Monday, 26 November 2012

Women Bishops: electronic voting results

Electronic voting results for last week’s General Synod on the women bishops legislation have now been published. These take the form of a pdf file, arranged by house, by vote (for/against/abstain) and then alphabetically.

Arun Arora, the Church of England Director of Communications, in announcing the publication of these results has reminded us all that Matthew 5:43-48 applies.

For convenience I have put the results into a spreadsheet arranged by synod number (which brings members together by diocese) for each house and added absentees and vacancies.

For this purpose an “absentee” is someone who did not record an electronic vote (for/against/abstention). There are various reasons for being an absentee; examples known to me include illness and being on sabbatical in New Zealand. In addition some at least of the three ecclesiastical judges consider it inappropriate to vote on church legislation which they may later have to enforce.

Update I have now added a webpage version of my spreadsheet.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 2:46pm GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

I am genuinely delighted that Fr Alan Moses, vicar of All Saints Margaret Street (Resolution AB parish) voted in favour of the motion.

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 2:55pm GMT

No-one has ever explained to ordinary lay people what they're actually doing when they elect their Deanery Synod delegates at the Parish AGM every five years. Time to start.

Targets for the next lay General Synod elections in England? Well, let's start with Winchester 7 out of 8 lay delegates voted against. Chichester, London and Oxford also seem ripe for a bit of change - not all those people who attend Resolution C parishes agree with the FiF party line on women.

Loving your enemies does not mean one can't make strenuous efforts to get them voted off General Synod.

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 3:17pm GMT

I wonder how many TA commentators will object because the majority of London clergy reps failed to represent the wishes of their Diocesan Synod?!!!

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 4:05pm GMT

OK so from a preliminary review of the No votes in the Laity, it does not appear that the legislation failed due to No votes cast by people who support women bishops in principle. Apart from Tom Sutcliffe, who else can be identified as belonging to that group?

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 4:20pm GMT

Can anyone be bothered to do an analysis of how representative representatives were in terms of:

a) The proportions who voted one way or the other in comparison to Diocesan Synod votes (eg, as has been pointed out, London diocesan synod voted against it but in the General Syndo the bishops were 100% in favour, clergy 60% in favour and laity 60% against);

b) The proportions who voted one way or the other in comparison to the number of female clergy in the diocese (this is a difficult one to make work statistically but I'm sure there's someone clever who can. I'm looking particularly here at Guildford and Rochester, not known as no-go areas for women);

c) The proportions who voted one way or the other in comparison to the number of Reform or F in F parishes (again, difficult to gauge).

I'm not volunteering, by the way.

Posted by: Will Adam on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 4:51pm GMT

In Chichester the clergy vote was divided, as perhaps you might expect. The Laity vote was two for and six against. This exposes just how blatantly the GS representatives in this Diocese fail to reflect in any way the opinions of the person in the pew. The system has to change and has to change fast.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 4:51pm GMT

It appears that quite a lot of the laity who voted against the woman bishops were women themselves. I'm a little surprised to see this.

Posted by: Josh L. on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 4:57pm GMT

Simon, if you're right, then perhaps Synod's next item of business will be to ask Parliament to dissolve it.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 5:07pm GMT

I wonder how many TA commentators will object because the majority of London clergy reps failed to represent the wishes of their Diocesan Synod?!!!

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 5:18pm GMT

Guildford is a liberal diocese but 3 out of 4 of its House of Laity members voted against.

Posted by: badman on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 5:19pm GMT

Also Adrian Vincent apparently: "I voted against the draft legislation, not as a vote against the ordination of women to the episcopate, but as a vote against the provisions for anglo-catholics and conservative evangelicals in the legislation."

Posted by: RUK on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 5:31pm GMT

Simon - that was my real fear; it means that there is seemingly no hope of a quick fix to this; & that it was the legislation itself that did not have the support it needed to pass the two-thirds hurdle.

That's a bigger challenge and takes everything to 2015 and beyond. Only further concessions will see it through this synod; and no-one seems minded to explore that route; only hard-fought elections in 2015 will see it come back unchanged, or even harder-line and I even wonder about the feasibilty of success that way.

Posted by: Jonathan Jennings on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 5:39pm GMT

Keith Malcouronne in Guildford is one.

Posted by: Hilary Cotton on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 5:48pm GMT

So the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, one time contender for Canterbury didn't vote for, didn't vote against, didn't abstain but was 'absent'!

