Thinking Anglicans

problem in Chichester?

Updated Tuesday morning

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports in the Telegraph that Bishop faces rebellion over women clergy.

On one side of the row is the Rt Rev John Hind, the Bishop of Chichester, who has a black belt in judo and a staunch opponent of the ordination of women.

In the opposing corner is a growing group of clergy and worshippers in his diocese, who are dismayed by the bishop’s intransigence.

Bishop Hind has told his diocesan synod that when he appoints a new junior bishop, they will not be permitted to ordain women…

The report also includes these statistics:

Out of its 393 parishes, only 65 have stated that they would not accept a woman as their incumbent.

and

Among 308 paid clergy in the Chichester diocese, only 20 are women.

The Telegraph report refers to a letter from the bishop to the Church Times.

The story began with this news report: No change for women by Ed Beavan.

That provoked this letter from Bishop John Hind Traditionalists and women’s ordination.

In turn, there followed another letter from Christina Rees, Sarah Lamming, and Charles Read: Juggling unsatisfactory outcomes after women vote (scroll down to the bottom for this letter).

And, though probably not finally, there is another letter, this time from Dr Brian Hanson, in this week’s Church Times, normally available only to subscribers for the first week, but already published elsewhere, so look at this: Chichester, Horsham & Fairness.

Tuesday morning update

George Pitcher at the Telegraph has also written about this, see Planet Chichester threatens to divide Church.

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Lapinbizarre
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Lapinbizarre

Maybe Bishop Hind will seek safe haven for his diocese in the province of the Southern Cone?

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

‘Kevin Carey, who is General Synod Member for the Chichester Diocese, said that people had been baffled by such a provocative action – (Bishop Hind’s declaration that he will not appoint a woman Suffragan Bishop for his Diocese)’ “I don’t see the point of having an advisory group if you’ve already decided what is going to happen.” he (Kevin Carey) said. “It makes nonsense of the process. I deeply regret that we’ll be the only diocese in the Church that doesn’t have a bishop who ordains women”. I suppose the real problem here is whether the ordaining rights in a… Read more »

Gregory of Langres
Guest
Richard Warren
Guest
Richard Warren

Would someone please enlighten us as to why women are deemed so unfit to serve in holy orders? One would get the impression it’s especially so in the CofE from reading about the goings on in the UK. I know the American church has had them for over thirty years and my first exposure to Episcopal clergy was in fact a couple of female priests and they appeared to be just as able at presiding over the Eucharist and administering the sacraments as any man I’ve ever seen do it. Is it such an old boys club that they can’t… Read more »

John Knox
Guest

Why this witch hunt on a bishop who believes what the Church has maintained for two thousand years? What is wrong with a safehaven for anglo catholics and evangelical conservatives? Life has become pretty nigh impossible for them elsewhere. Live and let live.

Robert Ian williams
Guest
Robert Ian williams

More evidence that the Church of England would be unwise to keep the present status quo, and that buying off opponents in the long run causes worse problems. If there was a third province the Diocese of Chichester would be decimated.

Neil
Guest
Neil

Huff huff, puff puff! People should remember the simple fact that the Women Priests Ordination Measure in the CofE was permissive and not obligatory and this remains the case. It is possible for women to be ordained, but not required. Those who wish to allow this innovation have done so, but no bishop is obliged to do so. That is why there are two integrities – and this man deserves a little more respect from commentators here.

Gregory of Langres
Guest

Might I refer readers to these comments made by the Chairman of the Chichester House of Laity? “It is a fact that the dioceses of Chelmsford, Lichfield, Manchester, Oxford, and Southwark all have three suffragan sees, and, of those 15 bishops, not one is a non-ordainer of women. This is a flagrant disregard of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993, which provides that “no person or body shall discriminate against candidates . . . for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their views or positions about the ordination of women to the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“It is possible for women to be ordained, but not required”

But if the Diocesan forbids it, it is no longer possible for women to be ordained. Isn’t that precisely the problem?

Frozenchristian
Guest
Frozenchristian

Neil:
There are not in fact two integrities. There is the recognition of the integrity of those who do not agree with the ordination of women, but the notion of two (equal) integrities is a Forward in Faith invention.

The Church of England’s position is that women can be ordained in the same way as men can. Likewise, the official position on women bishops is ‘yes’.

BillyD
Guest

“But if the Diocesan forbids it, it is no longer possible for women to be ordained. Isn’t that precisely the problem?”

