Thinking Anglicans

Archbishops' Council says restart process to admit women to the episcopate at July 2013 General Synod

The Archbishops’ Council issued this statement today.

Statement on the Conclusion of the Meeting of the Archbishops’ Council November 2012
28 November 2012

“The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England met on November 27-28th to consider a wide ranging agenda. A substantial amount of time was given over to the discussion of the recent vote by General Synod on Women in the Episcopate.

“As part of their reflections, many council members commented on the deep degree of sadness and shock that they had felt as a result of the vote and also of the need to affirm all women serving the church – both lay and ordained – in their ministries.

“In its discussions the Council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013. There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency. The Council therefore recommended that the House of Bishops, during its meeting in a fortnight’s time, put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July.”

Notes

The Archbishops Council is a body of 19 members which acts as the standing committee of the General Synod and has a number of other responsibilities as a trustee body.

The members of the council include the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the chairs of the House of Clergy and the Chairs of the House of Laity. Full membership of the groups is available here.

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Dave Hargreaves
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Dave Hargreaves

surely doing the same thing again and expecting a different result really is insanity. Looking at the voting returns it seems that Chichester, Winchester and London dioceses are the main opponents of the legislation, others voting in what seems to be a proportionate way. Do the representatives of these dioceses actually mirror their electors views?

Father David
Guest
Father David

So Dr. Carey’s advice has been heeded and they are tearing up the rule book?

John
Guest
John

Is this good? Depends. In so far as the women bishops issue is a major problem for the C of E which is causing immense destruction, it is good. If it involves rewriting the rules, to secure a desired end, it is bad. See Father Jones’ (St Peter’s Wapping) penultimate posting on ‘gerrymandering’. So I hope that the ‘process’ will include solid guarantees for traditionalists, and that at long last everybody will be able to get behind a comprehensive package which will lay this issue to rest.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Well said John, I agree. Solid guarantees are what is needed for the legislation to be passed. This gives the opportunity to not have to wait until post 2015 and shows that the church is being proactive in trying to solve the problem as well as the fracas of GS elections.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

I will be interested to hear if, in the light of the disastrous interventions in the last process by the HoB, they will this time act more transparently and invite some of the concerned parties to talk to them about what is an acceptable way forward. And let us all know who they are meeting and so forth. It would be a new way to operate – but a healthy one. Further, I think they will need to get clear in their understanding that nothing that in any way suggests that women are not bishops on exactly the same terms… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

The Council’s statement seems one sided:

“to affirm all women serving the church – both lay and ordained – in their ministries”

which gave me some concerns on first reading; but the subsequent joint statement by FIF and Reform seems to be a counter-balance.

I do hope we are proceeding to a new measure with solid guarantees for the minority.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

A solid guarantee that women will be second-class bishops?

You won’t get it.

Stop deluding yourselves. Your position is now weaker than it has ever been.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Apparently Synod’s Standing Orders only prevent the reconsideration of the same legislation during the period of the present General Synod. So, how will any new proposals be significantly different from that which failed last week to receive a 2/3rds majority in all three Houses? The inclusion of the much heralded word “respect” was far too woolly and vague to receive approval; so can expect to see that omitted from the new and improved magic formula currently being dreamt up by the Archbishops’ Council?

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

“Solid guarantees are what is needed for the legislation to be passed.” Any solid guarantee given to the traditionalists must mean legislation that makes women “second class” bishops. Such legislation may pass synod but will be rejected by Parliament (see Tony Baldry’s comments for the past 5 years). It might also be rejected by the progressives in synod. The CofE has a choice. It can appease the traditionalists and decline into a minor sect. Or it can attempt to stay in line with the values of the country it serves, which are also the values of the majority of the… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Since any measure will require parliamentary approval (all measures do), it seems to me that there is little prospect of any approach which goes further in making legislative provision for dissent passing parliamentary scrutiny – just as, last time round, concessions, in the form of the Act of Synod, were required to ensure that the priests legislation passed. The measure presented to Synod could have been approved by Parliament this time round. But Parliament seems determined to act as a reality check for the Church. The history of the CofE over the last 150 years or so has been of… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Would someone please remind me when the “Period of Reception” with regard to the priesting of women was brought to a satisfactory conclusion?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“The inclusion of the much heralded word “respect” was far too woolly and vague to receive approval”

No it wasn’t. It had a precise legal meaning that should have satisfied people http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/005710.html

You might not think the legal definition is firm enough but it’s maybe about time to stop saying that it is nothing but a woolly concept that had to be rejected.

