Wednesday, 21 November 2012

more responses to the vote part 2

Church of England Evangelical Council:

“The church failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way” – Michael Lawson, CEEC Chairman

The Venerable Michael Lawson, CEEC Chairman, comments on the No vote for Women Bishops “Is the church out of touch? No! It simply failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way.”

“The General Synod’s no vote for women bishops will undoubtedly cause both pain and even incredulity to some, yet to others a relief that biblical and catholic orthodoxy has been upheld. The reality is that the out come brings no victory to either side. It is true that broadly speaking the church as a whole has grappled responsibly with this issue. What will be extremely sad is if the result of this vote leads some women to feel they are marginalised in the church, for the reality is that the New Testament encourages the ministry of both men and women, yet in complementary ways. There are of course many places where the rich ministerial gifts of women already have a chance to flourish. But as a result of the vote, this complementarity needs an even greater encouragement by word and action in our churches.

As CEEC has warned on many occasions, one of the reasons for the outcome of the vote will have been the weak and inadequate approach to provision for those who could not accept the possibility of the ordination of women to the Episcopate. At any return to this issue, this matter will require far more thoughtful attention than it attracted hitherto. There was an easy dismissal by some – of those who disagreed with women bishops. This sadly was perceived as ungenerous to say the least, and the whole church needs to learn and learn again that generosity towards those of different opinions is a true sign of the gospel of Christ.

As an outcome to this vote the church may well be criticized that it is out of touch with the times. The truer criticism could well be that we failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way. The CEEC which represents a range of views on this matter, will happily sit down and pray and discuss possible ways forward with any individuals and groups who seek to know the mind of God and build unity throughout his Church.

The Venerable Michael Lawson
Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council

Statement from Chairman of Reform on Today’s Synod Vote

We thank God that the Church of England has avoided making a big mistake which would have led to real division and a less inclusive Church. The synod’s decision shows respect for the issues of conscience involved. It has avoided putting significant minorities who, as faithful Anglicans, seek to follow the Bible’s teaching, into an impossible position.

We now have a real opportunity to build on the Church’s solid biblical foundations, reflecting together on the right way forward. The good news is that we are still together and able to witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ, which is the heart of our gospel, the basis of our unity, and the only hope for the future of church and nation.

We stand ready for any discussions that our future archbishop may wish to initiate and happily commit ourselves to approaching these positively. Our hearts go out to those who will now be disappointed and confused about the difficult position in which the Church of England now finds itself. We assure them of our prayers. We recognise there is now a need for everyone to take stock while working together to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God as Advent approaches.
Rev Rod Thomas
Chair of Reform

Forward in Faith reacts to the defeat of the draft Measure

Forward in Faith recognises that the outcome of today’s vote in the General Synod will bring disappointment and pain to many. However, we are not surprised that the legislation failed to command the necessary majorities, as it has been apparent for some time that it lacked any consensus across the whole of the Church of England.

As we have done for the last decade and more, Forward in Faith stands ready to offer a better way ahead, which might indeed command that wider consensus which this draft Measure so clearly lacked.

We ask now for a period of prayer and reflection on the part of the whole church, following today’s events.

Catholic Group on General Synod
from the Guardian

We regret the Synod was put in the position whereby draft legislation failed at final approval because it was unclear and unfair in its provision for those who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops or priests.

The Catholic Group calls on the House of Bishops to reconvene the talks started in the summer between representatives of different groups, chaired by Bishop Justin Welby.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 7:55am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

They want MORE concessions? They have to be joking.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 8:34am GMT

The only consolation here might be that, the next time around (in 2015), the whole Church may be much less inclined to accommodate the prejudices of the minority, thereby opening up the way for unhindered episcopal authority for both Women and Men. Until that time, sadly, sexism will be seen to prevail in the Church of England.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 9:24am GMT

Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind...

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 10:08am GMT

Not MORE concessions, no. Just the Honoured Place that was promised.

Posted by: Jonno on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 10:13am GMT

"...those who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops or priests."

Every time I read this phrase I think to myself, "and what would be the reaction if we replaced 'women' with 'people of color'"?

