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General Synod: CT on women bishops

Last week, the Church Times had extensive coverage of the report of the Women Bishops Group.
Guildford report proposes TEA and sympathy Glyn Paflin
Contemplating a woman at Canterbury (an extract from the report)
This is how the plans could work by Christopher Hill Bishop of Guildford
Surprise, surprise: a middle way editorial comment

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Dave
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Dave

I do hope that in the debate on women bishops the HoB and Synod will not try to frame all its discussions in terms of “equality” and “human rights”. They are inadequate concepts to help us address details of theology, morality or church order.

We are trying to discern whether change is the Will of God, and how to make arrangements with people who are unable to accept that change. This calls for sensitivity, discernement, wisdom and love. Not just demands, rejection or rhetorical hyperbole.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Well,they may be to you, Dave, but clearly to many they are vitally important. You can’t simply wish them off the agenda!

augustus meriwether
Guest

Not rejection, Dave? But that’s what those who are ‘unable to accept that change’ are doing to women priests and bishops, whose calling the Church of England as a body (after many years of sensitive discernment and discussion) has accepted, blessed and legitimized. Lack of consensus is claimed to be an obstacle to acceptence of gay blessings and ordinations, yet here, with women priests and bishops, we have reached a majority consensus. It’s all done and dusted. The Church of England has carefully considered the theology, morality & church order and now officially accepts and celebrates women priests & bishops.… Read more »

Martyn Sandford
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Martyn Sandford

AM, it’s always a mistake to imagine that you know your opponents’ thinking better than they do, as your posting illustrates. In fact such a condescending and insulting tone verges on the puerile. There is no consensus in the Church of England concerning either women as priests or as bishops, contrary to your claim, and your method of achieving consensus – kick out those who disagree with you – is somewhat reminiscent of the former Soviet Union. ECUSA is hardly a glowing example of how to proceed in this matter, divided down several fault lines as it attempts to impose… Read more »

lapsang
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lapsang

I think MS is mistaken on several points. Firstly he criticises Augustus for imagining how his opponents think. I see no problem with trying to imaginatively understand other people and what they might be thinking. Secondly, within the decision making process in the C of E there is clearly a consensus on women priests and bishops. Thirdly, nobody is trying to throw out those who disagree with this consensus. It is they who are threatening to leave, or take their Parish Share away to play with by themselves. Fourthly, (this is starting to sound like the sermon of my nightmares… Read more »

Martyn Sandford
Guest
Martyn Sandford

Er… If there is a consensus in the Church of England, why all these extraordinary proposals being put forward at the General Synod? With 1,000 parishes formally opposed to women priests (let alone bishops) and some 2,000 clergy belonging to Forward in Faith or Reform, I don’t think “consensus” is the word. If you read the views of WATCH and other similar groups you will find that these is a strong desire to rid the Church of England of those who do not conform to their views. They want a single-clause Measure to permit women bishops, and no quarter to… Read more »

RMF
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RMF

Well said, lapsang. They feel free to import a bishop on one issue, what will stop them from importing another when that bishop becomes a “false teacher” or goes, and the new one is a “false teacher”? I guess they will just go bishop shopping again.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

“It has been a pyrrhic victory for ECUSA however. By the time the purges are over, the Network and its allies will have replaced it.”

And you accuse *Augustus Meriwether* of being “puerile”, Martyn?

With the exception of a *tiny* number of just-swim-the-Tiber-already revanchists, the ordination of women (including to the episcopacy) is a DONE (with ALL thanks to God!) DEAL in ECUSA. It hasn’t been “pyrrhic” in the least.

Those Anglican churches who have affirmed *God’s call* of women to all orders, have been tremendously blessed by it: come on in, CofE, the water’s fine! 😀

augustus meriwether
Guest

Yeah, wot lapsang said. I’m not very impressed by majorities at all – they can be disastrously misguided, although in the Church they are taken by many to be an indication of God’s will. I make a point of using it in my argument though, because (as I just said) there are glaring double standards used by the conservatives in that they refuse to accept blessings or ordination of partnered GLBT people BECAUSE there is no majority or consensus willing to do so, whilst on this issue, where the Church of England -my free province- (not the global Church) has… Read more »

Rev. Lois Keen
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Rev. Lois Keen

My late mother-in-law of truly blessed memory was over sixty years of age when she accepted an invitation by the Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in Wilmington Delaware to become one of those many lay people who stand behind the altar rail and administer the chalice at Eucharist. Usually she served at the 10:00 service, but on occasion she served at the 7:30 a.m. service, the more conservative service. She was the only woman who served at 7:30. One day she shared with me a great grief: There was one older woman in the 7:30 congregation who got up and… Read more »

Simeon
Guest

Martyn said, “It has been a pyrrhic victory for ECUSA however. By the time the purges are over, the Network and its allies will have replaced it.”

