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The End Of The Beginning?

It is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

I hope I have remembered that remark by Winston Churchill correctly (no doubt you will let me know otherwise), but it is one of those that is engraved on the memories of the English people, even though I was not alive when he said it.


After tomorrow’s votes on the Anglican Covenant in five more dioceses, we are likely to be able to feel they we have reached the end of the beginning. These are the five: if you are from any of these, and get any news of the vote, the rest of us would be extremely grateful if you would tweet, facebook or similarly broadcast it via carrier pigeon as the rest of us will be on tenterhooks.

Chester: time not known

Ely: time not known

Liverpool: 9.30-12.45

Norwich: time not known

St Albans: 9.30


It is interesting to speculate what effect the resignation of  the Archbishop of Canterbury is likely to have on the outcome. On the one hand, people might feel that they owe him a ‘yes’ vote as evidence of their loyalty. On the other hand, they may feel that if he is not to remain in office during the period when it will need to be implemented, it is not necessary to follow his lead and they will be free to vote according to their own views.


Meanwhile, we are all of us, the Archbishop included, climbing Jacob’s ladder:

10 comments on this post:


Convention suggests that Dr Sentamu should be offered the post, so no change there …

16 March 2012 12:20
Lay Anglicana said...

He would make a perfect head of the Anglican Communion (to be rude, ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing’). This should be hived off and made into a separate office from the Archbishop of Canterbury, according to me (cf the Commonwealth which has rarely – never? – had a British Secretary-General). That would leave the Archbishop of Canterbury to spearhead a period of growth and renewal in the Church of England.

16 March 2012 12:59
UKViewer said...

I think that the Covenant is dead in the water, but we’ll just have to see how the votes go.

For me, the Honorary Head of the Anglican Communion should rotate around presiding Bishops of the various Churches. Or even Provincial Arch Bishops.

It would be innovative and would give them all a go in the ‘hot seat’ so to speak, and would be unlikely to produce the sort of debacle that the covenant has been.

Lay Anglicana said...

I think your idea of rotation would work very well – they do something very similar in Malaya where the king is elected every five years “in accordance with a rotating succession system determined by the Conference of Rulers.” Do you feel a blog coming on or shall I 🙂

17 March 2012 06:49
16 March 2012 13:48
Anne Peat said...

I am really worried that loyalty and affection for Archbishop Rowan will mean people won’t properly consider the arguments against the Covenant. If I didn’t think that Rowan Williams was unskilled in political strategy, I might think that the timing of his announcement (like the timing of that video all the dioceses have been sent) was deliberate!

Claire Maxim said...

Whereas I was thinking now that he has seen the strength of feeling, leaving really does let people vote according to Scripture, Reason and Tradition, rather than because they want to support Rowan.
I saw it as a gracious move.
However, praying always “Thy will, not mine, be done”.

Anne Peat said...

Yes, Claire, perhaps I am being too cynical!

But I hope Reason gets a look-in with the voting, since it hardly gets a mention in the Covenant text.

17 March 2012 10:03
17 March 2012 09:58
17 March 2012 09:52
Lay Anglicana said...

Anne and Claire – sorry, was so caught up in reporting the votes yesterday that I have only just seen your comments.

The ‘No’ camp is a touch jittery. On the face of it, by next Saturday evening there ought to be at least the remaining 2 votes needed to ensure that the Covenant cannot be put before General Synod until at least July 2015.

But there are some very conservative dioceses coming up – eg Chichester (though that is not until later), some very unpredictable ones – eg London (also later)and some, like Oxford, where one might have expected them to be anti-Covenant but the bishop, John Pritchard, has taken a surprisingly (to me) strong stand in favour of the Covenant by becoming patron of the new ‘Yes to the Covenant’ website.

No chickens being counted yet…please continue to pray (I know I don’t need to ask you that)

Anne Peat said...

Although sometimes a bishop can swing things it doesn’t always work. Our bishop(s) were strongly in favour, the Rowan Williams video was on the diocesan website, and was sent by the diocesan secretary to all the deanery synod members – our vicar showed it to us at last week’s PCC. But the clergy and laity still voted strongly against – and the vast majority oof the deaneries voted against too. What matters is having good speakers to put the other side of the argument. We in St Albans only had a pro-covenant presentation at the beginning of Diocesan Synod, but several strong anti speakers from the floor. The diocesan bishop closed the debate by saying “Don’t listen to the deanery votes – they don’t know as much about it as the bishops’ which could have been counter productive from his point of view. But will continue praying!

Lay Anglicana said...

St Albans was a great encouragement to us, precisely because there was so much ‘encouragement’ from the top to vote in favour. What rather intrigues me is the question of whether other dioceses who have previously voted in favour would have altered their vote had they known Archbishop Rowan was standing down.

18 March 2012 20:24
18 March 2012 11:45
18 March 2012 09:16

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