Thinking Anglicans

WATCH response to House of Bishops press statement

WATCH has today issued this response to yesterday’s statement from the House of Bishops.

Response to the House of Bishops Press Statement of 11th December, 2012

WATCH welcomes the House of Bishops’ expression of gratitude and appreciation for the ministry of ordained women in the Church of England, its acknowledgement of the anger, grief and disappointment so widely expressed during the past weeks and the commitment of all its members to making an effective response.

The House of Bishops’ willingness to consider questions regarding culture, processes and how women might more regularly contribute is also encouraging. We believe this will best be realised through the admission of women to the episcopate and will continue to work for the full inclusion of women at every level in the Church of England.

WATCH support the House of Bishops’ belief that a future legislative package would benefit from greater simplicity. A single clause measure is entirely consistent with that aim and would affirm that those who assent to the ordination of women to the episcopate are, in fact, loyal Anglicans from whom no ‘protection’ is needed.

WATCH remains clear that after ten years of searching for a compromise in law without success, a single clause measure is the best way forward now. Provision for those opposed can be made outside the Measure. This is the way that every other Province of the Anglican Communion with women bishops has proceeded.

We look forward with interest to the Archbishops’ announcement of the membership of the proposed working group and hope that it will be properly representative of the widespread support for women bishops clearly demonstrated at local level through Diocesan Synods.

We hope that future discussions will be guided by the principle that women are as central to the whole life of the church as men. It will be essential that such discussions uphold General Synod’s decision of 1975 there is ‘no fundamental objection to ordination of women to the priesthood’, and also that of 2006 which recognised that admitting women to the episcopate is ‘consonant with the faith of the church’.

Rachel Weir, WATCH CHAIR, commented

“There can be few issues that have undermined the Church’s credibility more than its recent rejection of the women bishops legislation. The entire country is watching as we try to find a way forward. Supporters of women bishops are prepared, if necessary, to wait for a new synod to get this right. It is time for a clear and unequivocal endorsement of women’s ordained ministry embodied in a single clause measure.”

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Benedict
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Benedict

Predictably unbending and unyielding, just as we have come to expect from the mouthpieces of WATCH. They didn’t get their way the last time, and how they think that they will achieve their end this time is beyond me. The whole process is now being handled in a way that may actually lead in this current synod to a suitable outcome. The Christian approach is not about majority rule as WATCH seems to think, nor is it about oppression of minorities. We are the body of Christ and as such have all of us a part to play in the… Read more »

Peter Sherlock
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Peter Sherlock

While I support the broad argument of this statement it needs to be said that the Anglican Church of Australia has not adopted a single clause measure (or any measure at all) to permit women being appointed as bishops. Some Australian dioceses have female bishops while others do not allow women to be ordained as priests. The ordination of women as bishops was allowed after a legal judgment indicated that the legislation paving the way for the ordination of women as priests, combined with revisions to the definition of canonical fitness, in fact removed any barriers to women as bishops.… Read more »

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Benedict conveniently ignores the fact that the CofE is episcopally led and synodically governed. If it was purely episcopally led, there would be women bishops by now. But synod has voted otherwise. It is entirely reasonable for the Chair of WATCH to say that, if necessary, the proponents of women bishops (of which I am one) will wait until a new General Synod in 2015. If the current one is incapable of representing the clear view of the Church there is every probability that the new Synod (of which I hope to be a part again) will be rather more… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

So the single clause Measure is back on the table again. The reason the amended Measure failed to achieve a sufficient majority in the House of Laity was precisely because it was deemed to provide too little provision for those who dissent from the innovation. So what chance of success has a Measure which contains absolutely NO provision? Surely to propose such a one clause Measure (as WATCH suggests) to the current General Synod would be to head straight for an even bigger “train crash”. It was interesting the hear the Right Honourable Member for Birkenhead speaking in Parliament yesterday… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

No, Benedict, it’s you guys who didn’t get your way last time. Let’s be very clear, WATCH and many other supporters of women bishops went as far as they conscientiously could to accommodate you and others who can’t accept women bishops in a highly complex series of structures and arrangements. Their bottom line is that if there are to be women bishops then they should be so on the the same terms as men – what is not acceptable to them or to people like me is that we have a class of diocesan who is less than fully the… Read more »

Lindsay Southern
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Lindsay Southern

Benedict, I think you will find that WATCH would like those who ASSENT as well as dissent to be considered Loyal Anglicans. By a process leading GS to a suitable outcome am I right in thinking that the outcome you think will be right is one that gives more provision to those opposed? It might be worth considering that blocking vote at Synod can also be interpreted by many as the result of unbending and unyielding positions held by REFORM and FiF. I think at this point it would be more helpful not to cast stones from glasshouses… WATCH was… Read more »

Val
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Val

Benedict – members of WATCH supported the previous legislation with the provision for those who do not wish to accept the ministry of female Bishops, the unbending and unyielding attitudes were evidenced in those who voted against it.’They did not get their way’ is an unhelpful childish comment and majority rule as you point out may not be the answer but neither is minority rule. Isn’t that how terrorists operate? The Body of Christ image is I agree helpful, to move forward a body places pressure on one foot whilst the rest catches up!

