Worth worrying about?

The Church of England’s General Synod has endorsed the concept of a covenant for the Anglican Communion. This is being treated among many of the left as a setback. But it isn’t clear that much has been lost. The covenant process has not been derailed, but its contents are far from set.

The key paragraph in Stephen Bates’ story in the Guardian is this one:

The move – described by one speaker as “the most important development in the church since the Reformation” – was carried after bishops headed off concerns of some lay and clergy members by giving assurances that nothing will ultimately be adopted until it has been agreed by the synod, which is the church’s parliament. Even so, approximately a third of the synod voted against the plan.

Look again at the resolution, which says that the synod:

(a) affirm its willingness to engage positively with the unanimous recommendation of the Primates in February 2007 for a process designed to produce a covenant for the Anglican Communion;

(b) note that such a process will only be concluded when any definitive text has been duly considered through the synodical processes of the provinces of the Communion; and

(c) invite the Presidents, having consulted the House of Bishops and the Archbishops’ Council, to agree the terms of a considered response to the draft from the Covenant Design Group for submission to the Anglican Communion Office by the end of the year.

It may be premature to assume that the Synod’s vote inidcates its attitude on homosexuality (which is no where mentioned), or its willingness to concentrate authority in the hands of the Primates–several of whom are in the process of discrediting themselves, by consecrating bishops whom the Archbishop of Canterbury won’t recognize.

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