Thinking Anglicans

Membership of Steering Committee to prepare women bishops’ legislation

The membership of the Steering Committee to prepare women bishops’ legislation for the Church of England General Synod has just been announced.

Membership of Steering Committee to prepare women bishops’ legislation
22 July 2013

The Appointments Committee of General Synod has announced the membership of the Steering Committee to take charge of the preparation of draft legislation to enable women to become bishops. The Committee will meet a number of times in September and October to prepare the draft legislation for consideration at the November meeting of the Synod . The size and membership of the Committee will be reviewed by the Appointments Committee after this initial phase of work.

As outlined at this month’s Synod in York the size of the newly formed Steering Committee reflects the suggestion from the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, urging “facilitated discussions” to continue. Canon David Porter, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s director of reconciliation, who guided the facilitated discussions at Synod, helped advise the appointments committee.

Steering Committee members
The Revd Paul Benfield
The Revd Canon Jane Charman
The Revd Canon Robert Cotton
Dr Philip Giddings
Dr Paula Gooder
The Ven Christine Hardman
Dr Jamie Harrison
The Rt Revd James Langstaff (Chair)
Mrs Susannah Leafe
The Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett
Canon Margaret Swinson
The Revd Preb Roderick Thomas
The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner
The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott
The Revd Canon Dr Dagmar Winter

The Very Reverend Vivienne Faull (Consultant)

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Lindsay Southern
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Lindsay Southern

Thank you to the appointments committee & Canon David Porter for his guidance – this looks like a very well-balanced committee with a breadth of views represented and people with significant prior involvement with this subject who will be au fait with the previous work done and hopefully be able to prevent the C of E running round the same hamster wheel again. Moreover these are people of integrity, profound prayerfulness, theological astuteness and generosity of spirit. I can almost bring myself to be hopeful.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

This is clearly a good group but it also seems clear that the legislation is not really capable of being changed much going forward. The Steering Group must give effect to the mind of Synod in July. My understanding is that it will essentially be revised, if at all, on the floor of the Synod. The cynic in me would have Revd Rod Thomas nominated for Ebbsfleet fairly quickly, and if that is unacceptable then create a new see, Wessex might do (you get the drift). That will satisfy the ConEvos. Dr Giddings was bound to be included, but he… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

I can’t be as positive as Lindsay. Philip Giddings is a key Anglican Mainstream man.

Doug Chaplin
Guest

pace Jeremy Pemiberton, it would be an odd definition of well-balanced that excluded conservative evangelicals.

Sister Mary
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Sister Mary

What percentage of this committee is required to approve their draft for submission to those moderating the agenda for November’s General Synod?

Father David
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Father David

This announcement seems to have been made relatively quickly by Church of England standards. I’m please to see the name of the Bishop of Chichester included therein, one of the very few remaining Traditionalist bishops on the Bench. Contrariwise – Justin seems to be dragging his heels over the appointment of his new Provincial Episcopal Visttor for the See of Ebbsfleet!.

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

For me the question is whether the group will move from discussion of the options to delivery. Synod have sent the package to the steering committee, and I believe that the final vote did show a 2/3 majority (though I haven’t seen the breakdown of votes) – so though it is not everyone’s preferred option, it has currently passed the “sufficiently good” test. Now the spotlight should fall on the supporters of the legislation and our commitment to delivering on principles 4 and 5 – and whether the words about generosity and pastoral provision can be cashed out. What has… Read more »

Father ron Smith
Guest

The really big question – at least for those of us in the Communion who are not members of the Church iof England, and who already have women diocesan bishops – wil be; whther or not the ensuing legislation will still provide ‘alternative provisonal oversight’ that is in any way a threat to the authority of any woman who might be given charge of a diocese in the C. of E. Even to the ‘catholics’ in the Anglican Communion Churches, who might have originally protested against women’s Orders, must surely be aware of the dififculties of allowing a two-tier episcopate… Read more »

primroseleague
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primroseleague

