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Women Bishops in England

Updated to include Ruth Gledhill’s blog entry

Reports today of both those in favour and those against.

George Pitcher in The Telegraph Church of England faces split over women bishops
This is actually a report of a news conference held by supporters of the ordination of women as bishops as this pargraph shows.

Leading figures supporting the women’s campaign from politics and the Church gathered at Westminster Abbey to warn legislators that the time has come to consecrate women as bishops, with no formal provision in law for traditionalists who object to the move on grounds of conscience.

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Church of England clergy plan mass exit over women bishops
She writes about those who against.

More than 1,300 clergy, including 11 serving bishops, have written to the archbishops of Canterbury and York to say that they will defect from the Church of England if women are consecrated bishops.

Ruth Gledhill in her blog at The Times Trads threaten walk-out over women
This includes this link to the open letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York threatening to leave the Church if women are consecrated bishops with no legal provisions for opponents. The letter contains the names of all 1300 signatories.

And a brief report from the BBC
Quit threats over women bishops

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Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Looking at the list of the petitioners to Canterbury and York – those opposed – there are a lot of retired clergy among them. Not that their voices don’t count – but it is not quite like there being 1300 active stipendiary clergy who are against.

Far North
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Far North

Two points: 1) The letter does NOT state that the signatories will leave if there is no provision for those opposed to women bishops. It says that “we will be asking whether we can, in conscience, continue to minister”. This carefully stops short of a “threatened mass exodus”, although it does suggest that some might go. 2) Of the signatories, on a quick count, of the priest and archdeacons, 523 are retired. Of the bishops, 4 are honorary assistants (therefore (mostly) retired?). I’m sure this letter is sad and sincere, but it differs from the reports about it both in… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

My first thoughts were of Fr Peter Geldard and his rousing oratory when the matter of women’s ordination was initially discussed and adopted in England. Peter left for Rome with the large compensation payment he helped negotiate then – and generous was the word! It was amazing to see then opportunistic clerics suddenly discovering a “conscience” deeply opposed to women’s ordination that not even their closest friends suspected their having. That being said, those who have a genuine conviction are these days already heavily compromised within a Church that practices WO and has seen no theological objection to women as… Read more »

David Waller
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David Waller

What is good is that the names of the signatories of the letter arguing for structural provision have been put in the public domain: http://www.forwardinfaith.com/artman/publish/article_413.shtml It is good that people are prepared to be identified and sad the earlier letter from female clergy resisting such provision did not include the names of the signatories. The online petition from laity calling for a single clause can be discounted on the grounds that some signatories note they are from overseas, others claim to be Roman Catholics and an e mail inviting signatures specifically stated that non churchgoers should be asked to sign.… Read more »

Kennedy
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Kennedy

Anyone like to comment on the high number of retired clergy in the list. Are we able to distinguish between those who are really retired from the ministry and those who have a warrant or a licence and serve local congregations although they have left full-time ministry?

Hopefully someone from south of the border will inform us.

Kennedy

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

i did a swift word search on this list and found 531 who are listed as retired, a further 12 who are listed as honorary assistants. that makes 542. i also noticed several names of people, whom i know personally, who have put themselves in as ‘assistant curate’ and who are nsm, VERY part time. i don’t know how many of these there are hidden in with the others. (please don’t think that i don’t value the ministry of these people, but they aren’t the clergy we rely on day-in day-out). so, that makes a total of well under 800,… Read more »

Graham Ward
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Graham Ward

The words of Ko Ko come to mind….

He’s got ’em on the list — he’s got ’em on the list;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed — they’ll none of ’em be missed.

