Monday, 11 July 2005

women bishops debate

UPDATE

The voting on the motion (as amended) was as follows:

Bishops: 41 in favour, 6 against
Clergy: 167 in favour, 46 against
Laity: 159 in favour, 75 against

The motion was therefore CARRIED.

The final text of the motion was:

That this Synod

(a) consider that the process for removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate should now be set in train;

(b) invite the House of Bishops, in consultation with the Archbishops’ Council, to complete by January 2006, and report to the Synod, the assessment which it is making of the various options for achieving the removal of the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate, and ask that it give specific attention to the issues of canonical obedience and the universal validity of orders throughout the Church of England as it would affect clergy and laity who cannot accept the ordination of women to the episcopate on theological grounds; and

(c) instruct the Business Committee to make sufficient time available in the February 2006 group of sessions for the Synod to debate the report, and in the light of the outcome to determine on what basis it wants the necessary legislation prepared and establish the necessary drafting group.’
————

Four amendments have been put down for debate. The text of these will be published here below the fold, in the order in which they are going to be considered. The original motion is here.

The Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe formally moved his amendment. Voting FOR the amendment was effectively to vote AGAINST the original motion.
It was very clearly lost on a show of hands. There was more support for it, though, than I had expected.

The Archdeacon of Norwich’s amendment, similarly but very quickly, also lost.

It is now clear that the concept of delay has been rejected decisively by the synod.

The last two amendments were then debated.

The Archdeacon of Berkshire moved his amendment. After debate, it was PASSED by 233 votes to 216.

The fourth amendment by Dr Bridger was not resisted by the Bishop of Southwark and quickly passed on a show of hands.

The debate subsequently completed, and a vote by houses is taking place. It seems very likely now that this motion will pass.

Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe’s amendment. LOST

Leave out all words after “That this Synod” and insert: [i.e. replace the original motion entirely with the following:]

(a) consider that before the process for removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate be set in train the fullest opportunity be given to the Church to reflect on and debate the issues set out in the Rochester report being mindful that the Synod resolution which framed the terms of reference for the Rochester Working Party asked for “a further theological study on the episcopate, focusing on the issues that need to be addressed in preparation for the debate on women in the episcopate in the Church of England; and

(b) therefore ask the House of Bishops to bring as soon as possible to the next Synod an agreed process for enabling this to be done”.

The Archdeacon of Norwich’s amendment LOST
[similarly a total replacement]

(a) invite the House of Bishops, in consultation with the Archbishops’ Council, to complete by January 2006, and report to the Synod, the assessment which it is making of the various options regarding the removal of the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate;

(b) instruct the Business Committee to make sufficient time available in the February 2006 Group of Sessions for the Synod to debate the report and, if possible, to determine on the same occasion the basis on which legislation should be prepared regarding the removal of those legal obstacles and its consequences; and

(c) encourage the new Synod to remove the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate once this has been determined.

The Archdeacon of Berkshire’s amendment CARRIED

At the end of paragraph (b) [or if the Norwich amendment passes, at the end of para (a)] insert the words:

…and ask that it give specific attention to the issues of canonical obedience and the universal validity of orders throughout the Church of England as it would affect clergy and laity who cannot accept the ordination of women to the episcopate on theological grounds.

Dr Francis Bridger’s amendment CARRIED

[applies only if both Europe and Norwich amendments fail]

In paragraph (b) omit the word “this” and insert at the end of the paragraph “the removal of the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate”; and in paragraph © after “report,” insert the words “and in the light of the outcome to”.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 2:36pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: General Synod
Comments

Hmm, doesn't this voting again highlight the unrepresentative appointed of liberals to the HoB ?

Laity: 159 in favour, 75 against
Clergy: 167 in favour, 46 against
Bishops: 41 in favour, 6 against

Only 6 against - as opposed to 33% of the laity !

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 7:19pm BST

Oh, excellent!

Posted by: Anna on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 10:04pm BST

Seems clear enough that we will have women Bishops within the CofE.