“But there are others who haven’t believed we have it in our hearts to keep opponents on board – and these are persuadable.” Mark, I don’t know about ConEvos, but traditionalist Anglo-Catholics are pretty much 100% covered by this now that the fringe has shaken out to the Ordinariate in my experience. If in practice it continues to be possible to operate according to conscience within the CofE – for existing priests, as well as for ordinands from the traditionalist camp, and the laity, with no harrassment or time limiting statute, then that should be enough. The issue has been… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

It is a well balanced membership. But it has to deliver enough to convince “No” voters to change their minds. The legislation could have passed in July 2012 had not WATCH blocked proposals from the House of Bishops which would have secured approval. WATCH could again block any proposals which would move the whole thing forward. The ball is in their court.

Jean Mayland
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Jean Mayland

In 2012 the Archbishops Amendment was defeated not by WATCH but by the House of Clergy. They were fully able to understand why it was totally unacceptable as it would have put ‘the second class nature’ of women Bishops into law.

The new proposals must be acceptable to the great majority of Church members and not just to the fringe groups on each side who will not afford to women bishops their full and equal status with male bishops

Helen
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Helen

It’s nonsense to accord WATCH so much influence, Alan. They simply don’t have the Synod members to block legislation. However, members of Parliament and the Ecclesiastical Committee have signalled strongly that they won’t accept anything that discriminates against female bishops; that’s what the steering committee need to keep in mind.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“with no … time limiting statute”

None at all? Regardless of duration? Certain dioceses would just be out-of-bounds to called&ordained women FOREVER?

That’s an extremist position, that the CofE would be wise to refuse.

Simon Taylor
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Simon Taylor

This group is very heavily slanted to male-headship evangelicials, who make an awful lot of noise for a small group. In Synod, they will not let any legislation pass in July 2015 – final approval will have to be after the elections, and all will depend on those elections. Failing that, it will be down to Parliament … which will overturn all discrimination in the church, not just that against women. I see con evos heading (under Rod Thomas’ suicidal leadership) for a second Pyrrhic victory in 2015.

Laura Sykes
Guest

In the spirit of the age, “I agree with Jean.”

primroseleague
Guest
primroseleague

“None at all? Regardless of duration? Certain dioceses would just be out-of-bounds to called&ordained women FOREVER? That’s an extremist position, that the CofE would be wise to refuse.” JCF talk about tilting at windmills – how on earth did you manage to misrepresent what I said so magnificently?? All I was saying with “no time limiting statute” is that “traditionalists” should be allowed to carry on without worrying that there will come a time when they won’t be. No diocese in England is now or ever should be “out of bounds” to anyone – woman or traditionalist man. I’ve said… Read more »

primroseleague
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primroseleague

cont… (and sorry for double posting) Which actually comes on to the other point I made – the Anglo Papists have gone. The people left are the people that want to remain. There is a weary sense of realpolitik I sense amongst those of us that are still trundling along in the “traditionalist” camp, and yet the “other side” are carrying on as though Messrs Broadhurst, Newton, etc are still calling the shots and seeing birettas under every bed. I can only hope the working group can see further than the animosity of the past – to misquote Roger Livesey… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“None at all? Regardless of duration? Certain dioceses would just be out-of-bounds to called&ordained women FOREVER?”

What would happen when the Church runs out of people who are both (a) plausible candidates as bishops and (b) also willing to be “men only” bishops. Would people have to be conscripted? What?

Charles Read
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Charles Read

I am not as sanguine as some here about this group. GS has signalled very clearly it wants Option 1 Plus. This group includes too many who I think want another Option. If anythiong other than Option 1 returns in November, it will be defeated and back we go again. The assu,mption seems to be that the task is to get WATCH, REFORM and FinF to agree a deal. That is not the task and this procedure ignores the actual role of the campaigning groups. In the end, legislation has to be framed that carries 2/3 in each House of… Read more »

Veuster
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Veuster

> any continuance of ‘special provision’ for dissenters would seem to be a compromise too far, and a denial of the Gospel ethos of innate spiritual equality before God

Fr Ron, how can this be reconciled with the fact that the Anglican Church in New Zealand split itself into three ‘cultural streams’ in 1992, in keeping with the principle of ‘the right of every person to choose any particular cultural expression of the faith’?

