Thinking Anglicans

WATCH responds to House of Bishops on changes to draft legislation

WATCH (Women and the Church)

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY 22nd MAY 2012 10.15am

House of Bishops Discussion Outcome : Women Bishops Legislation

WATCH (Women and the Church) is deeply disappointed to hear that the all male House of Bishops has, in a closed meeting, decided to make two amendments to the draft legislation on women bishops that had been so carefully crafted after years of debate and scrutiny from all sides and had commanded the support of 42/44 dioceses across the Church of England.

They have failed to listen to the voice of ordained women and those who support their ministry and been swayed by those who are opposed into making concessions that can only undermine the ministry of women in future years.

Their decision to intervene in this way will significantly undermine the credibility of the House of Bishops both inside and outside the Church.

The exact wording of the amendments is not in the House of Bishops’ Press Release, nor are the figures of how many bishops voted for and against them. WATCH will be considering the amendments in detail over coming days and will issue a full response in due course.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said:

“The House of Bishops’ intervention will be an enormous blow to the morale of women clergy who were looking to their bishops for clear affirmation of their ministry as a welcome gift to the Church.”

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Pete BroadbentFather DavidPerry Butlercarl jacobsLaurenceR Recent comment authors
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Alastair Newman
Guest

Surely it depends on what the amendments are, and what they will do. Taking the position that all amendments are bad just doesn’t make sense – the House of Bishops could have amended the legislation in favour of a group such as WATCH (whom I fully support).

Lindsay Southern
Guest
Lindsay Southern

WATCH made their comments on the basis of the limited information given in the House of Bishops press release – which certainly didn’t imply amendments in favour of a group like WATCH. Their press release points out that they will be waiting until the detail of the amendments are seen, before taking a stance on them. Nevertheless, I personally am concerned that one of the main issues is that putting together this legislation has taken a long time and been subject to enormous scutiny, discussion and consultation – last minute tweaks behind closed doors does little to honour that process… Read more »

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

Thus ends transparency and integrity by the all male House of Bishops when they pursue “sneaky” actions such as this. There has never been a better time in history for ALL of The People of God in The Church of England to stand up and shout loudly: ENOUGH. This is more than an insult. These amendments must be removed and exposed for exactly what they are: Misogyny.

Alastair Newman
Guest

Watch’s fb page now has a list of more specific concerns.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

link ?

commentator
Guest
commentator

Since the House of Bishops is changing the legislation will it have to return to the Dioceses and thence to the Deaneeries to be voted upon? This is scandalous behaviour from the HoB. But we have grown to expect no better.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Commentator
That is a decision that will be made on Thursday by the “group of six” which includes:
2 archbishops
Prolocutors of Canterbury and York
Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity

Whatever four of them agree to, i.e. are they changes of substance or not, goes.
But it never had to go to deaneries in the first place, that is a decision made locally in each diocese, and even if sent, the deanery votes have no legal significance.

Lindsay Southern
Guest
Lindsay Southern

https://www.facebook.com/WomenAndTheChurch

@Laurence Roberts Here is the Women and The Church facebook link

Alastair Newman
Guest

Here are WATCH’s specific concerns 1-3 and further concerns 1-4 (5-7 follow) “WATCH – CONCERNS about the Clause 5 amendment – 22nd May 2012 Our main concerns about the details of the Clause 5 amendment are: 1. It makes it acceptable in law that parishes are entitled to receive the ministry of a bishops who is ‘pure’ ie has not ordained women or been ordained by a woman. 2. It introduces the idea of parishes deciding who they will have as their bishop. 3. It goes beyond the Act of Synod in allowing parishes to require a male priest who… Read more »

Alastair Newman
Guest

And further concerns 5-7: “5. Although we argued at the revision stage that the theological convictions of a parish making a letter of request should be made explicit, we recognised that it could create difficulties for the Diocesan bishop in having to decide whether those theological convictions are ‘valid’ enough to require arrangements under a Diocesan Scheme. We think the Measure is in fact stronger for parishes not having to declare their theological convictions. To open that particular can of worms by law seems to create more difficulties than it would solve. 6. There is a subtlety in placing this… Read more »

LaurenceR
Guest
LaurenceR

Well, these new ‘provisions’ substantially depart from what the Diocesan Synods agreed. So it must be returned to the Dioceses once more.

Who would want to pay this price for such an oppressive dogs’ breakfast ?

John Habgood’s initial mistake now compounded and writ large.

It simply will not Do !

LaurenceR
Guest
LaurenceR

While this is debated and voted on again, over the next several years, there needs to be a moratorium on ALL ordinations of bishops.

No new bishops until this is sorted.

commentator
Guest
commentator

Thank you, Simon. But it is a further scandal that those who introduce the changes should be 33.3% of those who get to decide whether they are substantive of not. Will the other four standup to the Archbishops? Will the Primate of England be in hectoring mode and the Primate of All England simply demob’ happy?

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

There are some comments about a premature response – well this is a first response to what was available in the face of all sorts of journalists and others wanting a comment. It might be worth wondering why the Bishops issued a press release with some detailed notes in it, yet without the actual text attached. You have to comment on what is in front of you. Also the Bishops did not deal with the amendments in the order they appear in the measure but put the amendment which was likely to be least contentious first – again, why? And… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Is there any possibility that, if the amended legislation is passed, and Women are ordained Bishop in the C.of E.; a strong Woman Bishop may refuse to ‘delegate’ her episcopal authority to an alternate (male) bishop – on account of the threat to the irregular diminution of her diocesan authority?

I’m sure there would be many in the Church of England who would be ready to back her up.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

The Measure requires each Diocese to put a scheme in place; anyone failing to draw up a Scheme would presumably be in default of their duty under the Measure.

LaurenceR
Guest
LaurenceR

Meanwhile, while it is all sorted out over the next few years, women could be appointed to bishop posts without being ordained bishop. That could be a marvellous experiment and might give rise to new experiences, practices and understandings of true ‘episcope’. In that interim period, men too could be appointed and get on with pastoral care without ordination as bishop.

Episcope in the Church of England is very ineffective as it is — this might well improve matters in unforeseen ways.

carl jacobs
Guest
carl jacobs

Pete Broadbent The Measure requires each Diocese to put a scheme in place; anyone failing to draw up a Scheme would presumably be in default of their duty under the Measure. And then what? A sternly worded memo? A severe finger wagging? The dreaded eyebrow arch of disapproval? Or perhaps a congratulatory editorial in the Guardian? The unspoken truth is that there will be no consequences for being in ‘default of duty.’ This CoP will work only to the extent that individual bishops are willing to act in accordance with it. And people wonder why conservatives will leave in droves.… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

And people wonder why conservatives will leave in droves.

We have heard that one before.

Father David
Guest
Father David

So, has the legislation simply been given fine tuning by the House of Bishops or is this a major overhaul? If it is the latter will the car and its engine pass or fail its M.O.T.?

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

Actually,Carl, any Diocese that fails to comply with the scheme would be in serious breach. I don’t know where you minister, but it would in any part of the CofE be an ecclesiastical offence, rendering the bishop to proceedings under the Clergy Discipline Measure. This is a serious legal framework and part of the law of the UK. And those who don’t comply with the Code of Practice would be subject to judicial review.