Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops in the Church of England

The Women in the Episcopate draft Measure has been published.

In the official press release the chair of the legislative drafting group, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester, is quoted as saying:

The General Synod mandated us to draft a Measure including special arrangements, within existing structures, for those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops and to do that in a national code of practice. We believe we have achieved that by providing for male complementary bishops, as we suggested in our earlier report, and now hand our work to the Synod to discuss the drafts in detail.

The draft measure and associated papers are available for download.

GS 1707 – Women in the Episcopate – Further Report from the Legislative Drafting Group
GS 1708 – Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure
GS 1709 – Amending Canon Number 30
GS 1710 – Illustrative Code of Practice
GS 1708-10X – Explanatory Memorandum

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Father Ron SmithFord ElmsRev L RobertspeterpiErika Baker Recent comment authors
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toby forward
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So, exactly the opposite of what General Synod mandated them to do. No wonder the Church of England is despised.

JCF
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JCF

“those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops”

Geez, they make it sound like a congenital disability, and not just a misogynistic ‘tude. >:-/

dodgey_vicar
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dodgey_vicar

The code of practice would institute a new level of bureaucracy in multi-parish benefices: the ‘benefice meeting’ with 2 reps from each parish, to consider the role of priestly and episcopal ministries of women.
Individual parishes in a multi-parish benefice would be able to rescind resolutions A and B passed by other parishes in the benefice.

These proposals would radically alter the relationships between parishes in multi-parish benefices.

Is that good or bad though?

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

Two initial thoughts: 1. There is no mention in any of the documentation (that I could see, in any case) of any ability to reject the ministry of men ordained as deacons or priests by female bishops. 2. The group clearly took seriously (as pointed out by dodgey_vicar above) the very real issue that is present in multi-parish benefices today of one PCC passing the current resolution B and cutting down the choice of new incumbent for the whole benefice by limiting it to men. For what it’s worth, I think they have steered a potentially successful course through the… Read more »

BillyD
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“Geez, they make it sound like a congenital disability, and not just a misogynistic ‘tude. >:-/”

No, they make it sound like a legitimate theological position. Which it is. It’s not mine, and it’s not yours, but denigrating it as mere misogyny does not do us, or our position, or the Church any good.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“they make it sound like a legitimate theological position. Which it is.”

I simply disagree, BillyD. It may be a “legitimate position” on SOME grounds, but in Christianity (Y’know, the faith based upon One in whom “there is no male or female”?), theological it ain’t. (Whether to say so “does any good”, I leave to others to decide)

Nom de Plume
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Nom de Plume

JCF: “those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops” sounds to me like the whole Church of England, for none of its members are able to avail themselves of the ministry of women bishops without travelling abroad, the Church at home having neglected to provide any. Wilf: OK, so there needs to be some protection for parishes from male clergy who have been, in effect, “invalidly” ordained by a woman bishop. Do I misunderstand that this is currently in place? i.e., that a priest from abroad who was ordained by a female bishop cannot seek a position in the… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“theological it ain’t” Yes it is, JCF. I don’t agree with it any more than you do, but there are solid theological arguments against OOW, I have given them numerous times here. They need to be answered with good theology, not with accusations of misogyny. So, why CAN a woman act in persona Christi? Why is it acceptable after 2000 years to oppose not only a traditional practice, but one which has informed our understanding of priesthood? Respect for the nature of sacrament and reverence for tradition are not misogynistic, for all they might be wrong. No doubt some of… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford “They need to be answered with good theology, not with accusations of misogyny” Those arguments have been answered with good theology time and time again. In the case of race we have come to a point where denying black people equal status in the church would be considered as racist (as well as illegal), not as a theological stance. I think JCF is right to suggest that in the case of women’s ordination, too, we are moving towards the point where continued objection can be considered to be pure misogyny. Further down the line, the supposed theological objections against… Read more »