And "why is one OK and the other not?"

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 11:19am GMT

Single measure motion next time

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 11:25am GMT

They want an Honoured Place, and women are denied a place.

I think Jesus had something to say about those who clamour for Honoured Places for themselves.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 11:49am GMT

Ordinary mortals who take offence at the slightest supposed disrespect, going off in a huff or plotting revenge, or who forbid jobs and positions for irrelevant reasons like skin colour or gender, or who get worked up about issues like food or dress or which animals are OK and which are evil are considered immature, unkind or just a little bit stupid. So why do special allowances so consistently need to be made for the gods of our various religions? You’d have hoped they’d be in the vanguard. Or do their spokes-persons have faulty lines?

Posted by: Claudia Cotton on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 12:05pm GMT

This is not the time to talk about extra concessions or safeguards - this is the time to talk about a one clause measure. Women clergy have had no 'safeguards' from bishops and others who don't recognize our priesthood. We've survived! If we part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church it will not be schism if people leave. And anyway if someone has a conscience about something it is they who should bear the cost - not others. That's why it's called a 'cost'.

Posted by: Rev Anne on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 5:29pm GMT

The Chair of CEEC stated: 'The CEEC ...represents a range of views on this matter...' .

He also gave an unequivocal verdict that: "The Church failed to attend to God's work in God's way".

The CEEC does not represent the range of evangelicals in the Church of England. It needs to add an extra 'C' to its title: Church of England Conservative Evangelical Council (CECEC).

The Chair does not represent the 'range of views' he himself mentions exists.

Posted by: Graham Kings on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 5:44pm GMT

It would be good to hear from these groups that they want to be part of the whole church, rather than of enclaves where they can pretend that people different from themselves simply don't exist - it is not true or faithful to anyone to create a system of two churches pretending to be one, and it is inconsistent with Canon A4, which General Synod very early noted was in the background of this issue.

It would also be good to know that those who claim (on the basis of what people other than I have said) that they have an honoured place in the church that there is some mutuality involved and that they will acknowledge that I (and my female colleagues) can have such a place too. After all it is the women who are currently in the position these people say they fear.

And, as I have noted before, I am a male priest ordained at the hands of a male bishop - are my orders as a priest received in the whole church? I have asked several times, and as yet I have had no response.

If some of these groups started actually behaving as if the rest of us (the majority) actually existed, it would help. They say that they have not been listened to, but manage to suggest that people like me were prepared to make no compromise. We moved, they didn't - words sound hollow when they are not accompanied by actions.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 5:55pm GMT

The sooner everybody RESPECTS and understands their opponents on this issue, the better. I'm astonished that the fantasy-politic which pervaded Anglo Catholics in 1992 (failing to see that the C of E is Protestant in its essence - not Catholic) now seems to hold sway on the opposite side (the opposition will wilt away - we will remove promises re provision etc) who overplayed their hand. They had their chance to accept the Archbishops amendments in the summer and rejected it. If there is a fight at the next Synod elections, the liberals ought not presume that their hand will be strengthened. Evangelicals and Catholics are now working together (thank God) as never before, and the implications of this are lost on most commentators on this blog.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 6:23pm GMT

We mere mortals have a binding duty to root out the systemic evil that prevails in the Church of England at the moment. I prayerfully suggest that we take note of Andrew Brown's comments and take the following action

1. All disappointed parishes should call an emergency meeting of their PCC's and Synod members to discuss the 'No' vote and to particularly question how women played a strong part in the opposition.
2.
We need to question whether it is holy for Anglo Catholics to have joined forces with women who have been educated to believe that women should not speak or act for Christ in church. Is it holy for them to have aligned with those whom they normally mock?

3. We need to ask the question. How long have the fundamentalist Evangelicals been plotting this course? I can tell you the answer to this but God wishes to enlighten you Him/Herself – then and only then will you find the answers to combat the problem that has left holy Archbishops and Bishops weeping and comforting their women ministers.

