Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops – press reports

Updated Wednesday morning

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Bishops put forward as solution to Church of England row over women clergy

Ruth Gledhill in The Times Historic Church of England deal paves way for first women bishops
and Women reach for bishops’ chairs in Church of England as last barriers fall

Riazat Butt in The Guardian Church tries to quell dissent over female bishops with new role

Robert Verkaik in The Independent Opt-out for parishioners opposed to women bishops

WATCH (Women and the Church) has issued a press release today commenting on the draft.

WATCH is pleased that provision in the draft legislation endorses the authority of diocesan bishops, and that they retain the authority to delegate certain functions to another bishop if requested to do so. This means that episcopal authority resides in and is retained by the diocesan bishop and is not transferred automatically to another bishop.

The full press release is below the fold.

Wednesday updates

George Pitcher at the Telegraph has Women bishops demonstrate the Anglican tradition of compromise.

Andrew Brown at Comment is free has Will complementary bishops fly?

Women in the Episcopate

WATCH Statement on the Further Report of the Legislative Drafting Group (GS 1707)

In 2005 General Synod passed a motion asking that the legal obstacles to having women as bishops be removed, and this report contains draft legislation making it possible for that to happen at last.

WATCH is pleased that provision in the draft legislation endorses the authority of diocesan bishops, and that they retain the authority to delegate certain functions to another bishop if requested to do so. This means that episcopal authority resides in and is retained by the diocesan bishop and is not transferred automatically to another bishop. WATCH is opposed, however, to the provision of male-only suffragan sees from which ‘complementary’ bishops may be appointed.

The report acknowledges that some of its arrangements would restrict the rights of bishops who are women, and cites the Church of England’s continuing exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the principle in English law that where there are conflicting rights, the “exercise of one right may sometimes need to be restricted in order to protect the exercise of another right”. (GS1707 page 3, paragraph 16)

WATCH is dismayed that the rights of bishops who are women should be proscribed and that there is not equality of opportunity for women at this level in the Church. WATCH believes that the 20 years’ experience of women as bishops elsewhere in the Anglican Communion shows that mutually acceptable arrangements work well on an informal basis. Chair of WATCH, Christina Rees said today, “This report needs to be seen in the context of a General Synod which has for the past few years stated its desire to open the episcopate to women, and in the wider context of a Church which wonders why this is taking so long. WATCH will be making submissions to the Revision Committee about the contents of the Code of Practice, some of which we find unacceptable, but for now, we take heart that at last we have the draft measure which makes it possible for women to be bishops.”

CONTACTS:

Christina Rees
(Chair)
01763–848-822

Revd Charles Read
(Vice-Chair)
07910-128-265

Revd Sarah Lamming
(Vice-Chair)
07790-024-566

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Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The Bishop of Fulham, the Rt.Rev.John Broadhurst – who branded Synod ‘sinful’ for going against the Bible by allowing women into the episcopate – said complementary bishops would not appease Anglo-Catholics. They are holding out for a completely new province whose all male clergy would be able to minister to parishes across the country. Bishop Broadhurst said. “We’ve always said that, without jurisdiction, it simply won’t do for us. A Code of Practice is a fudge and it can’t provide what we want”. – Martin Beckford – This seems to be another instance of the tail wanting to wag the… Read more »

Bromenblue
Guest
Bromenblue

Members of WATCH are clearly wearing rose tinted spectacles where they state their belief that “20 years experience of women as bishops elsewhere in the Anglican Communion shows that mutually acceptable arrangements work well on an informal basis”. Please get real WATCH. One need look no further than the current shenanigans in the Episcopal Church of America to see just how bankrupt such a statement is. All trust has now evaporated. Promises made to traditionalists have been abandoned. That is not a belief. It is a fact proved by a trail of broken assurances since 1992!

