Covenant for the Church of England


Cartoon from Dave Walker.

On Dec 12th a “Covenant for the Church of England” was presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was signed by the CEEC President. Bishop Tom Wright is not impressed. He doesn’t think it is really a covenant and quite a number of groups (including Alpha) were not involved. But it looks to me like the beginning of a conversation. Maybe “covenant” is too strong a word to use at this stage in the process?

HT: Richard White, who says that CMS have not signed the Covenant

Others on the subject: BigBulkyAnglican, Dave, Paul Roberts

Technorati Tags: ,


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • richard says:

    looks to me instead like an attempt to end a conversation that has been hapenning. More like throwing your teddy out of the pram and taking your ball home because everyone else doesn’t play the game your way.

  • Dave says:

    I agree with Richard – more like an attempt to disrupt the conversation.

  • A lament for Evangelicalism

    Theres quite a flurry of posts around on the Christian blogosphere about the recent issuing of a Covenant by a group of UK Anglican Evangelicals. As with these things, they claim to represent slightly more than they actually do – …

  • Philip says:

    I also agree with Richard, it seems like the statement is a line drawn in the sand and a threat to turn away from those who they basically see as liberal within the Anglican communion or in there exact words “We will therefore encourage new informal networks of fellowship, augmenting where necessary the institutional geographical groupings, and will respect and support those who cannot in good conscience maintain Christian fellowship with neighbouring Anglicans who do not uphold the authority of Scripture”
    End of conversation?

  • andrew says:

    where do people, who do not like the “liberal” label, turn in moments like these?

  • Matt says:

    How in the world did these goobers get any traction with C of E leaders with such an overwhelmingly poor document? I’m shocked that it even made headlines. It might fly as a blog (no offense!), but…uh…an official church document? Give me a break.
    BTW, i read Wright’s entire critique. Right on, as he often is. And gracious, even in his rebukes.

  • Matt says:

    Oh, and the cartoon is, well… picture perfect.

  • joe says:

    The really tragic part of all of this is those of us in the middle – who do not fit neatly within the various fractions and watch as the church pulls itself apart around us.
    I think it really is a matter of time until the evangelical and/or charismatics (not necessarily the same) leave the CofE. As has been expressed to me, many of the large charismatic parish churches have been spoiling for a fight for a while. This basically comes about because the charismatic churches are often unusually large. I think it will not be long before many of these either become congregational churches or their own looser denomination.
    Soon after I would expect the liberals to leave to greener pastures, leaving the rest of the bulk of the church feeling bruised. We will then have a reduced income and even further stretched clergy.

  • Tom Allen says:

    Andrew – I think it precisely NOT an attempt at a conversation – it is a thinly disguised ultimatum – but the support of the supposed supporting groups seems to be falling away.
    In the 1980s as evangelicals were growing in numbers and strength within the Church one evangelical colleage said to me that evangelicals would never dominate the Church of England because sooner or later they would start falling out about who was in and who was out – and indeed what is an evangelical. When Tom Wright feels excluded the covenantors have problems with claiming the label.
    So rather than lighting a fuse to a conversation it is actually an arson attack – and the wiser evangelicals are begining to become fire fighters rather than fanners of the flames.
    I wonder whether those unhappy with liberal might take time to rehabilitate the label “radical” – which rather than cool or left-wing really means “to root”. A radical Christian therefore seeks the real roots of the faith.

  • andrew jones says:

    thanks Tom. I am new to the Anglican world and appreciate teh insight.

  • Kester says:

    Totally agree Tom. Well put.
    I find this really sad and disturbing. One of the things we discussed at Greenbelt talks meeting recently was how the art of dialogue has been so widely lost. In my view, our language has become infected by the technology of violence: we lob verbal missiles from afar, and never actually engage with them.
    The difficulty that their ‘covenant’ rests on is their assumption that Scripture is somehow so easy to interpret. It would have been nice to see an honest acceptance that everyone serious in this debate is doing their best to interpret Scripture in the right way. It’s NOT that people are just chucking it out.
    It’s also depressing that in the run up to Christmas, when the very birthplace of Christ is in such trouble, when babies like Jesus are dying of starvation, or growing up orphans to AIDS, or being trained as child soldiers… When snow on Christmas cards is becoming only nostalgia in a warming world and peace and goodwill among religions is so strained… When all of these global problems are so pertinent, people are worrying themselves sick enough to divide what could be a worldwide good over which hole someone puts their Chap in.
    It’s no more than The Great Deception.

  • Stephen says:

    I have a problem: Tom Wright’s description of the C of E seems vastly different from what I’ve heard a lot of ministers say. Somebody’s not telling the truth or they’re just not seeing what’s really going on.
    Whilst I highly respect Tom Wright, I’m a little reluctant to go with all he’s said, mainly because of numerous personal stories I’ve heard from friends of mine who’ve worked in the C of E.
    Call me a sceptic, sorry – someone had to go against the stream of comments, to keep the conversation going…

  • Matybigfro says:

    well stephen in the name of learning from this leakey document please tell us what you actually mean
    ie what is it directly that conflicts with what you’ve heard
    what did he say that is not true and what experience evidence is it that makes you think that

Leave a Reply