Oh please… Can we be just a smidgen less melodramatic here ?

At *best*, the hard-core, “traditionalist,” he-man woman (and gay) haters are less than 15% or so of all Episcopalians. Their fate is hardly to replace the ECUSA.

Rather, they’ll become the next, small “Anglican” splinter group like the AMiA, which will then (of course) fracture internally several times as most of these purity movements do…

RMF
Guest
RMF

Thanks for telling us some of your story, Mother Keen. I think it’s important that we hear more such stories.

Dave
Guest
Dave

AM wrote: “So, I need to know: do the conservatives respect and accept the decisions of critical majority consensus (as in the case of gay blessings/ordinations in the AC), or do they ignore and dismiss critical majority consensus (as in the case of women bishops/priests in the CofE)?” Dear AM, I am a Christian; that means I [try to] follow Christ – His teachings and those of His Apostles etc, that are recorded in the New Testament. Majorities or minorities are not souvereign. Issues such as identical or distinct roles for men and women are in my view “debatable” since… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Back to the old “inclusivity” chestnut.. I’m surprised that some contributors still haven’t worked out that so called liberal “Inclusivity” isn’t really inclusive. It just includes and excludes slightly different sets of practices and beliefs, based on liberal humanist principles rather than on orthodox Christian principles. Hence liberal-approved homosexual partnerships are “in” and people who have (liberal) unorthodox beliefs are “in”, but people who have non-liberal beliefs are “out”. While we’re at it, the same can be said for liberal “tolerance”. What liberals *approve* of is “in” everything else is “out”. The worrying thing is, though, that a growing number… Read more »

Martyn Sandford
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Martyn Sandford

So there have been no Continuing Churches in ECUSA, no AMiA, no Network, no parishes tranferring to other Provinces, no steep decline in funds or attendance, no Windsor Report, no termination of ARCIC for all practical purposes, no heresy, no gay blessings, no lawsuits over property, no threats to depose traditionalist bishops….etc, etc.

It’s all just great in ECUSA. And they have a majority for everything.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Well, rather ECUSA than the patehetic fence sitting of the CoE!

And I think that intolerance and bigotry does need to be opposed – thats why I don’t agree with conservative theology.

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

“ECUSA is hardly a glowing example of how to proceed in this matter, divided down several fault lines as it attempts to impose various innovations on parishes and dioceses which reject them.” The Episcopal bishops of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas have never permitted women to do anything priestly in their jurisdictions and still do not. The chasubles and altars in Episcopal churches in north Texas remain uncontaminated by female contact. No ECUSA Holy Office is demanding that these bishops relent and recant. Instead, as dissenting parishes there are painfully aware, these bishops are rattling the exit doors. Exclusion of… Read more »

lapsang
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lapsang

Dave wrote, ‘The only place for sex that is sanctioned anywhere in the NT (or the OT for that matter) is within a life-long marriage.’ Abraham had children with Hagar as well as Sarah. He also had concubines (see Genesis 25.6). David had several wives and concubines (ie 2 Samuel 5.13) with whom he had many sons and daughters. Perhaps is is not fair to mention Rehoboam who had ‘eighteen wives and sixty concubines’ (2 Chronicles 11:21) as ‘he did evil’. But then this evil was for not setting ‘his heart to seek the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 11.14) rather than… Read more »

Joan
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Joan

Our faith has always been one of Christ incarnate. One of God coming into an imperfect broken world and through grace healing it. This once for all event is a daily reality whenever we receive the sacraments and read and live the Gospel with charity and love. An incarnational faith can not be practiced in a vacuum. From the very beginning local cultural values have had to be accommodated. While it is right to point out the debt that modern Christianity owes to liberal humanism it is wrong to ignore the debt that those who oppose an inclusive church owe… Read more »

Anna
Guest

Beautifully said, Lois. Thank you. As I consider my own call–certainly to God and perhaps to the priesthood– I pray to be as gracious and thoughtful as you and as honorable as Grace!

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

AM wrote: “So, I need to know: do the conservatives respect and accept the decisions of critical majority consensus or do they ignore and dismiss critical majority consensus?”

giving 2 examples.

Dave did not answer.

JimB
Guest
JimB

Somehow the new-puritans have convinced themselves that “inclusion” must mean they win every argument. So, if their arguements against female bishops do not persuade the church, clearly the church is not being inclusive.

I at least can live with that. Inclusion of bullies is always a bad idea. AMIA is open and available, and inclusive for like minded bullies.

