Thinking Anglicans

women bishops: drafting group named

It was previously announced that the Bishop of Manchester would chair the new group formed to draft legislation for the introduction of women bishops in the Church of England.

Today, the membership of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group was announced:

The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester (chair)
The Ven Donald Allister, Archdeacon of Chester
The Revd Jonathan Baker
The Rt Worshipful Dr Sheila Cameron, Dean of the Arches
The Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of Leicester
Dr Paula Gooder
Mrs Margaret Swinson
Sister Anne Williams
The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Basingstoke

Update Thursday
Women and the Church has issued a press release commenting on this. A copy is below the fold.

WATCH STATEMENT
6th December 2006 for immediate release
on the Appointment of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group

WATCH is pleased that the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group has been appointed and is particularly pleased to see that it has a good balance between men and women members, something specifically requested in one of the amendments passed in the July General Synod along with the main motion. WATCH regrets, however, that it has taken over four months for the group to be appointed, and hopes that it will now expedite its important work of preparing draft legislation for opening the episcopate of the Church of England to women.

WATCH notes the appointment of those with a variety of differing views on the subject of having women as bishops, including those implacably opposed to women’s ordination, and would remind the members of the Drafting Group that they have been charged with:

(i) preparing the draft measure and amending canon necessary to remove the legal obstacles to the consecration of women to the office of bishop;

(ii) preparing a draft of possible additional legal provision to establish arrangements that would seek the highest possible degree of communion with those conscientiously unable to receive the ministry of women bishops; (and)

(iii) submitting the results of its work to the House of Bishops for consideration and submission
to Synod.

WATCH would like to stress the point that it is not the remit of the drafting group to revisit the decision that the General Synod has already taken to proceed with making it legal for women to be appointed as bishops. The group must understand that there is to be no re-creation of the Rochester Commission, which was asked in 2000 to address the theology and practicalities of having women as bishops in the Church of England. The Rochester Commission produced its report at the end of 2004 and the General Synod debated it in February 2005.

In July 2005 the General Synod passed a motion setting in train “the process for removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate.” This past July a further motion was passed, agreeing with the majority of the House of Bishops that having women as bishops “is consonant with the faith of the Church”.

WATCH looks forward to seeing the draft legislation that the group proposes and to the steady and swift progress of this process, with the expectation that the General Synod will have voted on the final legislation by July 2010, the end of the current quinquennium.

CONTACTS:
Christina Rees (Chair)
Hilary Cotton (Vice-Chair)

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FrozenchristianAlan MarshGöran Koch-SwahneFlossiemynsterpreost Recent comment authors
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David
Guest

Interesting. With the exception of +Manchester and the ubiquitous Viv Faull, I’ve not come across the others (although Mrs Swinson rings a bell for some reason). I don’t think I’ve ever said this of a CofE committee but it almost seems under-represented on the male front. Before I get shot down as a misogynist, please don’t get me wrong! I think it’s great to see a 5-4 split and all in favour of women bishops but I am thinking of the people and the churches for whom this is a tricky issue and what they will make of the group?… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Swinson – have sat on a committee with her in the past. Evangelical, but reasonable although we have diametrically opposite views on most things!

laurence
Guest
laurence

Well, it is a drafting group– not a jousting tournament or hairsplitting exercise !

I don’t imagine that a Cardinal, or a flying-bishop would have helped the process much.

JBE
Guest
JBE

Surely the presence of Jonathan Baker, author of Consecrating Women?’ ought to be more than enough for FiF and their fellow-travellers?

Sean Doherty
Guest

David: I’m not sure I agree with you. For e.g. Jonathan Baker is a leading light in FiF and Donald Allister is a conservative evangelical. (Of the others, I know that Paula Gooder is an expert in feminist readings of Scripture but I have no idea how much of a feminist that makes her.)

They seem to be rather lacking in evangelicals who are in favour of women bishops which is quite a major oversight but that may simply be my ignorance of the other members of the group…?

robert marshall
Guest

Though I’ve always though of Don Allister as being pretty close to an opponent – straight down the line evangelical – at least that’s the impression he gives locally, and I remember him from CICCU days.

Peter Owen
Admin

Do not assume that all those on this committee are in favour of women bishops. For example one member is the Vice-Chairman of Forward in Faith UK and another is also on the Council of FinF. Not even all the women members are in favour of women bishops. Here’s a bit of further information (all drawn from public sources) about the members. The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester (chair) on Synod since 1990 The Ven Donald Allister, Archdeacon of Chester on Synod since 2005 The Revd Jonathan Baker SSC Principal of Pusey House Oxford co-opted member of Council… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Not only are two of the males bishops but the other two are presbyters. So there are no male laypersons at all. This is a bit unusual, I think.