This could hasten the break up of the Anglican Communion and the willingness of conservative Anglo-Catholics to throw in their lot with Rome, and Reform et al with the Protestant Reformed Church of Lagos and Sydney.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 11:23pm BST

Or maybe it shows what further and more concentrated study of our faith may reveal regarding the inclusivity and the use of all God-given gifts in the kingdom of God regardless of gender. After all, there is strong evidence of woman leaders among Jesus followers - Mary Magdalene for one and in the early church which was closest to the time of Jesus. It was when the church started gaining some acceptance in the larger world that woman's roles were restricted.

Posted by: AMNicklin on Monday, 11 July 2005 at 11:37pm BST

No, Dave, it suggests to me that most of the evangelical Bishops (like my own) are in favour, and that many of the rural broad-church laity are nervous about a change which they may not be ideologically opposed to.

And that the Bishops recognise that there is nothing stopping a woman doing the job they do....

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 12:27am BST

"Only 6 against - as opposed to 33% of the laity !"

I love this spin...Never mind that 66% of the laity support the consecration of women bishops. I guess those people are misguided idiots, eh? Just like the vast majority of people in the ECUSA Diocese of NH who supported the consecration of Bishop Robinson. Obviously those people were duped and stupid as well, right?

If disenchanted clergy want to leave and go to Rome, please get on with it.

Posted by: Pete on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 12:47am BST

I was looking at the membership of steering committees and the management group of "Anglican Mainstream" - there seem a lot of people there who think the Archbishop of Canterbury is a "false teacher" and/or would not support the overwhelming vote for women bishops at the English General Synod. I noticed that one of them interviewed on the Christina Odone programme tonight said that plans for an alternative Anglican Church were well advanced.
It all seems very strange.
Perhaps Archbshop Malango's interview with David Virtue was closer to the mark than all the heated denials since.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 1:24am BST

<> Hmm, doesn't this voting again highlight the unrepresentative appoint[ment] of liberals to the HoB ? <>

Tosh. It tells you nothing more than that

32% of the laity voted against, as did
22% of the clergy, and
13% of the bishops.

It might equally fallaciously be argued that it again highlights what a lot of arch conservatives sit among the ranks of the laity.

Yet even among the laity the motion was carried by a two-thirds majority - which is the sort of majority recognised worldwide as sufficient to change a constitution.

Posted by: William on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 3:36am BST

Hmmmmm, so 157 laity would have been two thirds plus one and the vote in that house was 159! In ANY other setting that would have been a ***resounding*** and unimpeachable victory that would have assured the passage of anything!

But in this setting it only highlights the liberalness of the HoB?!?!?!

Fascinating.

Posted by: Doug on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 6:10am BST

"The stone that the builders rejected . . . "

Once again, this is *the Lord's doing* (in my eyes, it's marvelous! :-D)

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 6:13am BST

It is very pleasing that the synod vote was so decisive. I do hope, however, that this will not encourage synod merely to concentrate on legal matters, and avoid addressing the important theological argument. The way to prevent schism is to have the theological debate again and again, until the conservatives (catholic and evangelical) are placed in a postion where they have no proper grounds for protest.

Posted by: Simon Cawdell on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 9:51am BST

Martin ; I am sure ( and I hope) that you are right - for I think thet will be the best outcome all round.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 12:05pm BST

The stone that the builders rejected? Sounds more like the crap that the fools accepted. It is the Lord's doing, but not in the way that J. C. Fischer thinks. If the Anglican Communion does not split up over issues like this and the failure to discipline members who refuse to repent of serious sexual sin, it will only be because you can't split rotten wood.

Posted by: Christopher Witmer on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 1:08pm BST

Mike, if some clergy and others defect to Rome because of this, the CofE is bound to receive in return the defections of brilliant men and women from Rome. That's what's happened in the good old USofA. It works both ways. I'll bet the CofE gets the best of the bargain.

Posted by: Kurt on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 3:32pm BST

Well Huzzah for the Synod !

As for Dave's poor attempt to spin the voting numbers - may I ask what it is that you're truly trying to accomplish ? It's patently obvious that the so-called "conservatives" don't have the necessary support for their vision in either the CoE, the ECUSA or the Anglican Church of Canada (or, I suspect, the Church in Scotland, New Zealand or Australia, minus Sydney, to name a few others).

