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Christchurch votes against Anglican Covenant

No Anglican CovenantThe Christchurch Anglican Diocese met in synod today to do planning in response to our earthquakes and to debate the “Anglican Covenant”. Framed by regular worship, there were 45 speeches, with breaks, across several hours, and another break prior to voting by secret ballot in houses, and then about three and a half hours until we were told the result. The motion:

That this Synod:
1 Affirms the Anglican Communion Covenant in principle
2 Supports the adoption of sections 1 to 3
3 Supports in principle the adoption of section 4.

was lost in the House of Clergy. It was passed in the House of Laity, but for a motion to pass it must pass in all Houses.

By those in-the-know I was told this was one of the highest-quality debates seen in the country. I think it was done respectfully and with a great deal of listening. I must say I am surprised and delighted by the outcome. We now join three other Pakeha dioceses (of the seven in our province) against the “Covenant” as well as joining with Tikanga Maori’s resolve against it. The debate now moves to General Synod/ te Hinota Whanui.

The good thing was, for me, shaking hands with those who disagreed and good-natured banter following the outcome. That is what we are at our best – a family that can agree to disagree, make a decision, and stay together in the love of God who binds us more strongly than written bits of paper ever will.

Update: my colleague and friend, Peter Carrel, has blogged on the motion at his blog Anglican Down Under. Peter was the mover of the motion.

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14 Responses to Christchurch votes against Anglican Covenant

    • Yes, Stuart, there will be some who are disappointed. And surprised. Just as there was surprise and disappointment at the Church of England deciding to not be a covenanted Anglican church. Just as there will be at the Church in Wales now giving an “amber light”. Let me reinforce that the result was received with respect and without triumphalism, that the strongest of proponents and opponents met within the bonds of affection that hold us together in this very diverse diocese, that there will always be disappointment when an important decision is made where people have strongly-held, different beliefs, and that I cannot think of a better process for making decisions. God bless you.

  1. As a participant in the debate, it was good to feel that all present were actively listening to what was being said – not always a Synod experience.
    I thought the standard of debate was fitting for the importance of the matter in hand. It is going to be interesting how all of this will be handled now at the upcoming General Synod.

  2. This is the type of news that is so good to hear. These actions show who we are as church and I love the description about the afterward discourse, too. It describes people reasoning together and dealing with the issue without the excessive passion that can muddy the issue.

    • Thanks, Chris. There was passion – certainly. But a very, very high ratio of light to heat. The deeper passion that came through again and again was agreement for unity. The disagreement is about how best to restore and grow in our unity. Christ is risen.

  3. It was good to hear that there was a lot of respect for one another`s differing views. This was not the case at the Auckland Diocesan Synod as I found that my views as an evangelical were not respected by the Liberal wing of the Church . The Synod debate in Auckland was for me a painful experience and I know others of my viewpoint felt the same. You do not mind disagreements so long as each others views are treated with respect.

  4. So thankful to learn this. I moved to Dunedin to escape the narrow minded Sydney Diocese although I am currently back there visiting friends and will today worship at one of the few inclusive churches in the city. I will give thanks that Christchurch has now given a majority to the Pakeha dioceses. If NZ had rejected the movements occurring in TEC I would have sadly had to leave the church which I otherwise love.

  5. I am rather saddened by Stuart’s description of the Auckland synod’s process, and his perception that the evangelical position(s) voiced in the debate were not respected. Obviously, as the seconder of the eventually successful motion, I see it from a different perspective, so cannot presume to argue with how he saw it.
    But I can say this.
    It was one of the longest, and highest quality debates I can remember in my nearly 30 years of synod experience. Stuart and others may be disappointed with the approx 2/3 majority, but no one can say they were not given the opportunity to say their piece. If there was a shortage of “shaking hands with those who disagreed and good-natured banter following the outcome” then that is because it followed a similar debate the previous day on the sexuality issues, with a comparable result, and because the covenant debate caused us to over-run on time, leading to a rushed departure for many. Frankly we were all exhausted.

    so Stuart, I am sorry you feel like that.
    Peace to You

    • Just to Respond to Edward, It wasn`t so much what what was said In the debate, and indeed I do agree with you it was a very hi quality debate and yes, you are not wrong about being exhausted either .I was wrung out after 2 controversial and Tiring debates. Ir was what was said to me privately at Synod by some members of the liberal wing about my position on these issues which caused me considerable grief. It is only a minority. But still we all need to respect each others viewpoint whether or not we agree with them.

  6. Peter’s writing is BRILLIANT. Sensitive, thoughtful, Christian, seeking perfect communion and service. He is definitely one of the people who could bring unity to any group or situation- I hope the leaders take note.

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