Church of England votes down Covenant for more global Anglican unity

March 26, 2012

(Church-goers arrive for a Christmas carol service at Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, December 23, 2009. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

A proposed deal to hold the worldwide Anglican Communion together amid divisions over homosexuality and same-sex unions appears to be in tatters after the mother church, the Church of England, voted to reject it.

Analysts said the Church’s decision effectively derailed the adoption of the pact throughout the Communion, a loose family of 38 national and regional churches, and raised questions about whether the Christian alliance could stay united.

A majority of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses had decided against the landmark “Anglican Covenant” pact, campaigners against the agreement said.

“With today’s results … the proposed Anglican Covenant is now dead in the water in the Church of England. This also poses serious problems for the covenant in other provinces (member churches),” said Lesley Crawley, an English priest and moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

The covenant was first proposed in 2004 in an attempt to deal with tensions between conservatives and liberals arising from the consecration of the openly gay bishop Gene Robinson by the Episcopal Church, the Anglican church in the United States.

The proposed deal required member churches to agree not to act in a way likely to upset Anglicans in other countries, and to settle disputes through consultation.
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