Thinking Anglicans

women bishops debate

UPDATE

The voting on the motion (as amended) was as follows:

Bishops: 41 in favour, 6 against
Clergy: 167 in favour, 46 against
Laity: 159 in favour, 75 against

The motion was therefore CARRIED.

The final text of the motion was:

That this Synod

(a) consider that the process for removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate should now be set in train;

(b) invite the House of Bishops, in consultation with the Archbishops’ Council, to complete by January 2006, and report to the Synod, the assessment which it is making of the various options for achieving the removal of the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate, and ask that it give specific attention to the issues of canonical obedience and the universal validity of orders throughout the Church of England as it would affect clergy and laity who cannot accept the ordination of women to the episcopate on theological grounds; and

(c) instruct the Business Committee to make sufficient time available in the February 2006 group of sessions for the Synod to debate the report, and in the light of the outcome to determine on what basis it wants the necessary legislation prepared and establish the necessary drafting group.’
————

Four amendments have been put down for debate. The text of these will be published here below the fold, in the order in which they are going to be considered. The original motion is here.

The Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe formally moved his amendment. Voting FOR the amendment was effectively to vote AGAINST the original motion.
It was very clearly lost on a show of hands. There was more support for it, though, than I had expected.

The Archdeacon of Norwich’s amendment, similarly but very quickly, also lost.

It is now clear that the concept of delay has been rejected decisively by the synod.

The last two amendments were then debated.

The Archdeacon of Berkshire moved his amendment. After debate, it was PASSED by 233 votes to 216.

The fourth amendment by Dr Bridger was not resisted by the Bishop of Southwark and quickly passed on a show of hands.

The debate subsequently completed, and a vote by houses is taking place. It seems very likely now that this motion will pass.

Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe’s amendment. LOST

Leave out all words after “That this Synod” and insert: [i.e. replace the original motion entirely with the following:]

(a) consider that before the process for removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate be set in train the fullest opportunity be given to the Church to reflect on and debate the issues set out in the Rochester report being mindful that the Synod resolution which framed the terms of reference for the Rochester Working Party asked for “a further theological study on the episcopate, focusing on the issues that need to be addressed in preparation for the debate on women in the episcopate in the Church of England; and

(b) therefore ask the House of Bishops to bring as soon as possible to the next Synod an agreed process for enabling this to be done”.

The Archdeacon of Norwich’s amendment LOST
[similarly a total replacement]

(a) invite the House of Bishops, in consultation with the Archbishops’ Council, to complete by January 2006, and report to the Synod, the assessment which it is making of the various options regarding the removal of the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate;

(b) instruct the Business Committee to make sufficient time available in the February 2006 Group of Sessions for the Synod to debate the report and, if possible, to determine on the same occasion the basis on which legislation should be prepared regarding the removal of those legal obstacles and its consequences; and

(c) encourage the new Synod to remove the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate once this has been determined.

The Archdeacon of Berkshire’s amendment CARRIED

At the end of paragraph (b) [or if the Norwich amendment passes, at the end of para (a)] insert the words:

…and ask that it give specific attention to the issues of canonical obedience and the universal validity of orders throughout the Church of England as it would affect clergy and laity who cannot accept the ordination of women to the episcopate on theological grounds.

Dr Francis Bridger’s amendment CARRIED

[applies only if both Europe and Norwich amendments fail]

In paragraph (b) omit the word “this” and insert at the end of the paragraph “the removal of the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate”; and in paragraph © after “report,” insert the words “and in the light of the outcome to”.

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Dave
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Dave

Hmm, doesn’t this voting again highlight the unrepresentative appointed of liberals to the HoB ?

Laity: 159 in favour, 75 against
Clergy: 167 in favour, 46 against
Bishops: 41 in favour, 6 against

Only 6 against – as opposed to 33% of the laity !

Anna
Guest

Oh, excellent!

Merseymike
Guest

Seems clear enough that we will have women Bishops within the CofE.

This could hasten the break up of the Anglican Communion and the willingness of conservative Anglo-Catholics to throw in their lot with Rome, and Reform et al with the Protestant Reformed Church of Lagos and Sydney.

