No to the Covenant from the Church of Englandshire!

I must admit to be rejoicing greatly at the news that a majority of dioceses in England have now voted against the Anglican Covenant. It cannot now return to the English Synod – well at least not for a few years. This vote kicks it into long grass until 2015 at least.

I have to admit that I have been surprised that this has happened. A year ago, I did not expect it. As time has gone on, it has become clear that support for the Covenant in England has been very flakey indeed. Particular congratulations to those who have been blogging against the covenant from the beginning and who saw the dangers before others did.

Though I may not have predicted this a year ago, I find myself looking back to a post I made a month ago regarding the Covenant and particularly Rowan Williams. Worth reading again, especially the final paragraph.

People have been asking me what this means for Scotland. Does it mean that we don’t have to discuss it at our Synod in June?

The answer to that is that we do need to discuss it in June as each Province needs to look at it in their own way and come to a conclusion.

However, it means that we can look at it in a different way. One or two people in Scotland have been very worried that if we said no to the Covenant and England had said yes, then it would have meant that we would move further apart and that it could result in clergy not being able to move easily between the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of England. I don’t think myself that was ever on the cards, but England’s no votes now mean that no-one can seriously present that as an argument.

It means more than ever that the responsibility comes to us to articulate what kind of communion we want and we don’t have to face the bullying of bishops and others from outside Scotland who have been trying to tell us that the Covenant is the only game in town. (Rowan Williams, I’m looking at you! Pay attention at the back!).

The Covenant is not the only game in town. And it seems clear to me it isn’t a game we have any interest in playing anyway.

The Church of England has shown in its processes over this that it still wants to be Anglican. It still wants to be a church where people can say no to things and not have them imposed from on high or from abroad.

We can, must and I am sure will make the decision to say no to the covenant ourselves.

No to the Covenant!

Yes to the Communion!


  1. Bro. David says


  2. What is particularly interesting is the advice offered before this was launched. Surely something on vulnerability? Relying on loyalty is one thing when it comes to Diocesans, but another when thinking Christians come to vote.
    The split ++Rowan has so honourably sacrificed almost everything to avoid, is now brought closer…

  3. Rosemary Hannah says

    Don’t think so, Bene – not closer at all. The split happened when leaders of more conservative churches refused to take communion next to leaders of liberal churches. Once that happened – there was a split. Gafcon is a formalising of it. Another was the disgraceful exclusion of Gene Robinson from Lambeth. That is the real split, and I am sorry for it. I think that the Covenant would merely have been another way of formalising the position, and the LESS it is formalised the better. I think failing to pass the Covenant makes a further formal schism less likely, not more so.

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