There is no time to waste in terms of the Gospel imperative – read today’s Gospel for the Feast of the Presentation. We have more important work to do than fuss and fight at Synods. We are not feminists and do not wish to argue from a feminist perspective. We are human beings called to a sacrificial servant-hood. We rejoice in this daily, come what may.

The Gospel of Thomas contains this phrase from Jesus' lips "If you bring forth that which is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not bring it forth, what you do not have within you will kill you." We do not have transparency from the top-down. Work from the bottom up for Christ's sake.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 8:03pm GMT

Respect?

I respect your right to hold the views you do. I respect your right to be part of the Church of England just like anyone else.

But that is it. I don't respect your views - I think conevos are wrong about the Bible, I think anglo-banglos are wrong about tradition, and I think both are wrong about mission and society. I don't respect views that I don't believe are the will of God, and I don't see why I should respect them.

Both groups live in a weird world of false-consciousness - just listen to the radio interview of Lorna Ashworth afterwards. She admitted on air that her view was self-contradictory, but sort of brushed it aside. What? How dare she not have worked through those difficulties with her position before she and the rest like her blithely drop us all in it.

The ghettoisation of both groups since 1992 has been a frightening example of unintended consequences. It was precisely what the foolish but well-meaning framers of the Act of Synod did not want to happen. And the cost to the Church and to women has been huge.

I think it is now incumbent upon the wreckers of the Measure to come back to the rest of us and explain how they intend to show some respect to the rest of the church in how we go forward. The debate now needs to be a lot more robust in facing the points at which we do not think either side's arguments deserve either respect or weight. Telling me it is a "deeply held theological principle" will not do. So was Apartheid.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 7:30am GMT

Rosie, quoting from the Gospel of Thomas is only going to prove to Evangelicals that you shouldn't be a priest. And as long as you use "God Herself," it's feminism to many/most. And why are Evangelicals voting against this "plotting" but the women who voted "No" specifically so that next time there is a single clause to drive Evangelicals and some Anglo-Cathoics out of the church not plotting? That definitely sounds like a plot to me. Vote no and get your enemies in the church to take the blame and get what you really want next time. Since it only lost by 6 votes and there obviously were people who voted against it that want female bishops, how is it the Evangelicals fault?

Posted by: Chris H. on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 1:37pm GMT

I don't think using words like Apartheid is helpful or accurate. Let's put the Orthodox and Roman Catholics into the equation Jeremy. Would you want to say the same thing to them? And how come politicians think it is somehow ok for RCs to keep women's ministry at bay (which I agree is a total scandal) but the CofE somehow doesn't have the same right to theological positions which challenge secular orthodoxy? I'm not saying I agree with the evos but I want to preserve a church in which all can flourish. That is why the covenant was so wrong. I would choose to be in communion with both Bishop Gene Robinson and Mark Lawrence if they were celebrating here.

Posted by: Neil on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 4:54pm GMT

Neil -

I think using the Apartheid analogy is entirely justified. You may know the history, but here's why. Apartheid was a "deeply held theological position" that became the official doctrine of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa. It was so much a part of the mindset of that church that it was hardly questioned at all by its own members - with the very honourable exception of Beyers Naude. In the end his work and that of the writers of the Kairos document of 1985 and many others forced a thorough going re-examination of the theological grounds of this Internationally much-vilified support for the political programme which it shored up. Eventually that church came to admit they had been wrong and repented of it. But that did not come by their opponents simply "respecting" their deeply held theological opinion - it came because they criticised it steadily, persistently and with great courage in the face of persecution. And thank God they did.

Secondly, I don't think it is appropriate to introduce the RCs and the Orthodox into the mix. Why? Because they do not do their theology in the way that Anglicans do. Church of England opponents of women in the episcopate need to show us all why their opinions are consonant with the kind of theological reasoning that Anglicans have traditionally deployed.

So I would not want to say the same things to RCs and Orthodox. I might have all sorts of views about the positions that their churches take and their various theological and dogmatic methods, but that would be, as Father Ted would have said, an ecumenical matter. And I would be speaking to them as a fellow Christian, but not as someone who has a material interest in how and why they arrive at the answers they do.

