Thinking Anglicans

women bishops: Inclusive Church press release

Inclusive Church Press Release
12 October 2009
The Decision of the Revision Committee

Inclusive Church is deeply disturbed by the recent announcement of the Church of England’s Revision Committee. It has moved away from the expressed will of General Synod in July 2008 – that there should be legislation to consecrate women as bishops on the same terms as men with an additional code of practice containing arrangements for those who do not accept the authority of bishops who are women.

Their decision reflects a further undermining of the Anglican understanding of the role of the Bishop as the pastor of, and focus of unity in the Diocese. If implemented it will inevitably create a two-tier institution with little prospect of long-term unity.

The impact of this on those within and outside the church will be immense. The bias shown against women in this proposal will mean that the church continues to be seen as institutionally discriminatory towards them. The impression given is of an organisation which perpetuates injustice, undermining its ability to witness to Christ in the world. It ignores the considerable gifts ordained women have to offer within the Episcopate. Men and women should be present on the same terms.

We urge the Revision Committee to reconsider its decision and prepare legislation, as it was requested, to open the Episcopate to women with a national code of practice to be drafted separately.

www.inclusivechurch2.net
Revd Canon Giles Goddard
The parish of St John with St Andrew Waterloo
Chair, Inclusive Church
Secker St
London SE1 8UF
07762 373 674

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Laurence
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Laurence

I’m confused and hope I will be forgiven for asking a naive question on the decision-making process in the CofE : if Synod has voted on and decided upon a recommendation and tasked a committee with carrying out that recommendation, how can that committee then not do what it was tasked to do? Are committees some sort of ‘Synod 2’ that can overturn Synodical decisions they don’t like?

Giles Goddard is right. I am someone ‘outside the church’ and, yes, I am given the impression of an organisation that perpetuates injustice.

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

“If implemented it will inevitably create a two-tier institution with little prospect of long-term unity.” Absolutely correct. Has the Church learned nothing from the Flying Bishop experience?

M. Mouse
Guest
M. Mouse

If this attempt to subvert Synod comes as proposed legislation in February, it deserves to be voted down flatly by women and their supporters.

By going in this direction the Revision Committee has raised the stakes: those who want women as bishops must now go for a one-clause measure or nothing.

Andy
Guest

This is the best response I have seen so far. But will anyone listen?

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

“The impression given is of an organisation which perpetuates injustice, undermining its ability to witness to Christ in the world.”

Exactly. Well put, Giles, thank you for saying this – someone needs to tell the Emperor he’s wearing no clothes!

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

The Revision Committee’s proposal certainly does *ignore the considerable gifts ordained women have to offer within the episcopate* – per Giles Goddard’s response to the proposed legislation – and provokes the understandable wonder of those of us who question the integrity of special treatment for Anglicans who may not agree with the Church of England General Synod’s expressed intention to ordain women into the episcopate. Those of us who enjoy the ministry of women within the provinces of the Anglican Communion, are still perplexed by the continuing arguments against the possibility of God’s call upon women to share in the… Read more »

Bill Moorhead
Guest

I’d like to suggest the formation of “The Second Tier Anglican Communion.” Anyone else like to join me in it?

“The first shall be last, and the last first.” –Jesus (on several occasions)

toby forward
Guest

I fear that this will turn out to be like the Irish referendum on membership of the EEC. Rowan williams didn’t like the answer synod gave, so he set up a revision committee and then they’ll vote on it again. And I guess that if he doesn’t like the answer next time either, he’ll keep asking them the question until he gets the answer he wants. Synod has said it wants a single system. Scrap this mendacious report and act on the decision of synod already clearly expressed.

Deacon Charlie Perrin
Guest
Deacon Charlie Perrin

Why stop at using the Bishop’s gender or theology as an excuse to switch Bishops? Why not include any category of dislike? (e.g. my bishop is an ass, or my bishop roots for the wrong sports team, my bishop smells funny, etc.)

