Thinking Anglicans

Women bishops and the laity vote

A letter appears in The Times today signed by eight members of the House of Laity who voted against the Measure last week, and referring in the text to a larger group of twelve people of a similar mind. Times subscribers can read the letter in full here, and there is a report of the letter at Anglican Mainstream over here.

The following excerpts make clear, first their point of view, and second their specific proposal for the way forward.

First their point of view:

…Most of us who make up the dozen, whose votes against the Measure did not reflect any serious opposition to women bishops, had taken the trouble to state clearly in our election addresses in 2010 that we would vote against the Measure if it did not in our judgment make ample provision of oversight in the way that the minorities needed, or honour promises made to the same minorities only 20 years ago.

Many of us 12 were prepared to vote for the Measure as it stood in July with a clause referring to “theological convictions” of those requiring alternative oversight, had the Bishops not lost their nerve and decided under pressure from “senior women” to reconsider their proposed “helpful” clause…

Second their proposals for the way forward:

…But we now all believe there can be a simpler way forward. A new briefer Measure could incorporate the 1993 Act of Synod governing alternative oversight as we have it, with all the valuable experience it has provided of living together with fellow Anglicans who cannot accept women priests and bishops. The new Measure should provide for alternative oversight on a churchwide basis to those unable to recognise their woman diocesan bishop and also to those parishes that accept or have women clergy which are unsuitably served by a traditional orthodox male diocesan bishop in a predominantly conservative diocese. It will minimally amend but not repeal the 1993 Measure which has served us all well. The Church must be concerned for, and provide for, all its members…

The eight signatories are:

Tom Sutcliffe, Mary Judkins, Phillip Rice, John Davies, Anne Bloor, Priscilla Hungerford, Keith Malcouronne, Christopher Corbet

More information about their voting records will follow soon.

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Jeremy
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Jeremy

“The Church must be concerned for, and provide for, all its members.”

Correct, as to “concern.” But as to “provision,” incorrect.

The Church must not legislate misogyny or bigotry.

And if the signatories think that they now have the leverage to achieve _more_ provision, Parliament should disabuse them of that notion.

Anne Peat
Guest

The problem with suggestion about incorporating Act of Synod into new #femalebishops measure is that objecting parishes would have to petition diocesan bishop & so acknowledge HER as ordinary, which is what they refuse to do. http://www.ebbsfleet.org.uk/actofsynod93.htm

Tony B
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Tony B

“Only” 20 years ago?

Jonathan Edwards II
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Jonathan Edwards II

This is the point I have been making on other threads. Rather than berating the laity it is the bishops who need to take some responsibility for this mess. Shepherds and flocks comes to mind!

Lionel Deimel
Guest

So the plan is to maintain a two-tier English clergy forever. Isn’t it ironic that the titular head of the church is the Queen?

Will the misogynists be happy under this scheme when the Archbishop of Canterbury is a woman, which is inevitable, assuming the Church of England lasts so long?

Rosemary Hannah
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Rosemary Hannah

Ah if they get their church within a church they will be happy. No no no.

Lindsay Southern
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Lindsay Southern

There is indeed a simpler way forward. Its called a Single Clause Measure.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

These Synod members are incredibly ill informed.

The Act of Synod provides extended oversight not alternative oversight. To move to alternative oversight is a massive ecclesiological change. They should understand the difference and why extended is the term we have got.

Their voting record indicates they probably do want alternative oversight to be provided, but that would divide the church formally and we are trying to avoid that.

Tobias Haller
Guest

I wonder how many, if any, voted against the legislation because it gave the traditionalist position any breathing room at all. On this issue there seem to be about seven distinct positions, and building a coalition to carry the vote is a delicate enterprise. (A “decision tree” flow-chart is a helpful way to chart the options…)

John B. Chilton
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John B. Chilton

All 8 signatories of the letter are laypersons. That means their votes were pivotal in the failure of the measure. I agree with their position: Women bishops should not be second class bishops. But I don’t understand how proponents of women bishops can say that by failing to pass the measure the CoE inflicted a severe wound on itself and blame that entirely on those who voted against the measure. The WATCH press release seems to imply the measure failed only because of those who are opposed to women bishops. This letter says that’s not true. Or did I misunderstand… Read more »

Jonathan Edwards II
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Jonathan Edwards II

‘The Church must not legislate misogyny or bigotry’ – Jeremy

Jeremy you do a disservice to our faithful brothers and sisters who are only holding to the faith of the wider church universal.

This sort of intolerance of others is not helping matters, it is un-Christian and brings our Church into disrepute.

John B. Chilton
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John B. Chilton

Nevermind. I should have read the letter snippets first. They aren’t supporters of 1st class women bishops. They are merely supporters of the previous measure, not the recent measure.

We shouldn’t let them be players in shaping the measure to be put forward in 2013.

Original Observer
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Original Observer

Perhaps a single clause Measure should be presented and voted on if only to demonstrate to those who keep calling for it that it does not command the requisite support.