W.S. Gilbert

David Malloch
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David Malloch

“from the names i’ve seen here, we’d be a great deal better of without a lot of them.” That, of course, is exactly what synod must decide. In so doing it should bear in mind the thousands of laity who depend on these priests for sacramental ministry. As for the retireds, many parishes depend on them! Above all remember that in the 1990s debates LAITY as well as priests were promissed a permanent place and that provision includes the provision of clergy of their tradition! Finally, there are those saying few will go, trying to deny the impact a single… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

“My village eventually had four independent Calvinist chapels who despised each other with a special hatred, as split followed split ….. they have now been closed for longer than they were in use.” Time for an old story: Cruise ship blown off course finds uncharted island. On it, a long lost and presumed dead sailor from a long disappeared trans-Pacific sailboat race vessel. Crew from cruise ship finds man sitting in front of small shack, and in the distance, two more shacks. Clearly he’s sitting in front of his home. “What’s that next shack over? they ask. “That’s my church,”… Read more »

cryptogram
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cryptogram

I spotted one name, of someone I thought swam the Tiber many years ago. He listed a parochial connection (Assistant Curate of X), but appears neither in his diocese’s list of clergy nor in Crockford.
What is going on?

David Waller
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David Waller

For further breakdown, analysis of the figures go to:
http://www.forwardinfaith.com/artman/publish/article_417.shtml

Treebeard
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Treebeard

What a splendid letter !

(But why does it say cergymen and women? Have they accepted clergy women now at least ?)

Pasting this in my book of golden moments of the C of E alogside the FOCAs letter, I am building up a wonderful momento —

How proud can be the heart that Beats in my Breast of such religious zeal !

People will be flocking –postively flocking to anglican churches around the world ?

We want what youre on !!

Stephen Marsden
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Stephen Marsden

Quote: ‘I spotted one name, of someone I thought swam the Tiber many years ago. He listed a parochial connection (Assistant Curate of X), but appears neither in his diocese’s list of clergy nor in Crockford.
What is going on?’

I suggest that cryptogram emails Forward in Faith and asks – someone I spoke to there just now would be happy to check for him.

John Omani
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John Omani

It appears that failure to uphold an opt-out would finally spell the end of the Anglo-Catholic movement in England. The resulting damage would dwarf that inflicted by the Gafcon rebels, which only have the full support of two serving bishops, Rochester and Lewes.

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

David Malloch repeats the false claim that in the 1990s promises were given of permanent provision for those opposed to women priests. Saying this a lot of times will not make it true. No promises were given in the legislation. Statements were made, on both sides, as to whether there should be provision. Some private individuals in Synod, and some discussion documents made such promises, BUT they were never incorporated into the legislation. Get over it.

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

PS. I may have missed a name, but as far as i can see, none of the bishops here sits in the house of lords, or is ever likely to. i think that says quite a lot. either retired or going nowhere. interesting, too, that the previous bishop of chichester has signed, the present bishop of chichester (recently put into the lords) has not.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Reviewing the commitment of FiF and Reform to the Anglican World of Chris Sugden as unfolding in FOCa (I like “a”) – I can see absolutely no reason now why the English Synod should give a moments consideration to anything other than a one clause measure. Listening to addresses and reading articles on their website this afternoon leaves it absolutely clear that they already see the rest of the Church of England as apostate and not possessed of real bishops! With such an overwhelming commitment to this new developing entity and the new sects it is soon to spawn –… Read more »

Britannicus
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Britannicus

There may be quite a few ‘retired’ priests among the signatories but there are also a large number of younger clergy. Many of these men are extremely talented and deserving of promotion and yet have notoriously found it difficult to find jobs from hostile diocesan bishops simply because they are principled, faithful Catholics. Their determination at this crucial moment to uphold and obey the apostolic teaching of the universal Church regarding the character of the sacred ministry will be saluted by thousands of Anglican lay women and men throughout England and beyond.

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

There will be no mass defection..its all bluff..
The General Synod must not create a GAFCONIAN style sword to hang over the Church of England.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“My first thoughts were of Fr Peter Geldard”

Martin, this was the RC priest interviewed a few weeks ago on (the Popoid channel) EWTN. I was struck by how *utterly dehumanizing* he was towards women believing themselves called to be priests: not even his misled opponents, they were simply “it” to him. Despicable! >:-0

***

As I always say, I don’t want ANYONE to leave . . . however, if the signatories do (God forbid) leave—it’ll leave more appointments for those women God IS calling to holy orders! 😉

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

More bizarre is the very large number of gay clergy who have signed the letter.

