With the Covenant (almost) dead, that focus has gone.
But I came to oppose the Covenant through earlier studies which strongly suggested that attempts to determine doctrinal difference through (semi-) legal processes were both doomed and destructive of the Church.
Related studies had long ago brought me to the view that every member of the Church of England should have a vote for its representatives in Church government.
When General Synod defeated the proposal for women bishops despite 42 of 44 dioceses voting for it, some people raised their voices in favour of reform of Synod, and not least of the method of electing lay members. I would like to see that voice grow louder and for longer.
The present system
At the moment those on the electoral roll of a church vote for Deanery Synod members. These people then vote for Diocesan and General Synod members.
This system of indirect voting means that there is no accountability from governing bodies to the people in the pews - the people who very largely pay for the Church. Where there is no accountability, the people don't count.
The consequences of change
It isn't possible simply to change the voting system as though it was a technical matter with no other implications.
- The marginalization of the laity is a cornerstone of our present synodical system.
- To change the franchise would be to change the whole set of relationships which currently structure the church - clergy:laity, diocese:parish, General Synod:parish.
- Inevitably too the present kingpins in this structure - bishops and parish clergy - would also have to modify the ways they work and their relationships with the people around them.
The fundamental change will be to treat each enrolled member as a fully adult member of the Church. I think such change will be beneficial - and equally that it will be resisted.
From first debate in Church Assembly to the instigation of General Synod took some 15 years. I don't doubt that change now will take something like as long. So there's no reason to delay.