"Bishop Michael Nazir Ali said that "I am disappointed that the Anglican Communion Covenant, even in its watered down version,has failed to gain the support of the Church of England. This now means that the Jerusalem Statement (2008) is now 'The only game in town.'" "
With H/T to Thinking Anglicans, this comment by +Nazir-Ali on Anglican Mainstream goes too far (there are other games being played) but that should not obscure the point that if the opposition to the Covenant in the C of E is interpreted as complete defeat for the Covenant around the globe then it is a pyrrhic victory in respect of the organisation of Anglicans around the globe. It may not be the 'only game' but GAFCON/FCA with the Jerusalem Declaration as its binding scrum will be the main game in Anglican town if it proves that the Covenant is globally dead in the water.
Think about it for a few moments. Anglican 'nature' abhors an organisational 'vacuum': we love our vestries, synods, General Synods, local, diocesan, provincial and international meetings. Something binds us together at those meetings. Partly its our history and our relationships but substantially it is, in fact, what we believe, what makes us distinctively Anglican rather than, say, Presbyterian ('cause we believe in bishops) or Baptists ('cause we believe in infant baptism) or Roman Catholics ('cause we don't believe in bending knee to the papacy).
So, if, in the end, the C of E vote signifies the end of the Covenant (at least for a decade or so) what will speak to Anglicans around the globe about the means and method of our organising ourselves? Who and what is set up to draw Anglicans together in meaningful ways, including motivation to be missionally-engaged with the challenges of the 21st century? Well, it is already in place: organisationally (GAFCON/FCA) and doctrinally (Jerusalem Declaration). In a few weeks we will see reports of a gathering of 200 hundred Anglican leaders from 30 member churches. Could the liberal/progressive opponents of the Covenant organise a similar gathering from 30 member churches of the Communion?
In celebrating the English defeat of the Covenant as a centrist, moderate, and mild proposal for the future life of the 38 member church Communion, liberal/progressive Anglicans around the globe seem quite unaware of the fact that they are colluding with conservative opposition to the Covenant, opposition which paves the way for the strongest part of globally organised Anglicanism to be strongly doctrinal and confessional in character, the very antithesis of what liberals/progressives are fighting for!
Thus the most fatuous remark about the English synodical voting against the Covenant has been made by Diarmaid MacCulloch when he writes, "Now Anglicans can start listening afresh". What will happen is the opposite of what he means: Anglicans will start listening afresh to a new and rising conservative leadership which is primely positioned to move into the vacuum created by the lack of global support for the Covenant as the key to a moderate, centrist Communion for the 21st century.
The second most fatuous remark is made by Pluralist (Adrian Worsfield) when he writes, "In terms of the Anglican Communion, the balkanisation that was taking place will now obviously continue". Er, no. The balkanisation will stop. GAFCON/FCA and the Jerusalem Declaration will sweep up those tempted to become Croatia and Serbia and draw them together into a united band. (There may be some balkanisation within the Church of England because the bishops there who do not want to lose their largest parishes and those largest parishes who do not want to see liberals/progressives triumph further have a mighty challenge before them which may lead to some separations).
I suggest that, if in the end, the defeat of the Covenant presages a global defeat for the Covenant, history will judge this to have been a pyrrhic victory for progressive/liberal Anglicans. They do not have the numbers in the Western Anglican churches to prop up for much longer the institutions they have sought to control. In particular they do not have the numbers to control the direction of global Anglicanism for much longer. .