In a practical vein, you really have two choices: 1) go ahead and form your own, separate "Anglican" communion and leave in peace, or 2) stay and continue to cause turmoil and sundry unpleasantness because you care more about disliking, and causing harm to, the mainstream Church than you do about uplifting any version of your own religious beliefs.

I suspect it will be option 2 for the near future, as I'm convinced that the "conservative" movement is more about their intense animosity towards those who differ from them than it is "for" anything positive... (but I'd be glad to be mistaken :)

Posted by: Simeon on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 4:03pm BST

I do wish people would say things like: "Go to Rome and get on with it" on the Synod floor rather than things like: "There will always be an honored place for those who cannot accept this innovation." What is gained by bare-faced lying, after all?

Posted by: Murray on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 4:24pm BST

Christopher, Dave, and others-- the ordination of women and the ordination of gays and lesbians are two quite different issues. I've met conservative evangelical leaders (including a senior Nigerian clergyman) who wholeheartedly support women's ordination to the priesthood and the episcopate and would never countenance the ordination of openly gay men and women to either.

While some people oppose both and some support both, this action can't be equated with that of ECUSA's 2003 General Convention, nor are the divisions it highlights as large or as profound. I'd caution against lumping it all together and lamenting the lot.

Posted by: Anna on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 5:48pm BST

Why would an evangelical want women in positions of authority?
Surely this shows that liberal thinking abounds in all areas.
Its interesting how little scripture is quoted in these comments...
"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
"A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.""
(1 Timothy 2:11-13) This is the same bible that says...
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," (2 Timothy 3:16)

Posted by: Anon on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 5:56pm BST

I find the discussion more than interesting given the fact that the Anglican Church of Canada, ECUSA and New Zealand have had women priests and in some cases women bishops for some years now. It's as if the discussion, the experience and the theology had never been known before. Maybe there are some things that the CofE can learn from the North American Churches after all.

Posted by: R. Fletcher on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 6:20pm BST

btw Anon--you reminded me of an excellent point. The Bible specifically tells us that women should not be placed over men. I want to know what God thought he was doing in appointing women judges to free Israel from their oppressors. Furthermore that darned Miriam should have kept her mouth shut by the Red Sea. After all, who does God think he is that he can just go against what the Bible says!?!

Posted by: Derek on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 7:22pm BST

I find the shrill tone of many of these comments lacking in the charity that one should expect amongst Christians. Is the placing of spin on voting figures on one side, or 'go to Rome and get on with it' or somesuch notion on the other what we want from members of our family?

Posted by: Simon Rose on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 7:40pm BST

Well, Anon, woe to any no woman you know who wears earrings!

Posted by: Anna on Tuesday, 12 July 2005 at 11:25pm BST

To Anon:

I would counsel a little reading session with +N.T. Wright's recent presentation last fall to the the Symposium, ‘Men, Women and the Church’ at St John's College in Durham.

http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Women_Service_Church.htm

+Wright presents the results of recent work on the Pauline literature, and in particular looks at the several texts you quoted (and others) and comes to quite a different interpretation of these texts than the standard conservative one. Exegesis and context are important. Prooftexting with no exegesis or context does not help your argument.

Please forgive a Yank butting in on a British argument.

Posted by: David Baird on Wednesday, 13 July 2005 at 5:00am BST

<>... given the fact that the Anglican Church of Canada, ECUSA and New Zealand have had women priests ...<>

Don't forget us in Southern Africa, please. We too have had women priests - among them my own parish priest - for some years now. And it all began in Hong Kong, did it not?

At any rate, benighted conservatism is not universal in Africa.

William

Posted by: William on Wednesday, 13 July 2005 at 3:53pm BST

I am very excited that we follow a dynamic God, who is constantly surprising us. Of course I may have got that wrong - but I do find the taking of dogmatic positions puzzling. Our uncharitable arguements on matters which my friends see as of secondary importance causes embarassment, and damage to the church

Posted by: Mick on Thursday, 14 July 2005 at 12:54pm BST

Who said I was against women Bishops ? (Though the thought of following in the footsteps of ECUSA is very off-putting).