I sometimes do wonder whether people actually read what they rejected.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

There was a film that showed people being locked in the cellars of Westminster Palace to push through the Elizabethan Act of Uniformity. There was a degree of artistic Iicence as some of those so depicted were dead by 1558.

Still, there may be some merit in the general principle, the same cellar must be close by and while those so detained may not be dead, their ideas surely are.

Those who say this is a time for more concessions are just not reading the signs ……… Less is more!

primroseleague
Guest
primroseleague

Even as a “traditionalist” I’m not supporting it necessarily, but one thing that would work is the society model, constituted along the same lines as the current bishopric of the armed forces. Take all the refusenik parishes out of their dioceses regardless of whether the bishop is male or female and put them under someone else -it’s how we currently do it with a couple of hundred military chaplains without the diocesans batting an eyelid, so 300 res Cs shouldn’t present a problem. I’m afraid, as I’ve consistently said for the past 2 weeks, that neither side is going to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Who’s for a ‘Single Clause’ proposal; to take the place of a two-tier Church of England? I’m sure this would help dissidents to avoid perjuring themselves in any promises future clergy make to ‘obey’ one’s Ordinary – that’s if the C.of E. is to retain the tradition of the diocesan Bishop being owed loyalty by his/her clergy.

Pam Smith
Guest

As far as Forward in Faith are concerned the period of reception has not yet ended. Perhaps it would clarify things if this was voted on as soon as possible.

It would certainly clarify my personal position to know whether the whole C of E had now ‘received’ my ordination or not.

Anne
Guest
Anne

Primroseleague suggested: “Take all the refusenik parishes out of their dioceses regardless of whether the bishop is male or female and put them under someone else -it’s how we currently do it with a couple of hundred military chaplains without the diocesans batting an eyelid, so 300 res Cs shouldn’t present a problem.” This solution is called “forming another church” as far as I can see, or perhaps “joining another church” as happened with the Ordinariate. The analogy with Military chaplains is not, it seems to me, a helpful one for two reasons. 1.Military chaplains (like hospital and school chaplains)… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

For information: The Bishop *to* the Forces (more properly the ABC’s Episcopal Delegate to HM Forces) is often but not always a suffragan of the Diocese of Canterbury. The Ordinary to HM Forces is the ABC himself. Anglican clergy recruited from all parts of the UK receive his licence and he is the Ordinary of Naval, Military and Air Force Chapels throughout the UK and abroad. The Armed Forces Chaplaincy is indeed extra-diocesan. The RC Bishop *of* the Forces sits atop an Ordinariate established by the Vatican in accord with international policy for Armed Forces Chaplaincies. The Ordinariates established recently… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Primroseleague,
I take it your comment was tongue in cheek.

I find it astonishing how those who insist on an orthodox catholic way of doing things would have no problem with a church that changed its system from one where Dioceses are regional entities and everyone lives with their bishop regardless of his churchmanship from one where the diocesan division runs along theological lines.

To what extent would that still be the CoE and not just a loosely connected federation of small churches?

Susannah
Guest
Susannah

I have reflected on the women bishops vote over this past week. It is not simple and there are huge issues at stake. First, my personal belief is that female bishops should have exactly the same standing and powers as male bishops, and I believe that belief accords with the mood of government and the country, and the mood of most of the Church. To many decent people outside the Church (who we would like to reach) the failure to pass the measure was viewed with incredulity and is a terrible witness that subverts the Church’s credibility. However… What I… Read more »

Susannah
Guest
Susannah

(continued…) In the end, I suspect a choice has to be made between a compromise that wounds and disappoints supporters of women bishops in order to protect the diversity and integrities of our Communion; or a radical decision to suspend the two-thirds condition and even, possibly, the bishops, clerics, laity division, and go for a vote that seeks to effect what the majority actually wants. The latter is probably the only short-term process that could get the vote passed, and in that case there would indeed only need to be a single yes or no clause. But the price would… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Response to Dave Hargreaves – No