FWIW
jimB

Neil
Guest
Neil

Goran, there is a massive difference between saying we will respect and accept a decision which is consistent with God’s voice in Scripture as accepted by the majority international concensus (eg on the sexuality issue) and we will respect and accept a decision which is accepted by the majority concensus in a province but which we are not convinced is consistent with God’s voice in Scripture (eg on women Bishops). To equate the two and accuse of hypocrisy nonsense. JimB, bullying? I don’t understand. Which is bullying: arguing for provision for those who in conscience cannot agree? Or arguing for… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear JimB, you might not have noticed that it is “nice liberal” ECUSAn Bishops who are actually sacking and defrocking those orthodox “bully” priests who do not accept their authority [to go against Christian/Anglican teachings], and throwing orthodox churches out of their buildings [or trying to].

Most of this liberal hysteria about bullying by conservativee anglicans is based on what you fear they will do.. Is this some kind of phobia, or just a way to justify to your own conscience that it is ok to mistreat the orthodox ?

“Do unto others before they do it unto you” maybe ?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Göran, What I was saying in my reply to Augustus M was “NO”; I neither accept nor reject majorities. I [try to] follow Christ.

lapsang
Guest
lapsang

Tolerance has been mentioned in these comments. It is one of those rather slippery words. I think it was Kingsley Amis who got rather wound up about what he saw as people’s sloppy use of this word. He pointed out that you were tolerant to the tolerable and intolerant to the intolerable. By this definition tolerace does not just simply mean accepting anything. A few examples: I am a Church Organist and there are many hymns I do not like. However, I tolerate them and play them. The schisophrenic who comes to our church can, when he neglects his medication,… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Well, Dave – if they don’t accept the authority of their Bishop, then they should leave. Thats certainly what would be expected from your crowd if the boot was on the other foot. But you believe that you have some sort of extra rights because of your refusal to accept progress and the shortcomings of your religion. I simply find conservative theology and its god repulsive. I wouldn’t have gone near Anglicanism other than via its liberal wing, but you will no doubt be pleased to hear that I can’t be bothered worshipping in the Church of England until the… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dave wrote: “I do hope that in the debate on women bishops the HoB and Synod will not try to frame all its discussions in terms of “equality” and “human rights”.

They are inadequate concepts to help us address details of theology, morality or church order.”

Would be interesting to know why?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Neil!

So the difference (“massive” is Blair speak) is a mere “we are convinced”?

How do you arrive at this?

How do you know that your conviction is right?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Suchong!

Martyn Sandford
Guest
Martyn Sandford

What a bizarre position to be in, MH! You wish to dictate to members of a church what they should believe, although you are not actively involved in it, so that it can become what you would like it to be, and then you will consider worshipping in it.

Faith by very definition is not and never has been a matter of rights. But presumably you don’t see religion in terms of faith either?

David Chillman
Guest
David Chillman

Dave wrote this: “What I was saying in my reply to Augustus M was “NO”; I neither accept nor reject majorities. I [try to] follow Christ.” Funnily enough – those of us who are in favour of both women bishops and acceptance of gays are also just trying to follow Christ. And it is certainly not about just accepting majorities – because for so long those who were arguing for inclusion of gays were very much in the minority – both within the church and even among the population as a whole. It seems to me that your problem (which… Read more »

RMF
Guest
RMF

Dave, Let’s do a bit of a reality check as to the inhibitions in the Episcopal Church. Those who have been inhibited in the Church, have openly defied their bishop and the Church by proclaiming that they are no longer in the particular diocese, that they no longer recognize the authority in the Episcopal Church, and that their bishop has no authority over them. The bishop then says, well, alright, and defrocks the priest. Isn’t this the sort of authority to correct and guide, that many of the schismatics, hope they will get through an Anglican Covenant? Moreover, why do… Read more »

pauline
Guest
pauline

Acrimonious debate achieves little more than vexing everyone. The issues of women in church leadership & Lesbian and Gay Christians etc. really is about cultural values. Cultural values can be good (Candles on altars; Easter Eggs at Easter; Flowers on graves and in Churches etc.) or they can be bad (racism; sexism; homophobia etc.) Gospel values can not support the latter. Neither should we. While Forward in Faith and Affirming Catholicism (to take two examples) may disagree on how to avoid racism; sexism & homophobia in the church most of them would agree that they are all unacceptable pastorally. BOTH… Read more »

RMF
Guest
RMF

Let us also consider some of the people behind these schismatic elements in the Episcopal Church and the wider Communion. Let us not for a minute believe that these groups do not have vast secular, right wing and politically oriented funding mechanisms behind them. What they are doing is injecting a degree of political positioning and political alliance that has heretofore not existed here. The American Anglican Council, for instance, has always had very close ties with the Institute for Religion and Democracy, sharing IRD office space for a number of years in Washington, D.C. It is now headquartered in… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Interesting points by RMF. The conservative groups in the USA are being aided and abetted by ++Rowan Cantuar’s lack of decisive leadership. The Bishop of Bangor, in a recent statement, had the guts to stand up to the chief trouble-maker ++Peter Abuja, declaring that ++Abuja hath no jurisdiction in Wales.” Does ++Rowan Cantuar have this kind of backbone? Obviously not. Only a few days ago St. Anne’s Church, Oceanview, CA, placed itself under +Bolivia, 6-8 parishes in the Diocese of Florida placed themselves under African bishops, as did a parish in Virginia. The BORDER CROSSINGS by Southern Hemisphere bishops must… Read more »

Ann Marie
Guest
Ann Marie

Related to the issue of consecrating women as bishops and ordaining women as priests is how we as a church view and value women. I am struggling with how young girls define themselves in terms of their attractiveness and usefulness to the boys around them. In some cases, read the names they use when chatting – often sexual and demeaning. How can I go to them and help them define themselves without mirroring how boys see them, without mirroring how society has seen them – as reproductive machines or sexual objects when the church does not define them separately from… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Distressing and depressing, John Henry—but good to know.

“The Third World episcopate has become a JOKE–a used car for which American dissidents shop around, and which they trade in for another model if dissatisfied (or disagreeing over a matter of theology or, better, ideology).”

Says it all. 🙁

Lord have mercy!

Dave
Guest
Dave

John Henry wrote: “The BORDER CROSSINGS by Southern Hemisphere bishops must be stopped.” Dear John Henry, In my view “border crossings” are perfectly justified if they are episcopal care for faithful Christians in the diocese of unfaithful bishops. Position in a religious heirachy, even a nominally Christian one, does not give absolute power, the right to do as you please, or “ownership”. I think that many ECUSAn Bishops may be in or close to the position of the unfaithful tenants in the parable below; there are parallels to their increasing nastiness to dissenters and (ab)use of episcopal powers etc: “There… Read more »

Counterlight
Guest
Counterlight

Since we are now firing Our Lord’s passages across each other’s bows, perhaps Dave should consider this one from the Gospel of Luke concerning the issue of what is lawful and traditional: “One Sabbath, he was teaching in a synagogue, and there was a woman possessed by a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent double and quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her He called her and said, ‘You are rid of your trouble.’ Then He laid His hands on her, and at once she straightened up and began to praise God.… Read more »

GK Hannon
Guest
GK Hannon

I remain fascinated by Dave, who continues to exhibit certainty that he, and only he, knows the truth. The rest of us — except for those members of the clergy or laity who may be fortunate enough to agree with him — are obviously mistaken, or worse.

When Pope Peter of Abuja is enthroned, or not, it will be interesting to see how many of Dave’s fellow “faithful” will be with him

The rest of us, in various provinces of the Anglican Communion, will just have to seek Christ in our own imperfect ways.

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Dave: Who determines that the ECUSA bishops whose dioceses are invaded by the primates and bishops of the Global South are “unfaithful bishops”? Is it you, Dave? ++Peter Abuja? +Bolivia? ++Orombi of Uganda or the Primate of the Southern Cone? There are structures and canonical processes in the Anglican Communion that make that determination whether you, ++Abuja, +Bolivia and ++Uganda, ++Southern Cone like it or not. Episcopi vagantes are not Anglican bishops. Too bad ++Rowan Cantuar doesn’t have the backbone to take a firm stand. The Anglican Communion deserves better leadership than that, however brilliant a theologian Dr. Williams is… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Wow, two ad hominem attacks out of three responses! To answer the question about who decides what unfaithfulness is, I would point out that the liberal Bishops in ECUSA have known for many years that they are pushing out on a limb. The [ultimate canon of] scripture, NT and OT, always calls same-sex sex sin. Even ECIUSA’s own theological committee recommended not going ahead! Then we have had the Lambeth ’98 resolution, which came about because other Bishops were aware that the revisionists were moving in this direction.. and were working towards achieving a “helpful” resolution. Plus appeals from the… Read more »

Robert D Willcox
Guest
Robert D Willcox

As a lay anglican, could a theologian somewhere please help me. When did Christ entrust the guardianship and shepherding of his followers to a woman, please? Christ made Mary Magdalene the first witness of the resurrection and therefore women can be priests as they can bear and preach witness, but it is bishops who are our guardians and shepherds and so, I return to my opening question, when did Christ entrust these roles to a woman, please?