THINKING ANGLICANS

General Synod: Thursday morning

The motion to move forward on women bishops was passed with 1 negative vote. But there were several people present who abstained. The voting was recorded as 348-1. The official report is here: General Synod – Summary of Business Conducted, Thursday 9th February am. The audio file is now available there.

Details of the rejected amendments are given below the fold. All were lost on a show of hands, except as otherwise noted.

The key paragraph of the motion is very loosely worded, note the phrasing I have emphasised below:

(b) consider that an approach along the lines of “Transferred Episcopal Arrangements”, expressed in a Measure with an associated code of practice, merits further exploration as a basis for proceeding in a way that will maintain the highest possible degree of communion in the Church of England;

Archbishop’s contribution to the debate on the House of Bishops’ Women Bishops Group: Report to the General Synod
Archbishop’s speech summing up the debate on the House of Bishops’ Women Bishops Group: Report to the General Synod

Press Reports:

Reuters Church of England backs plans for women bishops and Williams urges support for women bishops

BBC Synod backs women bishops plan

Press Association Church backs compromise on women bishops

Text of amendments that were considered and rejected

24. Mr Kevin Carey (Chichester)

‘At the beginning insert as a new paragraph

“(a) Affirm its belief in mission credibility, episcopal integrity, structural simplicity, ecclesiological solidarity and tolerant permeability as the basis for the ordination of women to the episcopate;”

and re-letter the remaining paragraphs accordingly.’

25. Mr Robert Key (Salisbury)

‘In paragraph (b) or (c) ) leave out the words “”Transferred Episcopal Arrangements”, expressed in a Measure with an associated code of practice” and insert the words “a simple enabling Measure with an enforceable code of practice”.’

The Revd Charles Read (Northern Universities) submitted an amendment to substantially the same effect.

26. Mr Gavin Oldham (Oxford)

‘In paragraph (b) (or (c) ) after the words “code of practice” insert the words “with provisions for both parishes and individual parishioners,”.’

27. The Revd Jeremy Crocker (St Albans)If item 25, is not carried:

‘In paragraph (b) (or (c) ) after the words “for proceeding” insert the words “, and ask that at the same time the single clause Measure and code of practice be revisited as a possible route forward,”.’

This was defeated after a vote by houses, with Bishops and Laity voting against, and Clergy voting for. Bishops 9-33, Clergy 102-79, Laity 73-113. (Note total voting 409 out of 466.)

28. The Revd Canon Chris Sugden (Oxford)

‘In paragraph (c) or (d) after the word “theological,” insert the word “ethical”.’

29. Mrs Sue Slater (Lincoln)

‘At the end of paragraph (d) (or (e)) insert the words “, and ask that the Drafting Group for that legislation include lay people and women”.’

29
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Alan MarshSimon SarmientoMerseymikePeter BergmanCheryl Clough Recent comment authors
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Derek
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Derek

So–I’m assuming this includes making women eligible for archbishop as well…does it or will we have to go through a whole new row about that in a dozen years?

And will even TEA be good enough if there’s a female ABC?

Prior Aelred
Guest

Am I excessively optimistic in thinking that ++Rowan’s words, “Integrity might not mean absolute division. It can mean a process of admittedly painful, often untidy but ultimately evangelical self-discovery,” might apply equally well to the situation with the churches of North America?

Kendall Harmon
Guest

If this is not inappropriate do we know who the one negative voter is? And: why he or she voted as he or she did?

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Pior Aelred, I hope you are not excessively optimistic in so thinking. I think it is possible myself. But ++Rowan also called attention to a serious obstacle to the “process of self-discovery,” namely the adversarial approach to the issues facing the Communion. In North American culture, this adversarial model is powerful. It structures any issue as a debate between two (and only two) “sides,” a debate that one side and one side only can “win” and must win through a total defeat of the opposing side, which must in turn accept that it has been utterly defeated and crushed. Of… Read more »

Marcia
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Marcia

Mrs. Slater’s phrase is odd: “lay people and women.” Aren’t women people? Strange thinking leads to strange theology.

