Thinking Anglicans

Church in Wales – Statement by Forward in Faith

THE CHURCH IN WALESDECISION ON WOMEN BISHOPS: STATEMENT BY FORWARD IN FAITH

Forward in Faith regrets the decision of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to authorize the ordination of women as bishops without first agreeing arrangements for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive episcopal ministry from them.

We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese. This vote therefore makes the question of the provision of episcopal ministry for those who continue to uphold catholic faith and order in the Church in Wales even more pressing.

Experience in Wales and elsewhere does not give us confidence that the promised ‘code of practice’ could offer the level of assurance that would encourage growth and flourishing – so sorely needed in Wales – or the degree of certainty that would remove the possibility of damaging and distracting disputes.

Our brothers and sisters in Credo Cymru will seek to enter into dialogue with the Welsh bishops. We can only hope that their representations will be met with the generosity of spirit that ought to be the hallmark of Christian episcopacy. Meanwhile, we continue to pray for and with our Welsh sisters and brothers, encouraging them to follow St David in being joyful and keeping the faith.

+JONATHAN FULHAM
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham
Chairman
13 September 2013

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Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

This statement from someone who clams to be a bishop is one of the most mean spirited, grace-less, sexist, self righteous diatribes I have read. There is nothing ‘forward’ or ‘faithful’ about it and it makes me fear for the future of Anglo-Catholicism. If a great movement is now in the hands of such as these, it shows just what a lack of Christian spirit can do.

stephen Morgan
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stephen Morgan

That a Bishop in the Church of England can put his name to such a statement says it all, really. The Church in Wales should have made this decision at least five years ago, so let us not get too congratulatory. As the Synod voting in the C of E this November is essentially the same as the last one, and the English bishops seem unwilling to back a single-clause measure as a body, I have no great hopes for a similar positive outcome. Look at the Welsh attendance figures. Look at the English. People are leaving in droves!

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Asking for a generosity of spirit which they seem to be very reluctant to give. This ‘focus of unity’, apparently is only possible with non women ordaining bishops. Where is the generosity to those of us who believe strongly that women should and must be ordained priest and be made bishop on exactly equal terms to men?

Peter Waddell
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Peter Waddell

I’m not a member of FinF or in agreement with them. But Andrew, if this is really one of the meanest graceless things you’ve read, you’ve not read much. The alleged lack of Christian spirit has been just as much evident among the supporters of women’s ordination as its opponents – not least on this site.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“if this is really one of the meanest graceless things you’ve read” Discrimination is by definition graceless and mean. It is using power to crush people’s spirits. I like to refer to MLK’s Letter from the Birmingham (Alabama) jail. He said that moderates who would not have the oppressed work for their human rights and dignity are a bigger problem than the opposition. Those moderates claiming that speaking out against the oppression is, well, things like “graceless and mean.” That FIF bishop is trying to use his last vestige of power to oppress. His statements need to be called out… Read more »

John Wirenius
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John Wirenius

Peter Waddell, I’ve no doubt that supporters of women’s consecration to the episcopate may have, on occasion, shown a lack of charity. But this is a statement from a bishop, purporting to ask for charity from the majority, while expressly denying that “a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be, a Father in God and a focus of unity to all within his diocese.” A bishop’s official statement on behalf of a faction of the Church is not equivalent to an over-heated blog comment. I must say, were I in the C of E and the Bishop… Read more »

Dan BD
Guest

Since FiF UK is self-admittedly “England and Scotland,” one wonders whether anyone suggested to Baker that he might kindly mind his own business?

Andrew Godsall
Guest
Andrew Godsall

Peter Waddell: yes, I’ve certainly read many mean spirited and graceless things. But for a C of E bishop to be questioning the faith and order of his fellow Christians in a public statement is a step further. As John Wirenius says, he is now a very public face of disunity, and also disloyalty.

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

How many ” traditionalist clergy” left the Church in Wales after it abandoned the provincial bishop.

Not one.

Says it all really, and don’t hold your breath for a massive exodus to the Ordinariate.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

And this Bishop is one of the five members of the Pilling Review Group! My hopes for anything positive coming out of it reduce daily.

Tim Chesterton
Guest

‘Look at the Welsh attendance figures. Look at the English. People are leaving in droves!’

Stephen, please don’t assume that ordaining women to the episcopate will change that. Take it from someone in North America where we’ve been doing it for years. Our attendance figures are in a nose dive just as much as yours.

