The No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued this press release.
The Guardian has published this article by Diarmaid MacCulloch The Anglican church can start afresh. The recent vote against the Anglican covenant is hugely significant. But are the bishops ready to listen?
…So now Anglicanism needs to move forward and forget this sorry diversion, into which many perfectly well-meaning people poured a huge amount of energy over a decade when they might have been doing something useful. Woe betide any attempt to revive it, though I notice that the secretary general of the Anglican communion (now there’s an office that sounds ripe for culling) is clearly determined to keep it alive. To judge by a press statement he issued after the votes, he simply hasn’t understood the scale of the catastrophe the covenant has suffered at the hands of ordinary English Anglicans.
Anglicanism has the chance to rediscover painful lessons from its chequered past. After the 16th century Reformation, Scotland, Ireland and England all had churches with bishops. All three churches wanted to monopolise every form of religious expression throughout the realm. All failed.
In the end, episcopal churches were disestablished in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but even the established Church of England learned that it could not boss around an entire nation, and had to accept that it ministered within a country of many faiths and none. That is a precious lesson to teach its many sister churches worldwide. Try and lay down the law in that delicate, nuanced thing that is religious belief, and you end up damaging or hurting a great many people.
Anglicanism could be seen as a family: in families, you don’t expect everyone to think in exactly the same way. You listen, you shout, cry, talk, compromise. You do not show the door to one member of the family, just because you don’t agree with them. Now Anglicans can start listening afresh.
The present archbishop of Canterbury has their warm good wishes, as he prepares to use his many talents and graces in a different setting. They should ask the next man or woman in the job to reconnect with the church and the nation.
“Anglicanism could be seen as a family: in families, you don’t expect everyone to think in exactly the same way. You listen, you shout, cry, talk, compromise. You do not show the door to one member of the family, just because you don’t agree with them.” - Professor Diarmaid Mac.Culloch -
Professor Diarmaid Mac.Culloch, Professor of Church History at England’s Oxford University, knows all about the need for tolerance, and all about prejudice against Gays in the Church.
As a Deacon in the Church of England, Diarmaid did not proceed to the priesthood, because he experienced the problem of finding out what would occur if he put himself forward. Acknowledging his intrinsic Gay-ness brought him into conflict with the authorities, and he has since been keen to do what he can to help rid the Church of discrimination against a class of people who have no option but to be who they are.
He was recently asked to serve as one of the distinguished Patrons of the No Covenant Coalition, and this statement – in the qftermath of the defeat suffered by the Covenant in the Diocesan Synods of the Church of England – is significant for its outlook on the possibilities for the future of the Church.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand