Church of England Evangelical Council:
“The church failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way” – Michael Lawson, CEEC Chairman
The Venerable Michael Lawson, CEEC Chairman, comments on the No vote for Women Bishops “Is the church out of touch? No! It simply failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way.”
“The General Synod’s no vote for women bishops will undoubtedly cause both pain and even incredulity to some, yet to others a relief that biblical and catholic orthodoxy has been upheld. The reality is that the out come brings no victory to either side. It is true that broadly speaking the church as a whole has grappled responsibly with this issue. What will be extremely sad is if the result of this vote leads some women to feel they are marginalised in the church, for the reality is that the New Testament encourages the ministry of both men and women, yet in complementary ways. There are of course many places where the rich ministerial gifts of women already have a chance to flourish. But as a result of the vote, this complementarity needs an even greater encouragement by word and action in our churches.
As CEEC has warned on many occasions, one of the reasons for the outcome of the vote will have been the weak and inadequate approach to provision for those who could not accept the possibility of the ordination of women to the Episcopate. At any return to this issue, this matter will require far more thoughtful attention than it attracted hitherto. There was an easy dismissal by some – of those who disagreed with women bishops. This sadly was perceived as ungenerous to say the least, and the whole church needs to learn and learn again that generosity towards those of different opinions is a true sign of the gospel of Christ.
As an outcome to this vote the church may well be criticized that it is out of touch with the times. The truer criticism could well be that we failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way. The CEEC which represents a range of views on this matter, will happily sit down and pray and discuss possible ways forward with any individuals and groups who seek to know the mind of God and build unity throughout his Church.
The Venerable Michael Lawson
Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council
Statement from Chairman of Reform on Today’s Synod Vote
We thank God that the Church of England has avoided making a big mistake which would have led to real division and a less inclusive Church. The synod’s decision shows respect for the issues of conscience involved. It has avoided putting significant minorities who, as faithful Anglicans, seek to follow the Bible’s teaching, into an impossible position.
We now have a real opportunity to build on the Church’s solid biblical foundations, reflecting together on the right way forward. The good news is that we are still together and able to witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ, which is the heart of our gospel, the basis of our unity, and the only hope for the future of church and nation.
We stand ready for any discussions that our future archbishop may wish to initiate and happily commit ourselves to approaching these positively. Our hearts go out to those who will now be disappointed and confused about the difficult position in which the Church of England now finds itself. We assure them of our prayers. We recognise there is now a need for everyone to take stock while working together to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God as Advent approaches.
Rev Rod Thomas
Chair of Reform
Forward in Faith reacts to the defeat of the draft Measure
Forward in Faith recognises that the outcome of today’s vote in the General Synod will bring disappointment and pain to many. However, we are not surprised that the legislation failed to command the necessary majorities, as it has been apparent for some time that it lacked any consensus across the whole of the Church of England.
As we have done for the last decade and more, Forward in Faith stands ready to offer a better way ahead, which might indeed command that wider consensus which this draft Measure so clearly lacked.
We ask now for a period of prayer and reflection on the part of the whole church, following today’s events.
Catholic Group on General Synod
from the Guardian
We regret the Synod was put in the position whereby draft legislation failed at final approval because it was unclear and unfair in its provision for those who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops or priests.
The Catholic Group calls on the House of Bishops to reconvene the talks started in the summer between representatives of different groups, chaired by Bishop Justin Welby.