Friday, 13 July 2012

Revision of Clause 5(1)(c)

On Monday the General Synod voted to adjourn the debate on Final Aproval of the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to enable the House of Bishops to reconsider the new clause 5(1)(c) that the House had inserted.

We propose to conduct a discussion here on Thinking Anglicans with the aim of making one or more suggestions to the House on the form that reconsideration might take. In order to make this as constructive, helpful and eirenic as possible, we will conduct this in a more formal way than we normally do.

  • Discussion will begin with a post from one or more guest contributors
  • Commenting will as now be subject to moderation, but we will more strictly enforce the rules on relevance, ad hominem comment (none allowed) and so on. ‘Relevance’ means keeping to this particular topic: constructively discussing possible texts that would satisfy the reference back to the HoB from the Synod, i.e., we are solely concerned with revision, removal, expansion, replacement etc of clause 5(1)(c).
  • We hope that various viewpoints will be offered, and we expect all to be respected. However, the purpose of the discussion is to make the draft Measure more likely to gain Final Approval at the General Synod, and more likely to gain parliamentary approval.

We firmly believe and hope that a site named ‘Thinking Anglicans’ can and should be a place for this sort of debate: one of high quality, and high regard for other participants, as well as for those who are not participating, whether an individual agrees with them or not.

We will introduce this debate shortly.

Simon, Simon and Peter

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 7:46am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: About Thinking Anglicans | Church of England

I think that your proposed actions are great. Opening up the debate on this website, but keeping a firm eye on relevance,are spot on. You are right to remind us that the purpose is to ensure that the measure will BOTH gain approval of synod and of parliament.

Posted by: Malcolm Macourt on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 9:03am BST

Really excellent idea, friends. May I ask that you do as "Episcopal cafe" does and ask every commenter to use their real name? (You may already do this!)

Posted by: Paul Bayes on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 9:17am BST

Esteemed Hosts of T.A.; I presume you will want to keep this discussion 'In House' - restricted to members of the Church of England.

We in other Provinces may already have women Bishops but perhaps our comments might be considered to 'Muddy the Waters'?

Your guidance on this please. (Fr.Ron, ACANZP)

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 10:15am BST

Thanks for this initiative - I look forward to engaging with this, and I think the relevance criteria are important - it will be interesting to see how this plays out in public, and whether a wider range of people will contribute to the discussion. I really hope that it generates high quality contributions of real value to the church.

Moderating comments on the text/drafting should work OK. It will be interesting to see how comments on the synodical/political context will play out - i.e. will commentary be allowed on whether a proposed text is likely to meet either of the two objectives of passing in synod and in parliament? And will contributions from parliamentarians therefore be sought? (That part of the context is rather thinly explored at the moment)

In spite of the advertisement in Synod of additional time to reflect, the time is rather short, people are taking downtime and holidays and the House of Bishops meets in September. Quite a challenge!

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 10:48am BST

I think it would be useful to hear from mmebers of Anglican Churches that already have women bishops, as long as they remember that this debate isn't about them. It would not be useful to hear from righ-wing Roman Catholics and other very conservative non-Anglicans with an axe to grind against Anglicanism in general. Ordinariate members are not Anglicans, by the way.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 1:18pm BST

Re real names. It is indeed already our policy that we very strongly prefer that contributors use their real names. We have from time to time re-iterated this. We do recognize that some comments from some commenters may occasionally require anonymity or pseudonymity, and that is something we will judge case by case.

The very first post to TA, in 2003, (linked as 'About TA' at the left of the main page) stated 'We each take responsibility for our own words', and that remains our position, for posters and commenters alike.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 1:41pm BST

As a member of General Synod, I'm encouraged by this development. I think there will be some really serious engagement between (and not just within) the traditions in the coming two months - the Bishop of Southwark announced a similar non-virtual process at Diocesan Synod on Wednesday. Let's hope we can finally get it right!

Posted by: Simon Butler on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 3:04pm BST

Should the discussion only involve GS members?

Posted by: Susan Cooper on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 3:47pm BST

No, we don't expect the discussion to be confined to GS members. We think it important that the HoB and GS members are able to hear other voices, both to help come up with suitable wording and also to help them make up their minds on the acceptability of various options.

Ultimately it will be for the HoB to determine wording; and for the GS and then Parliament to determine acceptability.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 4:11pm BST

I don't think it should Susan, but it would be helpful if those who are not part of the Church of England or who don't understand the legislative journey to date exercised a degree of self-censorship. We could end up going down lots of blind alleys or having to deal with the inevitable cultural differences that exist.

Posted by: Simon Butler on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 4:12pm BST

I think the conversation should be open to all those who feel they are in a position to make a constructive contribution - but it might help a great deal if contributors were invited to make that position clear.

Further, I do not think that this should be restricted to GS members on principle - the legislation approved by dioceses has been changed. The dioceses have not had a chance to debate the changes, which were declared to be insubstantial. Subsequent events have called that assessment into question - including some votes in dioceses which indicate that the contrary is true, and the reference back to the Bishops by the General Synod, which suggests the same.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 13 July 2012 at 6:16pm BST

This is worth a try.Sounds good to me. Thanks Simon.

Posted by: Helen Rawdon on Saturday, 14 July 2012 at 12:48am BST

We would appreciate it if commenters would keep their comments on this thread relevant -- it's about the process for the forthcoming discussion.

Several comments have been received that although not objectionable in themselves are not relevant. So if your comment on this thread doesn't get published don't assume that we have taken offence.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Saturday, 14 July 2012 at 12:43pm BST

As a member of General Synod I welcome this.

I wonder whether it would be worth trying to draft something for the Code of Practice along with 5.1.c as I suspect many on all side of the debate are concerned about what might go there?

Posted by: Sue Penfold on Saturday, 14 July 2012 at 2:34pm BST

This sounds like a really helpful idea, in terms of putting forward concrete suggestions for a way forward rather than unpicking how we got to where we are.

I think it would be very helpful to know the position people are writing from, I don't know how this might be done in practical terms other than by a short introduction in someone's first comment in the discussion.

Re the 'real names' thing - perhaps some people feel too exposed if they post under their real names, and maybe for good reasons. They may still have important points to make. If comments are being premoderated to exclude the irrelevant and the inflammatory, I'm not sure whether there should also be a requirement for 'real names'.

In any case - how could this be checked?

Posted by: Pam Smith on Sunday, 15 July 2012 at 5:39pm BST
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