Wouldn’t that mean that the bishop is *obligated* to ordain women? Either it’s mandatory, or it isn’t.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Are women only fit to cook, clean, give birth to and raise children, and service the sexual needs of men?” Not at all, Richard Warren. There are several arguments. First, the Church has never done this until this century. While it is certainly not impossible for God to call us in new directions, you have to use great caution is saying that is suddenly happening after 2000 years. Second is the nature of priesthood. The priesthood of the priest is a sharing in the priesthood of Christ. The priest represents Christ in the Mass. How can a woman represent a… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Wouldn’t that mean that the bishop is *obligated* to ordain women? Either it’s mandatory, or it isn’t.”

No, he doesn’t have to ordain women himself, but he should not be able to forbid Suffragans who are willing to ordain women. You could almost argue that there should be an obligation to have a Suffragan who is willing to ordain women.

It is surely down to individual parishes to decide whether they can cope with a woman priest or not. It is not up to the Bishop to prevent them from making that choice.

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

Well, on the bright side, I don’t imagine there is any need for parishes in Chichester to avail themselves of a flying bishop. Perhaps this points to an important inequality that needs to be addressed by General Synod. Parishes can vote not to accept the ministrations of their woman-ordaining diocesan, preferring instead to have a flying bishop who is untainted, as it were, by the laying of his hands on women. But there is no reciprocal arrangement, in which a parish could request a flying bishop who does ordain women when their diocesan refuses. Is it not time for the… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Erika Baker: “But if the Diocesan forbids it, it is no longer possible for women to be ordained. Isn’t that precisely the problem?”

That and an institution that is exempt from the law of the land. The Church seems to have become a “safe haven” for bigots.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Let’s be clear. There are women clergy in the diocese of Chichester. Women are ordained to the clergy in the diocese of Chichester. Just not by the diocesan bishop or his suffragans. The diocesan bishop allows / authorizes / commissions (whatever) a retired bishop resident in Chichester diocese to ordain women to the priesthood in the diocese of Chichester. The Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1992 allowed a diocesan bishop in office when the Measure came into force to declare that no women priests should be ordained or licensed or instituted in his [sic] diocese, in other words to declare… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

“an institution that is exempt from the law of the land”.

The Church is not exempt from the law of the land. This is England: Church law *is* the law of the land.

Richard
Guest
Richard

Simon K – you say “the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod… provides for alternate ministry to parishes — either the ministry of a bishop who does not ordain women clergy to parishes that are opposed to the change, but equally the assurance that no bishop would forbid the ordination or appointment of women priests in his diocese.” but then say “The Bishop of Chichester is acting in accordance with this system” Apparently he is not – by forbidding (through not appointing a suffragan who will ordain women) the ordination of women in his diocese. You can’t make both statements above… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“No, he doesn’t have to ordain women himself, but he should not be able to forbid Suffragans who are willing to ordain women. “ The Bishop argues that Suffragans act specifically on behalf of the Ordinary, as his agent. Whether or not that is true I have no idea, but if it is true then the Bishop is well within his rights not to allow his Suffragans to ordain women. “It is surely down to individual parishes to decide whether they can cope with a woman priest or not. It is not up to the Bishop to prevent them from… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Richard

I am not Simon K but I am able to answer your PS. There is no conflict with the Statute Law here. The Statute Law contains express exemption clauses for religious organisations, in relation to discrimination on grounds of gender, religion, and sexual orientation. In each case the exemption is slightly differently worded, but it is there.

Whether that is a good thing in terms of public policy is another matter.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Here is the civil law as it relates to discrimination on grounds of gender by religious organisations:

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/001462.html

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

While I am at it, I see that the government moved the Church Measures files since March 1995.

The Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 can now be found at
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/uk-church-measures/1993/Ukcm_19930002_en_1.htm

and the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 can be found at
http://www.ebbsfleet.org.uk/actofsynod93.htm

Simon Kershaw
Admin

In law a diocesan bishop may delegate to his suffragans whatever subset of his episcopal authority that he chooses and sees fit to do so. He does this via a formal deed, and IIRC, he does this with the consent of his Council, i.e. the Bishop’s Council of the diocese. The diocesan synod is informed of the execution of this deed. So the bishop is entitled to delegate to one or more of his suffragans the authority to ordain men to the priesthood and not to delegate the authority to ordain women. Equally he may choose (as some diocesan bishops… Read more »

Gregory of Langres
Guest

Erika Baker and Richard: As I understand it, the Bishop of Chichester licenses women clergy in his Diocese and allows them to be ordained within the Diocese but by an Assistant or visiting Bishop – not by one of the Suffragans. This is where traditionalists become confused – how can a bishop who denies the validity of the women’s orders essentially ‘deny’ parishes and people of the sacraments? Not one I can answer. Nom de Plume: A similar system was, believe it or not, suggested at the July Synod and was defeated. In that instance it suggested having flying bishops… Read more »

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

Thank you, Simon K for that helpful explanation of the current “order” of things. If we cannot in good faith allow for differences in this and other matters in the practice of religion, we may as well call it quits.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Richard, what I wrote was entirely consistent. The Bishop of Chichester and his suffragans do not ordain women. But the bishop makes provision for women to be ordained and instituted in the diocese of Chichester by bishops other than him or his suffragans (called area bishops in Chichester diocese). Therefore he is acting accordance with the Measure.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Simon K
Could you please explain how this works? A bishop has to approve a selection committee’s recommendations, so even if retired bishops carry out the actual ordinations, the bishop of Chichester or his suffragans will have had to approve women going forward for training.