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

John Omani writes: ‘It appears that failure to uphold an opt-out would finally spell the end of the Anglo-Catholic movement in England. The resulting damage would dwarf that inflicted by the Gafcon rebels, which only have the full support of two serving bishops, Rochester and Lewes.’ Not so. The Catholic movement in the Church of England flourishes, with the work of the Society of Catholic Priests who welcome the priesthood of women. http://www.scp.org.uk/ The future should belong to them, and this legislation should advance their cause. If we do not pass this legislation, then we tie up many churches in… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Poppy Tupper notes that the former bishop of Chirchester is among the signatories of the FiF letter. We might remember that he was the one who appointed Bishop Benn as one of his suffragans, and Bishop Urwin as another.

Stephen Marsden
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Stephen Marsden

Poppy Tupper seeks to re-write history, but fails. Promises were not made by ‘private individuals’, but by Officers of the General Synod, giving evidence to the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament (203rd & 204th Reports of the Ecclesiastical Committee, pp.66, 84, 86 & 134). The only reason the members of the Ecclesiastical Committee deemed the Ordination of Women Measure expedient was that they understood that the representatives of General Synod were not liars. Had they not so deemed it, it would never have passed into law and women would never have been ordained. If the C of E was to renege… Read more »

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

Stephen Marsden can say it as often as he likes, but that won’t make it true. No promises were included in the legislation. Parliamentarians are not unaware of this. Only that which is in the legislation is effective. Officers of the General Synod can can what they like, to whom they like. Unless they come with the authority of Synod, as expressed through a vote, they speak only as private individuals. I note, again, that there are people who think that if they say it often enough, the myth that promises were given will turn into truth. It won’t.

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

I think you’ll find that benn and urwin were appointed by eric kemp, the previous bishop of chichester. i may be wrong.

David Malloch
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David Malloch

“David Malloch repeats the false claim that in the 1990s promises were given of permanent provision for those opposed to women priests. they were never incorporated into the legislation. Get over it.” Well, unravel it all and what do you get? Promises were made but not in a measure? So, why on earth should we trust promises and not a measure now???? It was never in the legislation that provision would be permanent? The committment to provision was in the same measure that allowed women’s ordination – therefore you need to decide whether or not the ENTIRE MEASURE was permanent.… Read more »

Rose Gaudete
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Rose Gaudete

Poppy writes:”Statements were made, on both sides, as to whether there should be provision. Some private individuals in Synod, and some discussion documents made such promises”.

Documents coming from the Archbishops, Bishops and officers of synod, Poppy. i.e. the very same people you are asking us to trust and rely on to draft and implement the lovely Code of Practice. Thank you for highlighting just why that code will be totolly worthless.

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Promises were not made by ‘private individuals’, but by Officers of the General Synod, giving evidence to the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament (203rd & 204th Reports of the Ecclesiastical Committee, pp.66, 84, 86 & 134). The only reason the members of the Ecclesiastical Committee deemed the Ordination of Women Measure expedient was that they understood that the representatives of General Synod were not liars. Had they not so deemed it, it would never have passed into law and women would never have been ordained.”

Reading this makes me ever more glad of the US Constitution’s prohibition of an established church.

David Malloch
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David Malloch

“as far as i can see, none of the bishops here sits in the house of lords, or is ever likely to. i think that says quite a lot. either retired or going nowhere. “ This very issue is addressed in the Pilling report, which was embraced by synod 12 months ago. The report notes how traditionalists have been underrepresented among episcopal appointments. Synod has accepted the reports criticism and resolved that the balance should be redressed. The imbalance is, of course, another fine example of liberals running the show and failing to honour pledges of inclusion.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“The imbalance is, of course, another fine example of liberals running the show and failing to honour pledges of inclusion.” Nice paranoia, here, and, maybe in England where bishops are appointed, there may be something to it, I don’t know. Thing is, this is exactly the same thing levelled at TEC and the Canadian Church, where bishops are elected by lay representatives, who are elected by their parishes, all processes above board and democratic. There is no cabal that appoints their favourites in North America. Given that the accusation is totally unjustified in the North American context, I find it… Read more »

cryptogram
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cryptogram

That’s what I wrote, Poppy!