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

I think Rowan Williams et all have taken a sensible course, allowing the dissenters a “safety valve” to mollify (save for the “all or nothing” souls). One thing about this discussion (and various others in global anglican communion) is how power and debate is handled. There are times when power brokers can “play the system” to block changes and hinder diversity, which on one hand creates stability but on the other risks stagnation from inertia. Many Anglicans find change uncomfortable (they are naturally gentle reserved souls who avoid trouble). However, there are times we must consider whether uncomfortable change is… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

And then concluded that yes, its fudge again – as it always is from Williams.

Alastair Cutting
Guest
Alastair Cutting

In response to Kendall Harmon: I am not sure that it is right to identify the voter; save to say they were one of the new, young members of Synod. Why did they vote against? I could not say, in this case. However, there were a number of significant amendments to the proposal. There was much to-ing and fro-ing with various interested parties the night before. Some groups appeared to have planned various outcomes for various scenarios: yes if this, no if that – and having voted down all the individual amendments, I suspect it would have been easy to… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

There’s nothing wrong with “fudges”. If I were in a sinking boat in the middle of the Atlantic and the team worked out a “fudge” to plug the hole to enable us to get to the other side, then I’d take the fudge. Better that than going down with the ship because the solution isn’t in the procedure manual.

RMF
Guest
RMF

Good idea, Cheryl. 🙂

Augustus Meriwether
Guest

That puts me in mind of a parlour game.

If you are in the middle of the ocean and your boat has sunk and you are about to drown, which of the following would you refuse the aid of (whilst demanding the aid of another):

a) a woman

b) a homosexual

c) someone who rejects the aid of women or homosexuals

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Better to accept that we shouldn’t be in the same boat in the first place.

Still, at the moment, I’ve opted out and I’m sailing on Boat Quaker, and I’ll stay there until the CofE is worth attending again.

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

So we have souls who won’t be in the same boat as women? That’s cool. Hope their boat isn’t Noah’s Ark. They’re going to have a (none)population problem within a few decades.

On the parlour game, who can you trust?
An “unclean” woman?
A “sinner” homosexual?
Or someone who rejects how the potter has made their kin and others?

My answer. They’re all imperfect sinners, so I pray that God really is the loving and merciful that Jesus says He is.

J. C. Fisher
Guest

Sorry to hear that, MM. Is there *no* CofE parish accessible to you, that is “worth attending”?

I’m truly blessed here in the U.S. of A., that wherever I’ve lived in it (both coasts, and the middle), there’s been an ECUSA parish where I could

1) feed on Jesus (cuz if that’s not the point, why bother?) while

2) not getting my Imago Dei smashed in the process.

I’m really sorry if that’s not the case across the Pond… 🙁

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

In this diocese, precious few – and to be frank, I’m tired of having to excuse institutional homophobia. If I was in ECUSA then no problem, and if/when the split comes, then a church which follows that path wouldf be one worth belonging to. But the CofE simply isn’t at the moment. Its entire approach encourages dishonesty and is deeply prejudiced.

Sue Slater
Guest
Sue Slater

Response to Marcia: I know that lay people include women, but the church has not always included us. I proposed the amendment that the Drafting Group should include lay people and women, because: a) the Guildford Group was four (male) Bishops and one (female) Archdeacon b) I believe strongly that the work needs to be representative, not only of the 44 Diocesan Bishops, and the 12,000 or so ordained clergy, but also of the 1.2 million lay people on church electoral rolls c) it has happened that lay people were represented for generations by men only d) women now make… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

Merseymike, thanks for your last posting. Unfortunately “fudging” is required to get past a deadlock. This leads into a reply to Sue’s posting. People should not underestimate the opposition to the ordination of women or acceptance of homosexuals. There are people who have made it a core mission to ensure these things do not happen (they are passionate, so no amount of clever talking will convince them in the short term, I sometimes wonder if God has not “hardened” their hearts to force the debate to be had. You can only debate when both sides “speak their mind” and if… Read more »

Peter Bergman
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Peter Bergman

Farewell, Merseymike; I think you have made the right choice in joining the Quakers, as their creedless views should be accommodating to all.