Neil
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Neil

After last month’s historic vote of General Synod re women bishops, I don’t think that liberals can assume that their hand will be strengthened after the next set of Synod elections. Mark Chapman from Cuddesdon suggested that Bishops should hold their nerve and not be put off course by noisy pressure groups who overplay their hand. Chief among which are WATCH. They are unrepresentative, as are a lot of commentators here who seem to assume that because they have strong opinions, that the majority of the CofE are on their side. I think the majority want a peaceful settlement and… Read more »

David
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David

Neil WATCH continues to be presented as the aggressors when it fact they have been left to fly this particular flag alone over these years. I haven’t always agreed with their stance but I have always experienced them as consultative – and brave for standing up as they do. So what is your basis in fact for claiming they are unrepresentative? And what evidence are you drawing on for your own claim to know what the majority really want? And does a ‘peaceful settlement’ mean that a church where those who choose can live in open denial of the call,… Read more »

Philip
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Philip

Val – WATCH blocked the Archbishop’s amendment, blocked July’s 51c, blocked all the other proposals. The legislation failed and they have only themselves to blame, they should have been willing to compromise. The majority has spoken, there will be women bishops but please look after the minority not by imposing your will but by asking what do you neeed. And perhaps asking why people in favour of Women Bishops voted against the motion – indeed the result would have been far more overwhelming had people on the payroll, unelected to the synod not voted.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Go on haggling and killing off the C of E. While we mess about in the sand dunes, the tides are coming in !

At least two tides :
1. women WILL be ordained and all that means.
2. Cf the Census results published yesterday,

testifying to the increasing irreleavance of institutional religion in the UK.

We are becoming dodos and whatever we do it’s probably too late.

A long time ago CG Jung said, ‘the Spirit has left the Churches – never to return.’

But Jim Lovelock has some encouraging things to say about Gaia and the future of microbes.

beth
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beth

Can we have a Single Clause Measure With Trust please? As a clergywoman, why do I need to be legally protected against? Are my sacraments illegal?

Hannah
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Hannah

As an unapologetic member of the ‘noisy pressure group’ in question, I want to challenge the contention that we are ‘unrepresentative’. I have never claimed to represent the views of anyone other than myself. I sometimes speak on behalf of WATCH, giving the position that was agreed by the group who was there. That is how positions are agreed (by the House of Bishops, for instance). We consult with our members, so might reasonably claim to represent their views – and try to do so fairly where there is a range of opinion. If this makes us ‘unrepresentative’, I would… Read more »

Benedict
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Benedict

What Lindsay Southern and others on this site have failed to grasp is that the legislation was scuppered, not by Reform members or by Fif, but by reasonably minded synod reps eg. Mary Judkins, Tom Sutcliffe, who, although they are in favour of women bishops, could see that the word ‘respect’ wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, as we’re now discovering, judging by the reactions of WATCH etc. Their true colours are now coming out.

val
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val

As a member of WATCH I support Hannah, we are consulted and yes I was against the changes in the legislation because the Dioceses had approved overwhelmingly a way forward which was supported by WATCH and incidentally the process of producing the legislation had taken in to account the difficulties of the minority.

Neil
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Neil

David. Yes – since 1992 and the Act of Synod there has indeed been relative peace, with the exception of stories of rudeness and misogyny from some opponents. Many of whom have hopefully gone to one branch or other of Rome. But the vast majority have indeed co-existed peacefully and co-operatively and got on with the work of the gospel. The evidence for WATCH overplaying its hand and frightening off the proposals of the Bishops was in the summer when a compromise was rejected. The noise of pressure groups is not the same as the mind of the Church, and… Read more »

veronica
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veronica

Beth – ‘your Sacraments?’. Whether valid or not, they are not ‘yours’.

RosalindR
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RosalindR

The “relative peace” of the last 20 years has often been at the price of the sense of self worth of many women priests. In areas where there are few Resolution C parishes, or where bishops have been positively supportive, then that may have been less obvious – but the continual repetition of the mantra”proper provision”for those who cannot accept the orders of women (without any real awareness that this provision undermines the full acceptance of the ministry of women ) is very destructive for ordained women. The collapse of the legislation in November has opened up this sense of… Read more »

Lindsay Southern
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Lindsay Southern

Neil, in answer to your question women were prepared for 20 years to be ordained under this provision…so why not Bishop? ( and to take that question utterly seriously) can I commend the booklet After July which can be found on the Salisbury Diocese website. http://www.salisbury.anglican.org/resources-library/ministry/publications/After%20July.pdf It was written well before this vote took place and outlines many of the concerns women have had about the situation they were asked live with. Certainly, I had reservations myself over whether it was wise to be ordained into a Church where so many issues had been left unresolved, which I expressed at… Read more »