The General Synod of the Church of England has voted in favor of continuing the process towards adopting the Anglican Covenant, a set of principles intended to bind the Anglican Communion in light of its differences.
The Nov. 24 decision -- which was passed by synod's three houses of bishops, clergy and laity -- recommends that the church should consider a draft Act of Synod that "solemnly covenants with the other churches which enter into and adopt it in making the affirmations and commitments that it contains."
The bishops voted 39 for, 0 against, with 1 abstention; the clergy voted 145 for, 32 against, with 11 abstentions; and the laity voted 147 for, 25 against, with 8 abstentions.
The draft act will now be sent to the church's dioceses for consideration before returning to General Synod, which may be asked formally to adopt the covenant as early as February 2012.
Before the synod debate, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams encouraged its members to support the motion and the ongoing conversation towards adopting the covenant.
"The drift of the covenant has been towards … ways with which we can, in some sense, act in coherence together for the sake of God's mission," he said. "I hear and partly understand the anxieties about legislating family relations [but] I do want to resist very strongly that the covenant creates a central authority."
Williams said the covenant is about "trying to understand what it is to be completely accountable to one another," acknowledging that the context of the Anglican Communion is a global one to which all Anglicans have a responsibility.
Article By Matthew Davies, ENS
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