Sunday, 10 July 2005

women bishops: still more reactions

Christopher Landau reported on the latest developments in the wake of the 17 men bishops letter for the BBC Sunday radio programme:

A senior churchman has warned that hundreds of priests may leave the Church of England if women are ordained as bishops. Andrew Burnham, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet [one of the two PEVs for the Canterbury Province] told the Sunday Times that he would quit along with a possible eight hundred priests if proper provision is not made for them.
The Church is on the verge of a major vote on women bishops. Tomorrow, the general synod, meeting in York, will debate whether it’s the right time to start removing the legal obstacles which currently prevent women becoming bishops. It had been thought that the motion would pass easily – but that’s now in some doubt. A large group of bishops has written to the Church press arguing that it would be pre-emptive to act now, before the church has had sufficient time to debate the issue. Interview with reporter Christopher Landau in York.
Listen here with Real Audio (5.5 minutes)

Here is the Sunday Times report mentioned above:
Christopher Morgan Churchmen on brink of exodus over women bishops (this has an unrelated tidbit about Lord Carey at the end of the story).

And the BBC carried this story, Clergy warn against women bishops based on the above two items (and a few tidbits of synod news thrown in at the end). Later the BBC also published this, Women bishops have ‘vast support’.

Fulcrum has published a major article by Colin Craston, a former chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Women Bishops and the Anglican Communion Process which has links to many relevant ACC resolutions.

Church Society, not content with its earlier diatribe, has issued a further one, just in case you were not clear what CS thinks.

Equally unsurprisingly, Forward in Faith UK supports the bishops’ letter.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 10 July 2005 at 3:08pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

In Colin Craston's article, he clearly shows the difference in the ACC process between the consecration of women bishops and the consecration of men to the episcopate in sexual relations outside of marriage:

'At the 1988 Lambeth Conference, with ECUSA likely to appoint a woman bishop, it was resolved "That each Province respect the decision and attitudes of other Provinces in the ordination or consecration of women in the episcopate, without such respect necessarily indicating acceptance of the principles involved, maintaining the highest possible degree of communion with the Provinces that differ". Recognising the hurt that could be caused on both sides, pastoral provision would be required (423 in favour, 28 against, 19 abstentions)...In this case ECUSA had been specifically warned by the Primates' Meeting in Lambeth in October 2003 that proceeding with the consecration of Gene Robinson would "tear the fabric of the communion at its deepest level". So the process in the Anglican Communion of the consecration of women to the episcopate and of men to the episcopate who are in sexual relationships outside of marriage, are not similar.'

Posted by: Graham Kings on Sunday, 10 July 2005 at 5:10pm BST

I'm not sure how this counts as "diatribe":

"The recent Annual General Meeting of Church Society reiterated the traditional mainstream evangelical position in relation to ordained ministry within the Church. The following motion was passed unanimously. This meeting resolves that:
1) the Scriptures teach that the office of presbyter (priest) should be occupied by men alone;
2) the 1992 legislation to allow the ordination of women as Priests was therefore contrary to Scripture, it fractured the Church and caused many loyal Anglicans to leave;
3) a decision to consecrate women as Bishops will compound this problem;
4) Church Society will continue to oppose legislation to permit the consecration of Women Bishops and seek to reform the Church under the Word of God."

Sounds to me like a clear description of CS's theological position; what did happen as a consequence of women priests in 1992; and what they expect will happen if women bishops are consecrated in the CofE.

Whereas I can see a biblical basis for women having the role of presbyter, I can also see that many committed Christians who do not share my view were estranged from the church as a consequence of 1992. I'm not sure that the price was worth paying... after all the church is supposed to be primarily an expression of christianity, not current society!

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 10 July 2005 at 6:33pm BST

The first BBC article there makes me wonder just what the nature of bishops *is* in anglican / CoE circles. There's a clear undertone of some acting like it's a male club perpetuating itself over the centuries, there.

Someone let me know where God comes into the arguments?

Posted by: Tim on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 6:26pm BST


1) The Primates Meeting is a new innovation: it does not have the 100-plus year status of Lambeth

2) +Gene Robinson had *already been elected by the Diocese of New Hampshire, and consented by the General Convention*, when the Primates met (a woman bishop-elect had not achieved similar standing as of Lambeth '88)


3) The '03 Primates meeting was *specifically-engineered* to trump the defacto status that Lambeth '88 had established (and Lambeth '98 had *not* explicitly-contradicted): that each province decide by their *own autonomous processes* who they ought to have as their bishops

Your argument does not stand, Dave.

[FWIW: this whole "bishop appointed" business. At what point is *this* going to be acknowledged as an abomination? I frankly think a bishop who HASN'T been *elected*, isn't worth a damn . . .

. . . but, not being a Donatist, I agree to live and let live (and *not* question the apostolic validity of these "appointed" muckety-mucks! ;-/)]

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 6:29am BST

JCF wrote: "Your argument does not stand, Dave."

Hi JCF - it woz Graham that argued about the Primates warning ECUSA, not me!

But I must say you just seem to be trying to pick and choose your arguements and justifications to suit your predetermined position !

Who cares if one instrument of unity was established before another ? Does history add authority ? Maybe it does... In which case how come you argue that recent developments (in thinking on sexuality for instance) trump earlier biblical statements ?

And it would be ridiculous to argue that each Province can choose *anyone* they choose as a Bishop. What if (s)he denies Christian beliefs ? worships other gods ? keeps divorcing and remarrying ? or oppresses priests that disagree with her/him ?

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 15 July 2005 at 10:39pm BST
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