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

As an outsider looking in, but with some knowledge of the parliamentary constraints, I think that primroseleague’s idea has “legs”. A Measure embodying discrimination on its face will be rejected by the Ecclesiastical Committee. Tony Baldry has said so as clearly as possible – have Reform and FiF been listening? That the C of E faces a major constitutional crisis is not the overheated imagination of extreme pro-WB people. It is the leaked phrase of William Fittall. I hope that the forthcoming discussions will get all to understand how deep the constitutional crisis is. No Measure means disestablishment. A discriminatory… Read more »

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

The problem with the ‘society’ model is that it is predicated on congregations, not parishes. In many resolutions parishes the raw number of those who vote for the resolution concerned is very small. Under s3 of the 1993 measure it need only be a majority of a quorum (50%) of a PCC, so in a small parish with only, say 12 PCC members, this could be as few as 4 people. The effect of such a resolution would be to take the entire parish, including those who do not attend church but who are nevertheless parishioners, out of the diocese… Read more »

Original Observer
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Original Observer

If any new Measure were to reach parliament it would by definition have already cleared all the hurdles the Church itself would have imposed. If the church had declared itself “happy” it is surely nigh inconceivable that parliament would reject the legislation and derail the process all over again.

Judging from their comments many politicians seemed to think that synod had rejected the principle of women bishops when it had not.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Fr David – the concept of “reception” is fluid, as you know. The Church of England has, I would suggest, received the ministry of women as priests so far as any recognisably colloquial meaning of the term is concerned.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Father David – you ask about the ‘period of reception’. Satisfactorily or not is always going to be in the eye of the beholder but, for me (and for most people I believe), the period ended gradually as it became apparent that women priests were not just tolerated, but welcomed, treasured and affirmed, by their congregations and by the vast majority of their fellow clergy, and finally when it became apparent that, in many areas, the CofE could not function on the scale that it has without the ministry of women priests. A few others, presumably including yourself, cling to… Read more »

Lindsay Southern
Guest
Lindsay Southern

Our diocese approved the legislation and also sent back a following motion requesting that there be no further provision. There is no further provision to be had that satisfies all of the remit given to the legislative drafting committee. Its worth re – reading the press statements after the original clause 5.1c was proposed which also say that was not enough. The legislation presented was the best on offer, those who rejected it should not come back demanding more.

Lindsay Southern
Guest
Lindsay Southern

The Armed forces Bishopric is designed to tackle the specific geographical challenges of the military, and as someone who was selected through that process, that is extremely necessary to address the issues of a peculiarly mobile community. It is not formed on the basis that they refuse to recognise the orders of some other members of the Church of England. The creation of a separate diocese who are not in communion with other diocese is simply schism.

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

Adding to Erika’s post at 8.53 am, in which she gives the link to the legal advice given to the House of Bishops on the meaning of ‘respect’ by Stephen Slack, Chief Legal Adviser at Church House, contained in the Annex to paper GS 1708-09ZZZ, little attention seems to have been paid to one of the speeches in the GS debate last week in which the speaker referred to the fact that the meaning of the word ‘respect’ has already been considered in the context of its use in the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 2 of the First… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Original Observer – perhaps you do not remember the Prayer Book Crisis of the 1920s, where Parliament (acting on “evangelical” views) twice rejected revised liturgical texts which had received the approval of the church. I believe a Churchwardens measure was rejected by Parliament in the days of General Synod – so it has been done, and is not inconceivable, just infrequent.