peterpi
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peterpi

So now, not only are women bishops suspect in the CofE, but also priests and deacons — including male priests and deacons — ordained by them? Is there now to be a chain of non-apostolic non-succession in the CofE? In orthodox Christian tradition, the Holy Spirit came upon a virgin and overshadowed her, and caused her to conceive. If the Holy Spirit can do that, I seriously doubt that same Spirit would run screaming at the thought of filling a human being during the rite of consecration or ordination because the person being presented happened to have two X chromosomes… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“PEOPLE are misogynist or homophobic, but that doesn’t mean their arguments are.” – Ford Elms – Dear, dear Ford, Don’t mistake me, I do love your postings, but on this latest I do have a bit of a problem. Your equivocations can be a little puzzling to some of us who want to take a clear stand against misogyny and homophobia – wherever we find it – on the web or in the real world; so that your sometimes eirenic postings – though, I am sure, meant to keep the conversation flowing – seem to deny the seriousness of the… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

Ford, the anti-WOers can dress up coincidence as cause all they like, and it doesn’t make it “theological.” To the best of my knowledge, there has NEVER been a liturgy where a priest has whipped out his penis and wagged it over the bread and wine. The question “why CAN a woman act in persona Christi?” is a shamelessly BEGGING one, and I refuse to grant it honor that it doesn’t deserve. Women can act in Persona Christi because they ARE Imago Dei (and absent misogynistic control, they DO so act). Period, end of discussion. For those who have problems… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

Sounds like pathological fear of girl cooties – get OVER it!

BillyD
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“To the best of my knowledge, there has NEVER been a liturgy where a priest has whipped out his penis and wagged it over the bread and wine. “ Nor, I think, would I go were one to be offered… The male only Persona Christi argument doesn’t seem to hold water, given the amount of gender role-playing goes on in the Church. We’re told that Jesus is the lover of our soul and that the Church is the Bride of Jesus, for example, but no one ever argues that this imagery can’t be used by men. I remember an elderly… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“Those arguments have been answered with good theology time and time again.” And the need to do so continues. Don’t get me wrong here, I am solidly in favour of OOW, and I agree with every argument that has been made on this thread. To suggest that only a man can act ‘in persona Christi’ is to suggest that Christ’s maleness was a significant part of the Incarnation, which implies that slightly more than half the population is not redeemed. So, I agree, peterpi et al. My point was that when someone comes up with a theological objection, the best… Read more »

BillyD
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“I NEVER in all the debate about OOW in the Canadian Church heard even one theologically based argument, not one, for it. I, an untrained layman, had to come up with one on my own. So, if that’s the case, how, many others are in the same boat? “

This sounds familiar. I think that the way that WO was handled in the American Church back in the ’70s – being framed not in theological terms, for the most part, but in political terms – was similarly a mistake.

rick allen
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If I could make a suggestion here, I would propose that the ordinary basis for a male priesthood is neither misogyny or theological arguments, but Tradition. In classical Protestantism tradition carries little weight. But it is normative for Orthodox and Catholic Christians, as well as for Anglo-Catholics. (Hence I will try to follow the convention of distinguishing “tradition” as custom or habit from “Tradition” as that part of the deposit of faith outside of the revealed, canonical scriptures.) Theology is the reasoned explanation and exposition of the faith. We demand such reasons, because we are human beings. But explanations of… Read more »

Malcolm+
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Quite apart from Ford’s more esoteric point, there is a more practical reason not to root our arguments in the assumption that everyone who is skeptical about the ordination of women is sexist (or that everyone who is skeptical about the blessing of same sex unions is homphobic).

There are WO-skeptics (and SSB-skeptics) who are open to be persuaded. Beginning by insulting them tends to be counterproductive.

