Monday, 16 January 2006

Women Bishops - Guildford Report issued

The report of the House of Bishops’ Women Bishops Group (the Guildford Report) is released today and is online here. The report’s principal conclusions are copied below the fold.

This morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme carried an interview with Christina Rees and the Bishop of Fulham about the report. Listen to it with Real Audio (6m 03s)

Update
The official press release on the Guildford Report is here. Note that this includes the introductory remarks made at the press conference (scroll down).

Important related document:
Note by the Presidents (GS 1605A) is here. An html copy is here.

More Updates - initial press reports
BBC partial transcript of the interview mentioned above
BBC Compromise plan on women bishops
BBC video report (2 minutes) Church compromise on women bishops
BBC Robert Pigott Anglicans get women bishops plan
Reuters Paul Majendie Anglicans could have woman spiritual head
Press Association Martha Linden Door opens for first female Archbishop of Canterbury
Guardian Stephen Bates Church seeks compromise over women bishops
The Times Ruth Gledhill ‘Tea time’ report on women bishops sets up Synod battle
Also, an earlier report by Jonathan Petre in the Telegraph that seems pretty accurate in the light of today’s press conference: ‘Robust’ meeting ends with bishops stalling at letting women join their ranks

Guildford Report
SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL CONCLUSIONS

  • Of the three main options considered – ‘Single Clause’ Measure; Third Province; and Transferred Episcopal Arrangements [TEA] – we have come to the conclusion that TEA is an option which could be made to work and merits serious consideration by the General Synod as representing the most realistic way forward (para. 51; Appendix 1)
  • It is envisaged that Transferred Episcopal Arrangements would need to be provided for in a Measure which would replace part 2 of the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 and the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993, which would – subject to transitional arrangements - be repealed. This would have the consequence of abolishing discrimination against women in all parishes outside TEA (para. 93 and Appendix 1), though the precise balance within TEA between what is included in a Measure and what is covered by a Code of Practice would be a matter for further discussion and debate during the preparation and consideration of draft legislation (para 45).
  • There would need to be transitional arrangements under which any resolutions either lapsed after a set number of years as provided in the legislation or lapsed at a date as Synod may subsequently determine. There is a judgement as to whether this transitional period should be relatively short – say three years - or much longer (para. 105).
  • Parishes that have passed one of the existing resolutions or petitioned for extended episcopal ministry should be free to change their mind at any time (para. 97).
  • As far as the office of Archbishop of Canterbury was concerned, the group supported the giving the CNC specific statutory authority in relation only to the See of Canterbury to take into account the acceptability at that point, across the Church of England and the Anglican Communion, of a woman archbishop (paras. 67 & 70).
Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 16 January 2006 at 11:30am GMT
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

My initial thought is that repealing the part of the Act that allows individual churches to remain in the geographic dioceses and yet publicly not have female clergy of one kind or the other (i.e. Resolutions A, B and C) is going to be more structurally divisive then the HoB thinks. It forces churches who oppose to take a more fractious stance (applying for TEA). Allowing churches to remain within geographic dioceses and yet still having Resolutions A, B or C is more cohesive. The arrangements above could be interpreted as "If you still oppose women's ordination you cannot remain within the geographic dioceses".

Posted by: Peter O on Monday, 16 January 2006 at 3:47pm GMT

I think that may be one reason why the HoB, as opposed to the Guildford Group, is so divided about the proposal. It appears that there is no majority in the HoB for the content of the TEA recommendation, but only a majority (a clear majority we were told today by Christopher Hill) for having further discussion on the merits or otherwise of the proposal. Those opposed to the content would be likely to include both those bishops opposed to the whole idea, and those bishops who think it is too "conservative" a proposal. The question is whether a majority will emerge by July in favour of this particular proposal.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 16 January 2006 at 4:24pm GMT
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