Cheryl Clough: God ‘hardening the hearts’ of those opposed to the ordination of women? LOL! You sound like a Calvinist! I do wonder what concept of catholicity you are working with. And I hardly think the costfree gesture politics of ‘apologies’ is taking on the ‘hard issue’ of slavery. There are millions of slaves today – in Niger, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the underclasses of India. What has the Church of England ever done for them?

Cheryl Clough
Guest
Cheryl Clough

Peter. Not enough. Sigh. Don’t bother scratching for a label, everytime I think I’ve found one, someone tells me that it doesn’t apply because of an inconsistency my application. “Hardening of hearts” is a nice way of trying to suggest that people might not be listening to each other as well as they could be. (I keep getting images of children standing in the middle of the room with fingers in their ears, screaming that they are not listening). It’s true that they can’t hear what the other side has to say. However, it’s not that the other side has… Read more »

Peter Bergman
Guest
Peter Bergman

Cheryl: the ‘fingers in the ears’ comment invites the inevitable ‘tu quoque’ remark. WO is an innovation, and no amount of rewriting the past will change that fact. The opponents of WO are neither fools nor ignorant. Your accusation is of contumacy. If God is actually leading His Church in that direction, I would expect a very wide level of ecumenical consensus witnessing to this (cf Acts 15), not some local schism, however ‘prophetic’ it claims to be. And I would expect there to be fruitfulness and life, not stagnation and decline, as we see everywhere in the old-line liberal… Read more »

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Thankfully the Synod was almost unanimous in our desire and decision to find a way forward for everyone, except those who want to exclude others by means of “single-clause” legislation.

The week was a model of how synods ought to work: people talking to each other at great length and in earnest, seeking a grace-filled solution, both in the chamber and outside it. Something of a miracle came about under Rowan’s leadership: a resolution which was capable of uniting people across almost the entire spectrum of views.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

What ‘unity’? This isn’t unity, its a fudge – based purely on holding an institution – a worthless, pointless institution, together.

There is no ‘way forward’ for everyone which won’t involve unacceptable discrimination, and the sooner that is realised, the sooner we can get on with reality. Maybe then I might even think church is worth going to again. Probably too late, though.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Unity expressed by a vote of 348-1 seems to me to describe pretty accurately the sense of unity achieved by the Synod at the final vote.

It may not be your reality, Merseymike, but those present felt very strongly about remaining together as a church – not as an institution. That’s why we voted as we did.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But all that will happen is that you will stay together whilst continuing to believe different things. Thats not unity.

And churches are institutions.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Actually many of us prefer to think of the Church as the Body of Christ, with many limbs and organs.

If you are looking for uniformity then I think you will be looking for a long time for a religious body which meets your needs. The nearest thing is probably the Salvation Army, but I don’t suppose for one moment that you agree with anything it believes.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I’m not looking for uniformity, but a bit of credibility would help. There is nothing at all which holds together liberal and conservative christians within the CofE other than tradition and convenience.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

No-one would claim that the early church was comprised of people who agreed about everything, quite the contrary. But their willingness to hold together caused others in the community to wonder at their way of life and to say things like, “See how these Christians love one another.” For my own part I regard that approach as offering a greater credibility.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Alan
I don’t disagree with your assessment of the synod mood, but watching from the gallery it was clear that quite a few people were not merely absent from the final vote, but were in fact present and abstaining from voting. And this included people from both viewpoints.
The total voting in the earlier division was 409. The total voting in the final vote was 350. I’m not claiming that 59 or more people abstained but the support for TEA was in fact only 348 out of 466. Over one hundred people failed to record a vote.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Many of us slipped out for a leak during the earlier division. Quite a number remained in the tea room afterwards rather than return to the debate, having already endured two hours. It is difficult to say what abstentions amount to, even if they are formally counted, which they aren’t at Synod. But given the normal level of absence even from critical votes, I don’t think it possible to draw too many conclusions from the abstentions you observed, especially if they were from both “sides”. In any event, I noticed how many people simply were not at Synod that day… Read more »