The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church has rejected a motion to endorse the Anglican Covenant.
On the second day of the 7-9 June 2012 meeting of the General Synod at Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh, delegates took up a motion for the church to endorse the pan-Anglican agreement, continuing a discussion began at the 2001 session of synod.
Questions over section 4 of the Covenant on the discipline of errant provinces were raised, as were concerns over the creation of an Anglican curia and the centralization of power in London -- issues raised by the former Primus Bishop Richard Holloway at the 1999 ACC meeting when proposals to enshrine the instruments of unity were rejected.
When put to a vote, the motion that synod agree in principle to adopt the Anglican Covenant was rejected, 6 in favor, 112 against, 13 abstentions.
The Primus, Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane then presented a resolution stating that while the SEC rejected the covenant, it desired to remain part of the Anglican Communion.
“The Anglican Communion matters deeply to us in the Scottish Episcopal Church. We invoke the history of Samuel Seabury, consecrated in 1784 by the Scottish bishops as the first bishop of the church in the United States of America. We want to be part of the re-founding - the bringing to birth of a new phase of Communion life," the primus said.
By rejecting the covenant, the SEC's representative to the ACC will not be permitted to participate in its discussions of disciplinary measures under the agreement -- unless the ACC further revises its rules as it did to permit the Church of England's representative to participate.
Scotland's decision to reject the Covenant, following the Church of England's rejection, will likely remove pressure on the Episcopal Church to act on the covenant at its July meeting of General Convention. While eight provinces have given some form of endorsement to the Covenant, and four now have opposed it, momentum for its passage has all but died.