, than anything else. We could never go along with anything in the future that would punish TEC or the ACoC.

  5. This sounds like a properly reasoned ‘NO’ to the Covenant. Congratulations G. & G.

  6. Kennedy Fraser says:

    What was said/decided at the other SEC Diocese Synods held over the weekend

  7. Such good news, Kelvin. When folks hear a fair presentation pro and con the covenant, they so often don’t wish to adopt.

    I’m another Episcopalian from the US who is grateful for our roots in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

    “We don’t want the Covenant. We do want the Communion.”

    Amen!

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