On 24 November 2010 the General Synod of the Church of England voted to consider adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant. As this would constitute:

'a permanent and substantial change of relationship between the Church of England and another Christian body'

it may not receive final approval unless first approved by a majority of the dioceses at meetings of their diocesan synods.

There are three main groups. Caroline Hall offers a brief but informative overview.

  • Opponents who consider it too tolerant;
  • Continuing supporters;
  • Opponents who consider it too intolerant.

A Primates' Meeting was held in October 2003, to discuss how to respond to the controversial issues of the time: the Canadian Diocese of New Westminster had authorised a liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships and Gene Robinson, who openly admitted to being in a gay relationship, was elected Bishop of New Hampshire in the USA.

Disapproval of same-sex partnerships was strong in many places. Some church leaders shared it; others, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, were caught on the back foot because they had not expected such strength of feeling.