If they don’t, how can women identified by more liberal parishes within the diocese as being called to the priesthood ever become priests in their diocese?

badman
Guest
badman

I think the comments confuse two separate issues: (a) the ordination of women and (b) the thread topic of a specific decision by a diocesan bishop to discriminate in his appointment of a suffragan against men who support the ordination of women. On (b), it seems, surely, absolutely clear (unless I’m missing something) from the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 that what the Bishop of Chichester is doing is illegal. “Ordinations and Appointments 1. There will be no discrimination against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Exemption for Parliament’s State Church, but no exemption for Catholic Adoption agencies and Catholic schools to choose their staff. Anti-Catholicism a la liberals! Also another interesting thought is that Westminster is the only Legislature in the western world where women are excluded from sitting, and that is in the seats reserved for Church of England bishops in the Lords. Now if I were Christina Rees this is were I would be turning the screw..allow equality or give up the state link and membership of the Lords. That would bring the bishops into line pretty quick, and the measure to allow… Read more »

Gregory of Langres
Guest

Fr Pinnock has made an important contribution to this discussion on his blog here:

http://onetimothyfour.blogspot.com/2008/12/friends-like-these.html

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Badman I think it may be more subtle than you suggest – the argument seems to go that a Bishop in favour of ordaining women may be appointed, but they will not be permitted actually to ordain any. This becomes problematic when we examine the Ordinal – in the Consecration of Bishops the question is asked “Will you be faithful in ordaining, sending or laying hands upon others?” to which the answer is “I will so be, so help me God.” The new Common Worship rite has “Will you be faithful in ordaining and commissioning ministers of the Gospel?” with… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

The contorted goings-on of “Mother Church” give me a headache. }}:-/

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Badman wrote: … a specific decision by a diocesan bishop to discriminate in his appointment of a suffragan against men who support the ordination of women. Bishop Hind has done no such thing. Any bishop suffragan appointed to the diocese of Chichester may support the ordination of women (to any of the three orders). They will be able to assist in the discernment of vocations of people of either gender (as does Bishop Hind). What the diocesan bishop will *not* do is allow them (and they need his authority) to ordain women. Their personal views on OOW simply do not… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

“Exemption for Parliament’s State Church, but no exemption for Catholic Adoption agencies and Catholic schools to choose their staff.”

Robert, this complaint would only seem to be justified if CofE adoption agencies and schools are given an exemption whereas RC ones are not. Is that in fact the case? Otherwise, you’re comparing apples and oranges – unless the Crown is forcing RC bishops to ordain women somewhere, and the news hasn’t reached here.

Neil
Guest
Neil

I think Brian Hanson makes a good point. Those overly vexed about +Chichester maintaining at least a gesture towards suffragan bishop opponents of women priests should take note that traditionalists are severely and unfairly under represented. That is why it took so long for the appointment at Kensington to be sorted. The two strongest candidates – Martin Warner and Simon Evans (both trads)would not have been acceptable despite being generous towards those with whom they cannot in conscience agree. And so a lesser, ‘acceptable’ candidate has been appointed.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Whatever the legal status of what the Bishop has decreed he has made a mockery of the consultation process and confirmed his own illogicality in allowing a retired bishop to ordain women while forbidding his suffragans. My reading of the situation, as a member of the Cathedral congregation and from what I hear around me, is that Chichester does not want to be a no go area for women priests, that the Bishop is acting without the support of the vast majority of his clergy and people and that his actions bring the church further into disrepute. It’s now all… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The point is BillyD , that the Church of England is subject to Parliament and the Catholic Church paid with its blood not to be.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

I thought that CoE bishops were in some way appointed by the Crown. How did a Labour government appoint this man?

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

“Whatever the legal status of what the Bishop has decreed he has made a mockery of the consultation process…” Actually, I think we need to be fair to Bishop Hind here. I do not believe he has made a mockery of anything. I think he is exercising his rights and his responsibilities and his ministry as best he can. I think that he and the whole Church of England have been put into an impossible situation with the creation of the no-go areas and flying bishops. This has introduced a seriously flawed ecclesiological innovation into the DNA of Anglicanism (without… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Neil wrote; “would not have been acceptable despite being generous towards those with whom they cannot in conscience agree.”

