Comments: Anglican Covenant: this Saturday's votes

What an impressive House of Bishops the Diocese of Liverpool has and how sad about the House of Bishops in St Albans. James Jones has strengthened his chances for Canterbury, not only by his own vote but by his ability to carry his suffragan in the ways of Anglicanism. - I had hoped that the announcement of Dr Williams retirement might restore unimpaired judgement to Diocesan Bishops within the Church of England. 50/50 thus far!

Posted by commentator at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 12:18pm GMT

It's all over, people - nothing to see here. As our American friends would say: stick a fork in her, she's done.

As a side-note, I was most interested to note the Right Rev'd Bishop of Liverpool voted against the covenant. There's a man who knows which way the archepiscopal wind is blowing!

Posted by rjb at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 1:49pm GMT

A premature Alleluia in advance of Easter - what good news for Refreshment Sunday! The pride of Bishops Tom Wright, Graham Kings and the plotters behind the Covenant, and the folly of an Archbishop who failed to test the mood of his people before presenting the CofE with a fait accompli is humbled.

Posted by Neil at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 2:19pm GMT

I seriously think that the bookies are all wet -- the smart money should be on Liverpool.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 3:26pm GMT

It seems clear that the CofE is divided on this. Setting aside the Bishops who seem almost entirely in favour of the covenant, there are substantial numbers of both clergy and laity who are in favour and as well as those against it. It has proved to be a deeply divisive project which has done a great deal of damage. It is now unlikely to reach the national Synod in August but even if it did, it could have no legitimacy given that so many are opposed to the covenant - as I am. It is unfortunate that the process followed by the Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, which seems exemplary, was not followed more widely. I have recently re-read 'Kenosis & the Establishment' written in 1968 by Donald Mackinnon who taught the ABC. It is wonderfully prescient in its critique of the institutional church.

Posted by Daneil Lamont at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 3:28pm GMT

In case rjb's comment suggests otherwise, can I assure readers that the Bishop of Liverpool's vote against the covenant today was a genuine reflection of his long-held views, and has absolutely nothing to do with the forthcoming vacancy at Canterbury.

Peter (from the diocese of Liverpool)

Posted by Peter Owen at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 4:46pm GMT

Of course you're quite right, Peter - in fact, I see that +JJ was the only bishop not to vote in favour of the Anglican Covenant back in 2010. As far as I can discover, however, he has not made any public statement about the reasons for his scepticism. I'd be interested to know if he has spoken out on the issue.

I assume that +Stephen Conway cast the abstention vote in Ely - presumably it was Huntingdon voting in favour?

Posted by rjb at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 5:15pm GMT

rjb: "I assume that +Stephen Conway cast the abstention vote in Ely - presumably it was Huntingdon voting in favour?"

That is correct. The diocesan bishop spoke of his reservations in his presidential address and said that he would abstain. Of course, diocesan bishops get to vote in the General Synod and its HoB, and their vote against at their diocesan synod does not count if their Clergy and Laity vote in favour anyway.

Simon K (from the diocese of Ely)

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 5:29pm GMT

How many more are to vote? Whether there are 2 or 20 make a difference when 2 more nays are necessary....

Posted by ettu at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 6:53pm GMT

Yes, rjb, Bishop James Jones has spoken out and given his reasons for not supporting the Anglican Communion Covenant: see the full text of his Presidential Address to today's meeting of the Liverpool Diocesan Synod on the diocesan website.

Posted by David Lamming at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 7:02pm GMT

'Making space for truth and grace', published in 2007, gives an indication of the Bishop of Liverpool's concerns about the Anglican Covenant (

Posted by Savi Hensman at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 7:05pm GMT

There are 12 more dioceses to vote. Six vote next weekend - Lincoln, Exeter, Blackburn, Oxford, Guildford and Peterborough. Without any particular local knowledge beyond the usual sense of churchmanship, etc., I'd imagine at the very least Guildford will vote against and Lincoln hardly got a ringing endorsement of the Covenant from its recently departed Bishop.

After that, it's London on 29th March, Manchester on 31st March (another very likely No?), Southwell on 12th April, Chichester on 21st April, and finally Newcastle (a further very likely No?) and York on 28th April.

It's all a bit like following US Presidential Primaries, isn't it?

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 7:46pm GMT

How many more are to vote? Whether there are 2 or 20 make a difference when 2 more nays are necessary....
Posted by: ettu on Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 6:53pm GMT

32 have voted out of 44. I think it unlikely that only one of the remaining 12 will vote "No". If two or more vote "No", the draft Act of Synod to accede to the covenant cannot come back to the General Synod. Note that 22:22 means the case is lost. It has to be *approved* by a majority of dioceses.

Posted by RPNewark at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 8:07pm GMT

The thing that strikes me is the numbers of folks voting. Either the Sunday before Lent 4/Mothering Sunday is a dire choice of dates, the thought of turning up to a CofE talking shop holds little attraction or the seriousness of this debate has not filtered down to either clergy or laity. Whatever the reason, all the talk about the democratic ways of the CofE as compared to sister Churches looks pretty over-hyped.

Posted by Julian Heaton at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 9:51pm GMT

Bishop James Jones for Archbishop of Canterbury.

Many New Zealanders would agree with that, I think.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 17 March 2012 at 11:59pm GMT

Thanks for the count!

Posted by ettu at Sunday, 18 March 2012 at 11:43am GMT
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