Maybe the Quakers are on to something? (no clergy at all)

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Whilst basically agreeing with the sentiments expressed by Father Ron above, I feel I have to remind him that his two references to “Anglican Church” are quite erroneous. There is no such thing. An Anglican *Communion* – fine but it is composed of *independent* national churches … and long may it remain so! We need women bishops. We don’t need an Anglican Covenant.

john
Guest
john

I am totally in favour of women bishops and think that those who are against WO generally are wrong. However, since not all of them are misogynist or bigoted but rather base their objections on two main things (there are others but these will do) – Church tradition from Jesus on and the need (alleged) to coordinate innovation with the RC and Orthodox churches, and since – there being so many variables, to each of which different people attach different weight – it is impossible to construct an argument which will convince everybody, I am in favour (yes, reluctantly) of… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

This is the worst response I have seen so far, will anybody listen?

Truth is that, in the aftermath of Synod, at which Rowan’s will was ignored, many people felt very unhappy at the complete lack of charity shown to those of a traditional theology.

WHilst using the language of inclusion, inclusive church are simply seeking to exclude those who will not sign up to their singular vision.

For me the Sunday programme revealed all. A very uncompromising WATCH rep, showed no compassion in response to a thoughtful Fr. Houlding.

When will our liberals learn to be liberal?

JCF
Guest
JCF

One more time, EdT: “inclusive” means affirming all God-given *immutable factors*, like race, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability.

It does NOT mean affirming all OPINIONS! (Would you have the Church affirm those who do not believe that Christ is divine, for example?)

I can’t help but suspecting that anti-WO forces want their precious isolation, so they can avoid dealing w/ the *cognitive dissonance* of their position: “Don’t confuse me w/ the facts, my mind is made up already!”

Lord have mercy…

M. Mouse
Guest
M. Mouse

Sorry, Toby. Clearly you think everything is a personal failing on the part of ++Rowan. But, disagree with him though we might, this revision committee is standard Synod procedure and nothing directly to do with Rowan at all. Why all this Rowan bashing? And is it any more Christian than what you want to overturn?

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“It seems to me distinctly odd – and, often, downright hypocritical and distasteful – for ‘liberals’ to invoke ‘proper procedure’/ ‘decisions duly taken’ as absolutes, when liberals so often ignore or ‘disobey’ the same when carried by conservatives. – John, on Tuesday – John, I think you may be just a little ingenuous here. Surely the ‘Absolutists’ are those who will not listen to the advocates of change? Arguments for women in the Church have been presented, time and time again by the apologists (not all of them theological ‘liberals’, by the way) but there is a stubborn unwillingness on… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

Hi M Mouse (by the way, my name is toby forward, what is your name?). It’s not Rowan bashing, it’s identifying a problem and naming it. The Archbishop of Canterbury made a strong plea for a particular approach. This was ignored by Synod, which voted the other way. As Chair of Synod he now has a duty to implement the decision of Synod, not to enocurage a Revision Committee to bring forward a proposals which overturn the mind of Synod. Revision is revision, not a volte-face. Clearly, not everything is a personal failing of Rowan Williams, but too many things… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Ron….your argument borders on the insane when you say this: ‘John, I think you may be just a little ingenuous here. Surely the ‘Absolutists’ are those who will not listen to the advocates of change?’ I would bid you to think globally of Christ’s church on earth. THe Absolutists number well over 95% of the family. You can place Roman Catholics AND Eastern Orthodox into that number. Hence at July’s synod our ecumenical partner from the EO church underlined the fact that they see NO THEOLOGICAL JUSTIFICATION for the ordination of women. Now you might well believe that your tiny… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest

Ed: “I would bid you think globally…” Remember that 79% of French Mass-goers are in favour of women’s ordination, and half of all the Spanish clergy – usually regarded as the most conservative in Europe – as I’ve posted up here http://viaintegra.wordpress.com/women-priests-in-europe/ Is there any doubt that one would find similar figures for the Roman Catholics in the other European countries? Who knows what the beliefs of global Roman Catholics really are, when no-one at the top troubles to ask the faithful anything at all, in case the reply is too disturbing? There is no point in using the “globally,… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Hence at July’s synod our ecumenical partner from the EO church underlined the fact that they see NO THEOLOGICAL JUSTIFICATION for the ordination of women. – Fr. Ed Tomlinson – Fr. Ed., I can understand your distress at being told that you, yourself, may be an absolutist – but that is what, demonstrably on this site, you have turned out to be. However, you are not an Eastern Orthodox priest, neither are you (I tend to think) a Roman Catholic. So why the need to side with them on issues which the Church of England has already determined – by… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ed T:

In Jesus’ time, well over 95% of his co-religionists would have called him a blasphemer, a heretic, or possibly even possessed by demons.

Since when have numbers got anything to do with being right?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ed T:

In Jesus’ time, well over 95% of his co-religionists would have called him a blasphemer, a heretic, or possibly even possessed by demons.

Since when have numbers got anything to do with being right?

Fr Jon
Guest
Fr Jon

To hold now, as Giles does, that the Revision Committee decision ‘…reflects a further undermining of the Anglican understanding of the role of the Bishop as the pastor of, and focus of unity in the Diocese.” is problematic in that this is exactly the argument that the opponents of OWE use. If unity is to be the key characteristic of the episcopate (and I don’t accept that this is a strong case) then Giles’ argument entails the expulsion or the subjection of those who continue to believe what the church until recently taught. Doesn’t sound very inclusive to me. To… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I think it could be done in time and with great care, but I am not convinced by the arguments so far advanced by those who campaign for it instantly”

Well, if the theology to support women bishops has been accepted, there can be no further reasons to delay, other than playing politics.
Is that what the church is charged with – playing politics when its own theology points in the other direction?
I would find that quite shameful.

David Malloch
Guest
David Malloch

“Since when have numbers got anything to do with being right?”

Good point! It’s why I cannot accept synod’s attempts to change doctrine by a majority vote.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

A few weeks ago I sang at my once-a-year Temple gig (Yom Kippur), and it being the largest temple in northeast Ohio, has had in it’s employ a female cantor for over twenty years. It isn’t an issue in the oldest western religion, so what gives? Oh, and I sing at the “break-away” Anglo-Catholic (Anglican Catholic, known tongue-in-cheek as “Our Lady of Raging Queens” here locally) where the paid choir outnumbers the rest of the congregation (including the male-only club doing whatever it is that they do at the altar) for the St. Michael mass. They have money, but intereaction… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

In another context Bruggeman uses the words ‘provisional and penultimate’ doesn’t that describe all of us who are ordained until that day when we see no longer in a glass darkly but face to face; when we know even also as we are known?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“”Since when have numbers got anything to do with being right?”

Good point! It’s why I cannot accept synod’s attempts to change doctrine by a majority vote.”

Then is doctrine never to be changed at all?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“”Since when have numbers got anything to do with being right?”

Good point! It’s why I cannot accept synod’s attempts to change doctrine by a majority vote.”

Then is doctrine never to be changed at all?

Fr Jon
Guest
Fr Jon

Erika – thank you. When synod voted for women priests in 1992 the decision was received (with one notorious and appalling exception) in silence; what joy there was was muted in respect for the pain of those who had lost the vote. A supporter of the ordination of women to the priesthood, I was immensely proud of my church that day. Delaying now is not about playing politics. There are few politics left in this issue; those on the catholic wing accept that it will lose this vote but intend to try and stay in the church which has been… Read more »

