Thinking Anglicans

General Synod: Monday afternoon's debate

For the final form of the motion before Synod and the voting figures see the end of this article

Synod began its main debate on women bishops at 2.30 pm today.

The Order Paper is here

I have copied this below, but have amended it to include the votes in synod as they took place.

Note: Where a vote is taken by houses, the motion must be carried in all three houses to be carried.

The Bishop of Gloucester moved:

20. ‘That this Synod:
(a) reaffirm its wish for women to be admitted to the episcopate;
(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;
(c) affirm that these should be contained in a national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and
(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.’

The Bishop of Winchester moved as an amendment:

66. After “That this Synod” leave out paragraph (a) and insert:
“(a) anticipating the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England, and noting the Manchester Group’s assertion in paragraph 22 of GS 1685 that “far and away the most important question that the Church of England now has to face is the extent to which it wishes to continue to accommodate the breadth of theological views on this issue that it currently encompasses”,
(i) affirm the assurances included in paragraphs 67-69 of GS 1685;
(ii) reaffirm (GS 1685 paragraph 74) Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference “that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate are both loyal Anglicans”;
In paragraph (b) leave out “within the existing structures of the Church of England”; and
In paragraph (c) after “in” insert “legislation and in”.

Amendment 66 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
14
31
0
clergy
62
120
0
laity
78
114
0

The Revd Prebendary David Houlding (London) moved as an amendment:

67. Leave out paragraph (a) and insert:
“(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate”.

Amendment 67 was carried after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
28
17
0
clergy
90
89
4
laity
97
85
7

The Revd Stephen Trott (Peterborough) moved as an amendment:

68. Leave out paragraphs (b) and (c) and in paragraph (d) leave out “, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice,”.

Amendment 68 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
3
40
2
clergy
28
149
4
laity
36
147
5

The Revd Miranda Threlfall-Holmes (Universities, York) moved as an amendment:

69. In paragraph (b) leave out all the words after “affirm its view that” and insert “this should be done with the simplest possible statutory approach, with local diocesan arrangements for pastoral provision and sacramental care;”;
Leave out paragraph (c); and
In paragraph (d) leave out “, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice,”.

Amendment 69 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
7
37
1
clergy
66
107
9
laity
68
118
4

The Revd Canon Simon Killwick (Manchester) moved as an amendment:

70. In paragraph (b) leave out “the existing structures of”;
In paragraph (c) leave out “national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard” and insert “Measure”; and
In paragraph (d) leave out “accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice,” and insert “by preparing a draft Measure and associated code of practice providing new dioceses for those who cannot in conscience receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests,” and after the words “so that” insert the words “, if possible,”.

Amendment 70 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
10
32
3
clergy
53
124
4
laity
71
116
2

The Bishop of Exeter moved as an amendment:

71. In paragraph (b) leave out “the existing structures of”;
In paragraph (c) leave out “national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard” and insert “Measure”; and
In paragraph (d) leave out all the words after “accordingly” and insert “by preparing drafts of possible legislation in accordance with paragraph (c), to include further draft Measures, together with associated codes of practice, based on diocesan structures for those who cannot in conscience receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests, so that, if possible, the Business Committee can include consideration of these options in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.”.

Amendment 71 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
14
29
2
clergy
65
116
1
laity
77
112
0

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds moved as an amendment:

72. In paragraph (c) after the words “affirm that these should be” insert “either by way of statutory transfer of specified responsibilities or”; and
In paragraph (d) leave out “complete” and insert “develop” and leave out the words “first consideration of the draft legislation” and insert “further consideration of both alternatives envisaged in paragraph (c) ”.

Amendment 72 was lost after a vote by houses (since it was defeated in one house).
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
21
21
1
clergy
84
92
2
laity
98
87
0

At this point (6.30 pm) Synod broke for its dinner break. The session will resume at 8.00 pm

[Miss Emma Forward (Exeter) did not move her amendment so it was not considered:

73. In paragraph (b) leave out “special”.]

The Revd Gillian Henwood (York) moved an amendment:

74. Insert after paragraph (b):
“(..) affirm its view that special arrangements should be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction wish to exercise or receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests in episcopal areas where the bishop has stated that he is not able to ordain women;”.