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

“Promises made to traditionalists have been abandoned. That is not a belief. It is a fact proved by a trail of broken assurances since 1992!” I’ve reached the conclusion that any promises made in 1992 were provisional. However the Trads dress it, the promises were for the time being, not eternity. Of course, this doesn’t apply to TEC, as they got on and did it well before the CofE. And yes, the informal arrangements there have worked to the extent that no attempt to split TEC has had any success solely on the issue of women being ordained. Perhaps one… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“a trail of broken assurances since 1992!” Specifics? Cases where a parish that opposed OOW was forced to accept a woman priest, for example? Or is it just a situation where a parish is forced to accept the ministrations of a bishop that supports women priests? If so, explain why a parish should expect that it has the right to go against what the diocese has discerned, one assumes prayerfully, to be God’s will. This is the thing. How can people claim catholic tradition on the one hand, but behave like congregationalists when the local ecclesia does something they disagree… Read more »

MrsBarlow
Guest
MrsBarlow

Hooray! What a terrific report: clear, concise, deals with the issues and keeps faith with the General Synod. I hope this goes through the process pretty much as is, that we see women as bishops in the Church of England by 2012, and that we see an end to the Act of Synod and the institution of a much more secure long-term approach to dissent and difference.

The best line of the report is the one which refers to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York as ‘he or she’.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Since, in the USA, priests are called to and hired by parishes, not assigned by the diocese or the national church, there seems to be little need of special processes to accommodate objectors to women’s ordination. No parish need call a woman if it chooses not to. And, even with the coming of women bishops, no diocese need elect a woman as bishop if it chooses not to. And no parish need hire a priest ordained by a woman if it chooses not to. Yes, there have been parishes within dioceses who have objected to being visited by their woman… Read more »

Bromenblue
Guest
Bromenblue

Ford Elms, in your own way, you adapt the understanding of ecclesia to suit your argument. “Local ecclesia” is not a term we can apply in respect of the Church Catholic. You misunderstand Anglican Catholic ecclesiology and theology. That’s how the General Synod itself has got us into this mess. A failure to listen or understand.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

And of course the “trads” will be claiming that they will be defecting to Rome. Let the Church of England call their bluff. Since the ending of the provincial bishop ( a Rowanese invention ) Church in Wales not one trad has given up his stipend or home!

Old Father William
Guest
Old Father William

“How can people claim catholic tradition on the one hand, but behave like congregationalists when the local ecclesia does something they disagree with.”
It seems to me that Anglo-Catholics (and I come from that tradition) have behaved like congregationalists throughout their history, employing everything from tabernacles to eucharistic vestments to confessionals when those things were definitely NOT representative of the local ecclesia.
OFW+

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Robert Williams- how can you be so cruel and insensitive? How can you joke about my losing my home and stipend at a time of economic uncertainty, when I have a two year old daughter and a wife to provide for. You may call it ‘calling my bluff’ I find it the most painful process of my entire life- in which I feel forced out of a church I actually have NO desire to leave. However if forced to choose between my conviction and integrity as an Orthdox Catholic who cannot accept that Anglicanism has the authority to make such… Read more »

Bromenblue
Guest
Bromenblue

In response to Robert Ian Williams, defections to Rome in Wales are not happening, because the Church in Wales has, at least for the time being, very sensibly opted against the introduction of women bishops. Once more it seems Anglican Catholic ecclesiology and theology are misunderstood, misrepresented and misinterpreted by those who are determined that we leave the Church. That seems to be the whole tenor of Mr Williams’ approach. Simply get rid of us, because we won’t fall in line. George Orwell would have been proud of you Mr Williams, but you’re not going to force us out as… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

Bromenblue, you are mistaken. Robert Ian Williams (hi, Robert!) is a former evangelical Anglican who swam the Tiber himself. For some reason, he seems to be against traditionalist Anglo-Catholics making the same journey, although he seldom misses a chance to let everyone know that Anglo-Catholics aren’t really Catholics, our priests aren’t really priests, etc. But he’s not trying to force you out of anything.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“the day when I am personally forced to swear allegiance to a female Diocesan”

If you can’t be in control, then, you’ll take your marbles (maniple, whatever) and go elsewhere? :-0

If you’re trying to rouse our sympathy, Ed, may I state that (for my part), you’re just not succeeding?