Neil
Guest
Neil

Wilf – I’m not sure, but isn’t a 2/3rds majority on a PCC required before Resolutions A B or C are accepted? In addition to proper notice (like an APCM) of the relevant meeting at which the vote is to take place.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Mark, you tell me that the period of reception is “fluid” – personally I’d prefer it to be watertight. Malcolm informs me that “the period ended gradually” – well, as he further suggests I must have been sleeping and dreaming at the time for I don’t recall any Synodical debate which formally brought this period to its terminus.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

David, I have to say, though, that although I quoted the TA link to the meaning of respect myself, I have to say that it was not a concept that had been highly publicised before the vote. After the Appleby amendment when people complained about the word respect being a woolly concept, 2 bishops said that they had had legal advice about its meaning which helped them to agree to the proposal. But despite several weeks of asking on TA what this meaning was I got not a single reply from anyone. Watch did not seem to have heard about… Read more »

magistra
Guest

Am I missing something obvious or are those who want a separate diocese effectively ruling out their having any further significant influence on General Synod? Assuming the Diocese gets as big a quota of places in General Synod as London, that means 2 bishops out of 50+, 10 clergy places out of around 200 and 10 laity out of over 200. That means that they could never gain a blocking quota on General Synod and the rest of us wicked libruls could do almost anything we wanted to via that. Or have I misunderstood how this extra diocese is supposed… Read more »

the Revd Robert T
Guest
the Revd Robert T

What is wrong with being a “second class bishop.” we have those already- PEVs and suffragans. Are you to raise PEVs to the status of diocesans? Is it really all about status and not service then? Why is something not “resolved” just because you don’t accept the outcome. I’m not leaving but a vote for women bishops will not resolve the matter for me.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Fr David – I didn’t say the period of reception was fluid, but that the concept of “reception” was fluid. The word cannot just be interpreted by cherry-picking tradition, particularly when the original context in which it was used was unconscious of that cherry-picked tradition. There is an open question as to what “reception” means, and I think you would like to resolve it in your own favour without having the conversation. That is precisely what is wrong with the supposed separatist structural solutions – neatness without relationship is not church.

Peter Owen
Guest

Erika is, I think, referring to this article of mine on the meaning of “respect”.

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/005710.html

This quotes the advice from the chief legal advisor in GS 1708-09ZZZ. This GS paper was circulated to all members of General Synod at the end of October, along with all the other papers for last week’s meeting.

Father David
Guest
Father David

So “respect” has a legal definition but it is “an open question as to what ‘reception’ means”
Sounds to me like it’s Make it up as you go along-time!

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Peter
thank you. If they have all received that paper then my question is redundant.

There ought not to have been a single person who though that “respect” was a woolly concept.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Fr David “reception” was your word, not one in the legislation. I reject having your meaning of the word foisted on me.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

Neil, you may be correct but the maths is still the same. A combination of the Church Representation Rules and the 1993 Measure makes it possible for 4 people to turn a parish into a resolutions A and B parish.

Pam Smith
Guest

It isn’t an open question to me what reception means.

Those who oppose women’s ordination believe that, until it is ‘received’ to their satisfaction, the decision is reversible. And it will never be received to their satisfaction. This is the basis on which they can remain in the Church of England until we see our error.

I would very much like ‘reception’ to be debated and voted on in General Synod, then we would all know exactly where we are.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Neil — Although ‘Resolution C’ (the Act of Synod one) requires a 2/3 majority of the PCC, passing or rescinding either or both of Resolutions A and B requires a simple majority. At least half of the eligible members must attend, and due notice of the meeting, and of the motion(s) concerning the Resolutions, must be given — that’s 4 weeks I think. If there is a change in state of the Resolutions then the PCC must inform the Bishop, the Patron, the Registrar, the diocesan secretary (or other person responsible for initiating processes in a vacancy), the Rural Dean… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

“I would very much like ‘reception’ to be debated and voted on in General Synod, then we would all know exactly where we are.”
Precisely so, Pam Smith – I totally agree. Let us bring the period of reception to a formal conclusion with regard to the priesting of women before rushing once more, like the Gadarene swine, headlong into the maelstrom which is the Measure concerning women in the episcopate.

Neil
Guest
Neil

I think that is ‘reception’ isn’t it?

Yes indeed, although odd that the resolution was there in the first place. Hopefully your PCC would still have rescinded the resolution had the historic vote of General Synod not to pass legislation for women bishops gone the other way?

Rosie Bates
Guest
Rosie Bates

Fr Ron, I am in agreement. There is now no clear call for any discriminatory clause whatsover as this plainly will not work, as already witnessed by much past and current opposition. Neither does it seem good to many of us and the Holy Spirit. God protect us from more confusion, pain and discrimination which overshadows all peoples. Posting something to you in a mo. Rosie