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

I’m glad that David Malloch raises the issue of a time of reception. I should have included it myself. That was by far the most settled mind of the church at the time. There would be a period of reception, after which, separate provision for objectors would not be needed. There was NEVER any intention that separate provision should continue for ever. The promises (not the legislation, remember, just promises) were made in the expectation that the matter would be settled. There was never the expectation that new priests would be ordained who would object – nor, in my view,… Read more »

David Malloch
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David Malloch

Ford – not paranoia, the position as highlighted by an official synodical report! Poppy – With respect, that is simply untrue. Those who advocated the concept of reception, Abp Habgood in particular, were absolutely clear that the process of reception was open and indefinite and that until the whole of christendom arrived at a common mind that would be the case. At no point was there any suggestion it was time limited and there was never any suggestion that future ordination candidates would have to accept the ordination of women. If you believe what you claim then you are adopting… Read more »

Stephen Marsden
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Stephen Marsden

As the doctrine of reception makes it clear that the ordination of women was offered to the whole church, and as it is clearly evident that the whole church has decided not to receive it, the impermanence of the 1993 Measure which Poppy has so ably and liberally demonstrated means that the way forward is both clear and simple: (i) rescind the 1993 Measure (ii) get over it.

Stephen Marsden
Guest
Stephen Marsden

‘There was never the expectation that new priests would be ordained who would object’

Re-writing history again! The actual expectation was set out clearly enough for even the meanest intellect in clause 1 of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993: ‘Except as provided by the Measure and this Act no person or body shall discriminate against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their views about the ordination of women to the priesthood.’

Now, which particular bit of that sentence don’t you understand?

poppy tupper
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poppy tupper

again, stpehen marsden fails either to understand or to remember. at the time of the debates, much was made of the fact that there were clergy who had been ordained into a church where women were not priests. following the measure that was no longer true, so, it could not be possible for candidates to claim that they had not expected women to be their colleagues in parishes and chapters and synods, etc. therefore, anyone who was subsequently ordained should not expect to live and work in an exclusion zone. it’s quite simple. they wouldn’t be refused ordination, but they… Read more »

Stephen Marsden
Guest
Stephen Marsden

Oh dear, Poppy’s understanding of the doctrine of reception is a bit threadbare. It’s worth looking at the Grindrod Report of 1987, esp. paras 90 – 95, where it is explained quite clearly. One particular passage particularly catches my eye: ‘The development should be offered to the Anglican Communion in an open process of reception. The development could not be expressed as the mind of the Church until it were accepted by the whole Communion. Even then there would necessarily be a tentativeness about it until it were accepted by the universal Church.’ No doubt the development has been accepted… Read more »

David Malloch
Guest
David Malloch

Poppy, I guess that you, like me, are a Doctor Who fan? But in which parallel universe do you exist? The plain facts are that people have been ordained since 1992 on the basis of promisses made and the provisions of the Act of Synod. You can argue until you are blue in the face that the provision was time limited and did not apply to subsequent ordinands but that is simply not the case. Fortunately, the exact texts to which Stephen Marsden has refered are cited in the Manchester Report. Therefore, if synod votes to take note of the… Read more »

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

say it all together. say it as often as you like. it still isn’t true. no promises were given in the legislation.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Stephen, “out here in the real real world, the universal Church has done no such thing” I think if you look back at Church history, you will find that many decisions were taken and enacted against the will of a large number of people who called themselves “orthodox”. It was when the Church accepted these ideas that they were discerned to be orthodox doctrine. Councils can dictate, but that doesn’t make their dictates orthodox. There have been a lot of councils, only 7 considered orthodox, and the recognition of that depended on the will of the ecclesia led by the… Read more »

orfanum
Guest
orfanum

Hmm – not being facetious here but what’s the quickest anyone has gone from adult baptism to being consecrated as a priest? If these traditionalists leave, they may find that others, myself included, would seriously think about a career change in order to invest the CoE with even more practical progressivism.

Let them go.