Covenant news roundup

The newsfeeds, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter were all buzzing with news about the vote in the Church of England’s General Synod on the Anglican Covenant. Here is a Anglican Covenant News Roundup for your reading pleasure:

The AP has the story here: “Anglican conservatives reject global unity plan”

LONDON (AP) — Leaders of conservative Anglicans on Wednesday rejected a proposed covenant to hold their global communion together just as the Church of England gave preliminary approval to the plan.

The covenant, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, is intended to contain deep splits within the Anglican Communion over sexuality, the role of women and the authority of the Bible. The communion represents churches affiliated with the Church of England in more than 160 countries.

The Church of England’s governing General Synod voted Wednesday to approve draft legislation that could lead to a final vote in 2012. The covenant will now be referred to dioceses for consideration.

The traditionalists dismissed the covenant as “fatally flawed,” but the plan also has been attacked by liberals within the church.

At The Guardian, Riazat Butt writes:

Unity document exposes Anglican divisions: Church of England votes in favour of new framework but conservatives condemn text of covenant as ‘fatally flawed’

The turmoil in the Anglican church deepened today as conservative leaders said they could no longer sign a framework designed to restore unity, even as the Church of England rallied around the archbishop of Canterbury to back the plan.

Members of the General Synod agreed to support the Anglican covenant after listening to a morning of emotional debate.

But while the Church of England took one step closer to signing the covenant, other churches are retreating from it. In a statement, senior Anglican conservatives from countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, said they now would not support the covenant, which they believe has been watered down and become too soft on more liberal attitudes.

Episcopal News Service has the story here:

ENGLAND: General Synod supports Anglican Covenant process

By Matthew Davies, November 24, 2010

[Episcopal News Service, London] The General Synod of the Church of England has voted in favor of continuing the process towards adopting the Anglican Covenant, a set of principles intended to bind the Anglican Communion in light of its differences.

The Nov. 24 decision — which was passed by synod’s three houses of bishops, clergy and laity — recommends that the church should consider a draft Act of Synod that “solemnly covenants with the other churches which enter into and adopt it in making the affirmations and commitments that it contains.”

The bishops voted 39 for, 0 against, with 1 abstention; the clergy voted 145 for, 32 against, with 11 abstentions; and the laity voted 147 for, 25 against, with 8 abstentions.

The draft act will now be sent to the church’s dioceses for consideration before returning to General Synod, which may be asked formally to adopt the covenant as early as February 2012.

At “Inch at a time,” Susan Russell blogs, “Round One to +Rowan (The pilgrims would be so pleased:):

“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.”

Malcolm+ at “Simple Massing Priest” had this to say today, “Why is the Archbishop afraid of an honest debate?”:

We issued a release yesterday emphasizing the importance of having a real debate about the proposed Anglican Covenant prior to today’s vote at the Church of England General Synod.

It appears that the establishment do not agree. The Archbishop of Canterbury used his presidential address to the Synod to dismiss Covenant critics without answering a single one of the concerns that have been raised. He blithely repeated the meme that the Covenant has no impact on the autonomy of member churches, completely ignoring the concerns repeatedly raised about the “relational consequences” referred to in Section 4. (Terry Martin, who blogs at Father Jake Stops the World helpfully reproduces the list of “relational consequences” as described in the Lambeth Commentary on the Covenant (warning – .pdf) which include insignificant acts like suspending voting rights in the Communion, revoking membership in the Communion and demanding that other provinces individually suspend intercommunion with the blacklisted provinces. No, nothing punitive there.)

So, instead of making a compelling case FOR the Covenant, Dr. Williams has joined the former Secretary of the Covenant Design Group, the General Secretary of the Anglican Communion Office and the Communion’s Director for Unity, Faith and Order in offering up insulting condescension. No compelling case for. No honest response to the legitimate concerns of a range of Anglicans. Simple dismissal.

I swear, I couldn’t tell if I was listening to Rowan Williams or to Glenn Beck.

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