AMNicklin
Guest
AMNicklin

Or maybe it shows what further and more concentrated study of our faith may reveal regarding the inclusivity and the use of all God-given gifts in the kingdom of God regardless of gender. After all, there is strong evidence of woman leaders among Jesus followers – Mary Magdalene for one and in the early church which was closest to the time of Jesus. It was when the church started gaining some acceptance in the larger world that woman’s roles were restricted.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No, Dave, it suggests to me that most of the evangelical Bishops (like my own) are in favour, and that many of the rural broad-church laity are nervous about a change which they may not be ideologically opposed to.

And that the Bishops recognise that there is nothing stopping a woman doing the job they do….

Pete
Guest
Pete

“Only 6 against – as opposed to 33% of the laity !”

I love this spin…Never mind that 66% of the laity support the consecration of women bishops. I guess those people are misguided idiots, eh? Just like the vast majority of people in the ECUSA Diocese of NH who supported the consecration of Bishop Robinson. Obviously those people were duped and stupid as well, right?

If disenchanted clergy want to leave and go to Rome, please get on with it.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I was looking at the membership of steering committees and the management group of “Anglican Mainstream” – there seem a lot of people there who think the Archbishop of Canterbury is a “false teacher” and/or would not support the overwhelming vote for women bishops at the English General Synod. I noticed that one of them interviewed on the Christina Odone programme tonight said that plans for an alternative Anglican Church were well advanced.
It all seems very strange.
Perhaps Archbshop Malango’s interview with David Virtue was closer to the mark than all the heated denials since.

William
Guest
William

<> Hmm, doesn’t this voting again highlight the unrepresentative appoint[ment] of liberals to the HoB ? <>

Tosh. It tells you nothing more than that

32% of the laity voted against, as did
22% of the clergy, and
13% of the bishops.

It might equally fallaciously be argued that it again highlights what a lot of arch conservatives sit among the ranks of the laity.

Yet even among the laity the motion was carried by a two-thirds majority – which is the sort of majority recognised worldwide as sufficient to change a constitution.

Doug
Guest

Hmmmmm, so 157 laity would have been two thirds plus one and the vote in that house was 159! In ANY other setting that would have been a ***resounding*** and unimpeachable victory that would have assured the passage of anything!

But in this setting it only highlights the liberalness of the HoB?!?!?!

Fascinating.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

“The stone that the builders rejected . . . “

Once again, this is *the Lord’s doing* (in my eyes, it’s marvelous! :-D)

Simon Cawdell
Guest
Simon Cawdell

It is very pleasing that the synod vote was so decisive. I do hope, however, that this will not encourage synod merely to concentrate on legal matters, and avoid addressing the important theological argument. The way to prevent schism is to have the theological debate again and again, until the conservatives (catholic and evangelical) are placed in a postion where they have no proper grounds for protest.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Martin ; I am sure ( and I hope) that you are right – for I think thet will be the best outcome all round.

Christopher Witmer
Guest
Christopher Witmer

The stone that the builders rejected? Sounds more like the crap that the fools accepted. It is the Lord’s doing, but not in the way that J. C. Fischer thinks. If the Anglican Communion does not split up over issues like this and the failure to discipline members who refuse to repent of serious sexual sin, it will only be because you can’t split rotten wood.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

Mike, if some clergy and others defect to Rome because of this, the CofE is bound to receive in return the defections of brilliant men and women from Rome. That’s what’s happened in the good old USofA. It works both ways. I’ll bet the CofE gets the best of the bargain.

Simeon
Guest

Well Huzzah for the Synod ! As for Dave’s poor attempt to spin the voting numbers – may I ask what it is that you’re truly trying to accomplish ? It’s patently obvious that the so-called “conservatives” don’t have the necessary support for their vision in either the CoE, the ECUSA or the Anglican Church of Canada (or, I suspect, the Church in Scotland, New Zealand or Australia, minus Sydney, to name a few others). In a practical vein, you really have two choices: 1) go ahead and form your own, separate “Anglican” communion and leave in peace, or 2)… Read more »

Murray
Guest
Murray

I do wish people would say things like: “Go to Rome and get on with it” on the Synod floor rather than things like: “There will always be an honored place for those who cannot accept this innovation.” What is gained by bare-faced lying, after all?