But these people who voted down the measure tell me that they are Anglicans, faithful ones, who want an honoured place in our Church of England. Well, I think they need to justify to the rest of us in terms that we Church of England folk all understand why they have done what they have done. And they and we will do our Church a huge favour if we submit what the supposed theological rationales for and against to some fairly searching criticism.

A call for respect is seriously misplaced at this juncture - it is saying "peace, peace" when there is no peace.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 10:54pm GMT

"Let's put the Orthodox and Roman Catholics into the equation Jeremy. Would you want to say the same thing to them? And how come politicians think it is somehow ok for RCs to keep women's ministry at bay (which I agree is a total scandal) but the CofE somehow doesn't have the same right to theological positions which challenge secular orthodoxy?"

Neil, isn't one answer to your question of Jeremy Pemberton blindingly obvious?

The last I heard, neither the Roman Church nor the Orthodox was the established church. Nor were their leaders automatically part of government.

Are you willing to give up establishment?

Because that is where the CofE is going. It is looking, as Tony Baldry said, like any other sect.

If the CofE wants to go off and discriminate in private, fine. It's wrong, it's a sin, and it's unChristian; but a private sect has the right to espouse doctrines that are evil and illogical.

That said, to discriminate and at the same time to claim to be the national church will not wash.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 23 November 2012 at 1:59am GMT

Jeremy P - It is difficult to see how any case against women in the episcopate could be made if a priori any questioning of the new orthodoxy is deemed to be like apartheid. David Houlding talks about sacramental assurance for traditionalists rather than trying to persuade proponents to change their minds about women's ordination. For those who want women bishops he would say they should have them. But for those with theological objections (and you must know that those who do - 'impossibilists' - would deploy the same rationale as RCs and the Orthodox, and claim this is part of our Anglican heritage as well) there should be protection in order that the patronising and dismissive attitudes towards them that currently hold sway won't result in ethnic cleansing. The 2 integrities approach kept the peace, but sadly proponents wish to remove this. And then the same Bishops who voted down the Archbishops' summer amendment start huffing when the various church tribes fight to avoid annihilation. I come back to my original word. More RESPECT is what is required. The alternative is simply slogging it out in the next elections, and as I've said, there's no guarantee liberals will strengthen their numbers. For some time now, the women are far and away the best prepared and politicised when it comes to GS.

Posted by: Neil on Friday, 23 November 2012 at 1:36pm GMT

Jeremy, I don't need to prove to anyone that I am a priest- I seem to recall a Bishop who was vocally against the ordination of women laying hands on me. He was so abusive to ten women that one of them who later became a Canon in the same Diocese could not attend ordinations. How sad and damaging is this? Don't attempt to blame her - her stall was empty because she was deeply traumatised. Everybody in the Cathedral understood why.

I read a lot in order to learn - didn't have much time in parish whilst trying to raise a lot of dosh for parish share as well as.... If I read something Dawkins writes and am inspired in some way by it and quote a line are you going to call me an Atheist? - because the same logic applies to my using a quote from The Gospel of Thomas.

We gave adequate provision on Tuesday and I was one of those who campaigned for this but if you think I am going to rest easy while Fundamentalist Evangelicals preach Creationist rubbish and distort the Gospel message you can think again. I worked in Oxford Deanery and picked up the poor souls who had been damaged. I would be delighted if certain Evangelicals left the Church of England because they are exercising power sinfully, in my prayerful and I believe knowledgable opinion. I have no fear of their opinion on my use of language or concepts of God either. If Jesus allows me the odd swear word in prayer I think the Holy Spirit can filter this too. I am not a feminist I am a human being 'raging at the dying of the light'. It staves of depression you know. If I cared what people think too much I might never get out of bed and preach the Gospel! There are a group of Evangelical women who will vote No every time this comes up in Synod and they will be replaced by others of like mind who will continue to vote No with sincerity and conviction because they are in my opinion poor souls who are brainwashed and deluded. Are you happy for the Gospel to be so distorted in the Church of England? I sincerely hope not.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu used the Aparheid analogy in 1992 and if he had not represented us so passionately I would not have been priested in 1994 because he won the day on that simple point.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Friday, 23 November 2012 at 11:04pm GMT

Jeremy, Sorry about addressing most of my points to you - should have been Chris.

