Friday, 24 August 2012

Women bishops: Church Times reports slow progress

Madeleine Davies reports in today’s Church Times Women bishops: a lot of ground for the Synod to make up.

…Today is the deadline for responses to a consultation document about the options, which was circulated to Synod members by the secretary-general, William Fittall.

By Wednesday, only about one member in ten had responded. The General Synod Office reported “more than 50” submissions, the “great majority” from Synod members, but also some “from individuals and others from groups”. There are 477 Synod members.

Such a low response will make it difficult for the House of Bishops to ascertain the mind of the Synod when it meets to discuss the Measure on 12 September, although several dioceses are planning their own consultations later.

This week, Synod members expressed preferences for four of the seven options…

The press release from GRAS referred to in this news report is copied below the fold.

Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod
Press briefing for immediate release 14th August 2012

Amendment to the Draft Bishops and Priests [Consecration and Ordination of Women] Measure

On 9 July the General Synod voted to adjourn the Final Approval debate on the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to enable the House of Bishops to reconsider the new clause 5(1)(c) which it had inserted in May during the Article 7 Reference. Subsequently a discussion document (GS Misc 1033) was commissioned by the House of Bishops Standing Committee so that diocesan bishops can take soundings before they meet on 12 September to reconsider that provision.

The document offers for consultation in para 2 three alternative avenues.

  • Retain clause 5(1)(c)
  • Amend the draft Measure by removing clause 5(1)(c)
  • Amend the draft Measure by replacing clause 5(1)(c) with a different provision.

GRAS favours the second possibility – ‘Amend the draft Measure by removing clause 5(1)(c)’

The reasons for this view are that:

  • the unamended Measure (prior to the Bishops’ amendments) was carefully negotiated and agreed in detail over a considerable time, and was accepted by a huge majority of dioceses (42/44)
  • the unamended Measure already reflects enormous compromise. The outcry against the Bishops’ amendments that led to the current adjournment of the debate suggests that any further compromise goes too far. The Church of England risks finding itself in a position where people who long to see women and men as bishops together will vote against the Measure, because the compromises it makes would be too damaging to the church and to our theology of the place of men and women in creation.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 August 2012 at 8:33am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

The Provinces of the Anglican Communion that have already accepted the blessing of Women as clergy and Bishops in their provincial churches are waiting to see how the Church of England deals with this justice issue at the special General Synod being called to address the matter in November.

If, indeed, because of the implications of the House of Bishops' Amendment (5.1.c) to the original agreed schedule - which would have provided a Code of Practice, wherein a Woman Diocesan Bishop would retain local jurisdiction in cases where alternative oversight is requested - the Measure is turned down in the Synod; the House of Bishops must take the blame and bear the consequences of a long drawn-out process. Such a process would inevitably cause serving women clergy in the Church of England to wonder at the ethos of endemic patriarchalism into which they have allowed themselves to become enmeshed.

One question that will undoubtedly be asked - especially by the Faithful Laity in the Church of England - might be: "Where we be without our women clergy?" Why are they treated differently from women outside of the Church?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 24 August 2012 at 11:35am BST

As long as we have the public view such as that held by a local minister, which he published in his August parish magazine:
"Based on my opinion on the Bible and the hitherto undeviatory practice of the Church I cannot be sure that women 'priests' and 'bishops' really are priests and bishops. I cannot be sure that what they do has the backing of God's authority.....It is my hope that many women who have been 'ordained' will recognise this and withdraw."
I do not believe we will have peace in the Church of England. The laity in the parish that the above was written are beginning to wake up and ask whether this is theological or pure sexism, something that would not be tolerated outside of the church.

Posted by: John Rosedale on Saturday, 25 August 2012 at 7:51am BST

"Through all the changing scenes of Life" God is our help and our strength, why are so many afraid of change, and keep retreating in fear, instead of going forward and embracing change. Women have many gifts endowed by God, and the pathetic need and belief othat men should have control is very sad and short sighted, and denying the church the privilege of sharing, honouring and valuing the many wonderful gifts of compassion, understanding, leadership and teaching that women have. Why must "men trample women's rights at will?" That is not our Lord's teaching!!

Posted by: Denise Grant on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 at 9:44pm BST
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