Thinking Anglicans

Update on progress on women bishops legislation

The Church of England issued this update this afternoon.

Update on progress on women bishops legislation
26 March 2013

The consultation document on women bishops issued on 8 February generated 376 responses by the closing date of 28 February. Of these, 10 were from organisations and three from bishops. Of the remaining 363 submissions, 154 were from General Synod members and 209 from others.

The working group has met twice in March and has further meetings scheduled for April and May. It remains on track to report to the House of Bishops before the meeting of the House on 20/21 May, when the House will be deciding what proposals to bring to the Synod in July. At its April meeting the group is having further facilitated conversations with those who joined it for the earlier discussions at the beginning of February.

Notes

The consultation document on women bishops was issued as below
http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2013/02/consultation-document-issued-by-working-group-on-women-bishops-legislation.aspx

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Dan BD
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That is a non-update.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Can anyone detect real “progress” here?

Stephen Morgan
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Stephen Morgan

This is the C of E being swift and decisive. How many meetings does it take to square a circle?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

This does make one seriously consider exactly what the hierarchy of the Church of England consider to be a legitimate up-date’. However, one can only take the hint that, in its legislation for justice for women, there just is no progress.

Philip Hobday
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Philip Hobday

What a depressing set of comments. A group of people was given a job to do (which there is no reason to suppose they are not doing) and a timetable (which they appear to be keeping to). Like the synodical process or not, unless and until it is changed it is the way the Church of England is governed. And if even that didn’t impose certain time constraints, it’s surely better to take time to produce legislation which has the best chance of being passed rather than rush, produce something shoddy, and risk a repeat of the highly unsatisfactory outcome… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Philip Hobday: The problem is that the impression given in the wake of the mess last November was that things would happen really quite quickly. The concern that many of us have is that quickly means something rather different in the C of E. (Look at how quickly the RC Church moved to elect a new Pope in unprecedented circumstances). I still discover regular, well informed church members who believe that the General Synod will make a decision about this in July. Clearly that will not now happen. What can only possibly happen in July, it seems, is that a… Read more »

Stephen Morgan
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Stephen Morgan

Re: ‘rather than rush, produce something shoddy’

Just how long, exactly, did it take to produce the legislation that was presented last November? Presumably everyone breathing and with an interest had been consulted before that vote? Who on earth is there left to ‘consult?’

Simon Butler
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Simon Butler

Hear, hear Philip. Two things are undoubtedly true at the moment: 1. There is a huge work of (re)building trust to be done after November’s vote. That is before people can hear each other and discern a way forward. 2.The fact that the legislation was defeated in November means that it’s not going to be easily passed again, however much we supporters might wish it were. Nobody wants a second failure. In the short term, this means talking and listening before acting; in the longer term, if the talking and listening doesn’t work, then it’s the General Synod elections in… Read more »

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“So accept the press release as a “we’re still working hard at this” update and calm the hell down!”

Or ask your MP to settle things sooner.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

I wish I could believe that a solution is possible and that all those who want more time than we have already spent on this want a solution other than the status quo – i.e. women bishop free zones.

Graham Kings
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Graham Kings

What is needed, it seems to me, is not so much ‘squaring the circle’ as ‘circling the square.’

The small square of ‘No’ should be surrounded and included in the large circle of ‘Yes.’

Jane Charman
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Jane Charman

I suspect that quite a lot of people, including a number of bishops, are simply in denial about where we are now and what options we still have. Hence the happy fiction that keeps being presented (and was reinforced by Abp Justin in last week’s Church Times), that we are urgently working towards a solution which will miraculously see the light of day in July to rounds of unanimous applause. The House of Bishops is understandably anxious that Parliament will intervene, either with an alternative solution or by meddling with the constitution of the House of Lords. So they are… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

Graham Kings: they sound nice words. What do they actually mean?

Jane Charman: this is a brilliant assessment. Thank you for it. Please let’s have no more denial.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The small square of ‘No’ should be surrounded and included in the large circle of ‘Yes.’ Posted by: Graham Kings The only problem with your solution Bishop – with all due respect – is that the enclosed square (opponents of Women’s ministry in the Church) is suspiciously like a malignant growth in the ‘body’ that is intrinsically ‘out of sympathy’ with the surrounding tissue. It lives on the surrounding tissue, but in no way integrates for the health of the whole body. I’m sorry to have to use this paradigm, Bishop, but it seems to be most apt in the… Read more »

Graham Kings
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Graham Kings

Andrew: Thanks. The words came out of pondering questions at the Yes 2 Women Bishops/Fulcrum conference, 16 March.
They may spark ideas or not. What do they mean to you?

Jane: your comments are partly echoed in Rachel Treweek’s fine, realistic address at that conference:

http://www.yes2womenbishops.org/2013/03/conference-address-from-ven-rachel.html

Ron: your malignant growth concept of the square is profoundly disturbing, and would compound the worst nightmares of ejection and surgery of those who oppose women in the episcopate.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Speaking of unwanted bishops, The Southern Cone has reversed its decision on Canadian Michael Pollesel
as Bp. of Uruguay. Te Deum Laudamus! One wonders what, or perhaps who, has changed in the original equation?

