Sunday, 5 December 2010


It has been over a week since I last typed the words "Anglican Covenant". I decided this week to focus on faith rather than the church and to think about the things that make my faith and my life matter and which feed me rather than draining me. I have, however, been reading about the Covenant, about how it was spoken against in Synod, and then voted for, and whether this was a loyalty vote for Rowan Williams. I have also read of how GAFCON, the very people whom the Covenant aimed to appease, have firmly rejected it. I have read a range of reactions from the view that the Communion is now dead to the suggestion that liberals, if their allegiances do not tie them solely to Anglicanism, should walk away , to the view that the GAFCONITES have perhaps been right to do what they do - leave a "bad marriage" rather than stay.

I do not feel sanguine about the Church of England. Jeffrey John sermon at Colin Slee's funeral spoke of Colin Slee's fearlessness, and this seemed moving but poignant in the face of a church that seems more and more cautious, expedient, dishonest, fearful and less and less real or relevant. I've noticed that those who are disillusioned choose from three broad options, to stay , to stay but seek some kind of "respite care" or to go. Those who go either change their allegiances to another church or invent their own self styled "anglican" church. Those who stay either do nothing or seek respite care, for example through societies such as St Hilda and St Wilfred. Liberals have tended to stay so far, although I suspect many lay people have just quietly left congregations and churches.
I do not want to walk away, although sometimes this decision is necessary, but I do not honestly feel I belong but rather that I have been drifting along recently. If the Anglican Covenant is adopted by the Church of England, I wonder if there might be a greater role for organisations such as Inclusive Church to operate as a form of "respite care" offering pastoral support and a voice for individuals and parishes that have become a part of the second tier? If the Anglican Covenant is adopted by the Church of England, when I am so opposed to it, I will immediately feel that I belong to the second tier of Anglicanism. I really feel that I belong there anyhow. Perhaps I should relax and not be afraid, knowing that Jesus would have been in the second tier and I am always in good company.


  1. As usual, your post is perceptive and brilliantly written. I couldn't agree more

  2. I so feel the same way as you Sue. That is a comfort to me.

  3. Hang in there Sue.

    I have seen that God has an amazing way of working out his/her plans despite his/her church - not all the time, sure, but enough to mean that we do not need to despair.

    Fo the record, I have tried to leave the CofE more than once, but God has never let me yet, and somehow my faith has always been enriched as a result.

    I guess there is still work to do...
    God Bless

  4. I think I've left the Church of England, but it's still the church I don't go to. Recent developments make that more difficult, because it's becoming the church I could never go back to. I don't know whether I'm 'lapsed' or 'ex'. But I don't think Jesus would want to belong even to the second tier, because that implies a validation of the first tier.

  5. Sorry to hear you have had a difficult time, Anon.

  6. Thanks. By recent developments, I mean the covenant and all that it says about the church's understanding of the nature of God. How can I sign up to that hurtful document?

  7. I couldn't sign it (not that I am likely to be asked to!) I suppose the Covenant does not necessarily stand for the views and understanding of the whole Church, or each and every individual church or christian?