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

Tim, I ‘m making no such assumption! I I’m a great advocate of women’s ministry, but sadly I do not think it will make the slightest difference to the historical and ongoing decline of Christianity in the west. Whenever I read contributions such as the Bishop of Fulham’s I think: why would anyone on the outside looking in, (and in their right mind!) ever want to join such an organisation?

Rose
Guest
Rose

I didn’t necessarily agree with them, but at least the former leaders of FiF were clear about what they needed and acted with integrity in joining the Ordinariate. Under the present leadership they have distanced themselves from Rome and expect the CofE to pander to their demands(even though they will stay in anycase). Baker is a Mason, so maybe he just has a penchant for men only clubs.

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese. Sadly, this is a matter of simple fact. As things stand at present, everyone – female and male – can accept a male bishop as validly consecrated, but some – female and male – can’t accept a female bishop as validly consecrated. Why are there only two choices – either forcing traditionalists to accept women bishops against their will, or forcing non-traditionalists to do without women bishops, also against… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“A bishop’s official statement on behalf of a faction of the Church is not equivalent to an over-heated blog comment.”

YES!!!! There’s an enormous difference between wielding power and wielding words.

At least we are all now crystalline clear on FIF’s misogyny, and the double standard that an FIF bishop can be the focus of disunity but a WB can’t.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Our attendance figures are in a nose dive just as much as yours [in North America]. Not quite as much. There is definitely an overall trend of secularization that is more recent to the US (I can’t speak for Canada) than the UK. However, 30 percent of TEC dioceses grew in the last few years, including mine, Colorado. While I don’t think that this is a long term trend, I do think it is a “bounce” we’re experiencing with the end of the Culture Wars. Young families don’t want to raise their children in bigoted environments, and many TEC parishes… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Why not have women bishops in the mainstream Church in Wales, and an extra-diocesan male bishop as an episcopal visitor for traditionalists? It may not be perfect, but it would give both sides 99% of what they can realistically hope for and would surely be better than forcing everyone to submit either to the tyranny of the majority or to the tyranny of the minority!” Posted by: Veuster on Saturday, This sounds possible – and may even be contemplated – but surely to the detriment of collegial episcopacy. And what about the oddity of a small section of the Church… Read more »

Helen
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Helen

What on earth the Bishop of Fulham has to do with Wales I can’t think. He should mind his own business. Veuster, Barry Morgan got rid of PEVs some years ago. They are unlikely to return:we can’t afford any more bishops.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese.”

ROFL! No, seriously, I burst out laughing in utter disbelief at the (willful?) obtuseness of the above.

TBTG for the Church in Wales!

AndrewT
Guest
AndrewT

Veuster, I think you are mistaken. There are many who do not accept certain male bishops as validly consecrated, because they disagree with some other aspect of their person (such as, for example, their sexuality). Liberals have never been able to opt out from the episcopal oversight of “traditionalist” bishops. Why on earth should special provision be made the other way, once Synod has determined that the consecration of women bishops is to proceed?

John
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John

I don’t think Jonathan Baker’s comment is as well-turned as usual, but of course I agree with Veuster on what should happen.

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Rose said: ” . . . at least the former leaders of FiF were clear about what they needed and acted with integrity in joining the Ordinariate . . . the present leadership. . . expect the CofE to pander to their demands . . . “ What an odd thing to say. Integrity or exasperation? If FIF had been offered an Ordinarariate within the C of E they would have had no need to seek generous terms from another Church. Where was the generosity in the C of E? I rather fear the traditionalists in the C of E… Read more »

Helen
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Helen

In fact the Governing Body has voted for women bishops and a code of practice. Anything else is just wishful thinking. Dear me, how independent those wretched Welsh are!