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Fairmount Temple…I remember it well as a beacon of justice and tolerance in Cleveland …Choirboy, are you old enough to remember Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld? There was a man committed to liberation through non-violence — beaten with a tire iron during the Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi. His story can’t be told too often.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Sorry Charlotte, I don’t, although the service there is very moving. And a nice one at that, you sing behind a screen, so you can ‘come as you are!’ And the gig pays GREAT [Hello Anglican Communion!], because the Jews don’t do anything half-simple.

john
Guest
john

(Stinking cold, can’t sleep, hence ridiculous hour.) Fr Jon, You articulate cleanly what some of us grope for. ‘I was immensely proud of my church that day.’ Pride in the C of E – and in Anglicanism – is in dreadfully short supply, both generally and over the handling of this particular issue. I wish our leaders would express it more. Some don’t appear to feel it much, if at all. Personally, I can’t imagine belonging to another church nor can I conceive of a better one. ‘Those on the catholic wing accept that it will lose this vote but… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“… well over 95% of the family. You can place Roman Catholics AND Eastern Orthodox into that number.”

The Hierarchy, the others you don’t know a thing about – but many seem not to agree ;=)

As for the “Tradition” argument, it doesn’t hold water that I know of.

Fr Jon
Guest
Fr Jon

John – thank you. ‘I wish our leaders would express it more. Some don’t appear to feel it much, if at all.’ Indeed. And in another context many of us were bewildered that the Church of England chose to promote its ‘Back to Church’ initiative by carrying prominently the remarks of a Bishop who was intent on describing it as ‘too much Marks and Spencer and not enough Asda’ or somesuch. It got headlines. Of course it did, but I’ve never belonged to the ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ school or accepted the argument that ‘well it’s worth… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr Jon Thank you. “The reason for a delay might well be that you understand this; that you know that in making this change you are about to do will cause pain and you might want to think about being pastoral whilst doing that and that may take some time to sort out.” That would be helpful if there was any real sorting out of pain. But what is happening in practice is that FiF are getting more strident in their opposition to women priests, women priests are getting more upset that they are the ones bearing the consequences of… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“If unity is to be the key characteristic of the episcopate (and I don’t accept that this is a strong case) then Giles’ argument entails the expulsion or the subjection of those who continue to believe what the church until recently taught.” – Fr. Jon – This presupposes that the theology of the Church was set in concrete with the publication of the Scriptures – where subsequent Councils of the Church were meant to have little or no effect upon the belief or actions of the Church from thencforth? One does wonder, with this sort of srgument, what Good Pope… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

I would NO to both John and Jon – your idea of living together is that women should accept a lesser psoition than men, just because they are women. My bishop does not think women should be priests, although he licenses us. Does that mean I would like a different bishop?, well maybe if it’s only a matter of personal preference, but I don’t think that it is or that I need that to stay in the church. Why not ask the no-women-please fellows to make the sacrifice and make-do with us? Why is the ‘lesser part’ always automatically on… Read more »

Father Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Sara, a few points. 1) we are not ‘no-women-please’ as we support and nurture women’s vocation in many ways, if not a sacramental one. To tar me with the mysoginist brush is downright rude, uncharitable and unfair. I am actually a great supporter of equality, I just do not manifestly believe that the fight for equality = the fight to make all the same. 2) Why would a woman bishop have a lesser position than me, the FIF priest and modern day samaritan. I am already universally loathed by some, forced to live out my ministry without hope of preferment… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“we are not ‘no-women-please’ as we support and nurture women’s vocation in many ways, if not a sacramental one.”

