Thinking Anglicans

House of Laity meeting

Updated

As Friday’s meeting of the House of Laity of the General Synod approaches with its motion of no confidence in Dr Philip Giddings as Chair of the House, James Townsend looks ahead to the meeting with Philip Giddings – the mood of the House is yet to settle.

Townsend is a lay member of Synod from the diocese of Manchester. He predicts “a reasonably high turnout of between 75% and 79%”, and his soundings suggest that the voting on the no confidence motion will be close.

Update

Anglican Mainstream has published House of Laity Meeting on Friday January 18 with views from Bishop Jonathan Baker, Canon Stephen Barney, Peter Ould, Tom Sutcliffe and Stephen Trott.

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Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“The role of Chair will be vital in finding that solution – bringing people around the table, supplying the imagination to find a new way forward, and then galvanising the whole house to support whatever comes out.

The question now must be: “Does Philip Giddings have our confidence to do that job?””

That makes sense. It’s not about looking backward and apportioning blame but trying to be constructive about the future.
If that really becomes the question, the Motion will be valid.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“the draft Measure was driven ‘over the cliff’ by those unwilling to agree proper provision for those of us who have conscientious difficulties concerning the ordination of women.” – Bp. Jonathan Baker – “Conscientious difficulties” should not necessarily be allowed to over-ride the fact that the Church wants women bishops. If the Church of England accepts women bishops (as it has accepted women clergy) then the memberships of the Church ought to accept that as a fact – or move to a jurisdiction of the Church where women are not acceptable as bishops. This, surely, was the whole reason for… Read more »

Andrew
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Andrew

Let us say that by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Roman Catholic Church discerns that married men are generally acceptable as priests, not just Anglicans that have crossed the Tiber. One could imagine this might happen, at least in part, because there is a huge shortage of well-educated native English speaking Roman Catholic priests in the United States and other countries. Now assume also that some RC laity and clergy find that they have “conscientious difficulties” with married priests, and further that there are some passages in the Bible or the writings of the church fathers that they… Read more »

Charles Read
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Charles Read

What are clergy doing commenting in public on a House of Laity matter?

Pam Smith
Guest

It’s about time ‘those of us who have conscientious difficulties concerning the ordination of women’ spelt out exactly what would constitute a proper provision in their eyes, instead of involving everyone in another long and fruitless guessing game. Incidentally I find +Jonathan’s terminology interesting – ‘having conscientious difficulties’ sounds so much gentler and less threatening than objecting or opposing, which is what their stance looks like to me. On the other hand he *has* come right out with it and said this is about the ordination of women and not just about women becoming bishops, which is what many of… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Dr. Giddings might ignore a successful motion.

But then the rest of the Church, not to mention the larger society, would regard his WB opposition as all the more corrupt and illegitimate.

Lionel Deimel
Guest

“It’s not about looking backward and apportioning blame but trying to be constructive about the future.”

That’s true but somewhat disingenuous. If the question is whether Dr. Philip Giddings can carry out his duties evenhandedly in the future, then one must necessarily consider whether he has seemed to have done so in the past. That may not be the only consideration, but it is necessarily an important factor.

badman
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badman

Opponents of the Measure assume that “proper provision” is the same as “the provision we want”. Hence, when the provision they want is rejected, they say they have not been given “proper provision”.

This completely begs the question. The provision they wanted was considered and was unacceptable – the opponents did not win the arguments for their “proper provision”. It was found to be not “proper provision”, but, rather, offensively discriminatory and dangerously schismatic.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Lionel, I have been discussing this question with Jeremy extensively on another thread. And my main point is that it has been completely legitimate for anyone to be against women priests, to believe that the provisions were inadequate and to vote accordingly. Mr Giddings became Chair of the House of Laity while everyone knew his views. He did not chair the meeting, he only spoke for about 5 minutes and he trotted out well known views that had not been remarkable at all. The only thing that happened is that the vote was lost and that people are now looking… Read more »

Benedict
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Benedict

Can I ask one question of most of the contributors to this thread: Why were you not calling for the resignation of the Venerable Christine Hardman as Chair, when she expressed her personal views on the matter? It is sheer hypocrisy to suggest that Dr Giddings should stand down.

Jonathan Jennings
Guest
Jonathan Jennings

Charles – because we can and because we have a view. And because the whole of the Synod listens to the whole of a debate. Lay folk are entirely free to ignore it/reject it/belittle it/ lionise it or patronise it. Badman – excellent and understressed point. As is, also, though, the fact that the measure was defeated because too many supporters of women bishops who might have supported it chose not to. If the ‘provision they want’ was rejected, so also the provision they were eventually going to be offered was found to be wanting and, moreover, found so by… Read more »

commentator
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commentator

Dear Benedict:

The Chair of the House of Clergy was expressing the view of the majority of her House. She had no need to explain that this was a personal view. Nor did she need to resign her office to gain exception from the need to express the view of the House of Clergy.

