Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition. This is an international movement and in provinces such as the USA and New Zealand the campaigners have much to be optimistic about. But the truth is, in England, the dioceses appear to be overwhelmingly going for the idea of giving up their independence in favour of being told how to think and what they can do by the most reactionary and bigoted factions in the Anglican Communion. Furthermore, and this is most tragic, the laity of the Church of England and its parish clergy seem to be content to hand over all their previously hard won rights of participation in the management of their church to the bishops, and more so to the primates, which is, of course, the unstated, but primary, aim of the Covenant's episcopal backers.

The Coalition is up against a hierarchy that is determined to rig the debate in its own favour. The bishops are using all the official means and resources at their disposal to propagate the propaganda of the pro-Covenant argument whilst suppressing, through inaction, the arguments of those against it. At the official meetings bishops are making sure they get to speak last and they are speaking, not as individuals, but on behalf of the Church as if the Covenant had already been accepted as writ by General Synod and just needs the approval of the rank of file.

But I think there is another influence on the way the voting is going. For years I have been saying that the best way to get the laity of the Church of England to reject the Covenant is to make them understand that accepting it will result in them giving up their provincial independence. The thing is, although this fact is being stated, I don't think the laity are taking it into account. I think this is because they really don't believe that foreigners will want to contradict the English and, so, everything will just continue as it always has done. Our laity are still living as if the other provinces of the Anglican Communion are part of a British Empire in which its subjects all believe in the natural superiority of the English and that the English always know best. I am pretty certain that the reason so many Church of England bishops, including the archbishops, got so upset about the US Episcopal Church's decision to treat gay people as human beings and children of God, was nothing to do with TEC's rejection of institutionalised bigotry and everything to do with the fact that "a bunch of foreigners" had dared to do something without the permission of the English.

That the Church of England is run by arrogant people who care little for the beliefs and ideals of the masses has been well proven by what's been going down at St. Paul's Cathedral recently. I can imagine certain participants in this embarrassing revelation of the Anglican hierarchy's priorities going home to their partners and crying, "Why don't they just do as we tell them anymore?"

It's a new world. It's an old church. Irrelevancy for the Church not only beckons, it may well be here already.



  1. I’m sorry to say that I’m not familiar with all the intricacies of clerical politics, but it seems to me that the fact that the CofE is the established church of this country is also highly pertinent here.

    The Monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and crucially also, Head of the Commonwealth. The Monarch has a very strong attachment to the Commonwealth, which is made up of some extremely culturally conservative countries, especially in Africa.

    The Monarch will surely not want to see these countries upset by rebellious nations like the United States. Can there be any doubt that, with the power of the Throne behind them, these culturally conservative Commonwealth nations will continue to have the upper hand over liberals for as long as these power relationships continue to prevail?

  2. To be honest I think the Queen is a bigger hit in liberal, Commonwealth countries like Scotland, Canada and New Zealand. Our government would much rather use her prestige to create good relationships with the USA than with countries that take our money rather than buy our goods and boost our tourist economy. This is emphasised by our prime minister’s obvious disgust at the established church’s entrenched homophobia.

    On the other hand, I have a sneakin’ suspicion that the Queen (God bless Her Majesty) would rather cosy up with reactionary Africans than upstart Americans any day of the week.

  3. Hey, but isn’t a Covenant a good thing?

    Surely, anything with the word “Covenant”in it must be a good thing.

    God has a covenant with us, right? We have covenants with our neighbours to make them build the right sort of houses, etc, etc. I mean covenants, covenants, covenants, give me more covenants.

  4. Yeah, but that’s a different sort of covenant . That’s your sort of covenant that you make with your lessor types. You never intend to keep that sort of covenant.

  5. RE: Boaz @ 12:20

    Wow, that’s a really great UU impression you do! Do you do weddings or children’s parties??



  6. Who or what is UU Tracie?

    No, I don’t do anything except family at which, “Oh, shut up dad!” is the usual response.

  7. This Fall has been a season of satisfaction and heartbreak. Satisfaction as various provinces around the world show that they understand the Covenant by voting against it: heartbreak as we watch diocese after diocese in England mutely pass the thing.

