MCU's submission to the Eames Commission - Jul 2004
Further MCU responses to the Covenant process

The Modern Churchpeople's Union believes it would be a major error to apply any sanctions with respect to the appointment of a gay bishop or the approval of same-sex marriages.

We concur with the view, already expressed in other submissions, that the Anglican view of authority is best described as a balance between Scripture, reason and tradition. The MCU was founded in 1898 largely to defend this theological tradition, and has now had just over a century's experience of promoting it in debates over a wide variety of issues.

by Jonathan Clatworthy, 17 August 2009

This paper is a critique of two papers, by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Durham respectively. Both are responses to the decision by the Episcopal Church of the USA (TEC), at its General Convention in July 2009, to abandon its earlier moratoria on same-sex blessings and openly homosexual bishops.

Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future by Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, explains his disapproval of this decision, largely repeating arguments used in the Windsor Report, his own earlier statements and statements of Primates' Meetings. In reflective language it seeks to maintain the Communion's unity and expresses pastoral concern for both sides in the debate.

Rowan's Reflections: Unpacking the Archbishop's Statement by Dr N T Wright, Bishop of Durham, is a longer paper, written in blunter language. In some places it agrees with Dr Williams, in many it claims to explain more fully what Dr Williams meant, and in a few it disagrees with him.

A response to Neal Michell's article on the Covenant website Is the Anglican Covenant Non-Anglican? from an opponent of the proposed Anglican Covenant.
by Jonathan Clatworthy

The article, like most arguments in favour of the Covenant - and especially the writings of Rowan Williams - reminds me of a conversation I had a couple of years ago with the refreshments trolley supervisor on a train. Birmingham New Street station is huge. I only had a couple of minutes before the Liverpool train was due to leave. I ran as fast as I could. I got there in time. But the train remained in the station for another 20 minutes. When the trolley arrived, I asked the supervisor why we weren't moving.

"The signals are on red", he explained.

I asked whether he had any more information. He added "The trains aren't allowed to go if the signals are on red".

And - realising that I remained unsatisfied, he explained: "It would be very, very silly to drive the train while the signal is on red".

This is the text of the leaflet  sent to every member of the Church of England's General Synod  in preparation for their debate on the Anglican Covenant on 24 November 2010.

As a General Synod member you will soon be asked to cast your vote on the Anglican Covenant. This leaflet explains why you should vote against it.

The Covenant is designed on the presupposition that the proper way for Anglicans to resolve disagreements is for a small committee to decree the Anglican position and for the rest of us to believe what we are told.

by Jonathan Clatworthy, February 2011
See also: Diocesan Synod resources

The development of the idea

The call for an Anglican Covenant has its roots in a growing polarisation over the last few decades. The terms 'conservative' and 'liberal' indicate the main difference: some seek to protect inherited traditions of Anglican belief and practice while others believe Christianity should be more open to new ideas and insights.