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> The new proposals must be acceptable to the great majority of Church members and not just to the fringe groups on each side who will not afford to women bishops their full and equal status with male bishops Two pragmatic questions: 1) Supporters of women bishops have been offered 99% of what they want. Why don’t they take it, rather than holding out for the last 1%? Had they been a little more flexible, there would be bishops in the Church of England today. 2) What would be so wrong with a ‘Church within a Church’, allowing both the… Read more »

Alan Marsh
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Alan Marsh

If Parliament were to interfere it would indeed be a Pyrrhic victory, turning the historic episcopate of the Church into functionaries appointed by the state, lacking credibility as Christian ministers. Not to be commended as a way forward.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Are we liberals conceding too much electoral power to the so-called ‘mainstream’ advocates against women’s ministry – like Rod Thomas and Philip Giddings? After all, they are only 2 voices, though admittedly more vociferous than most – among those in the group here. ‘Mainstream’ seems to have become more of a slip-stream of late – especially where the heartland of the Church lies. The real problem for the Church of England – and its relationship to other provinces of the Church, for whom Women Bishops are acceptable and appreciated – would be if the desire for a false unity, based… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Veuster, how can traditionalists be so calm about a complete break with episcopal ecclesiology and any theology of what church is about, and not worry about creating a church within a church, something completely new and unorthodox? By what theology is that still a church and not two churches? Only that the separation isn’t side by side but one inside the other? How can you have one church in which 2 groups are not in communion with each other and closed off from each other? What would be the point of such a church? If you want that level of… Read more »

Brian Ralph
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Brian Ralph

Veuster “Fr Ron, how can this be reconciled with the fact that the Anglican Church in New Zealand split itself into three ‘cultural streams’ in 1992, in keeping with the principle of ‘the right of every person to choose any particular cultural expression of the faith’?” While I have only been resident in NZ for less than 4 years, to my knowledge this division is only due to cultural differences in forms of worship and administration. Maori, Pakeha and Islander priests and bishops are welcome in each others churches. The 3 archbishops are usually involved in the consecration of any… Read more »

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Erika, can I ask why liberals who don’t believe in heaven, hell, the virgin birth, the resurrection, miracles, the sanctity of the unborn, male priesthood, heterosexual (only)marriage, The BCP, The Bible, etc. didn’t just leave and start a new church? Why remain in a misogynistic church? The traditionalists were there first. I really don’t understand why they’ve infiltrated rather than just begun a new prophetic work. And if they are truly “liberal” in the best sense, why expect anyone who disagrees to get out?

Helen
Guest
Helen

It’s evolution , Chris, not “infiltration”. Like most other “liberals” I’m a baptised cradle Anglican. And no-one expects anyone to “get out”; that’s just your unfortunate use of inflammatory language, as I suspect you well know. Unfortunately (again) “traditionalists” tend to resort to this sort of thing; easier than engaging with the arguments I guess. Having said that you do lump an awful lot of stuff together. Where does one start on these misconceptions? I’ll have a go:Biblical scholarship has cast some doubt on the virgin birth, the literal interpretation of the miracle stories, the origins of exclusively male priesthood… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Chris H you have not answered my question. I asked about how those who claim to stick faithfully to an orthodox theology can so calmly contemplate the idea of a church within a church, which is a break with everything that went on before. How a church within a church differs from two churches alongside each other. And what moves someone to accept such a theological novelty and to which extent they would still actually feel as part of one CoE. I am not interested in slanging matches about what groups of people apparently believe or don’t believe and I’m… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

Ah, Chris H, if only you were crafting a Poe… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe's_law