[Your “pain”, against that of all those hundreds and thousands of Imago-Dei-made-female, perceiving a call to holy orders, to whom YOU want to slam the door on? Please.]

BobinSWPA
Guest
BobinSWPA

This comment stuck out: “The dilemma over women bishops is exponentially greater than that over women priests and has threatened to be more schismatic even than the debates over gays.” IMHO much of the elevated nastiness in TEC has been in reaction to ++KJS’s election as PB. I don’t remember seeing anything as horrid about ++Griswold on conservative blogs as I see about “Mrs. Schori.” Who could forget the cell phone conversation after ++KJS’s election when either Duncan or Iker were reportedly over heard say, “the B**ch got it.” Wouldn’t say that about man, would we? As for the Anglo-Catholics… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

In respomse to Bromonen, the Welsh opponents of women’s ordination ( women or bishops) argued that they could not stay in a Church without a special bishop. Episcopal provision has been taken away from them…and yet they remain, like the good old Vicar of Bray. Since 1997 not one Welsh Anglican cleric has left.

I do not discuss my spiritual values with a person who is too ashamed to give their real name.

Rev Laurence Roberts
Guest
Rev Laurence Roberts

Please don’t forget there are various theologies and ecclesiologies in the C of E ! You can’t accept expect everyone else to accept yours, just because you call it ‘Catholic’, or yours just because you call it ‘Biblical’, or yours just because you call it ‘Liberal’ ! We’ll all have to try to grow up, and go on rubbing along together. We can’t expect women and those who value their ministry to go on ‘footing the bill’, to make such compromises work for us. Some of the posts offered here are a bit disingenuous are they not ? With lashings… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“And of course the “trads” will be claiming that they will be defecting to Rome”- Robert Williams – And what, exactly, Robert, were the grounds on which you, yourself, ‘defected to Rome’? It would be advisable for you, as a Roman Catholic on this site to consider the consequences of playing one ‘side’ off against the other – especially as you no longer consider yourself a ‘Thinking Anglican’. Ed., I’m sorry that you feel your ‘orthodoxy’ as an Anglican catholic is being compromised by the admission of women to the episcopate. The Engish tradition does have mitred abbesses in its… Read more »

Bromenblue
Guest
Bromenblue

Now I understand, Mr Williams, why you are not willing to discuss your spiritual values. It has nothing to do with me or my name, but with your own Christian history. Thank you, Billy D, for enlightening us. And as to your accusation, Mr Williams, I, like yourself, have nothing to gain from discussing my personal details on the internet. However, please don’t use me or non disclosure of my name as an excuse to hide behind. I sincerely hope you have read Ed Tomlinson’s entry and will not be so quick in the future to make sweeping assessments about… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

This comment stuck out: “The dilemma over women bishops is exponentially greater than that over women priests and has threatened to be more schismatic even than the debates over gays.” I really don’t see why it should – theologically the sensible thing would have been to consecrate a woman bishop first (back in 1994) and thence all the women presbyters. But there is no real difference in kind between women priests and women bishops – only difference of degree. I can’t wait for them to come along – seems to me the die was cast when we accepted women priests.… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

Ed Tomlinson invites us: ‘So please consider those who really ARE suffering in all this mess.’ In my opinion, those who have suffered most and longest are the women who have been denied the opportunity to respnd to the call of the Holy Spirit to priesthood and to the episcopate. And the church has suffered from the lack of the ministry of these women. Women continue to suffer in those parishes which deny them nourishment in their vocations and the hospitality of the altar. Ed Tomlinson says that his parish ‘has one of the best dressing up boxes in the… Read more »