Anna
Guest

Christopher, Dave, and others– the ordination of women and the ordination of gays and lesbians are two quite different issues. I’ve met conservative evangelical leaders (including a senior Nigerian clergyman) who wholeheartedly support women’s ordination to the priesthood and the episcopate and would never countenance the ordination of openly gay men and women to either.

While some people oppose both and some support both, this action can’t be equated with that of ECUSA’s 2003 General Convention, nor are the divisions it highlights as large or as profound. I’d caution against lumping it all together and lamenting the lot.

Anon
Guest
Anon

Why would an evangelical want women in positions of authority? Surely this shows that liberal thinking abounds in all areas. Its interesting how little scripture is quoted in these comments… “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”” (1… Read more »

R. Fletcher
Guest
R. Fletcher

I find the discussion more than interesting given the fact that the Anglican Church of Canada, ECUSA and New Zealand have had women priests and in some cases women bishops for some years now. It’s as if the discussion, the experience and the theology had never been known before. Maybe there are some things that the CofE can learn from the North American Churches after all.

Derek
Guest
Derek

btw Anon–you reminded me of an excellent point. The Bible specifically tells us that women should not be placed over men. I want to know what God thought he was doing in appointing women judges to free Israel from their oppressors. Furthermore that darned Miriam should have kept her mouth shut by the Red Sea. After all, who does God think he is that he can just go against what the Bible says!?!

Simon Rose
Guest

I find the shrill tone of many of these comments lacking in the charity that one should expect amongst Christians. Is the placing of spin on voting figures on one side, or ‘go to Rome and get on with it’ or somesuch notion on the other what we want from members of our family?

Anna
Guest

Well, Anon, woe to any no woman you know who wears earrings!

David Baird
Guest
David Baird

To Anon:

I would counsel a little reading session with +N.T. Wright’s recent presentation last fall to the the Symposium, ‘Men, Women and the Church’ at St John’s College in Durham.

http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Women_Service_Church.htm

+Wright presents the results of recent work on the Pauline literature, and in particular looks at the several texts you quoted (and others) and comes to quite a different interpretation of these texts than the standard conservative one. Exegesis and context are important. Prooftexting with no exegesis or context does not help your argument.

Please forgive a Yank butting in on a British argument.

William
Guest
William

<>… given the fact that the Anglican Church of Canada, ECUSA and New Zealand have had women priests …<>

Don’t forget us in Southern Africa, please. We too have had women priests – among them my own parish priest – for some years now. And it all began in Hong Kong, did it not?

At any rate, benighted conservatism is not universal in Africa.

William

Mick
Guest
Mick

I am very excited that we follow a dynamic God, who is constantly surprising us. Of course I may have got that wrong – but I do find the taking of dogmatic positions puzzling. Our uncharitable arguements on matters which my friends see as of secondary importance causes embarassment, and damage to the church

Dave
Guest
Dave

Who said I was against women Bishops ? (Though the thought of following in the footsteps of ECUSA is very off-putting).

The point I was trying to highlight was only that our ecclesiastical heirachy, appointed the way it is, is unrepresentatively dominated by liberal folk.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

229 years later, and you STILL can’t deal w/ “Don’t Tread on Me”? Let it (us Bloody Yanks) go already, Dave! 😉

Dave
Guest
Dave

Ho ho JCF, nice “spin”.

It’s the toleration the heresy, encouragement of immorality, and persecution of faithful Christians that makes me wary of nice liberal words and sentiments.

I see that that “nice” “liberal” Bishop Smith of Conneticut has swooped on one of the churches that are out of communion with him… New Westminster all over again !!

Maybe the Anglican Communion should turn up at 815, overrule ECUSA’s CG, demand the keys, take down the website and impose in a new presiding Bishop ?

Simeon
Guest

But of course, the AC has absolutely no legal authority to do so. And this “swooping down” stuff is just nonsense – spreading FUD for no good reason other than to “spin” the news to your “reasserter” ends.

The details about the REAL situation can be found at:

http://www.dfms.org/3577_63671_ENG_HTM.htm

Justin
Guest
Justin

The sooner we get those conservatives and their hate filled non-inclusive agenda out of our Church and to Rome the better. We’ve had to put up with their venom for long enough! The overwhelming support for women bishops shows that there won’t be any tears shed! Good riddance!