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/pollesel-election-in-uruguay-ratified

Benedict
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Benedict

Fr Smith, it is not a question of opposition to “women’s ministry”. By applying that term you are misunderstanding the whole issue. Women’s ministry does not always equal bishop or priest. For example, a female Reader is exercising women’s ministry, and as a traditionalist, I am not in any sense opposed to it. A female pastoral worker has been called to ministry. Or a Church Army member, none of which i would be opposed to. Please do not misrepresent us in the way that you do.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Although its rather off topic, as a Friend of the Diocese of Uruguay I am delighted that the small but courageous diocese of Uruguay has got its bishop.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

“Women’s ministry does not always equal bishop or priest.”
Benedict, I fear that’s simply a stock response from traditionalists which predictably attempts to shift the goalposts. It is very clear that we are discussing the ministry of women as bishops and priests here. That’s the topic – not Readers and Pastoral Workers. Please show a little more respect for women who are ordained to these ministries.

Steven
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Steven

Re ‘It also becomes clearer to many of us that the whole nonsense about resolutions and Acts of Synod that we created in 1992 simply has to go.’ My last priest was a true liberal – he believed passionately in the ordination of women as bishops, priests and deacons but, knowing that a significant number of his people could not accept this, he ensured that in one of his three churches a male priest would celebrate the Eucharist on every occasion and always made it clear that those who couldn’t accept it were a valued part of his parish. Presumably… Read more »

Benedict
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Benedict

Andrew Godsall, please indicate where my lack of repect applies, where I am simply making the point that women’s ministry, and indeed men’s, is not to be defined so narrowly?
I think you have missed the point. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

“Presumably Andrew Godsall would have us looking for a new church.”
No Steven. Wrong assumption. I’d have us all in a Church where we negotiated these things like grown ups rather than a church where some people seek legal protection from other people they don’t consider capable of being a priest or bishop.

Paul Edelin
Guest
Paul Edelin

One way to reconcile squares and circles is to view them edgeways on.

Similarly one might say that all latecomers, quaint bipeds, homo sapiens, cross bearers, apostles, bishops, priests and deacons, are all the same when viewed askance.

Perhaps bishops could be abolished? Perhaps draw a line in the sand?

Even look askance at a line and ask – what’s the point?

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Benedict: it is good to know that you accept the ministry of female Readers. Some opponents of women’s ordination do not. A few years ago, at the National Evangelical Anglican Conference, a speaker at a seminar women bishops said “Ordination is not really the issue. Where the Church of England crossed the line was in admitting women as Readers.” (This person has since changed his mind and now supports the ordination – and Readership – of women.) This view is logical if you think that the locus of authority in the church is in preaching and that women should not… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Charles, I am not a conservative evangelical, hence my acceptance of the ministry of Readers, both male and female.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re the news from Uruguay being off topic, I would say slightly, but not entirely, it is a related matter, with some touchstones regarding the debate over women in the episcopate i.e., what is a stake regarding the structure of the episcopacy, the role of synods, the stance of “traditionalists” to changes they don’t like,and so on.
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/004722.html

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Whatever Bishop Graham says about the need to include ‘nay-sayers’ on the issue of Women Bishops; I still contend that this promises, for the Church of England, a two-tier episcopate Bishops acceptable to the whole Body, and those unacceptable to a few.
That sounds remarkably like apartheid to me.

Paul Edelin
Guest
Paul Edelin

Father Ron Smith:

May I commend to you and others the text of the address by Rev. Canon Jane Charman, Director of Learning for Discipleship and Ministry in Salisbury Diocese to the GRAS 2013 Conference this March, in which she quoted a letter from an African bishop, making exactly that withering comparison with apartheid that you so sensibly draw yourself.

See page 7 of http://www.gras.org.uk/pdf/spring2013.pdf

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

This is such a conundrum. Separate is always unequal and lacks dignity and respect. Any scheme that allows institutional discrimination against women would be horrible. CoE is viewed as wickedly regressive in the eyes of the British public, let alone progressive Anglicans (Canada, US, South Africa, New Zealand, etc.). How to appease those who insist on discrimination? How could a double tiered system be sustained as WB’s participate in ordinations, and that’s not acceptable to the “discriminators?” With the discriminators there needs to be a way to value the person, but not the position. The divided house can’t stand much… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Cynthia, you are applying a pejorative term ‘discriminator’ to those with whom you disagree. Are you not discriminating, by your own definition, against those with a recognised integrity? We traditionalists are loyal Anglicans no less than you, so wake up and smell the coffee and avoid using such intemperate and unnecessary language which does not make for healthy conversation and debate.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

My term “discriminators” is unkind, I’ll admit. It is designed to be the very wake up call that you ask for, Benedict. Discrimination does harm. In the first world there is much domestic violence in homes, rape on campus, and depression amongst many women who are barred from their calling and their potential because of discrimination. In the third world, the manifestations of discrimination are hideous. I guess I’ve got some of John the Baptist in my DNA. I will not let folks get away with saying that discriminating is a valid opinion, equally deserving, without bringing them to face… Read more »