Bromenblue
Guest
Bromenblue

Thank you, Father Smith, for your contribution concerning Mr Williams. For his benefit, I say here that if he should have anything further to contribute, I, for one, will not be making a response to it again. You are right when you say, Father Smith, that we ought to be about reasoned debate and discussion. We can disagree in a civil manner without hurling abuse at one another. In many ways, however, some of the disagreements over the ordination of women constitute a circle that cannot be squared. Many of us are indeed serious about whether we can now stay… Read more »

BobinSWPA
Guest
BobinSWPA

Thanks for the Heads up on RIW. I had noticed some irregularity but didn’t know of the situation.
Thank You.

Don’t Evangelicals in England favor Women Bishops?
It doesn’t seem to be a problem with Duncan and crew. In fact I think his group is the only group of common cause partners who is in favor of WO period.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Women continue to suffer in those parishes which deny them nourishment in their vocations and the hospitality of the altar.” Which Anglican parishes don’t allow women to receive the sacrament? “”Local ecclesia” is not a term we can apply in respect of the Church Catholic.” Is it not the case that the diocese is considered the Church manifest locally? And appeals to Orthodoxy (the Real Orthodox, not the Anglican Pseudorthodox) and Rome are a bit anemic, don’t you think? First of all, the Catholic faith has no King of the Bishops, which means the Pope is in the rather paradoxical… Read more »

mark wharton
Guest
mark wharton

I think we are in great danger of missing the point of the report: The point is to find a solution for the many faithful Anglicans who simply cannot accept this move; the report does not debate the issue of women’s ordination itself. As a traditional Catholic Anglican, who is exploring his vocation to the sacred Priesthood, I accept that the church of England has legally ordained many women to the priesthood, however all we are asking is that the solution found is something that we can actually live with, it seems ludicrous to spend all this time and energy… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“But there is no real difference in kind between women priests and women bishops – only difference of degree.” It seems to me that if you legislate to ordain women as priests, but not, at the same time, bishops, you create a second class status for such ordained women. Any male CoE priest is potentially a bishop; no woman CoE priest (currently) is. It is an illogical and untenable situation, and I hope it will be corrected swiftly. Why pick on gender as being the only way a priest/bishop can image forth Jesus? To really do so, priests should be… Read more »

RZ
Guest
RZ

The Episcopal Church USA always had practical accomodation worked out over a period of forty years for the minority of dioceses, parishes and individuals who did not want the ministrations of women priests and bishops. However over time the ubiquity of women in Holy Orders in The Episcopal Church meant that some relative few in that minority chose to or had to join other denominations which did not ordain women. The last of the holdouts in groups against the ordination of women have recently left The Episcopal Church in San Joaquin, California; Fort Worth, Texas; and Quincy, Illinois. Those people… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

Ford Elms. I’ll pretend that you were not deliberately misunderstanding my meaning, which was quite clear from the whole context of my post, when you wrote: “Women continue to suffer in those parishes which deny them nourishment in their vocations and the hospitality of the altar.” Which Anglican parishes don’t allow women to receive the sacrament? When I have visited parishes on holiday, the priest has usually offered me an altar at which to celebrate. The same is not true when my god daughter visits. You know that. It is worse than absurd that priests of the Church of England,… Read more »

Anthropax
Guest
Anthropax

Toby, presumably, the parishes in England would have passed the appropriate resolutions (passed by the PCC, rather than the priest himself), and are just keeping with what has been publicly declared by the parish community in the past. If it’s not a resolution parish, then you have every right to be upset – the resolutions are there for a reason, and should be abided by. Cynthia – from my understanding of genetics, while sex is determined by X/Y chromosomes, ethnic characteristics (skin tone/eye colour etc etc) seem to be simply the phenotype, of which there are many differences and variations.… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“It is worse than absurd that priests of the Church of England, who are not in parish ministry, should have to discover whether or not a parish will offer to allow them an altar at which to celebrate or concelebrate an Easter Eucharist, at the whim of the parish priest and based solely on their gender.” Amen. We have a columbarium, and, as happens, the ashes of a husband were placed there when he died, some years ago. His widow moved to Texas, to be near her children – to Fort Worth. She died, and our rector at that time,… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