Amendment 74 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
5
31
3
clergy
68
85
20
laity
82
90
7

Canon Dr Christina Baxter (Southwell and Nottingham) moved as an amendment:

75. After paragraph (c) insert as a new paragraph:
“(..) require that the Measure enabling women to be admitted to the episcopate should require:
(i) that the Measure should only come into force once the code has been agreed;
(ii) that in order for the code of practice to come into effect, it must receive the approval of the General Synod with a two-thirds majority in each House; and
(iii) that any future changes to the code can only be made by the General Synod with a two-thirds majority in each House;”.

Amendment 75 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
15
19
5
clergy
86
78
8
laity
81
88
10

Ms Jacqueline Humphreys (Bristol) moved as an amendment:

76. In paragraph (c) insert “statutory” before the words “national code of practice”.

Amendment 76 was carried on a show of hands.

the Revd Canon Robert Cotton (Guildford) moved as an amendment:

77. Insert as a new paragraph after paragraph (c):
“(..) agree that the code of practice should relate only to the exercise of episcopal functions and describe a commitment to mutual support and cooperation between members of the House of Bishops to help with pastoral provision and sacramental care when situations arise affecting those with conscientious difficulties relating to ordination to the priesthood and the episcopate; and”.

Amendment 77 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
1
35
4
clergy
38
129
5
laity
44
129
7

His Honour Thomas Coningsby QC (ex officio) moved as an amendment:

78. In paragraph (c) leave out all the words after “national code of practice” and insert “which all concerned would be required to follow”.

Amendment 78 was lost on a show of hands.

The Bishop of Durham moved that the debate be adjourned. This motion was lost with 180 votes in favour, 203 against and 9 abstentions.

Final form of the substantive motion

As a result of the two successful amendments (67 and 76) the final form of the substantive motion became:

That this Synod:
(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;
(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;
(c) affirm that these should be contained in a statutory national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and
(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.

After a vote by houses the substantive motion was carried.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
28
12
1
clergy
124
44
4
laity
111
68
2

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Simon SarmientoIanG. HerbertFord ElmsErika Baker Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

Um, for the lazy, ignorant and Yankee among us (speaking for myself, of course! *g*) . . . what does all this *mean*?

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Did you notice how the GAFCON leading light, Canon Sugden was speaking at the Synod for the opponents…however note how to keep Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda on board they dropped the women’s ordination issue entirely from GAFCON, designating it a secondary issue….you see thats how you operate with “Biblical truth” when your a GAFCONITE.

MrsBarlow
Guest
MrsBarlow

Well done General Synod, a marathon effort and a great result!

stephen low
Guest
stephen low

Here’s a novel solution; One Bishop – Two Persons option; for each seat two persons occupy the role of bishop; One a Man another a Woman. Sounds inspirational to me.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

So, after all that (thanks Peter for this detailed record) we have a motion approved in substantially the form in which it originated. Three caveats. 1. the change to the first paragraph means that opponents of women bishops can vote for it because they are voting that the Synod majority wants to do this, not that they do. This is probably only a cosmetic change. 2. More importantly, the code of practice is required to be statutory. That’s quite a biggy. And 3. the motion was carried in the House of Laity by less than a 2/3 majority. That means… Read more »

Ren Aguila
Guest
Ren Aguila

For JCF: 1. The point of this motion is to allow for two things: a. the General Synod has said that it will consider legislation by Measure to permit women bishops–but as Simon Kershaw pointed out, it is not certain whether the Measure (which will be considered law in England once Parliament does not stand in its way) will be approved. b. that legislation will contain measures to ensure that people who cannot accept the ministry of women bishops are protected–but apparently the demand for so-called “parallel dioceses” has been shot down for the moment. What I found appalling was… Read more »

Paul Rowlandson
Guest
Paul Rowlandson

The vote confirms the process begun with the vote to ordain women as priests back in 1987, a process of theological cleansing. The Anglo-Catholics are being excluded from the Church of England. As the Bishop of Fulham said on tonight’s Newsnight, the Church of England is ceasing to be Catholic and Reformed, instead it will just be Reformed. It was inevitable after women were ordained as priests, nevertheless, it will leave the C of E a very different and feminised church.