PS We recently had a locum here who had worked bravely alongside Desmond Tutu. This priest told me that when his bishop wished the diocese to be opposed to the ordination of women deacons to the priesthood, ALL the priests gathered together and then told him they would only offer diaconale ministry if their sisters were not priested. You only get one guess for One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism and One Holy, Catholic Priesthood of the People.

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Friday, 23 November 2012 at 11:18pm GMT

What does "Anglo-banglo" mean in the context of Anglicanism? All I can find on google are definitions relating to race, it apparently being a derogatory term for people of mixed English and Indian descent.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 12:37am GMT

Anglo-banglo = gin and lace, camp as Christmas, call each other by the girls' names they were given at theological college, watered silk cummerbunds and collectors of tat - you know the kind of thing. Wanting women out of the sanctuary is par for the course with this group. It's all as gay as, but it tends to be closeted and seems to an outside observer rather self-hatingly homosexual.

I heard that term from one who knew that milieu like the back of his hand - he has moved on.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 9:05am GMT

Goodness me , what a stream of spite and invective, hysteria and hatred even , flows out of these comments . This morning`s sermon was on Christ the King, the absolute King . Oddly neither the congregation nor the priests mentioned " the vote " , we just got on with the business of the Sunday Sung Eucharist in the windy winter sunshine , and hopefully received forgiveness along with the sacrement . One day we shall all be dead and the church can move forward without us with our inconvenient consciences and traditions !!! Pax .

Posted by: Elizabeth Howard on Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 1:10pm GMT

This issue is now not one about women bishops or gender at all. True faith in Christ has no gender. From where I am looking it is about protecting every child that is born from dangerous extremism. If you replay the debate - and I have not, I think you will notice what a conversation stopper this biblical certainty is? If ever I am in the middle of such a conversation I seem to suffer from the most awful brain fog, it is just like a suffocating blanket coming down. This has always disturbed me and I foolishly believed it was because I didn't know nearly enough about the bible. Sure, I don't know enough about the Bible but it seems to me there are some things God just does not wish us to hear. How about the woman who was so certain of her understanding of Biblical authority requiring members to vote No that she started to quote a few lines from Psalm and then stuttered as she tried to grab her indexed Bible. It struck me that if the Holy Spirit had wished her to use the power of these words she would have been enabled to remember them. It was something that struck me like a lightning bolt at the time and it haunted me as I realised there was a very strong possibility that the Yes was lost in the mist of this scriptural confusion. Yes, God wanted this motion to fail but not to highlight whether or not there should be women priests, or bishops with a protective clause or not. No, I now feel certain in my own mind, that God Almighty wished to highlight how dangerous our collective theology has become. We are always on such a big sales and marketing trip we forget that the temple needs regular cleansing. Well, Jesus has his whip out now and he is raging at the impression we are giving to potential Christians. Actually, I correct that unreservedly, to absolutely every human being. Its a crying disgrace alright, a highly funded organised disgrace at that. The Church of England does seriously need a health warning stuck on to its manifesto. Like, 'Be aware this theology may not be suitable for the under 18's' at the very least. God has just pushed his parental control button and I thank the disadvantaged and the abused and the atheists for drawing our attention to how really irrelevant we are concerning scriptural authority. If we do not wish to be tainted by the poison of this so called medicine then it is either time for a total reform of what Anglicans believe the bible teaches or it is time for schism, actually schism has been pretty much in evidence for many years. Shame on the Anglo Catholics for allowing God's image and likeness to be so opportunistically abused. I hope that + Justin will be able to find ways to get certain theological colleges to regularise their Biblical teaching. Have we actually got any guidance on this - ??? The sad thing is it will continue to undermine all the wonderfully positive news that is out in the market place. Do we have any guidelines about what is Anglican???

Posted by: Rosie Bates on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 8:39pm GMT
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