The Catholic Church doesn’t want reluctant refugees from the Church of England focused on one issue. We want genuine converts who have come to the realisation that the Catholic Church, is the Church that Christ founded and that the successor of St Peter is his representative on earth. However I concede that the conscecration of a woman bishop may be the instrument by which God lifts the veil of some to see the truth of the Catholic Church….just as the issue of the Jerusalem Bishopric and tract 90 was the catalyst for John Henry Newman. Ron of course is painfully… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

But Cynthia, there’s no standard form of address for women priests really, is there? I’ve seen “Mother” used, but never heard it while I was in Texas. And “Rev. So-and-so” would just be wrong. All the women priests I met in the Diocese of Texas, when asked what they wanted to be called, would say something like, “Call me Jane.” Maybe the guy from FW wasn’t trying to be a pill. (I feel compelled to stick up for my home town, even if most of the now departed clergy are, in fact, pills.) BTW, I don’t think I’ve ever heard… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

BillyD:

You may have a point…but perhaps the “guy from FW” might have asked the woman priest how she wished to be addressed. Yes, “Rev. So-and-so” is technically incorrect, but it’s an accepted colloquial form for clergy throughout the US (our woman associate rector has folks call her “Reverend Judy”).

For those who are rectors, why not “Pastor Jane”?

Joan of Quark
Guest
Joan of Quark

Anthropax said:
“…while sex is determined by X/Y chromosomes…”

– mostly true, but what do we do about unusual people like XXYs? or people who are determined that they were born into the “wrong” sex/gender/physical type?

I’d say there is more to sex/gender than to concepts like “race” but it isn’t a simple yes/no divide, even before we get on to considering people who do not fit neatly into boundaries of classically “typical” behaviour or abilities for their sex.

BobinSWPA
Guest
BobinSWPA

Swim the Tiber and stop thinking? uh, NO! Most Anglo-Catholics would be aghast if they went to mass at a Roman Catholic Church, at least in the U.S. I played and still substitute as an organist in Roman Catholic churches and it’s pretty pedestrian. Many churches still have left over folk groups and a host of really trite hymns. Most priest won’t let you do any Latin, even the “Agnus Dei,” so familiar to older Catholics (Requiem Mass Mode?). You of course can sing “Here I Am, Lord,” or “On Eagles Wings,” week in and out. I don’t know of… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“from my understanding of genetics, while sex is determined by X/Y chromosomes…” blah-blah-blah.

In other words, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” You do Orwell proud, Anthropax.

Lord have mercy!

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“But Cynthia, there’s no standard form of address for women priests really, is there?”

Not yet – I expect there will be. I tell people to call me by my first name, or if that’s uncomfortably informal, Dr. Gilliatt, since I earned a PhD before I became a priest.

RobinD
Guest
RobinD

Hi Cynthia, and a happy new year to all! Having attended Episcopal churches in Rochester NY, Annapolis MD, St. Louis MO, and Pittsburgh PA before moving to Virginia, I’ve known far more priests using Mr./Mrs./Ms. than Father, Mother or any variant thereof. It almost seems as if the form of address is the last bastion of “I’m an Episcopalian, not an RC.” You can have all the smells, bells, and vestments you want, and still use a secular form of address, but I’ve only seen Father insisted on (or strongly preferred) in truly Anglo-Catholic parishes (ie, Roman theology, but minus… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Surely the issues raised by the organist
(Bobinspwa) about Roman Catholic services are matters of personal taste. The challenging remarks I make about Evangelical Anglican liturgical practice must be nothing less than sacrilege and profanation to a genuine Anglo-Catholic.