Richard Lyon
Guest
Richard Lyon

Has anybody determined the exact date on which the world will come to an end as a result of this. Surely it can’t be long. 🙂

Congratulations to the people of the Church of England.

Chip
Guest
Chip

Simon or Peter,

Would one of you define what a ‘code of practice’ is, please.

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

Thank you to Peter for the detailed record. I almost felt lik I was there. (Wish I were!) And thank you to Simon for the analysis. A couple of comments: I think the change in (a) was cosmetic from the perspective of the actual effect, but for those who are opposed, I think it made the whole thing easier to vote for, as it didn’t imply that they were personally in favour, simply that they recognized the reality that the majority are. That may have won a few votes. I noticed that word “statutory” being slipped in on the code… Read more »

Josh Indiana
Guest

Love you, TA, but this is the stupidest possible way to describe the action. My eyes glazed over even before I got to the “vote by houses.” As if anyone gives a damn.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

FiF’s initial reaction says at the end

‘However, members of both the General Synod and of the Church of England will understand that actions always have consequences.’

I really don’t like this threatening language – it does not help their case at all.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

Chip asked ‘Would one of you define what a ‘code of practice’ is, please.’ I am happy to oblige: Church Measures (which have the force and effect of an Act of Parliament) often contain within them the creation of powers for certain people or groups of people (e.g. the Bishop of a diocese, the general synod etc). What a Code of Practice does is gives more or less binding guidance on how the person with the power goes about making the decision to exercise that power and in what circumstances. So, for instance, the powers of Bishops, Synods, the Church… Read more »

Paul Rowlandson
Guest
Paul Rowlandson

Wilf – I am not a member of FiF so I can’t speak for them, but the statement that actions have consequences is accurate. The liberals and the feminists, along with many evangelicals, have combined to expel the Anglo-Catholics. The consequences of this vote will inevitably lead to a change in the character of the church. You may welcome that, others will deplore it, but the intended and unintended consequences will take place. There is no ‘threat’ in the FiF language, just a recognition of the fact that the C of E has now redefined itself as an exclusively Protestant… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

On Paul Rowlandson’s comment: It seems to me that one style of Anglo-Catholics (there is at least one other style) already excluded themselves in 1992 by the creation of ‘flying bishops’ – quite an un-catholic accomodation by which those parishes in effect opted out of the C-of-E (the RC church would never allow such opting out). I think the universality expressed by the idea of catholic is much more present where women also share in ordained ministry. Lots of self-styled Anglo-Catholics agree.

David Malloch
Guest
David Malloch

“I really don’t like this threatening language – it does not help their case at all” It isn’t a threat – just a statement of fact. Despite the heartfelt pleas of both Arch Bishops, senior diocesans, the prolocutor and the chair of the House of Laity, synod voted to go down a path which makes it impossible for the legislation to make the minimal provision to meet the needs of traditionalists. NB All the speakers mentioned above and many others made this plea despite their personal determination to consecrate women. The synodical decision has consequences. It is too early to… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

David Maloch wrote: ‘The house of bishops needs to consider the implications of rejecting the pleas of its leaders. The Archbishops need to consider how they operate in a church which rejects what they say.’ There is nothing new here. The Church of England has operated in this way for hundreds of years. That is one of the differences between us and, say, the Roman Church — that there is no single, central magisterium. The Archbishops have moral authorty and leadership, just as diocesan bishops have moral authority and leadership. But the synods of clergy and lay people also participate… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest
Ed Tomlinson

Its nice and eadsy to pore over for those who were already assured of provision and preferment. But I deplore how quickly those who use the language of inclusion and justice rounded on traditional Anglo-Catholics – forcing a decision which clearly expells us from an honoured place in the church of our baptism. I am having to sit down and ask where to go from here. My house, vocation, family, parish, parishioners are all thrown into turmoil as I am forced into the wilderness. My crime? Upholding the faith that this very church taught me and refusing to accept an… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

All this talk of being now just a Protestant church is nonsense. The motion which was approved did not achieve 2/3 majority required, and would only do so if trad Catholics prematurely give up the labour to maintain a Catholic presence.

