Thursday, 28 June 2012

Gloucester Synod wants bishops to think again

Updated 2 July

Another diocesan synod has passed an emergency motion supporting the adjournment of the final vote on women bishops and a referral back to the House of Bishops. This was Gloucester which met on Tuesday evening this week (26 June) and passed the motion “overwhelmingly”.

Before the debate on the motion Michael Perham, the Bishop of Gloucester, gave his presidential address in which he said “If we are not to avoid a debacle that I believe would be a catastrophe for the Church of England, the House of which I am a member must think again.”

Update
There is now a report of the debate on the Gloucester diocesan website.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 10:34am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
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The Bishop of Chester's comments, from his presidential address ( http://www.chester.anglican.org/dev/docs/Bish-Peter-Dio-Syn-2012.pdf ):
"The prospect of women bishops is likewise pushing the Church of England towards a greater internal disunity. The crucial vote, Final Approval by the General Synod, is scheduled to take place on Monday 9 July. The House of Bishops has made some
changes to the legislation which are proving controversial, in particular its insertion
regarding the Code of Practice that it should give guidance concerning which male bishops might be acceptable to parishes which had requested to receive ministry from a male bishop as opposed to a female bishop. The key test is that such a male
bishop must exercise ministry which is consistent with the theological convictions in the parish which gave rise to the letter of request.
I have to say that I don’t know what this means in practice. It strikes me as an invitation to an Act of Synod Mark II, just as we rescind the original Act of Synod.
It always seemed to me to be unsatisfactory that the draft Measure was referred to Dioceses for consideration, but without the Code of Practice attached. A very controversial new matter has now been identified as needing to be settled in the
Code of Practice, which would only be issued and agreed after the Measure itself has received Final Approval. I don’t feel at all happy about this situation, but it’s where we are. We must pray that the right way forward is agreed."

Posted by: Mark Hart on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 11:19am BST

Apparently, Wakefield Diocesan Synod met last night, and no mention was even made of the amendments or anything else to do with the legislation. Will there be postings on this website when that happens with other Diocesan Synods? It was entirely predictable that the three Dioceses that have passed the emergency motions would do so. Furthermore, +Michael Perham is hardly the epitome of one who is in any way supportive of Catholics. We need only look at many of his statements to see the truth of this. It is to be hoped that the General Synod will put all of this to bed once and for all, either way, at its next meeting.

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 1:06pm BST

So, from Bishop Perham's peroration we may assume that he too joined the Bishop of Salisbury and was numbered among the small minority of members of the House of Bishops voting against the two amendments?

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 6:33pm BST

David if you have *evidence* that the minority voting against either of the two amendments that passed was *small*, do please share it.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 8:20pm BST

Simon, Simon - you appeal for "evidence" but it appears that you don't seem to keep up with what you post on your own website! In the Thinking Anglicans Comments following the report of the Salisbury Diocesan Synod - Gavin Foster (who was present at the meeting of the Diocesan Synod) wrote that the Bishop of Salisbury said of the House of Bishops gathering when the amendments were voted upon that "He himself acknowledged that there was a large majority in favour of these amendments and he was in a small minority." Is that sufficient "evidence"?
Of course, to fully confirm that the minority voting against was indeed small - then perhaps the members of the House of Bishops could be more open about their deliberations in this matter and let us know, beyond all shadow of doubt, who voted in favour and who voted against.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 9:02pm BST

Well David, curiously enough what two other diocesan bishops have told me contradicts what Bishop Nick said. That's why I asked.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 9:58pm BST

Well, Simon - it's all a matter of which Diocesans you choose to believe - Salisbury or your two anonymous diocesan bishops?
Surely it's now time for a greater transparency and time for the House of Bishops to be completely open and above board as to which way each bishop voted on the two amendments which are causing so much division and havoc within the Church. Actually, in conveying to you what went on in the House of Bishops meeting aren't the "two other diocesan bishops" displaying a marked disregard for confidentiality and collegiality?
As the last Bishop of Fulham once said to me - "Never trust a bishop!"

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 10:27pm BST

I wonder, can we look for further diocesan Bishops 'coming out' to admit that they do not support the amendment to G.S.'s agreed Draft Measure? Now that 3 of them have admitted their unease at what has happened on this matter, maybe some others could raise their mitres above the parapet

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 1:03am BST

Can this be possible? Is this a first? That I actually agree with something that Father Ron has written! We both agree that a greater transparency would help to clear the air if all the bishops were to disclose how they voted on the two amendments. By the three who have publicly expressed unease - presumably that's Salisbury, Worcester and Gloucester? Or maybe perhaps they were, in total, the "small minority" voting against the amendments?
Whatever, as the eleventh hour approaches it's time to heed the prophetic warning issued by the Lord Bishop of Chester:- "The prospect of women bishops is likewise pushing the Church of England towards greater internal disunity."

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 7:51am BST

I think there are two ways to understand "he was in a small minority" aren't there? One is that the number of people in the minority was low, i.e. small. The other is that the margin between the ayes and the nays was small, i.e. a narrow minority.

I can see how someone describing themselves to be in a small minority could intend either of those things depending on how they said it, context etc.

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 10:07am BST
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