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

Helen, yes, I do lump stuff together, because when the local klatch of “progressives” get together, the only thing they seem to agree on is that they don’t agree with traditional beliefs. This priest doesn’t believe in the resurrection, that one says, “Just be a good person, work for social justice, forget the rest.” This member is a religion professor with a reputation that a real miracle is having any faith left at the end of the course. That one is mixing Buddhist teachings with it to give it more meaning. Nobody believes the BCP teachings on marriage, etc. Erika,… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Chris H. Christ did not come here to uphold the Law. He didn’t get crucified for toeing the line of the status quo. He came to tell us to love our neighbor (neighbour for our British friends). All of our neighbors, black/white, gay/straight, male/female, Hebrew/Greek, Judean/Samaritan – ALL of our neighbors without excuse. “Traditional” exclusions look increasingly like traditional personal bias, the same sorts of things that brought about the burning of witches, anti-semitism, support for slavery, etc. Bonhoeffer said that humans have matured in our relationship to God and were called to take our place to assist God in… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Chris H
you have still not read my questions.

Maybe Veuster, to whom they were originally addressed, can respond to them?

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> how can traditionalists be so calm about a complete break with episcopal ecclesiology and any theology of what church is about, and not worry about creating a church within a church, something completely new and unorthodox? Erika, it seems to me that the break with episcopal ecclesiology, as traditionally understood and as understood by traditionalists, came when the CofE decided to admit women first to the presbyterate and then to the episcopate (the first made the second inevitable). That, again it seems to me, represented a clear and irrevocable decision by the CofE to turn away from the idea… Read more »

Helen
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Helen

Your latest comment on “progressives” simply isn’t worth answering Chris; it says more about you and your urge to stereotype those you do not agree with than anything else. Perhaps a basic difficulty for you is that TEC is different from CoE. Yes, most CoE Anglicans were born into it and anyone can get baptised in the CoE (though priests have been known to set conditions); so why should anyone leave? You seem to have assumed also that certain aspects of the Anglican Church that you know and love have somehow always been there. Not so: the BCP was “progressive”… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Veuster, I must have misunderstood you all this time. I thought you were a traditional Anglo-Catholic asking for a church within a church so you could remain within the CoE without being affected by women bishops. If you’re not a traditional Anglo-Catholic it makes more sense that you should be asking why a church within a church would be a problem. My question remains. What FiF have had until now was, almost, a church within a church but at parish level only. Those who want to extend those provisions to bishop level will have to answer why they do not… Read more »

primroseleague
Guest
primroseleague

Erika, I’ll have a go for you in the absence of anyone else, but it is a hunch more than anything (and please don’t all jump on me for it, I’m just trying to work it through)as an intellectual exercise. Many trad A-Cs don’t want to go to Rome, because they don’t accept *all* its claims. Therefore, there is more intellectual honesty in remaining Anglican. However, they would then see the departure of the majority of the Anglican church from what they believe – male priesthood, BCP, whatever (insert own pet hobby horses as appropriate) as them maintaining catholicity and… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Frankly, it’s a mess.” I’m seeing this and reflecting on Erika’s question on another thread of how traditional AC’s stay in TEC. The short answer is that the AC’s can maintain a male only line of priests indefinitely, given the size of TEC (the geography calling for over 100 dioceses). And some female bishops are fine with sending male bishops to AC churches. I think our Presiding Bishop is a more Protestant thing than the UK’s ABC… Which perhaps contributes to the idea that traditional AC’s in TEC seem to have settled for calling their own male line priests. They’ve… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Chris: Although I’m a Brit, I am reading this thread in a hotel room in Pittsbugh PA. I’m here attending a Christians for Biblical Equality Confrence. There are about 250 of us – maybe more. All but about 20 of us are from the USA or Canada. Since CBE is an evangelical group there must be a few hundred folk in the USA who believe in egalitarian leadership in the church. I don’t think any of them has abandoned belief in the great credal doctrines as you imply happens when you embrace egalitarianism. CBE president Mimi Haddad is fond of… Read more »

