Grandmere Mimi reports that the Anglican Covenant is now defeated in the Church of England with 24 dioceses now reported to have rejected it in their conventions. I think it's over. No wonder Rowan Williams decided to retire early as Archbishop of Canterbury. This is a major defeat for him.
Here's more news on the defeat from Episcopal Cafe.
It's a huge relief for us in the Episcopal Church since this was always intended to be a punitive measure for the North Americans who had the temerity to act upon their consciences. The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada decided after more than 4 decades of arguing about the issue that gays and lesbians were not criminal or pathological after all, and were therefore full members of the church. Episcopalians acted upon this when in 2003 they elected, approved, and consecrated Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a non-celibate relationship, to be bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire.
Other churches in the Anglican Communion reacted with horror, and effectively broke off communion with the Episcopal Church and the Canadian Church. A rebellion grew within the Episcopal Church, and eventually left it with the express desire to replace it as the official Anglican presence in the USA. However, despite the exit of about 5 dioceses out of the church, the long anticipated mass exodus of clergy and laity out of the Episcopal Church never materialized.
The Covenant was an ill conceived effort to try to hold an unraveling Anglican Communion together by legal contract, and by effectively transforming a voluntary association of independent churches into a single international church with a curia and a magisterium on the Roman model. The Episcopal Church would have been demoted to some kind of second class status if it did not agree to measures in the Covenant contrary to its polity and to its history. The Archbishop of Canterbury hoped to appease an angry and well organized right wing effort to punish the Episcopal Church while at the same time, keeping the Episcopal Church at least partially in the fold.
This Episcopalian rejoices in the outcome and expresses heartfelt thanks to all those in the C of E and in England who worked so hard for the defeat of this legislation.
Those who wish this church ill will continue to bang their shoes on the desk and shout "We will bury you!" despite this setback. But, with this vote, and with similar votes in the Philippines and in the South Pacific, I think we in the Episcopal Church feel a lot less isolated.
Perhaps this is an opportunity to build a better Communion with stronger ties on the level of local parishes (where international ties were always strongest despite feuding bishops).
*I am still not able to access Thinking Anglicans, even with a search engine or through a link. I presume it is still down.