Hypocrisy is not the charge to be made against the contributors on this site.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I don’t understand Benedict’s question in the context of this particular argument. Unless: The Venerable Christine Hardman was Chairperson of the House of Laity. Was she a Lay Archdeacon, perhaps?

Peter Owen
Guest

For those who want to read exactly what was said during the debate in November, the verbatim Report of Proceedings became available a few days ago.

http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1634223/report%20of%20proceedings%20nov%2012.pdf

The speech by Dr Giddings starts on page 110, and that by Archdeacon Hardman immediately follows.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Erika said, “And my main point is that it has been completely legitimate for anyone to be against women priests, to believe that the provisions were inadequate and to vote accordingly.”

And my main point is that the ground has just shifted tectonically.

It took the November vote, and the reaction in the Parliament, press, and wider culture, to make the Church of England realise that opposing women’s ordination is no longer a legitimate position for anyone in any leadership role to take.

That realisation is correct. Proponents of discrimination have no claim to any honoured place at all.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Jeremy I have been convinced by Pam Smith’s argument on the other thread that the system of a Motion exists and that it can therefore be used and that many of the arguments I have been making are really better suited to the debate for or against the Motion than to deciding whether there should be a Motion. And I agree with you that the situation has changed dramatically, and I have been even more convinced by the argument made by James Townsend that it is a case of deciding whether, in the light of that change, Philip Giddings is… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Until a single clause measure is presented and wins General Synod approval, there will remain some sort of legislative accommodation for those in the CofE who hold the minority view on women bishops. Those GS members supporting an accommodation of that minority view have a right to have their position articulated at the highest levels of our leadership. Unless the church resorts to a single clause measure, the removal of any leader holding a minority position on this issue from leadership is a blatant effort to ‘throw the fight’. It may actually engender resentment and back-fire. Unless any proposed accommodation… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

I haven’t had a strong or settled view on the rights or wrongs of this vote of no confidence; it seems to me legitimate for the House of Laity to debate whatever they decide to debate, though I had also appreciated the argument that all members of Synod had a right to speak as they wished. However having read Philip Giddings’ contribution to the Women Bishops debate, my sympathy for thise who are questioning his position has considerably strengthened. He says (p110 of the pdf file – link provided by Peter Owen, thanks) “As Chair of the House of Laity,… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

I agree with Anne, and think that a Chair should speak as little as possible, and never to one side or the other of any matter before the House. If a particular point of view is not expressed by the members, it is not the chair’s responsibility act as their spokesperson.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“Those GS members supporting an accommodation of that minority view have a right to have their position articulated at the highest levels of our leadership.”

Certainly not. There should be no honoured place for anyone who supports misogyny and bigotry.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Tobias,
I agree that this would be a very good principle. But it is not one that is generally observed at Synod and that was not observed by the Chairs of the other Houses either.
That said – maybe it ought to become a formal requirement.

David Shepherd
Guest

Jeremy:

If there is an accommodation in the future similar to the last proposed Measure, do you just want the Code of Practice (which you seem to think in any form will enshrine misogyny) prescribed by a fiat dictated by those who find anything other than a single-clause measure unconscionable?

Your idea is unworkable, should a single-clause measure fail to muster majority support.

Pam Smith
Guest

It isn’t the job of any chair to emphasise the opinion of any particular group, other than by ensuring it’s expressed. As Dr Giddings wasn’t chairing the meeting, he was at liberty to express his own view – it’s common practice for the chair to be handed to someone else in a discussion in which the chair wishes to put a particular point of view. Saying the minority view was in danger of not being heard is disingenuous in the extreme, it seemed to me the debate was skewed in favour of representing the minority view, making it appear that… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

I was speaking of the general principle that Chairs, if they wish to express an opinion on a matter of debate, cede the chair to another for a time in order so to do. If, as Pam Smith says, this is what Dr Giddings did, then I don’t see that as a breach. It is speaking pro or con from the chair — not _by_ the “Chair” _not in_ the chair — that I think is a recognized violation of decorum in parliamentary debate. At least it is in the parliamentary societies I’m familiar with. Other than casting a vote… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

I still think the crucial thing here is that Philip Giddings said EXPLICITLY that he was commenting in his capacity as Chair of the House of Laity, and felt that his position as Chair meant that he ought to give voice to a minority position (which happened to be his own…) He was evidently taking some of the “weight” which attached to him as Chair, and using it to strengthen the impact of his contribution. As I said earlier, since that minority view had not been underrepresented, that appears to be a questionable use of his position. It doesn’t make… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Yes, any code of practice will enshrine misogyny.

Every other Communion province that has ordained women bishops–and five have thus far–has done so without legislating any code that could perpetuate discrimination.

If a single-clause measure cannot pass this Synod, so be it. The Church of England just needs a new Synod.