Paul Rowlandson
Guest
Paul Rowlandson

Simon Kershaw writes that the doctrinal authority in the C of E, the Synod, is composed of the bishops, “clergy and lay people”, and that it is this democratic convention’s “right, under God” to determine doctrine. He is, of course, right. There is no magisterium in the C of E. The ultimate authority is the Houses of Parliament. ‘Vox populi, vox dei’ – the voice of the people is the voice of God’. Alcuin of York in 798 commented on this belief: ‘Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit’: ‘Those people… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“…it will leave the C of E a very different and feminised church.”

Surely, you do not intend “feminized” as a derogatory….or do you?

Katie
Guest
Katie

I don’t really understand why FinF are so unhappy about what’s happened. A statutory code of practice is a stronger measure than is around in every part of the Anglican Communion that already has women bishops. Hopefully it will ensure that both those in favour of and those against this change will be treated fairly and with respect and love. It will however require trust on all sides and there doesn’t seem to be that much of that about, which is a shame. I think it’s really important (for the sake of Christian decency as much as anything else) that… Read more »

Raspberry Rabbit
Guest

One is not ‘expelled’ by the presence of women bishops in the Church of England. Why would the fate of the C of E not be different than that of those other parts of the Anglican world which have made provision for the election/consecration/appointment of women bishops. I’m trying to remember the exact date in Canada when we expelled the anglo-catholic wing of the church. Try as I might I have no pictures of men in Roman cassocks being tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. The earth did not open up. It swallowed precisely nobody.… Read more »

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

“Traditionalists need to consider their futures and their new relationship to the establishment”

This is only too true. Perhaps those bishops who were talking to the Vatican last week should seriously consider a change of topic. Instead of asking for inter-ecclesial meddling from the Pope, they should be seeking an opportunity for reconciliation with the Holy Roman Church.

Fiona Brownlee
Guest

This is the first time that I have felt the need to jump in here but after several months of reading and paying attention I felt I needed to on this issue. As a woman in the church in Canada who would consider herself on the Anglo-Catholic end in terms of liturgy I am thrilled to bits for my sisters and brothers in the CofE for moving forward on this issue. It has been my great pleasure to know many fine women deacons, priests (some of whom are my dear friends) and to work with and get to know the… Read more »

William McDowell
Guest
William McDowell

Many of the bitterest opponents of the ordination of women seem unable to accept authority – hence the use of the Roman Missal and the prevalence of active homosexuals amongst their ranks – this may lie at the root of the failure of Forward in Faith clergy to go over to Rome, something which they constantly threaten. Since their opposition to women in positions of authority seems idolatrous it would be spiritually good for them to finally do as they constantly threaten. Their departure would enable the presentation of the good news of Christ through an emphasis on the sacraments… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Very well put Simon Kershaw.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

OK, so you have two possible sets of consequences.

You either:
1. agree to institutionalised discrimination
2. you vote for equality which may place some of those who believe in institutionalised discrimination in a difficult position.

The problem is the conservative view which institutionalises discrimination. The problem is the traditional position of the church is simply not acceptable.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Paul Rowlandson takes issue with my comment about the responsibility of bishops, clergy and laity. But you put words in my mouth, Paul. Whether one agrees with Paul or not, though, the English Church does not provide for the mob rule that Paul quotes Alcuin complaining of. It is representative clergy and laity who are given the responsibility, under God, for this process, and that has been the case for several hundred years.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I see that the motion did not get a 2/3 majority in the house of laity. Why did it get through then? Does it not need to have a 2/3 majority in all three houses?