Alastair Newman
Guest

Let’s not forget that some people against the ordination of women bishops clearly did feel that this measure provided “proper provision”. Fr Alan Moses, vicar of one of the best known (if not THE best known) anglocatholic parishes in the country (FiF A/B parish) voted FOR this measure. Has anyone asked him why he voted in this way, and in particular why he felt the measure contained “proper provision”? Is it simply being in the Diocese of London which somehow gives an extra shield for the traditionalists? If that were the case why did other traditionalists in London and Chichester… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Charles Read has made an important point….the problem is,in practice Extended episcopal care slid into Alternative Episcopal Oversight, with FIF Area deans, separate Chrism Masses,” X our bishop ” in the liturgy…..and of course it ended up with the “Diocese” of Ebbsfllet which its bishop hoped would follow him en masse into the Ordinariate…though actually of course,most didnt…

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

I think Jeremy Edwards does make a good point about the Synod legislating misogyny by inserting that infamous clause. The clause must be removed. The universal church or INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH has been and continues to be wrong and misguided on the issue of women’s ordination to the priesthood and office of bishop. It is because they have been so wrong on this topic for centuries in the way they have treated women that it makes it mandatory that the single clause measure not only be removed but buried forever. There is no theological argument for excluding women from any position… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“This sort of intolerance of others is not helping matters, it is un-Christian and brings our Church into disrepute.” Sorry, JE2, but the opponents of women bishops have been hiding for too long behind this sort of insistence on a faux politeness. Faux politeness also masks hypocrisy. To use your own terms, it is intolerance of women in the episcopate that is unhelpful, and that has brought the Church of England into disrepute. That intolerance looks mightily like misogyny and bigotry. (By their works we shall know them.) Certainly that is how the wider society perceives it. See the recent… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

‘Two Integrities’, ‘Two Tier’, call it what you like it doesn’t sound like a coherent Body of Christ.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

Well, JEII – anyone who deliberately and consciously tells women that they cannot fill certain roles which they have the actual ability to fill, on grounds of their gender alone, and despite the conviction that they have that God is calling them to the role, and the equally firmly held and informed view of those who know them that God is indeed calling them,anybody who consciously tells such women that simply because they are female they cannot act in the role, is holding misogynistic and bigoted views. They may not be misogynists or bigots, but their views are very wrong.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

John Chilton ‘The WATCH press release seems to imply the measure failed only because of those who are opposed to women bishops. This letter says that’s not true.’ I think you might misunderstand the subtlety of the letter writers (or others who say similar things). Some people were elected to the General Synod stating that they would support women bishops legislation so long as there was appropriate provision for those opposed. The problem with such a statement is that it is somewhat ambiguous: the voter’s idea of what is appropriate might be radically different from the candidate’s (and of course… Read more »

serena
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serena

Sutcliffe: Not in my name.

Rebecca
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Rebecca

The good news was the call for a Doctrine Commission by Sarah Coakley–all this patching of ecclesiology around clergy some don’t deem to be clergy simply doesn’t work, and isn’t working. Much of the “church universal” are not Anglican on other matters such as married bishops or ironically, lay participation in these sorts of decisions.

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

I appreciate the fact that the authors have tried to pay attention to the situation of those supportive of women’s ordination in dioceses where the bishop does not ordain women, as well as of opponents of women’s ordination. However the proposal would appear potentially to lead to fragmentation of dioceses.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Alastair Newman Fr Alan Moses favours the ordination of women…he just happens to be Vicar of an AB parish…such things are not unknown.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Well said, Perry Butler. In your post yesterday, you listed many of the ways in which traditionalist catholics have been operating a ‘church with a church’ since 1994, going far beyond what the creators of the Act of Synod can ever have envisaged or intended to allow. As a member for 27 years of a traditionalist catholic parish (until I recently gave up the struggle of trying to stand up for reason over tradition and moved elsewhere) I can confirm that all the practices you list occur, and to that shameful list I would add the practice of only praying… Read more »

Original Observer
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Original Observer

Malcolm Dixon – +London issued an ad clerum letter a year ago in which he strongly advised against parishes adopting the new translation of the Roman rite. He has been widely ignored.

I do not object to Res C at all, but you are right in what you say about individual parishes acting as if they hardly belonged to the wider CofE at all. The solution to this is in the hands of the diocesan bishops who should ensure that the letter and spirit of the Act of Synod are complied with.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

John Chilton ‘The WATCH press release seems to imply the measure failed only because of those who are opposed to women bishops. This letter says that’s not true.’ The claim of these people that they support women bishops is incredibly disingenuous. It would be wise not to buy into their language. They rejected the legislation because it didn’t do enough to keep women bishops out of their face. That is hardly support. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Said America’s best theologian, MLK. When the CoE has the courage to liberate all persons,… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Malcolm Dixon thanx for your comment suporting mine. You probably know more what is going on on the ground than I do now I am in retirement. How well supported are these FIF parishes? How many have an ER over 70 say? How far do they pay there way? Someone told me of a C parish in the Southwark diocese that was now over £100,000 behind in paying the Common Fund?

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Perry Butler – despite having worshipped in an FiF parish until recently, I’m not best placed to answer your questions since, as an ‘open’ catholic, I had nothing to do with FiF, or with other FiF parishes. I preferred to try to keep in touch with the deanery and diocese, e.g. by attending the Rochester Chrism mass each year so that at least someone from the parish was there. When I left there were just over 100 on the ER and they were paying share in full. Of the other Res C parishes (10 or 11 out of about 220)… Read more »