Thursday, 28 June 2012

Reform and women bishops

Reform has issued this statement saying that the bishops’ amendments are not sufficient and that they will encourage their members on General Synod to vote against the legislation as it stands.

Media Statement: Reform members on GS encouraged to vote against Women’s Measure: REFORM SAYS ‘FURORE’ OVER WOMEN BISHOPS SHOWS NEED FOR BETTER PROVISION
Posted on 27 June 2012

Wednesday 27th June 2012

Reform Chairman Rev’d Rod Thomas said today that “Reform deeply regrets that we have reached such an impasse on women bishops” with the current House of Bishops’ amendments not satisfying the conservative evangelical network’s concerns over their future in the Church of England.

Speaking in advance of a prayer meeting for over 200 Reform members in central London, Mr Thomas said: “We thank the House of Bishops for their work. They have tried to find a way through. But their amendments have not succeeded in persuading our members that there is a secure future for those who cannot in conscience accept the oversight of women as bishops. In light of that we will be encouraging our members on General Synod to vote against the legislation as it stands.”

Mr Thomas added: “The furore created by some in response to these small amendments reveals most clearly the reason why those who hold to our Biblical position need legislative clarity, not just a code of practice if we are to continue to encourage young people to come forward for ordination.

“There is clearly a desire on the part of some to see any provision for us as strictly temporary, despite the fact that we’re simply seeking to follow the Bible’s teaching about how God wants his Church to be organised. They hope we’ll just leave. However, we believe the majority of Anglicans want to honour the promises made to us over the last two decades to preserve a place for us in the Church of England. As it stands, the draft Measure doesn’t do this – and we’ll be asking General Synod to withhold approval of the draft Measure so that some proper compromises can be agreed.

“We face a very difficult situation, so we are urging our members to pray today for the House of Bishops, the General Synod and for the church’s witness in this country to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.”

The full statement also includes some background notes.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 10:55am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Mr Thomas is obviously riding on the back of the expectation that Women will vote against the Amended Draft Measure - that would weaken the authority of a Woman Diocesan Bishop - in order to further distance 'Reform' from any association with Women in the ministry of the Church of England.

This particular conservative Evangelical view-point is consonant with that of their natural church-person-ship opposites in the C.of E., F.i.F., who are also absolutely against Women in Ministry. Between these two opposing views of the Church, has appeared this very convenient tactic for their intention to deny to Women the call to Ministry as Bishops in the C.of E.

This unlikely amalgam of extreme protestant and catholic opposition to women's ministry will do all they possibly can to achieve their objective.

The sad possibility is, that whether or not the Amended Draft Measure achieves its objective and passes through General Synod or not - this shaky coalition of extreme prots and spikes will have achieved their immediate objective - Women will not become properly equipped diocesan Bishops in the near future.

The nearest hope WE have, who want Women Bishops on the same footing as Male Bishops in the C.of E., is for the House of Bishops to drop the Amendment to Clause 5, so that a Woman Diocesan Bishop could have some say on whom she would choose to exercise episcope in her diocese.

Otherwise, the Anti-Women-Bishops collective will have gained their mean objective.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 11:39am BST

You've got to love the way that the hierarchy of Reform knows exactly "the Bible's teaching about how God wants his church to be organised."

If Holy Writ really was so clear, I'm sure we'd all be happy to comply. Alas, as in so much, it all depends on which bit you privilege above the rest, and then you have to sit down with the rest of the baptised and the Holy,Spirit and try to work it all out. But then, of course, that would just be me and my terribly non-Bible-based "hermeneutic"; something members of Reform don't have, because they have the Bible, and it's always clear, and speaks for itself. Doesn't it?! Hmm.

Posted by: Craig D'Alton on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 11:48am BST

Always capable of an own goal, of snatching defeat from victory, their 'not good enough' regarding Amendment 5 is the reason now for the changes to be withdrawn and come back later with the legislation as the dioceses passed it and go forward on that clean basis - give Reform and the rest of the special treatment brigade nothing beyond a code of practice.

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

It's almost as if the Draft Measure wasn't approved by the vast majority of the dioceses...

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 1:16pm BST

I'm surprised to find nothing extreme or intemperate in the response of Reform, who have not especially covered themselves in glory in the past. This seems perfectly calm and reasonable, and is in stark contrast to the hysterical over-reaction from those who wish to offer no workable concessions.

Posted by: Neil on Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 5:49pm BST

Neil, I'm sorry but I'm not clear who you are referring to when you speak of ' the hysterical over-reaction from those who wish to offer no workable concessions' ? It seems to me that just about everyone has been trying to accommodate workable concessions. 42/44 Diocese voted in favour of a package of workable concessions... Not sure I would describe those who are concerned that these new amendments are un-workable as over-hysterical either. Their reasons have been presented equally calmly and rationally.

Posted by: Lindsay Southern on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 1:04pm BST

Neil seems a trifle disingenuous. Partisan absolutists are committed to rejecting any "workable concession" as insufficient in order to justify their pretence that they are victims. It's rather like their fellow travellers in the US who peddle the slander that DEPO is a failure because they have done everything in their power to ensure DEPO fails whenever it is offered.

Rather like the old saw of the young man who murders his parents and pleads for mercy on the grounds he's an orphan.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 3:03pm BST

@Lindsay. The hysterical over reaction I am referring to refers to those who forget history and want to withdraw the settlement promised to opponents (these arrangements were what eased the original legislation re womens ordination, and lets not forget there was a reasonable financial package on offer as well for those who decided to leave, which again smoothed the politics of the situation at the time). Those with theological objections have been reassured that they are still to be regarded as loyal Anglicans, but the hysterical rhetoric of some people seems to want to drive them out. Simply on account of theological disagreement. This seems un Anglican and ungenerous to me. Do those who comment on this site really wish to retain those with whom they disagree, or is women's ordination to be a new test of 'orthodoxy'?

Posted by: Neil on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 11:05pm BST

"Do those who comment on this site really wish to retain those with whom they disagree, or is women's ordination to be a new test of 'orthodoxy'?

Posted by: Neil on Friday, 29 June 2012

Well, Neil, it would seem to be so - certainly for those who oppose it.

All most of us want is for Bishops in the Church to have equal respect and responsibility. A 2-tiered episcopate is not particularly catholic.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 30 June 2012 at 1:18am BST

IMHO, "In Christ, there is no male or female" is ABSOLUTELY a "test of orthodoxy" (if it seems "new", it's only because heterodox patriarchy was allowed to distort the Church for so long!). The ordination of (called) women is only the test case for this orthodox doctrine.

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 30 June 2012 at 6:04am BST

I'm with Neil and would add that from my experience in the diocese where I serve there has been some pretty vitriolic and I must admit condescending behaviour from the pro no concessions lobby. This aside, there must surely be a way forward of keeping unity despite disagreement on this issue - after all enough people want it (see Catholic Group in General Synod writes to members post).

Posted by: Bob on Saturday, 30 June 2012 at 6:28am BST

or is women's ordination to be a new test of 'orthodoxy'?

Posted by: Neil on Friday, 29 June 2012 at 11:05pm

Well, it'll make a change from homosexuality.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 1 July 2012 at 9:28pm BST

It gets harder and harder to take the Church of England seriously.

"But we'll always have the BCP !"

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 2 July 2012 at 2:42pm BST
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