The point I was trying to highlight was only that our ecclesiastical heirachy, appointed the way it is, is unrepresentatively dominated by liberal folk.

Posted by: Dave on Thursday, 14 July 2005 at 11:15pm BST

229 years later, and you STILL can't deal w/ "Don't Tread on Me"? Let it (us Bloody Yanks) go already, Dave! ;-)

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Friday, 15 July 2005 at 8:34am BST

Ho ho JCF, nice "spin".

It's the toleration the heresy, encouragement of immorality, and persecution of faithful Christians that makes me wary of nice liberal words and sentiments.

I see that that "nice" "liberal" Bishop Smith of Conneticut has swooped on one of the churches that are out of communion with him... New Westminster all over again !!

Maybe the Anglican Communion should turn up at 815, overrule ECUSA's CG, demand the keys, take down the website and impose in a new presiding Bishop ?

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 15 July 2005 at 6:32pm BST

But of course, the AC has absolutely no legal authority to do so. And this "swooping down" stuff is just nonsense - spreading FUD for no good reason other than to "spin" the news to your "reasserter" ends.

The details about the REAL situation can be found at:

http://www.dfms.org/3577_63671_ENG_HTM.htm

Posted by: Simeon on Saturday, 16 July 2005 at 4:20pm BST

The sooner we get those conservatives and their hate filled non-inclusive agenda out of our Church and to Rome the better. We've had to put up with their venom for long enough! The overwhelming support for women bishops shows that there won't be any tears shed! Good riddance!

Posted by: Justin on Monday, 18 July 2005 at 6:14pm BST

Hi Justin, I can disapprove of what someone does, believes or says without "hating" them... Can't you ?

Don't forget Jesus told us to even love our *enemies*, never mind people we just *disagree* with.

What you wrote sounds neither loving nor *inclusive* - of people who are less liberal than you!

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 19 July 2005 at 8:20pm BST

'The sooner we get those conservatives and their hate filled non-inclusive agenda out of our Church and to Rome the better. We've had to put up with their venom for long enough! The overwhelming support for women bishops shows that there won't be any tears shed! Good riddance! '

this is ridiculous and a horrid comment, the only reason they got such a large vote in the beginning, is because the 'anti' women in the church group, forward in faith are fighting for a third free province, where no woman would be in power (priest or bishop)and only churchs who passed all three resolutions would opt under them away from their liberal bishops
so there for as i am sure you can work out the bishops and priests who are infavour of a third province voted 'for'.thus paving a away for it. but the laity are the nervous ones unsure of the true outcome.

Posted by: holyshe on Wednesday, 17 August 2005 at 11:28am BST

Did anyone think that perhaps RC's are in favour of women priest/Bishops. I am a practicing RC. I love my faith, but not everything it teaches. I came onto this site because i am excited about the changes happening, and pray that one day my church too will be so enlightened.
As for people leaving the CofE over this, i hope they don't come to us. What happens when (God willing) The RC church accepts women priests. will they find another church to move too?
sorry i've gone on a bit, i could write for hours on this, (actually have written an essay for uni)
take care

Posted by: Denise on Friday, 21 July 2006 at 11:18pm BST

The ordination of women to the episcopate is a very difficult decision to make. I have ideas about the issue but I do not know whether it is right or wrong. I am on the whole in favour of women priests but ordaining women to the episcopate is very different from ordaining women to the priesthood. The Bishop is a sign of unity and it is the Bishop who ordains future priests.

Although I am unsure on the issue itself I am 100% confident when I say that I do not believe it to be a wise decision to ordain women to the episcopy when there are still a significant number of Anglicans who cannot even recognise women priests let alone male priests ordained by a woman.

It is just as well that there will be a third free province not for people who hate women but for those who put more emphasis on the sacramental nature of the church.

At the end of the day it all comes down to Theology - not liberal or conservative but Catholic or radical protestant. What people must appreciate is that the Church of England is Catholic and reformed not just reformed.

The reformed nature of the church is very important for it freed us from having to 'work our way to heaven' through purgatory's and indulgences BUT at the same time we are still a sacramental community; a Catholic community and the Episcopy is part of that Catholic NOT reformed identity.