    As things are shaping up now, I fear England will ratify the Covenant, almost no one else will, and the CoE will find itself in a communion consisting of itself, maybe Mexico (some second thoughts going on there,) and one or two other provinces. GafCon will take a huge swatch out of Central Africa and the relatively sparse provinces South America. The rest of us, TEC, AC Canada, the rest of Africa, most of the British Isles, and most of the Pacific Rim, will find another way to express communion. We will be the “second tier” in England, but in reality, we will be the Communion.

    It did not have to be this way. Unfortunately, your church seems to be led by an elitist very ill-served by a runaway bureaucracy. He wants to impose a vision of “the chrism of bishops” that is flat our Roman Catholic, and they tell him how right he is. England will eventually stand alone on the Covenant. Sad, they could have actually led us to a communion of equals.

    Member: No Anglican Covenant Coalition

  8. Well, then, there is the possibility that even if they pass the dratted Covenant, the TEC may continue on it’s rebellious way anyhow. Many Americans probably think that the Covenant is some kind of a tricky new tax put up by England and decide that we’ve been there and done that:>)

    A covenant is different from an agreement in that it usually was between a an authority figure and a person of lesser station in life.
    (like God and the People of Israel)
    And it was for all time, unlike an agreement which can be limited. There was a third factor which I have now forgotten. When a covenant was decided, a large animal such as an ox, was killed, split in half and the persons involved walked in between the split animal as a sign of something or other :>)

    Jest sayin’

  9. “… I have a sneakin’ suspicion that the Queen (God bless Her Majesty) would rather cosy up with reactionary Africans than upstart Americans any day of the week.”

    Nail on head precisely!

    Most especially as those Africans are in the Commonwealth whereas the Americans are not.

    A discreet royal word in the Tufti’s ear is all it takes.

    What the English people think is irrelevant, as usual.

  10. Most especially as those Africans are in the Commonwealth whereas the Americans are not.

    They’re not?
    Has anybody told the Americans in Los Angeles.

  11. As you may be aware, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church here in the colonies will present a resolution at the next General Convention recommending that the Anglican Covenant not be adopted in its current form. As it seems to be the will of the majority of Episcopalians at this time, this resolution will most likely pass. The Anglican Covenant is dead in the Episcopal Church.

  12. “The Maoris over in NZ had a covenant. Fat lot of good that did them :-)”

    And they just rejected this one — Maori quash Anglican Covenant.


    Moving today’s resolution, Archdeacon Turi Hollis noted that the Covenant applied at provincial level. “If one diocese makes a decision that another objects to – then the whole province will be held accountable,” he said.

    “We are being asked to conform to the standards of the rest of the world. Yet we have a constitution that the rest of the world does not understand.

    “Would that have been agreed to had the Covenant been in force?

    “The proposed Covenant is trying to impose on us something that should be based on relationship – on whanaungatanga or manaakitanga.”

    Seconding the motion, the Rev Don Tamihere said the Covenant was not about homosexuality.

    “It is about compliance and control.

    “We are being asked to sign over our sovereignty, our rangatiratanga to an overseas group… To a standing committee over whom we have no choice or control. And they have the power to recommend punishment.

    “The proposed Covenant offers us nothing new – or nothing we need as Anglicans, as Hahi Mihinare, or as disciples of Jesus Christ.

    “We don’t need it to have faith in Jesus Christ: We already have a covenant that binds us to our saviour, Jesus Christ. And that is the only covenant we need.”

    Philip Charles (Te Waipounamu) said: “Over the years, the practice has been: If you disagree with the church, you leave.

    “And those groups who have left have often withered and died.

    “The Covenant changes that. If you disagree with a group – you kick them out.

    “I give it two thumbs down.”

    The Rev Ngira Simmonds (Manawa o te Wheke) pointed out that to be Anglican means to be in relationship with people – even if you don’t like them.

    “We want this church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia to focus, instead, on acting for the restoration of justice.”

  13. And they just rejected this one

    Which is why I picked on the Maoris in my reply to Boaz. I exist in a unrelenting stream of consciousness where everything eventually gets connected to each other in one way or another. It’s better than the real world.