The Anglican Covenant is a document long in the making; it is a proposed formal statement of how the member churches of the Anglican Communion should relate to one another. It is particularly motivated by disagreements among those churches about such topics as homosexuality, and the threat of schism. The current text is available for ratification by each of the provinces.

The Church of England decided that a majority of its dioceses would have to vote in favour of the Covenant (that is, the bishops, clergy, and laity of each diocesan synod) in order for the Church to adopt it. On Saturday 24 March 2012, the diocesan synods of Guildford, Lincoln, and Oxford voted "no", making it impossible for there to be an overall "yes" majority.

What process will be followed for the Covenant now?

  • Is this rejection enough to halt the ratification in other provinces, or could others continue to decide?
  • Is it final with respect to the Church of England, or could they change their minds?
  • Does it mean that we will see another draft - or does it end the overall process?
  • From the voting results, it seems that the bishops are more pro-Covenant than the clergy or laity are: does this have any bearing on the possible future of the Covenant?

I also asked: What are the arguments for and against the Anglican Covenant? That question is about the content of the Covenant, and this one is more about the process and consequences.

  • This question is inviting speculation about the future, and so off-topic. Mar 27, 2012 at 17:14
  • 2
    I personally intend to put a bounty on this question, because I think it gets to the heart of what we are. There are substantive, answerable analyses that will be illuminating, if the question is allowed to proceed. I'm not going to say anything more here, however, because this meta question brings up much the same ground. Mar 27, 2012 at 17:20
  • I can rewrite the question to focus more on the procedure, which should admit more definite answers.
    – James T
    Mar 27, 2012 at 17:48
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    You'll definately avoid closure that way :) That said, I've also started this discussion on meta, because I do think this is a very good question. Mar 27, 2012 at 17:52
  • If it were to have passed, would that have banned the ordination of gay clergy or the opposite? Currently they are getting ordained pretty regularly right?
    – Hammer
    Mar 27, 2012 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


I believe that it will be final. Until the heads of diocese who voted in the negative die, or leave their leadership positions, as well as a compelling case being made for it, the Church of England simply has no reason to join. It gives other churches power within the Anglican Church that there's no reason to relinquish. As I see it, the accord will simply continue on without them. They already have enough churches to make this document significant, and there's no guarantee that if they change it that the Church of England would accept and ratify it. Better to stick with what they have and accomplish what they can without the Church of England, than to change it in a way that may alienate other churches.

I believe it will pass without the ratification of the Church of England, at least for a long time. It provides what many churches are seeking, with regard to conflict resolution, and providing more overall unity.

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