Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops in Wales

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales will be meeting next month. On the agenda is a bill to allow women to be bishops. The Church has issued this press release today.

Church to vote on women bishops

The Church in Wales will decide next month whether or not to allow women priests to be ordained as bishops.

A Bill, proposed by the six diocesan bishops of the Church, will be voted on by the 144 members of the Church’s legislative arm, the Governing Body, at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, at Lampeter, on Thursday, September 12.

The Bill will need a two-thirds majority in each of the three sections of the Governing Body in order to be passed – the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. However, if it is passed, it will not come into effect until a second Bill, outlining a scheme of provision for those who cannot accept women bishops, is written and passed.

The process will start with a vote on three proposed amendments to the Bill.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, says, “Since we ordain women as deacons and priests it makes no theological sense not to ordain them as bishops since we believe in the three fold order of ministry. That is why I and my fellow bishops will be asking members of the Governing Body to vote in favour of the Bill. It would not be able to come into effect immediately but at least we would have established the principle to which I believe most people in the Church assent.”

This will be the Bishops’ second attempt to pass a Bill to ordain women as bishops. Their first Bill was defeated in April 2008 when it failed, by three votes, to secure a two-thirds majority in the House of Clergy.

The two-day Governing Body meeting begins on Wednesday at 1.30pm with an address by the President, the Archbishop of Wales. The Bill to enable the Consecration of Women as Bishops will be introduced on Thursday at 9.30am.

Also on the Agenda are:

  • Church in Wales Review – a progress report on the Review which will include a motion to support a framework for setting up “Ministry Areas” across Wales. A Ministry Area is a large group of churches led by a team of clergy and lay people. They are designed to replace the traditional parish system as a more effective structure for ministry for today’s society.
  • Schools – the launch of a bond to strengthen the relationship between church schools in Wales and the National Society for Promoting Religious Education. The Revd Janina Ainsworth, the General Secretary of the National Society, will address the Governing Body, before she joins the Archbishop to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the NS and the Church in Wales. The Memorandum marks a restatement of common purpose and shared commitment to the 25,000 pupils, staff and communities of the 165 Church in Wales schools.

The Bill and its proposed amendments, as well as the full Agenda of the Governing Body meeting, will be on the Church in Wales website after August 28 here.

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Clive Sweetingrobert ian williamsVeusterFather Ron SmithJohn Holding Recent comment authors
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Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

I think this is a very sad end to Barry Morgan’s tenure as Archbishop.He is effectively creating an order of bishops, who will be a second class variety by virtue of protective legislation.

Old Father William
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Old Father William

Why does Dr. Morgan’s simple logic seem to elude so many in the CofE? The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, with which TEC is in full communion, has elected a woman as its Presiding Bishop. As an Episcopal “meme” puts it, “Now there are two.”

Helen
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Helen

The last time WB came before the governing body, it failed by 2 votes in the House of Clergy. I think the Archbishop simply doesn’t want it to fail again. As for the nature of the provision, Wales has no PEVs and isn’t likely to have, so I can’t see provision being stronger than a code of practice with perhaps an appeals/mediation procedure.

Father Ron Smith
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So, the Welsh Bishops will continue to phenomenon of ‘alternative episcopal oversight’? One wonders at the need to hold back any positive decision over Women Bishops – until another measure is passed giving dissenters the right to act as if they had never been ordained in the Church in Wales!

This potential for a structurally divided/divisive Church is hardly in tune with Our Lord’s prayer that all might be one. A two-tiered episcopate hardly supports that thesis.

Steven
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Steven

Father Ron – ‘This potential for a structurally divided/divisive Church is hardly in tune with Our Lord’s prayer that all might be one.’

With respect, Father, I fail to see how it was the traditionalists who chose the path of division and disunity by ordaining women as priests, nor can I see how is it the ‘dissenters’ who are causing further division and disunity by promoting the consecration of women as bishops.

Helen
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Helen

There isn’t any alternative episcopal oversight in Wales Father Ron. We are independent of England.

Clive Sweeting
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Clive Sweeting

The Anglican church needs primarily to reinforce its links with the main branches of Christianity,i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, and the main branches of Orthodoxy.The ordination of women bishops would clearly be a step in another direction.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“The Anglican church needs primarily to reinforce its links with the main branches of Christianity,i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, and the main branches of Orthodoxy.”

Why?

Jerry Hannon
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Jerry Hannon

As to Clive Sweeting’s desire for the Orthodox, without knowing what are their “main branches” I am disinclined to ally with any church which is a home for ultra-nationalist tendencies and biases. As for the RCC, while I have great hope for Pope Francis, and for the possibility that his back-to-true-Christianity pressures may lead to less navel-gazing bishops in future years (leading to a truly reformed RCC), I am disinclined to accept the RCC vision as it broadly stands today. However, I do believe that women priests will come to the RCC during the next several decades, so that anti-WP… Read more »

John Holding
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John Holding

The Anglican church needs primarily to reinforce its links with the main branches of Christianity,i.e. the Roman Catholic Church, and the main branches of Orthodoxy.The ordination of women bishops would clearly be a step in another direction. — Clive Sweeting That boat has sailed. The Anglican church already has women bishops. And even the Church of England has agreed that it will — at the moment it’s just talking about how. THe impact on possible reunion with the RCs and the Orthodox has been minimal to non-existant, in my opinion, because neither is interested or cares about reunion. Look to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Surely, if Rome were really interested in a better relationship with the Anglican Church it would already have rescinded the papal bull which declared Anglican Orders invalid? This means that neither men nor women (Anglican) are valid clergy in the official estimation of the Roman Catholic Church. We need to face that fact, fairly and squarely.

If Rome wants re-union, it will have to put its money where its mouth is supposed to be.

Veuster
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Veuster

> [N]either men nor women (Anglican) are valid clergy in the official estimation of the Roman Catholic Church. We need to face that fact, fairly and squarely.

The traditional Anglo-Catholic answer to this would have been that Rome was wrong in denying that Anglicans had maintained the Apostolic Succession, but that Anglicans had then cut the ground from under their own feet by breaking the consensus of East and West and unilaterally altering the Apostolic Succession to include women.

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

Veuster’s comments need to be qualified. True the Catholic Church do not accept Anglicans as being in Holy orders or apostolic succession , but we believe they have a ministry to their own community of faith, like Mormon elders or salvation army officers to theirs. God looks at the heart and judges their sincerity on the knowledge they have.

Clive Sweeting
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Clive Sweeting

Whether the Church in Wales is actually recognized by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches is of the greatest importance, but the Church in Wales ultimately stands by its conformity with the canons and the Oecumenical Councils of the early Church which together with the Pastoral Epistles appear to rule out women bishops.It is more likely that other historic churches will recognize the Church in Wales if it remains true to these principles.