The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted decisively yesterday not to adopt the Anglican Covenant. The debate has been going on so long that it was almost a surprise that the time had come for a decision – it seemed as if this was one of the running sores that would just go on debilitating the Church and diverting energy. The interesting thing now is how the second part of the vote will unfold: the Synod voted ‘for the Anglican Communion’, with faith that it can be re-founded and re-born in a new way that will speak to its members and to the world.
One of the important points that the Primus made was that the lines of opinion are not so simple as ‘for’ and ‘against’ certain issues. And this gives hope, because if there is a complicated range of things on which we may agree or disagree, then there is more chance of finding at least some common ground.
Another important point would be whether we can achieve real decentralisation. There is no particular reason (as opposed to tradition) why any one Province should now claim headship, or leadership of any ‘re-founded’ Anglican Communion. We could offer a real ‘worked example’ of genuine diversity-in-communion on a level playing field, in which history, money and other resources, or any other factor were not the deciding point in leadership or governance.
And after a hectic week of tying up loose ends and sorting everything for the rest of the month and preparing today’s wedding, I’m away to explore Baltic capitals and St Petersburg. I was last in Russia during the Soviet period, when the officials took 2 hours to examine our minibus full of students from top to toe – even unscrewing the horn on the steering wheel to check behind for drugs or perhaps capitalist propaganda. But they missed the copy of Playboy on the dashboard, which we later sold for enough to buy us all dinner and vodka for the evening.