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.