News for Week Ending 11/29/2010
CoE sends Covenant to diocesesAs we noted last week, the General Synod of the Church of England was to have a major vote on the Anglican Covenant this week. The Synod was being asked to continue the consideration of the Covenant by sending it on to the individual dioceses. In his Presidential Address on November 23, 2010, Archbishop of Canterbury made a strong and personal plea for a positive vote. Despite some reservations expressed in the debate the next day, the Covenant did receive a strong endorsement from all three houses. (Clergy and laity have separate houses in the Church of England.) Not a single bishop voted against the wishes of the archbishop.
The vote was overshadowed by the release by the GAFCON Primates’ Council of the so-called Oxford Statement. This declaration was the outgrowth of a meeting of the Council in October, but it was released just before the General Synod vote. The Oxford Statement was not mentioned in the debate. The statement, signed by eight former or current primates (including former Pittsburgh bishop Robert Duncan, who, of course, is not a primate in the Anglican Communion), declared that they and other Global South primates will boycott the meeting of the primates called by the Archbishop of Canterbury that is to take place in January, saying that “we can no longer maintain the illusion of normalcy.” They also called the Anglican Covenant “fatally flawed”—they failed to explain in what respect—and vowed to withdraw support for it.
The General Synod vote and the Oxford Statement have been widely reported and commented upon. Stories are available from Episcopal News Service, The Living Church, Anglican Communion News Service, the Guardian, and the Telegraph-Journal. Additional news and commentary can be found in the Thinking Anglicans post here and in subsequent posts.