Primroseleague
Guest
Primroseleague

Cynthia, I can. The problem was the direction FiF was led in for the best part of 20 years. However, those people are gone. My sense is that the ACs can be accommodated and worked with, because their/our objections are fundamentally rooted in uncertainty rather than the inerrancy arguments of the ConEvos.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Primroseleague, thank you. I will have to think about that a bit longer. But it’s given me something to think about! Cynthia, a male line of priests is exactly what traditional AC parishes have had, supported by Flying Bishops. The problem arises because they cannot accept bishops they do not believe to be validly consecrated. I happen to think that the Flying Bishop scheme is the root of this problem and that it had absolutely nothing to do with sacramental assurance – because every single male bishop in this country is validly consecrated and therefore in Apostolic succession providing sacramental… Read more »

Laurence
Guest
Laurence

‘But as you cannot have priests who are not in communion with their bishops, you have to find a way of providing traditional ACs with a male bishop who was not ordained deacon, priest and bishop by a woman.’

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 27 July 2013 at 7:57am BST

And (a man) who has not ordained women in any shape or form whatsoever.

A big ask / stretch !

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Laurence,
that’s contentious. Because while people might like that it’s nothing at all to do with sacramental assurance and not all traditional ACs actually ask for it.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Cynthia, I can. … My sense is that the ACs can be accommodated and worked with, because their/our objections are fundamentally rooted in uncertainty…” Thank you for answering my question, Primroseleague. It really seems that that aspect ought to be solvable without a lot of fuss, or statutory provisions. Or even “flying bishops.” “But as you cannot have priests who are not in communion with their bishops…” I’m pretty AC myself. I’m not seeing an unsolvable problem between AC priests and female diocesan bishops. The issues are sacramental, not leadership, per se. So the choices are (and both have happened… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

But we have got people in the CofE saying that any old male bishop will not do – it has to be one who has not ordained women. I cannot see how this is not taint – those who hold this view repeatedly tell me they do not think it implies taint. This is part of the circle we can’t square – and why the process which sees the task as finding agreement bewteen pressure groups will struggle….

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cynthia, Laurence is on our side, he just mentioned that some traditionalists will not accept bishops who ordain women. It is true that some AC’s don’t, but as you say, that has nothing to do with sacramental assurance. The problem is greater for traditional evangelicals, because they are not interested in sacramental assurance but in obedience to Scripture. And a bishop who ordains a woman, knowing that women should not be ordained, is clearly not obeying Scripture. The other problem is your point 2. “The female diocesan takes a pastoral stance and invites the suffragan or a neighboring bishop to… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I hear you, Erika, you are so fair minded. However, my perspective includes having WO and WB my entire adult life. I’m in a profession that is ridiculous to women, and of course, I’m gay. I am tired from the hurt that discrimination causes, in my life, that of others, and society at large. Tired, exhausted, I’ve had enough. And then there was Rowan insisting that TEC throw me under a bus to be in “unity” with human rights violators. I can’t believe that all of the focus goes on “proper provision” without any on the injustice and horrible suffering… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“But we have got people in the CofE saying that any old male bishop will not do – it has to be one who has not ordained women.” This needs scrutiny. I keep mentioning the “cootie doctrine,” the idea that ordaining women invalidates the sacrament for men is crazy. The RC’s decided in the Middle Ages that the sacrament is not compromised by the character of the priest. So the idea that the sacrament is valid when administered by a pedophile or adulterer, but not by a bishop who has ordained women is sheer superstition. A brand new spin on… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cynthia, I hear you too. You and I and millions of people are sick and tired of this whole nonsense. But but but… and this has nothing to do with being fair minded … you cannot argue with people if you do not listen to what they are actually saying and if you do not deal with the issues they mention rather than with the ones you believe them to have or with your own. And, please, a little bit of realism would also help. Yes, you can continue to tell everyone that they should just get on with it… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“And, please, a little bit of realism would also help. Yes, you can continue to tell everyone that they should just get on with it and follow TEC’s example.” I am not saying CoE should follow TEC’s example. I’m saying that there are other models out there and that provides useful information to fashion a solution based on data. There’s also Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, etc. CoE is acting like it’s never happened anywhere and is re-inventing the wheel with tortuous twists and turns… It is true that calling our rectors gives us more confidence that we’ll get… Read more »

Helen
Guest
Helen

Quite so Cynthia