In a way, the key to the issue seems to be how differently people are reading it. I know quite a few of the signatories, and I read it one way, as do most of the people I know from that sort of background. On the other hand, people from other backgrounds tend to read it very differently.
This is roughly how I read it:
We (the signatories) agree that there are several things that often really frustrate us about the Church of England:
- the parish system often hinders mission
- very good candidates for ministry are often rejected because of some low quality selectors
- there are too many people in the Church of England who don't share the historic and Biblical faith
- we think it's unfair that we should have to support them financially
Some of us feel so strongly about these, and find them so much of a problem that they might ignore the C of E when it does silly stuff like stops us from serving God for no really good reason, and the rest of us, while we might not do that ourselves, can certainly understand where they're coming from and will support them in that.
We don't want to leave the Church of England – we are Anglicans and still see ourselves as Anglicans.
On the other hand, people who aren't from that background tend to read it as something that's essentially starting a schism or something by drawing a line and saying “we're on this side, you're on the other, we don't like you”. To my mind, that suggests that the people who wrote it probably wrote it too quickly, as Tom Wright points out, and should probably have asked more widely about how people would understand what it said.
As to where I stand - I'm certainly in sympathy with the concerns of the people who wrote the Covenant, but wish they had expressed them better and that Tom Wright and others had been more loving in their responses. I'm not saying I'd have done any better in any of their positions though...
Some people have written some more stuff on it worth reading:
Thanks to Thinking Anglicans for the links.