By the way Nigeria and Rwandan Anglicanism rarely use wine for Communion.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“As a traditional Catholic Anglican, who is exploring his vocation to the sacred Priesthood, I accept that the church of England has legally ordained many women to the priesthood, however all we are asking is that the solution found is something that we can actually live with..” – Mark Wharton – Mark, as you are presumably an ordinand, have you informed your Bishop and your vocational advisors of your dilemma about serving as a priest in a Church that accepts women into the Sacred Ministry, I wonder? I should think that might be a most important step before you actually… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

For questions on forms of address you might take a look at Crockford’s (page 37 I seem to remember, I don’t have a copy at home). Mr/Mrs/ Ms Smith would be the proper way to refer to a priest in many instances. However, even the Prince of Wales secretary got it wrong in a letter to the C-of-E chaplain in Rome – horrors – so, what can say? Get a copy of Crockford’s, or if you have one, take a look.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The Crockford page is available online at
http://www.crockford.org.uk/standard.asp?id=116

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Bobinswspa…when you become a Roman catholic you do not abdicate your conscience or your thought..you become anchored on a solid rock, and beyonfd the defined dogma and binding rules (set up for our salvation) you can respectfully speculate and disagree. For instance I am very lovingly critical of the present English hierarchy.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Thanks for all the comments about forms of address. Someone said our language hasn’t caught up with reality, and that’s true. My former rector is now at another church, and has asked to be called “Mother Joy.” I don’t feel comfortable with that for me, not being a mother of kids, and it also reminds me of nuns, which I’m not either. As for gender vs ethnic characteristics, I was trying for some humor without coming out and saying that, it seems to me, for some people, the only people who can be ordained are ‘like Jesus’ solely because they… Read more »

BillyD
Guest

I was very surprised to find that “Padre” is not, as I had assumed, a rather affectionate and informal form of address for a British military chaplain, but one of the correct forms!

john
Guest
john

I’m all in favour of women priests and women bishops and women archbishops and women cardinals and women popes. I’m also in favour of keeping such as Ed and Mark with us, because they – unlike so many FiF types – exhibit a real love for the C of E and Anglicanism and some appreciation of unity in diversity. I very much hope that the proposed arrangement will do the trick in practice.

John Liberalis/Scholasticus/Moles.

toby forward
Guest

Anthropax, thanks for your comment. I understand now. If the parish has passed the appropriate resolutions, then it’s perfectly all right, and not at all hurtful or abusive, for them just to tell women priests that they’re not welcome. I suppose women priests just have to go round the neighbourhood, trying every church, until they find one where they’re welcome? I’m glad you’ve helped me with that.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“…when you become a Roman catholic you do not abdicate your conscience or your thought..you become anchored on a solid rock, and beyonfd the defined dogma and binding rules (set up for our salvation) you can respectfully speculate and disagree.”

Could’ve fooled Galileo.

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

My best Friend, Kate, is a priest; now I support her in every way possible, I am confident that she will be a very good minister. I have never told her that I thought she had no right to believe that God was calling her; I know that the Church of England has affirmed her call to ministry. However I have been told many, many times, by many people, that I am a misogynist, unwelcome in this church and that I am just causing harm by refusing to accept the ordination of women. It is not that I am refusing… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Mark:

Exactly who is being ungenerous here? If you can accept that your friend was duly and truly called, why not all the others?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I am confident that she will be a very good minister . . . without a structural solution I cannot stay” I find it impossible to square these two statements, Mark. No one’s going to make you go to a priest-who-is-a-woman to hear your confession, or receive the Body&Blood from one, either. If a priested woman were to become your bishop, you would JUST have to acknowledge her *leadership*: why would that provoke any problems of conscience, if you can say (as of your best friend) “she will be a very good minister”? This is a question of temporal, not… Read more »