Posted by: Mattey lmage on Monday, 6 November 2006 at 6:22pm GMT

How can we think about ordaining women bishops when it will mean that people will be unable to receive the sacrament at the Mass.? We have no authority what so ever to change the universal law of the church! And as for those on this bog who think that conservatives are filled with hate, "Judge, not lest you be judged"

Posted by: Mark on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 6:12pm GMT

There is no reason to be sexist towards woman they should have equal rights.

Posted by: Andrew Clarke on Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 8:30pm BST

Should we ask God what he thinks of what we mere mortals of the Christian faith done with his church over the many centuries? Yes he did through his son tell the disciples to go out into the world and preach the gospel. Apart from the bible teachings, one wonders what was not reported in the bible...maybe the disciples did somewhere along the line tell the 'ordinary folk' to go and preach the gospel. Now if they did so, that means the men women and children did preach the gospel,and not just 'priests', which dispels some of the teachings of modern church that we can't all, preach the gospel, have women bishops, or any women clergy for that matter of any kind. Just a theory. I was one of those people who was not so much against women cleargy, priests or whatever, but alas, a little bit unsure, until I met some very genuine, female priests, in the role, not so for advancing the plight of womens' success or breaking the glass ceiling, but in that role for advancing the role of the Christian church as a whole. For that I admire them alone. Back to my origional question, what would God think of all the denomiations created by we mere mortals over the centuries. It is however wonderful, for all these divisions, that we have the occasional ecumenical services to bring us all together, to remind us that we should be preaching God's word,and not preaching that the Catholic, Anglican, Baptist or whatever churches are better than each other. One day we know through his word, God is going to 'spit the dummy' and let us know. And Jesus's instructions were to love one another as I have loved you and remember the ten commandments, that latter in which we strive to achieve...none of us 'down here' are perfect on this earth.
Next thing I know besides that, the next blog is going to tell me to read through the Bible more thoroughly in order to prove or disprove evidence re: benefits of women clergy in the Anglican Church, let alone Australia's first woman Bishop in Western Australia. Whether you like it or not, her sincerity seems to come through in interviews....when I think of, best of luck to her. Whatever peoples views may be...hope all this tirade makes sense..God be with you all who read this. And no I'm not heretic.

Posted by: Brian Moore on Sunday, 25 May 2008 at 2:29pm BST

Hurray!! As the national church we had to do this and it is long overdue. Let the objectors go to Rome, Constantinople, Geneva or wherever. This is now the Church of the nation. 'Her indoors' voted in favour!! Now women really can come out of the closet.

Posted by: Tom on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 5:39pm BST

The Apostle Paul when instructing the church said,
'A bishop should be the husband of one wife', who changed it to the other way round? There are good women doing a wonderful job in ministry in the church, but a woman should alway ahve the covering of a man. That is how I see it from scripture. God has wanted to protect the woman right from the first day she was created ' to be a help met for her husband.

Posted by: Alan Wright on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 8:50pm BST

Deaconesses, nuns, lay ladies, lady saints etc. YES: they have existed in the historical Church and they exist today. Women 'ordained' as "priestesses", "bishops" (? and/or "archbishops" in the course of time: Kyrie eleíson !) NO: they have never existed and would historically and canonically constitute nothing more than a modern PC "mummery". I am a thinking person (Univ. Professor with a doctorate etc. in natural sciences), and am on the verge of becoming an ex-practising Anglican as a result of all this unedifying rubbish emanating from some of those who should be defending the beliefs and tenets of the Ecclesia Anglicana which they still pretend to represent. God bless all of you.

Posted by: Dave C. on Saturday, 19 July 2008 at 9:55pm BST

In Christ there is neither male nor female.
The more I study the biology of gender the more I think that this is literally true. There are men walking around with XX chromosomes and women with XY chromosomes. They do not know it nor would anyone looking at them. People who are 'intersex' or 'hermaphrodites' and a multitude of other variations. Since gender is not fixed and male is not utterly different from female all the arguments about men or women being allowed to do or not do anything is pointless.

Posted by: Tearla on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 at 5:10pm BST
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