Wakefield synod votes against the Covenant

16 March 2011

by a staff reporter

]THE first English diocesan synod to debate the Anglican Covenant has rejected it. On Saturday, in Wakefield diocese, the vote was lost in the Houses of Laity (10 for, 23 against) and Clergy (16 for, 17 against, 1 abstention). Both Bishops voted for its adoption.

The Covenant, which governs how the provinces of the Anglican Communion relate to each other, is being debated in each province. Three — Mexico, Myanmar, and the West Indies — have approved it so far; none has rejected it.

In England, the draft Act of Synod adopting the Covenant has to be referred to diocesan synods before it can return to the General Synod for final approval. Lichfield diocese will debate it tomorrow.

Writing in the Church Times this week, the Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, secretary of the Covenant Design Group, argues that the text successfully balances autonomy and inter­dependence. It “will not end arguments, but it does set out the grounds for continuing com­munion: core affirmations, and a coherent account of our life in Communion”.

The Revd Professor Marilyn McCord Adams, a critic, asks: “How can we — why should we — sign a document when we cannot tell what it means?”

Section Four of the Covenant, tackling provinces that innovate beyond the prescribed bounds, is called a “chocolate teapot” by the Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson. “I would detach it from the useful stuff as quietly and tactfully as possible.”

Covenant special

Question of the week: Should the Church of England approve the Anglican Covenant?

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