Tell that to the Vatican:

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/10/two_vatican_investigations_foc.html

Fr Jon
Guest
Fr Jon

Father Ron – Thanks for your response. I’m not sure what your main point about Vatican II was – that it had the authority to make change and therefore shouldn’t have been challenged, or that it also entailed painful and necessary changes? If the former, then don’t the current moves to roll back the Vatican II change also have the same characteristics? Change isn’t always progressive, and progressive change isn’t always right. If the latter, then I would certainly accept the ‘painful but necessary’ school of thought if it weren’t for the fact that it is a justification nearly always… Read more »

Fr Jon
Guest
Fr Jon

Erika – thank you. My argument was not against proceeding, nor in favour of continuing the current arrangements, but was simply inveighing against those who want a fast ‘cut and shut’ solution, suggesting that their arguments lacked compassion. It was most specifically questioning Giles Goddard, who wanted to argue both that it is absolutely necessary for bishops to be a focus for unity and that women wouldn’t be able to do that if opponents wouldn’t accept them, since he was arguing the opponents’ case for them. “That would be helpful if there were any sorting of pain” I want to… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

In answer to Ed Tomlinson and others: I think the real question is (and indeed was at the time of the creation of flying bishops) how can the church remain catholic and have a two tier system, how can it remain catholic and have some bishops who can act throughout as bishops and others who need the OK of their parishes. I live and work in Rome. The only people here who make a distinction between me and my (male) incumbent are Anglicans – very very few I am happy to say. Catholics of the papal persuasion either consider all… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“I am already universally loathed by some, forced to live out my ministry without hope of preferment and full recognition and now in danger of being thrown from the church in which I was raised and nurtured.” – Father Ed tomlinson – I don’t know about your relationship to other people, Ed, but you are certainly not ‘loathed’ by me. Please do understand that fact. I cannot, however, forbear from challenging you on a simple precept of the Gospel – that “IN Christ, there is neither male nor female” – this is a Pauline statement that requires no fudging, romanticising… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“how is the lesser part always with you? Seriously, how?”

Because you can CHANGE YOUR MIND, Fr Ed—or at least adopt enough humility to admit you don’t have all the answers—while Sara can’t change her XX chromosomes?

[Please give us a harder question next time! ;-/]

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr Jon “All I’m asking is that we move slowly, pastorally and carefully.” If slowly and pastorally and carefully means that we will eventually implement that which the church has discerned to be theologically appropriate, and if we can also recognise the very real pain of the supporters of WO and women bishops and be pastorally sensitive to them too, I could possibly accept a slow move. If it simply means we all breathe a sigh of relief and move on to other things until the next time the issue raises its head and everyone plays the same games again,… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

If only it were possible for everybody to change their minds and agree on everything I think the world would indeed be a wonderful place JCF! But (getting real) opponents of OW accept that others be allowed to exist and prosper…the problem is that many supporters do not behave so generously. Which is why there are ALREADY 2 classes of bishop and those men who will not ordain women will not be made Diocesans. To be fair to both sides, the logical thing would be to have ‘flying bishops’ for both proponents and opponents of WO. Thus both sides would… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

In Christ there is no male or female…is a statement relating to our baptism. That once Christian we are totally equal in God’s eyes. However that in no way means that all offices are open to all people. Quite the reverse. We see the careful consideration of who should follow Judas. We read that a bishop should be the HUSBAND of ONE WIFE (note that please) We have plenty of biblical evidence to support that- from all disciples who are equal- neither slave etc- God calls only some to priestly minisry. Hence the 12 apostles- ALL of which were men… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

To Neil – no, wrong – the Bishop in Europe will not ordain women to the priesthood (or allow his suffragan to do so) and he is a diocesan bishop.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ed
“We read that a bishop should be the HUSBAND of ONE WIFE”

Taken as literally as you would like to interpret it, this invalidates all Roman Catholic orders.

john
Guest
john

I’m with Neil and Ed and Fr Jon on this. Of course, one still encounters dreadful formulations from time to time, but by and large FiF has moved very considerably in the direction of acceptance of the ‘integrity’ of WO, and it’s perfectly obvious that many/most of them are fighting rather heroically to stay in the Church of England, for which they are now exhibiting gut feelings of love and loyalty which have sometimes been obscured. I like them for it. I do not understand how liberals can come all over strong in favour of a ‘hard’, 100% ‘Catholicity model’… Read more »