Robert Ian williams
Guest
Robert Ian williams

“at least the former leaders of FiF were clear about what they needed and acted with integrity in joining the Ordinariate”

Not quite the case… they waited until thay had secured their pensions..a heck of a lot of them that is.

peterpii - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpii - Peter Gross

JCF on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 9:12am BST, Bravo/a with your ROFL comment. I, for one, don’t see how a male bishop can be a Mother in God. So, maybe it’s time to get beyond “Father” and similar analogies for bishops. “Shepherd” works. “Leader”. Depending on one’s theological underpinnings, maybe even “Christ’s representative”. Shepherds, leaders, or representatives can be either male or female. I’d say that, if there truly is no male or female in the Body of Christ, it’s high time we acted on it. And, “Oh, a woman ironing an altar cloth is performing as high a… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

As to the ironing of Altar cloths, perhaps that ministry ought to be opened more freely to men. Comparing the service done by different people so as to evaluate the worth of the people by the scale and nature of their service is reserved in scripture – we are enjoined not to judge. When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples it was a shocking act, not a pious one – and we might recall that Jesus himself had his own feet washed by a woman in an act which was also shocking to those who witnessed it. I think… Read more »

David Malloch
Guest
David Malloch

Robert, that is rubbish. Most of those who joined the ordinariate are still active and are not pensioners. BUT, your comment is inaccurate even in regard to those who did retire; because most of them would have been able to take their full pensions earlier by resigning under the 1993 measure. So there can be no grounds at all for suggesting they were hanging on for their pensions. Have you ever considered checking for facts before putting poisoned pen to paper?

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

‘We cannot avoid or ignore it.’

How about changing it? Canon C18 (young people thinking about whether to join the church, pay attention!) was not written in stone. Why should we think or speak of God or ‘Father in God’ in exclusively male terms? The liturgy I grew up with gave that up long ago! Since when were we a slave to language?

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Mark Bennet: ‘I think we will come back to the language of “Father in God” because the Church of England will have to wrestle with it’

Ah yes, we shall have to wrestle with the Reverend Mother.

Now there’s a turn of phrase that we didn’t expect to read, even on TA.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

@ Reverend Prelate in God, +Jonathan Baker, welcome to the real world.

Robert Zacher
Guest
Robert Zacher

“We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese.” Rubbish! “We cannot see?” I think Bishop Johnathan Baker needs to look beyond England and Wales to other places in the Anglican Communion where women bishops have served as ‘Mothers’ in God, if you will, and have been very much the focus of unity within their dioceses. It’s happened successfully in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Cuba. In Australia, at this time, women also serve as assistant or suffragan… Read more »

robert Ian Williams
Guest
robert Ian Williams

David on reflection I accept your rebuke..but I do think there has been much calculation in some of these conversions..but that will be for God to judge.I actually know one aspiring convert who is trying to get his first marriage annulled.

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> There are many who do not accept certain male bishops as validly consecrated, because they disagree with some other aspect of their person (such as, for example, their sexuality). That’s the heresy of Donatism, against which St Augustine had a good deal to say. It’s just plain wrong. > Liberals have never been able to opt out from the episcopal oversight of “traditionalist” bishops. Why would they want to? They might consider the traditionalist bishops to be stupid, obscurantist, etc, etc, etc, but they wouldn’t deny that they were true bishops. > Why on earth should special provision be… Read more »

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

And to those who say that we shouldn’t accept any proposal which doesn’t put female bishops on exactly the same footing as male bishops, I would say that while I sympathise with the sentiment I don’t think it’s the best way to achieve the objective. Didn’t it make sense for women of 30 or over to accept the vote in Britain in 1918, even though it wasn’t until 1929 that women were given the vote on the same terms as men? Didn’t it make sense for gays in England and Wales to accept the legalisation of homosexual acts in 1967,… Read more »

John
Guest
John

‘Collegial episcopacy isn’t the be-all and end-all of Christian life. I’m happy to worship with, and receive Communion from, Methodist, URC, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Reformed and other ministers who are happy to offer Communion to me, even though they are not part of an Anglican collegial episcopate.’

Indeed. To which one might add RC priests (many of whom, especially in Europe and North America) are entirely happy to return the compliment) and Orthodox priests (many of whom ditto).

Helen
Guest
Helen

Actually the objective has now been achieved in Wales- and various other places of course. And I’m not sure that I agree with your analogies. Women didn’t “accept” the vote: legislation was passed enabling them to vote; similarly gays in 1967 weren’t in a position to argue for all or nothing- it was a simple matter of legislation based on what the country at large was thought to be prepared to accept, despite the fact that there are probably still those who think that gay sex should be illegal.The Welsh Church as a whole has accepted women bishops as bishops,… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

IMO, Veuster, it’s the success of gradualist approaches in the past, which is why they should NOT have to be settled for, now.

That’s the point: we’ve LEARNED from gradualism, that you eventually get to your goal. If you’re going to get to the goal, why not go for it now? I would think we’ve actually progressed beyond 1918 or 1967, y’know?