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Paul Rowlandson takes issue with my coment about the responsibility of bishops, clergy and laity. But you put words in my mouth, Paul. Whether one agrees with Paul or not, though, the English Church does not provide for the mob rule that Paul quotes Alcuin complaining of. It is representative clergy and laity who are given the responsibility, under God, for this process, and that has been the case for several hundred years.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

David Malloch says that the English Primates and senior prelates have much to ponder on as their own House – as well as the other two houses of General Synod – act contrary to their advice. I agree. I can think of no better example (in recent years) which demonstrates as clearly why rule by Primates is so inappropriate to our Anglican heritage. All further talk of “enhanced responsibility” must now surely be dead. Indeed much of what underpins the thinking of the Covenant is not of us, and so those like myself who are keen for closer relations between… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Re the 2/3 majority. The situation is that on a bill for a Measure that is ruled to require it, at the final reading of that bill in the Synod, then to be deemed to have been approved, the bill must receive a 2/3 majority in each of the three houses of the Synod — Bishops, Clergy and Laity. The vote on Monday was a vote that draft legislation be prepared and introduced to a future meeting of the Synod, together with a draft code of practice. That vote needed only a simple majority in all three houses in order… Read more »

Tom
Guest
Tom

Simon,

many thanks indeed!

Tom

JCF
Guest
JCF

Well, I’m not so lazy, ignorant or Yankee NOT to know that the following quotes “a process of theological cleansing. The Anglo-Catholics are being excluded from the Church of England . . . the Church of England is ceasing to be Catholic and Reformed, instead it will just be Reformed.” “The liberals and the feminists, along with many evangelicals, have combined to expel the Anglo-Catholics.” “forcing a decision which clearly expells us from an honoured place in the church of our baptism.” are clearly hysterical breaks-from-reality (w/ more than a hint of “bovine elimination” about them). Anyone watching what’s happening… Read more »

Philip French
Guest
Philip French

I was there. It was painful even for those of us committed to women bishops and celebrating the affirmation of women’s ministry. Those whom we have hurt are at the least acquaintances respected as faithful Christians and loyal Anglicans; in many cases, personal friends. Perhaps we should not have gone on so long in formal session. We listened better to each other – and allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable – in small groups on Saturday morning. But it is a bit rich for bishops to complain at Synod, and at the laity in particular, when their own house was… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“one is in a democratic minority” But the Church isn’t a democracy. Just because we vote doesn’t make it so. It’s about discrening the will of God. It isn’t the Republic of God, nor the Constitutional Monarchy of God, after all. So, it’s about finding out that one is in a minority that is unable to discern the guidance of the Spirit when the majority of the Church does, a very different thing. I remember the reasons given for OOW by clergy in Canada thirty+ years ago. If there aren’t any better explanations of why this is right now than… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“…I don’t blame people for feeling that they are right and the Church really hasn’t discerned anything other than a call by society to political correctness.”

Is it impossible that the Spirit acts through society as a whole…calling the Church to a specific action by having society demand it?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford
“I don’t blame people for feeling that they are right and the Church really hasn’t discerned anything other than a call by society to political correctness”

You keep making this point, but is there any credible theology that would place God in opposition to social justice?

It’s easy to call it “political correctness” and yes, politically implemented it can be descriptive and over the top. But the principles behind it, the underlying issues of justice, are genuine.

I really struggle to see how God could possibly not be on the side of increasing awareness of what is morally right.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“is there any credible theology that would place God in opposition to social justice” I keep making the analogy with motherhood. Conservatives claim, with theological and traditional backing, that the priesthood is necessarily male. I disagree with their theology, but that’s another point. If they are right, this is no more an injustice than the fact that I, being male, can never be a mother. Just for the sake of argument, say they’re right. Is it not more of an injustice to us all to say words over people and tell them and us that they are something they cannot… Read more »

G. Herbert
Guest
G. Herbert

Whether or not we agree or disagree with the consecration of women bishops, it is difficult to accept that lessons have not been learned after 14 years of the ordination of women as priests. Back then the wheeling and dealing with dissenters to get the vote in favour has led to problems that are no closer being solved now than 14 years ago; and no likely hood of anything changing whilst new male ordinands are still accepted who do not accept women’s priestly ministry, and (in theory at least) new male bishops consecrated who do not accept women’s priestly ministry… Read more »

Ian
Guest
Ian

I was there too. It was a bruising debate. Does anyone know when we can get details of who voted which way – I pity the bishops who abstained when their names get out. Don’t seem to be on the CofE website yet

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Ian
Based on past experience, I would expect the voting details to be published by the end of next week.