Thursday, 2 June 2011

Diocese in Europe votes on women bishops

Updated Friday evening

From the Diocese in Europe website: Diocese votes on women bishops.

Members of the Diocese in Europe Synod have voted to accept the draft proposals for women to become bishops - despite the scheme being rejected by the House of Bishops in the Diocese.

The debate, referred to the Diocese from General Synod, was spread over three sessions during the 4 day Synod meeting in Cologne. First two keynote speakers. Bishops Peter Selby and Martin Warner introduced the topic offering different viewpoints but each sensitive to the effects of any change which would allow women to become bishops.

The following day Synod members met in groups to consider the issue. These groups reported back at a final session during the afternoon of Thursday 2nd June before the formal motion was debated. After that debate there was a short time of silent devotion and prayer before voting, by houses. The result was

Bishops - in favour 0 against 2

Clergy – in favour 11 against 10 abstentions 1

Laity – in favour 15 against 6 abstentions 3

And this:

After the main vote Mrs Ann Turner proposed a following motion that “this Synod desires that all faithful Anglicans remain and thrive together in the Church of England and therefore calls upon the House of Bishops to bring forward amendments to the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration of Women) Measure to ensure that those unable on theological grounds to accept the ministry of women bishops are able to receive Episcopal oversight from a bishop with Authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred by the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop.”

This was not accepted by Synod (17 votes to 23 with 6 abstentions)

But also:

Important note:- Due to the unique Constitution of the Diocese in Europe the formal response to General Synod must come from the Bishop’s Council (which is a smaller body composed of members of Diocesan Synod – and which will meet in late October).

Go to the diocesan website for audio files relating to this.

Friday evening update

Bishop David Hamid has written on his own blog about this: The decision of Diocesan Synod regarding Women in the Episcopate:

…I am in favour of women in the episcopate, but I do not believe that the provision for those who are opposed to this development, contained in the measure, are sufficient to maintain the highest degree of unity in our Church. I therefore had to vote against the motion. I explained my position in a speech which I post below…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 June 2011 at 6:35pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

The difference between how the laity and the bishops of the diocese evidently see things is quite striking, isn't it?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 2 June 2011 at 8:16pm BST

Let's note: only two bishops voted against but six laity did. Proportions are not necessarily indicative. But before you catch hold of that to argue with it, why not just accept that people see things differently and are still motivated by godliness?

Democracy does not = divinely inspired: witness all the U.S. episcopal elections that end in acrimony or deposition (and the election of George W. Bush).

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Thursday, 2 June 2011 at 10:12pm BST

This is not too surprising - given the conservative nature of the 2 Bishops in the Diocese. It will be noted that they both voted against Women Bishops, while their clergy and laity voted in favour. Here again, not too surprising. After all, the Women Bishops idea has been effectively canvassed and approved in principle by the Church of England - the big caveat being, possibly, how to deal with those who would not accept their jurisdiction.

Interesting, though in this context, is the fact that on the issue of Women Bishops the subsequent motion - that special provisions be made for the dissentient voices (probably inspired by the Bishops) - was defeated.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 3 June 2011 at 4:24am BST

60 laity against, Lister? It says 6, doesn't it? That was 1 in 4 of those entitled to vote, according to the figures above.

I'm not so naive as to think that democracy is always the answer to everything in the Church... but my point was that here is a diocese in which bishops take a determinedly anti-women line, yet the faithful clearly take the opposite view. I think there is a question of leigitimacy when the laity, who pay for everything, after all, end up with leaders - whom they haven't elected - who vote en bloc merely to obstruct moves such as this.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 3 June 2011 at 7:56am BST

The interesting thing will be, as the diocesan votes come in, the fate of "follow up motions " along the lines of the one proposed by Mrs Ann Turner. I havent been following it that closely but i think so far these motions havent really got anywhere. That may change I imagine when dioceses like Blackburn, Chichester and exeter vote...but I dont sense widespread enthusiasm for altering the legislation.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 3 June 2011 at 9:09am BST

The following motion has its roots in the conservative evangelical camp and is being promoted by the Church of England Evangelical Council. It is my understanding that if it were passed in a large number of dioceses, and the House of Bishops were to vote to change the legislation, one effect would be that the revised legislation would have to come round the dioceses again. This would mean additional delay.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 3 June 2011 at 9:47am BST

A disappointment and a surprise that our suffragan also voted against the motion; I wouldn't have expected that.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Friday, 3 June 2011 at 1:50pm BST

Whilst the votes of those who abstained could be creatively re-distributed to get a different picture, there is no reason to assume that these are protest abstentions. Rather, a vote reflecting uncertainty and indecision. A small majority in the house of laity on the substantive motion; and some re-arrangeable abstentions on the following motion. Very close voting in the house of clergy on the main motion. Overall, a balanced mixture among a relatively small sample, further to be reduced at Bishop's Council. But that's the nature of this diocese and its current structures; and there's little to read into it other than the balance.

I think few people (Fr Ron) who know him would call +David conservative. He's a typical Thinking Anglican Open Catholic which he makes clear in his speech which is posted on his blog. Equally, +Geoffrey makes it clear that the two bishops voted similarly but for different reasons - equally valid. It is further to be commended that our College of Bishops were able to find a way to vote similarly, if not to everyone's liking. But that's actually how it is across the Church.

Posted by: Peter Edwards on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 1:07pm BST

Sara and others,

I suggest you read what David Hamid says. He expresses himself well and with discrimination. I basically agree with this line - at any rate, it's not contemptible.

Posted by: john on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 2:06pm BST

The Bishop has been misquoted on the thread - omission of the word "not" makes all the difference.

Posted by: Benedict on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 4:30pm BST

@John: The reference to +David's blog comments only appeared after I had made my comment. I would agree that he expresses himself well and with discriminiation. I greatly respect him and consider him a beloved friend, though I don't agree with his position here (as happens in life). I will try to write a fuller rebuttal of my own anon.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 7:11pm BST


Thank you. I look forward to your 'rebuttal', but I suggest now - as often before - that it is not a question of proving or disproving the opposing positions on this issue: it is a question of getting on and trying to maintain common identity as Anglicans. You yourself have testified to Jarrett's personal graciousness to you. I could wish - I do wish - (some) FiF people were more gracious to 'us', but for those - still the majority - who wish to remain Anglicans we have to be as generous and gracious as we can.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 8:02pm BST

I have read with great interest the reports on the proceedings and the result of the votes. How could the voting lay members think they were representing the rank and file of the church ? As far as I know the matter of women's ordination has never been discussed at local level. Certainly not in our chaplaincy at Montreux. And I don't think it ever was widely discussed by the foot soldiers even in our so-called pro-cathedrals, i.a. at Holy Trinity Brussels. What do these votes represent ? How do they reflect the opinions and feelings of ordinary members of the church ?

Posted by: Noel Anselot on Saturday, 4 June 2011 at 9:41pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.