Inclusive Church has issued a press release, The vote for women bishops. A copy of the text is also below the fold.
WATCH has issued a press release. The text appears below.
WATCH Press Statement
WOMEN BISHOPS: A STEP CLOSER
9th July 2008 – for immediate release
The Church of England has been debating whether women should be ordained as deacons, priests and bishops for nearly 100 years, and today marks the beginning of what we hope is the 26th and final mile in the marathon of discussions and debates since then.
Yesterday the Church agreed to drawing up legislation for women bishops and also for a code of practice with arrangements for those who in conscience cannot accept the Episcopal ministry of a woman.
After 6¼ hours of debate, the House of Bishops Motion was passed by a substantial majority in all three houses. The Legislative Drafting Group for Women Bishops will now work on the legislation and on the contents of the code of practice, which will be debated in General Synod in February 2009.
In spite of the recent statement from the Vatican that Synod’s vote created new obstacles to unity between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, two facts remain: Rome’s official stance is still non-recognition of all Anglican orders, male and female, and the Anglican Church has had women bishops for the last 20 years. The question remains as to why the vote presents a fresh obstacle?
WATCH welcomes the outcome of the vote and rejoices that women will soon takes their place alongside men as bishops in the Church of England.
WATCH Chair and member of General Synod, Christina Rees said, “This is good news for the whole Church and for the nation we serve. Women will soon be able to bring their experience and gifts to the Episcopal leadership of our Church. We rejoice that God has led the Church to this moment.”
During the debate, Robert Key MP said that the people of England are making a judgment on us; a reference to how detached the church has become from the rest of society through refusing to make women bishops. The Bishop of Bath and Wells stressed that we need to trust each other and not have legislation.
Earlier this year, over 1,300 clergywomen signed a statement which was sent to all bishops in the Church of England, declaring that they wished the Church to proceed on a basis of trust and not law: that arrangements for those opposed to women bishops should be managed by the local diocesan bishop, be they male or female as is the case in the fifteen provinces which have already agreed to consecrate women to the episcopate. If such arrangements were enshrined in law then their response would be “thanks but no thanks”. It is to be hoped that the Statutory National Code of Practice requested by General Synod will reflect these concerns.
Christina Rees Chair, WATCH
Hilary Cotton Co-Vice Chair, WATCH
Inclusive Church press release
Women as Bishops
9th July 2008
Inclusive Church is delighted that General Synod voted by a large majority to move to the consecration of women as bishops.
Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of IC, said “It is a time for rejoicing. We have reached another milestone in the long process of removing the barriers to inclusion in the Church of England. The gospel is a gospel of welcome and this decision will make us more able to be welcoming in our churches.“
Inclusive Church includes many catholics, liberals and evangelicals among our supporters, who have recognised that a national code of practice is the best way forward. Through a code of practice, the concerns of those who do not yet accept the ministry of women can be recognised, but there not be “no go areas” for women. It has worked in other provinces and no doubt it will work in England.
Although the response of some of our ecumenical partners has been negative, we have no doubt that many members of other churches will welcome the decision.
We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Church of England continues to try to fulfil its role as the Established Church. There is still a great deal of work to do to complete the process. We look forward to working with our partners and, we hope, with those who are opposed to the decision. We hope that helpful past dialogues can be revitalised to make sure that the legislation and the code of practice are as effective as they can be.
Canon Giles Goddard