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

I can see just three actually in favour of the Measure, with three against and three floaters. No room for lay men in such a small group.

Its small size is cause for real concern but has been imposed by the Archbishops’ Council.

laurence
Guest
laurence

It is encouraging that this motley crew wish to DRAFT legislation to enact / enable the consecaration of women as bishops.

I had no idea anyone in SCC or Fif would countenance it. A pleasant surprise for me.

Huw
Guest
Huw

Where have you been??

Forward in Faith has been saying for at least the last five years that we will back legislation that provides for our needs. It’s really quite simple. You give us what we need and you can have female bishops tomorrow.

laurence
Guest
laurence

I have read the FiF papers which seems to amount to being in a hermetically-sealed bubble free from contamination. With wonderful proposals for Tabernacles with ‘His’ & ‘Hers’ ciboria, in hospitals and other institutions — which goes one ‘better’ than the ecumenically-inclined Tabernacles, with a glass partition, bearing the legend :

‘In case of unity — break glass !’.

Flossie
Guest
Flossie

It is a mistake to assume that most women are in favour of women priests/bishops. They are not. It is a very inconvenient fact for some that FiF has a higher female than male membership.

mynsterpreost
Guest
mynsterpreost

Flossie observed
“They (=women) are not(sc. in favour of the ordination of women). It is a very inconvenient fact for some that FiF has a higher female than male membership.”

I would not want to argue with the sentiments, but point out the methodological flaw: if a higher proportion of church members are female, then they, if proportionately represented in any pressure group, will inevitably outnumber men.

If there is evidence that a majority of anglican women in the UK oppose the development, that is, of course, a different matter – but that’s not what F says!

David Keen
Guest
David Keen

Surely it’s not about representation, but about having people who know the arguments well, and are good at drafting legistlation, whatever position they come from? There’s a debate to be had about whether democracy really is the best system for the church, since as soon as you start talking about representation, everyone is shouting for their slice of the pie. Perhaps division is the inevitable outcome, because democracy makes us all focus on what we want, rather than on what God wants, or what’s best for the church.

Flossie
Guest
Flossie

Badly worded, I agree, mynsterpreost. I am saying that in Forward in Faith there are more women than men who are opposed to women’s ordination.

This is not because we don’t like women, (I am one!) as many people seem to think, but because we don’t believe they cannot be priests.

Flossie
Guest
Flossie

Oh no! Another bloomer. Last sentence should read ‘we don’t believe they can be priests!’ (Really must try harder!)

mynsterpreost
Guest
mynsterpreost

Flossie, a genuine question — is the male-female ratio in FiF significantly different from the male-female ratio in the CofE as a whole? If (eg) CofE plc is 60/40 female/male, then a 60/40 FiF membership would simply connote that there is a gender balance in FiF similar to that in the rest of the CofE. It would be of great interest if there were more women in FiF (at a statistically significant level) than one would expect from the gender balance of the CofE generally.

Flossie
Guest
Flossie

Mynsterpreost, I’m sorry, I’m not privy to that kind of information. I agree it would be interesting to know. I have merely read it on several occasions in FiF’s journal, when I think the terms ‘significantly more’ or similar were used. My purpose in posting this was to dispel the myth that Forward in Faith comprises a bunch of grumpy old men huddling in corners muttering about ‘wimmin’. This is far from the truth. I know of nobody who has not benefited from the ministry of women in some capacity or other – but not as priests! I agree with… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I’m sorry Flossie, but how and in what way could “they” be “affected”?

By the increased competition?

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Affected by persecution, Goran.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“The Monstrous Regiment of Women”?

(John Knox, preaching at the High Kirk, Queen Mary Stuart half a mile down the road in Holyrood House)

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Aye, Goran, and on this issue Queen Mary would have agreed with him.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Mind reading again…

But then Good old Bess most certainly didn’t.

The next time Dr Knox went “over the border” he was given a lecture on what he was due the Lord’s Anointed…

Would I had been there!

Alan Marsh
Guest
Alan Marsh

Eliz I was no pussycat, that’s for sure. But Knox was not the only one to find out for himself. She imposed church order in England where others had signally failed – an order which had at its heart the historic episcopate.

My friends at court tell me that Eliz II shares her view of such matters….

Frozenchristian
Guest
Frozenchristian

Donald Allister – leading light in the ultra conservative Church Society, on record as saying that women should not be Readers. As a student (or just afterwards) wrote highly polemical tracts against Biblical ctiticism.