I earnestly do not understand this.

How can one not?
How can one not w a n t to?
How can one not strive to?

Isn’t that what “generous” is about?

Isn’t that what “Christian” is about?

Malcolm+
Guest

“The Bishop of Chichester and his suffragans do not ordain women. But the bishop makes provision for women to be ordained and instituted in the diocese of Chichester by bishops other than him or his suffragans”

Sounds like straining at gnats and swallowing camels to me.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

RPNewark

“Any bishop suffragan appointed to the diocese of Chichester may support the ordination of women (to any of the three orders). They will be able to assist in the discernment of vocations of people of either gender (as does Bishop Hind)”

So you’re saying the bishop is part of a process in which the will of God for a particular prospective ordinant is being discerned, but should that person be approved, he will then ignore the same will of God he has just discerned and refuse to ordinate the person if she happens to be a woman?

Explain please.

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

The Bishop has not said that he will not sponsor, or support the women who feel themselves called to the sacred priesthood; He simply cannot ordain them himself, so as a gesture of kindness, the Bishop allows another Bishop to do so. Before Bishop John become Bishop, Bishop Kemp had not allowed any women to be ordained in the diocese at all. The Bishop has the authority to decide what the suffragans do, because after all, all they do is done with his authority as the Diocesan Bishop. I would like to reverse the situation and ask, when was the… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Nom de Plume
Please would you clarify what you mean by “no-go areas”. It seems to me that this is precisely what the CofE does NOT have. There is no diocese in the CofE where women priests do not minister.

badman
Guest
badman

Mark Wharton says that there is a lack of senior posts filled by what he calls traditional Catholics and evangelicals. However, the top jobs are Canterbury, York, London, Durham and Winchester. The Archbishop of Canterbury is an Anglo Catholic who has stuck to Lambeth 1.10 through thick and thin and who opposed a one-clause measure for women bishops. The Archbishop of York is an evangelical who opposed (one of very few English diocesans to do this) the Cambridge Accord, which sought to affirm at least the human rights of homosexuals. The Bishop of London is on the Catholic wing and… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Goran – of course yes. But the fact is there are some opponent bishops (and priests) of women priests who are not so generous or kind or helpful as others with a similiar conscience. Just as there are numbers of proponent bishops (and priests Area Deans etc.) who do all they can not to appoint trad priests, and are less than generous or kind. The point about Martin Warner or Simon Evans is that both are very strong candidates who, in my view would be totally trustworthy for all constituencies, but whom proponents would not accept! And the same people… Read more »

madeline
Guest
madeline

It is at parish level, not diocesan level where there are no-go areas. When my goddaughter, who is a priest, goes away for a break, in one parish she will go to church on Sunday with the family she stays with and will be offered an altar or invited to concelebrate, in the parish next door, if she goes with the family she is staying with she will not even feel comfortable turning up in clerical collar and will be offered no sacerdotal hospitality at all. This the Church of England as the Church Catholic in this land? The size… Read more »

MrsBarlow
Guest
MrsBarlow

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Bishop John Hind deserves a bit more credit. It is perfectly within his powers, as per his letter to the Church Times, to decide that women will be ordained in his diocese by assistant but not by suffragan bishops, and that he will appoint a suffragan on the basis of talent not on the basis of whether that bishop approves of the ordination of women. I don’t agree, but I do respect his authority, provided that a) women can discern and pursue the church’s calling in Chichester and b) women can be duly… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

“I thought that CoE bishops were in some way appointed by the Crown. How did a Labour government appoint this man?” Andrew, bishops are indeed nominated by the Crown, on the advice of the Prime Minister. Since about 1977, the PM will only offer the Crown names proposed to him by the Crown Appointments Commission (now the Crown Nominations Commission, IIRC). Until recently the Commission would propose two names to the PM, but as of this year the Commission only proposes one name. Nomination of diocesan bishops is therefore entirely in the hands of a Church Commission that includes representatives… Read more »

Gregory of Langres
Guest

“I don’t agree, but I do respect his authority, provided that a) women can discern and pursue the church’s calling in Chichester and b) women can be duly ordained, licensed and supported.” I really think some of you need to realize the level to which the Bishop is going against his own instincts here. He would be entirely within his rights to refuse to sponsor women for ordination and to refuse to have them licensed, ordained or officiating in his diocese – this would be absolutely legitimate. Do liberals not see that this reaction as the natural result of the… Read more »