The first round on the Anglican Covenant debate went to +Rowan Williams as the Church of England Synod voted today to continue to consider the ill-conceived proposal by sending it to dioceses for further consideration.
The Christian Century reports:
The chamber at Church House in London was full for the lengthy debate, which saw a number of Synod members express their reservations about the Covenant.The AP report leads with "Conservatives reject global unity plan"
In his last speech to Synod, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Rt Rev John Saxbee, said the Covenant represented “factory farmed religion rather than free range faith”.
“I entirely support the process – so long as it doesn’t end,” he quipped.
He said a Covenant would only lead to a two-tier Communion and second-class Anglicans.
His comments reflect the concerns of opponents and even supporters of the Covenant who fear it would stymy diversity and centralise the Communion in such a way as to make it too authoritarian and overly focused on discipline.
The traditionalists dismissed the covenant as "fatally flawed," but the plan also has been attacked by liberals within the church.Meanwhile, the No Covenant Coalition issued this statement:
"While we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned, we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate," said the statement from leaders of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans and the GAFCON movement.
The statement was endorsed by archbishops from West Africa, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Australia and Anglican Church of North America, a breakaway group from the Episcopal Church.
I'm finding it ironic that this step toward dismantling historic Anglican comprehensiveness was taken on the Eve of the holiday that celebrates our Puritan ancestors -- those who abandoned their Sceptered Isle for America the Beautiful because the CofE wasn't "pure" enough and wasn't "scriptural" enough for them.
“The No Anglican Covenant Coalition is disappointed that the Church of England has voted to continue consideration of the Anglican Covenant. The debate made it clear that many members believe the Covenant will undermine the traditional Anglican comprehensiveness. We have lost this round. We will continue to oppose the Covenant in the Diocesan Synods and work to defeat it when it returns to the General Synod.
“We note that the GAFCON Primates have said ‘the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.’ A two‐tier communion appears to be unavoidable.”
Who left home because the Big Tent of traditional Anglicanism was TOO big and who came here to start over and live out their dream of a sola scriptura church with more ecclesiastical rules for the hierarchy to enforce and less elbow room for the Spirit to move.
Ironic that the CofE our Puritan ancestors fled is now on the verge of throwing in their lot with those who would have them become more the church those Pilgrims came here to create. My, my, my.
Happy Thanksgiving, anyway! (Yes, please to the turkey. No thanks to the theology!)