Dave
Guest
Dave

Hi Justin, I can disapprove of what someone does, believes or says without “hating” them… Can’t you ?

Don’t forget Jesus told us to even love our *enemies*, never mind people we just *disagree* with.

What you wrote sounds neither loving nor *inclusive* – of people who are less liberal than you!

holyshe
Guest
holyshe

‘The sooner we get those conservatives and their hate filled non-inclusive agenda out of our Church and to Rome the better. We’ve had to put up with their venom for long enough! The overwhelming support for women bishops shows that there won’t be any tears shed! Good riddance! ‘ this is ridiculous and a horrid comment, the only reason they got such a large vote in the beginning, is because the ‘anti’ women in the church group, forward in faith are fighting for a third free province, where no woman would be in power (priest or bishop)and only churchs who… Read more »

Denise
Guest
Denise

Did anyone think that perhaps RC’s are in favour of women priest/Bishops. I am a practicing RC. I love my faith, but not everything it teaches. I came onto this site because i am excited about the changes happening, and pray that one day my church too will be so enlightened. As for people leaving the CofE over this, i hope they don’t come to us. What happens when (God willing) The RC church accepts women priests. will they find another church to move too? sorry i’ve gone on a bit, i could write for hours on this, (actually have… Read more »

Mattey lmage
Guest
Mattey lmage

The ordination of women to the episcopate is a very difficult decision to make. I have ideas about the issue but I do not know whether it is right or wrong. I am on the whole in favour of women priests but ordaining women to the episcopate is very different from ordaining women to the priesthood. The Bishop is a sign of unity and it is the Bishop who ordains future priests. Although I am unsure on the issue itself I am 100% confident when I say that I do not believe it to be a wise decision to ordain… Read more »

Mark
Guest
Mark

How can we think about ordaining women bishops when it will mean that people will be unable to receive the sacrament at the Mass.? We have no authority what so ever to change the universal law of the church! And as for those on this bog who think that conservatives are filled with hate, “Judge, not lest you be judged”

Andrew Clarke
Guest

There is no reason to be sexist towards woman they should have equal rights.

Brian Moore
Guest
Brian Moore

Should we ask God what he thinks of what we mere mortals of the Christian faith done with his church over the many centuries? Yes he did through his son tell the disciples to go out into the world and preach the gospel. Apart from the bible teachings, one wonders what was not reported in the bible…maybe the disciples did somewhere along the line tell the ‘ordinary folk’ to go and preach the gospel. Now if they did so, that means the men women and children did preach the gospel,and not just ‘priests’, which dispels some of the teachings of… Read more »

Tom
Guest
Tom

Hurray!! As the national church we had to do this and it is long overdue. Let the objectors go to Rome, Constantinople, Geneva or wherever. This is now the Church of the nation. ‘Her indoors’ voted in favour!! Now women really can come out of the closet.

Alan Wright
Guest
Alan Wright

The Apostle Paul when instructing the church said,
‘A bishop should be the husband of one wife’, who changed it to the other way round? There are good women doing a wonderful job in ministry in the church, but a woman should alway ahve the covering of a man. That is how I see it from scripture. God has wanted to protect the woman right from the first day she was created ‘ to be a help met for her husband.

Dave C.
Guest
Dave C.

Deaconesses, nuns, lay ladies, lady saints etc. YES: they have existed in the historical Church and they exist today. Women ‘ordained’ as “priestesses”, “bishops” (? and/or “archbishops” in the course of time: Kyrie eleíson !) NO: they have never existed and would historically and canonically constitute nothing more than a modern PC “mummery”. I am a thinking person (Univ. Professor with a doctorate etc. in natural sciences), and am on the verge of becoming an ex-practising Anglican as a result of all this unedifying rubbish emanating from some of those who should be defending the beliefs and tenets of the… Read more »

Tearla
Guest
Tearla

In Christ there is neither male nor female.
The more I study the biology of gender the more I think that this is literally true. There are men walking around with XX chromosomes and women with XY chromosomes. They do not know it nor would anyone looking at them. People who are ‘intersex’ or ‘hermaphrodites’ and a multitude of other variations. Since gender is not fixed and male is not utterly different from female all the arguments about men or women being allowed to do or not do anything is pointless.