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

‘Is there now to be a chain of non-apostolic non-succession in the CofE ?’ I really hope so. The chain tactile magical notion has been disastrous for the development of anglicanism and its work in the world. We need less of this kind of superstition and the actions and attitudes it seems to lead to; and a lot more down to earth real ministry, real projects on the ground that help people and spread the message of love, peace and equlity, which Jesus seems to have been aiming for (as far as we can tell from the available sources). Tell… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Why, for instance, must the matter of the Eucharist be bread and wine, as opposed to rice-cakes and tea? ” – Rick Allen – When I was living in the Fiji Islands in the late 1960s, the Roman Catholics in that country, which contained many Indians in the population, began the use of ‘Missa Puja’, which utilised native Indian food and drink elements for the community celebration of the Mass. So, was that a defective overturning of tradition? Or was it just a way of incorporating local elements which made sense in the local situation? One might consider, on this… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘Is there now to be a chain of non-apostolic non-succession in the CofE ?’ I really hope so. The chain tactile magical notion has been disastrous for the development of anglicanism and its work in the world. We need less of this kind of superstition and the actions and attitudes it seems to lead to; and a lot more down to earth real ministry, real projects on the ground that help people and spread the message of love, peace and equlity, which Jesus seems to have been aiming for (as far as we can tell from the available sources). Tell… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I would say further that it is part of the teaching authority of the Church to discern whether certain customary practices like the male priesthood constitute changeable “tradition” or unchangeable “Tradition” (if, that is, one accepts that the Church has such authority). Theological reflection is therefore necessary for such discernment and decisions. But it typically comes in after the fact, and should not be confused with the reason for the practice.” But is this not the exact process that has been followed? Certain parts of the Church have discerned that, at least in their cultural contexts, the all-male priesthood is… Read more »

rick allen
Guest

“But is this not the exact process that has been followed?” Ford, yes, and if I were Episcopalian/Anglican I would have no problem with what was going on, so long as I was satisfied that those making the decision had the competence to do so. As it happens, I’m not, so they carry no weight for me. And my understanding is that many serious Anglo-Catholics subscribe to a “three branch” theory of the Church, such that the Anglican branch, alone, lacks the competence to make changes such as this. Evangelicals will see the scriptures alone as authoritative, and, though Tradition… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“but I am concerned that those who do may look back in history and say, “How can I be part of something that denied the Imago Dei in women for 2000 years?”

Because the Spirit moves us on and on and on….
as Jesus himself said he would.

“I simply receive and accept the Church’s teaching on the matter.”

This is where we really do part company. I cannot imagine myself on Judgement Day saying “they made me believe it”…..

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Jesus himself wasn’t eligible to be a Levirite priest in his lifetime. Wrong tribe. It didn’t seem to trouble him.” – Rick Allen – Rick, I had always suspected that you might be a Roman Catholic – not like Robert I.W., perhaps, but certainly not Anglican. And here, you touch upon a very valid point in the controversy about the position of the priesthood and who is, and who is not, called thereto. Jesus was not called into the Levitical priesthood because of his cultural inadmissability. He was not of the priestly caste and therefore, as a Jew, not qualified… Read more »

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

If the Anglican branch by itself lacks the ability to make change without the Roman Catholic and Orthodox branches concurring, then we may as well tell the Archbishop of Canterbury, the General Synod of the CofE, the Primates of the various Provinces, and the Provinces’ equivalent general synods to pack their bags and go home. Benedict XVI might like that idea, but no one else would. We can argue about King Henry VIII or earlier potentates or church leaders, but it is indisputable that the Anglican Church is an autonomous branch. Many Orthodox autonomous churches allow married priests. Roman Catholic… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

No no ! –we may still get on with gospel projects and all kinds of ministries –most require no ordination. But ordained people find many doors open and many opportunites for service in our communities.

Individaul work, group wwork, family work, work around housing, around employment, training, pastoral care, counselling, working with community groups, including other churches, synagogues, mosques, temples.

i wouldnt worry too much about all the nicer pints, theories and guff — I really wouldnt…….

Get out there now ! People are waiting for YOU

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“How can I be part of something that denied the Imago Dei in women for 2000 years?” The same way I can be part of something that once burned people to death, that sanctioned the wholesale slaughter of innocent people, the destruction of entire cultures, that comromised its principles time and again in order to have earthly power, that is profoundly hypocritical, not merely in its failure to live up to its principles, but at times its out and out rejection of them: because I believe that at the root of it all is Truth, Real, Honest to God Truth,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Get out there now ! People are waiting for YOU” – Rev L Roberts – With all due respect, Rev L Roberts, the conversation here on this thread is is all about the admissability of the Anglican openness to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate. It is not about the ministry of the laity – which everyone ought to agree, is another matter entirely. Your view of the need for evangelism in a needy world is, I believe, taken for granted by most of us on this site, and few would argue with your insistence that… Read more »