Thursday, 22 December 2011

February General Synod - women bishops legislation

The Business Committee report on the reference to diocesan synods of the legislation to allow women bishops was emailed to synod members today. It is also available online as GS 1847.

The report includes the detailed voting figures on the motion in favour of the legislation (42 dioceses in favour and two against). Five diocesan bishops exercised their right to have a statement of their opinion recorded in the minutes of their diocesan synods and, as required by General Synod standing orders, these are included in the report. The report also gives details of all the following motions (whether passed or not).

The outline agenda for the February meeting of the Church of England General Synod includes these three items concerned with the legislation to allow women bishops.

Women in the Episcopate: Draft Code of Practice: Presentation and questions (Tuesday afternoon)

Women in the Episcopate: Manchester DSM (Southwark DSM as an amendment) (Wednesday afternoon)

This is the Manchester diocesan synod motion as it will have been submitted to General Synod.

That this Synod [i.e. the General Synod] call upon the House of Bishops, in exercise of its powers under Standing Order 60(b), to amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure in the manner proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the Revision Stage for the draft Measure

and this is the motion from Southwark

That this Synod:
(a) noting the significant support the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure has received in the Houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity of diocesan synods; and
(b) desiring that the draft Measure be returned to the Synod for consideration on the Final Approval Stage substantially unamended so that it can be seen if the proposals embodied in it in the form in which it has been referred to the dioceses can attain the level of support required to achieve Final Approval
request the House of Bishops not to exercise its power under Standing Order 60(b) to amend the draft Measure.

Women in the Episcopate: Final Drafting (Thursday afternoon)

At final drafting the steering committee can propose amendments that deal with matters previously overlooked or that clarify the wording. Members of the Synod no longer have the opportunity to propose amendments. Also this is not the point at which the House of Bishops can exercise its powers of amendment.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 22 December 2011 at 4:00pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: General Synod

It may be nitpicking, but the result of the Sheffield vote on the following motion depends on local standing orders. In a vote by houses no bishop voted in favour. I just want to put on record that the WATCH version of events, for which I have had a significant responsibility, assumed that this meant that the following motion was not (technically) passed. We have tried to verify this, but the Diocese has not responded.

Regardless of the precise technicalities, of course, we can see how people voted. If the Bishop wanted the voice of the diocese to be clearly heard, he was perhaps unwise to abstain. The voice of the church as whole is clear.

It seems obvious that only the few bishops who think that their own diocese might have voted the wrong way, or that a diocesan vote needed bolstering, have chosen to record a statement. I was present at two Diocesan Synods where a debate was held (Chelmsford and Oxford) where the diocesan bishops spoke firmly in favour of the existing legislation and against any amendment. The dioceses were of like mind.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Thursday, 22 December 2011 at 9:23pm GMT

If the Ordination of Women Bishops Measure does not survive the General synod process without further amendment - in favour of 'special provisions outside of the original intention of the bill' - then the Church of England must surely be seen to have mechanisms other than common democratic procedure to thwart the expressed intention of the Church.

This would not augur well for other Province of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 23 December 2011 at 12:02am GMT

I hear that the Queen's new chaplain opposes Women bishops.

Posted by: Ann on Friday, 23 December 2011 at 3:48pm GMT

Does Her Majesty know? I wonder.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 25 December 2011 at 10:50pm GMT

Father Ron is right -- this Synod is a test of whether the C of E has any democratic element to it at all, or whether it is all top-down.

The more democratic provinces should take careful note of the progress of the women-bishops legislation.

There are clues here to what the implementation of the proposed Anglican Covenant might look like.

"Holy Spirit, ever forming
in the church the mind of Christ."

Not the mind of Lambeth.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 14 January 2012 at 9:09pm GMT
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