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> If you’re going to get to the goal, why not go for it now?

Because IMO it’s good to be magnanimous in victory. It’s kinder and more compassionate, not to say more Scriptural – going the extra mile, avoiding causing one’s sisters or brothers to stumble, etc.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Women didn’t “accept” the vote: legislation was passed enabling them to vote; similarly gays in 1967 weren’t in a position to argue for all or nothing”

Exactly. Without enough power, women and gays were forced into a 2nd class status. After all the liberation movements of the 20th Century, it is time to simply move on with full equality. It isn’t as if CoE hasn’t been dawdling for 20 years already on WB. Indulging FiF for 20 years only made them feel even more entitled to perpetual, institutional discrimination.

Helen
Guest
Helen

I’m not sure that it would be more scriptural, Veuster. Jesus tended to challenge, not to confirm, preconceptions. And I’ by no means sure that going the extra mile really means what you think it does. Have you read Ched Myers? He suggests it’s a form of non violent resistance to Roman occupation, not just being nice to people.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Because IMO it’s good to be magnanimous in victory.” It’s not victory if we’re still suffering discrimination. It isn’t victory if the message is that we’re not created equally in the image of God. It wasn’t victory for black people in the US when they had “separate but equal” status, because separate was most assuredly unequal. It isn’t victory for LGBT person’s when we have Civil Unions but not Equal Marriage. It is 2nd class status. I hear you, Veuster, and that you want peace and all, but you want us to continue to accept 2nd class status. That doesn’t… Read more »

Robert i9an Williams
Guest
Robert i9an Williams

Imagine if St Peter had created a separate integrity for jewish believers. Christianity would have sunk into doctrinal chaos.

If you don’t believe that women priests and bishops are scriptural, you should get out of the body that approves them. However as I point out there is accomodation ( no rates paid on vicarages) perks, stipends and Community status etc

JCF
Guest
JCF

I notice that my “magnaminity in victory” tends to be IMPOSED by those whose who’ve long looked down on me from the judges box (the ones who never had to compete for their rights in the first place).

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

‘I notice that my “magnaminity in victory” tends to be IMPOSED by those whose who’ve long looked down on me from the judges box (the ones who never had to compete for their rights in the first place).’

Well said.

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

My feelings are summed up by Romans 12:15 – I find myself rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep. I’m happy and relaxed with the direction in which the liberal wing of Anglicanism is moving, but as an ex-traditionalist who still has traditionalist friends I can’t help being sad for those who see themselves as unwanted within the church they were brought up in yet find it impossible to become Roman Catholics and, in so doing, affirm that the sacraments they received as Anglicans weren’t really sacraments at all. But I suppose there isn’t an answer… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

re Veuster’s comment about magnanimity on the part of the ‘winners’. There appears to be no possibility of ‘magnanimity’ by dissenters towards women in ministry. Perhaps this is why ‘special provision’ has been (wisely) refused in Wales

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Veuster, what kind of magnanimity are you advocating? It should be clear that no-one would dance around pointing fingers and shouting “losers, losers!”. But I often find that every genuine expression of pure joy is interpreted as triumphalism and heavily criticised, the impression given being that it’s ok to be be happy and to celebrate provided you do it out of sight and in public only show your overwhelming sympathy for those of us who are now in mourning. Or does magnanimity refer to something tangible to do with the actual legislative changes? As in “you’ve won but can you… Read more »

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Everyone has forgotten 2008, when it failed by two votes. The women in all this have borne themselves with dignity and have had to fight all the way since 1981 when they were deaconed. They never once acted ilegally or threatened schism.

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> Veuster, what kind of magnanimity are you advocating?

Erika, nothing tangible, but simply a recognition from those who affirm and work for the full acceptance of women’s ministry that not all of those who oppose it are enemies, or troublemakers, or deliberate obscurantists or misogynists or reactionaries (yes, some of them are, but not all of them), but are Christians too, who love Our Lord and try (however inadequately) to follow Him.

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> There appears to be no possibility of ‘magnanimity’ by dissenters towards women in ministry.

Fr Ron, what form would such magnanimity take? Dissenters, in my experience, ask for very little. They ask only to be allowed to co-exist with women in ministry, keeping their heads well down and, if necessary, confining themselves to an obscure corner.

Or am I misunderstanding you?