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 7:32pm GMT

The only figures I’ve come across show the percentage of Resolution B parishes and the proportion of Laity voting against the Measure

Bath & Wells (C) 2.6% 1/5
Birmingham (C) 8.7% 0/3
Blackburn (Y) 28.1% 2/3
Bradford (Y) 7.2% 0/3
Bristol (C) 4.3% 1/3
Canterbury (C) 9.2% 0/3
Carlisle (Y) 5.7% 1/2
Chelmsford (C) 12.4% 4/7
Chester (Y) 11.8% 1/4
Chichester (C) 12.1% 5/8
Coventry (C) 6.6% 1/3
Derby (C) 5.5% 1/3
Durham (Y) 14.5% 1/4
Ely (C) 3.6% 0/3
Exeter (C) 9.0% 2/5
Gloucester (C) 2.3% 1/3
Guildford (C) 2.4% 3/4
Hereford (C) 0.6% 0/3
Leicester (C) 4.7% 1/3
Lichfield (C) 11.4% 3/7
Lincoln (C) 3.7% 1/4
Liverpool (Y) 5.4% 1/5
London © 19.1% 3/5
Manchester (Y) 11.6% 1/2
Newcastle (Y) 14.6% 1/3
Norwich (Y) 3.5% 0/3
Oxford (C ) 4.2% 1/2
Peterborough (C ) 4.4% 2/3
Portsmouth (C) 12.0% 0/3
Ripon & Leeds (Yy) 4.8% 2/3
Rochester (C ) 9.3% 2/5
St Albans (C ) 4.2% 0/6
St Edmundsby & Ips 2.0% 0/3
Salisbury (C ) 2.7% 0/6
Sheffield (Y) 17.9% 2/3
Sodor & Man (Y) 3.6% 0/1
Southwark (C ) 9.3% 2/7
Southwell & Notts (Y) 3.9% 0/3
Truro (C ) 6.8% 1/3
Wakefield (Y) 18.6% 1/2
Winchester (C 6.2% 5/7
Worcester (C 3.4% 1/3
York (Y) 3.3% 1/3


Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 7:46pm GMT

My understanding is that if the matter is to return to GS during the current quinquennium, it can only do so with the concurrence of the two presidents of the synod (+Cantuar & +Ebor), the Prolocutors of the two convocations, (Ven Christine Hardman and Revd Canon Glyn Webster) and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the House of Laity of the synod (Philip Giddings and Tim Hind) - the so-called "Group of Six".

How likely are they to concur given that two of them, Glyn Webster (soon to be Bishop of Beverley, the PEV in the Province of York) and Philip Giddings voted against approving the draft legislation?

Posted by: RPNewark on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 7:56pm GMT

Gerry —

Re your post at 3.17 pm:

1. Deanery synod members are not delegates, required to represent the views of their parishioners. In any event, unless there was a resolution at the APCM on a particular issue, it would be difficult, under the present CRR, to determine what the parochial view on any issue was.

2. By the same token, a diocese's General Synod representatives are not delegates of the diocese. Therein lies the root of the problem in the vote last week. It's not a case of 'winner takes all' as it is in the US presidential election, when a majority for the democrat or republican candidate commits all that state's electoral college members to vote for the winning candidate in his/her state. GS members could vote against the Measure, as many did, notwithstanding that their own diocesan synod had voted by a significant majority to approve the draft legislation (77% of lay members across the 44 dioceses, still 74% if recorded abstentions are regarded as 'no' votes for this purpose,)

3. 'Ordinary lay people' elect their deanery synod reps (who then constitute the electoral college for both diocesan synod and General Synod elections) every 3 years, not 5 years. The next deanery synod elections are in 2014, and it is the deanery synod reps elected by APCMs in March/April 2014 who will be the electors for the GS elections in 2015. While the vote last week should alert 'ordinary lay people' to the need to consider the views of those they are electing as their deanery synod reps (in the rare cases where there is a contested election), it remains the case that many 'con-evo' parishes will be entitled to more deanery synod reps by virtue of the size of their congregations and electoral roll numbers.

4. In most, if not all, dioceses, the candidates for election to General Synod produce election addresses, so their views on key issues, such as women bishops, should be stated. If a candidate is not 'up front' about his or her views on such an issue, he or she should be challenged to state it. If he/she declines to do so, it would be wise not to vote for them.

5. There is also a need to counter apathy among deanery synod (DS) members. In the 2010 GS elections, if my memory serves me right, fewer than 50% of DS members voted. It is likely that those who were anxious to secure the election of GS members opposed to women bishops ensured that they voted. Accordingly, if, as seems to be generally agreed, the result of the vote last week does not represent the views of the large majority of the 'people in the pew', some blame should be attached to those deanery synod members who did not exercise their right to vote in 2010.

Posted by: David Lamming on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 7:58pm GMT

at least both of three?

Posted by: Clive Sweeting on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 8:02pm GMT

Josh L wrote: "It appears that quite a lot of the laity who voted against the woman bishops were women themselves. I'm a little surprised to see this."

I'm not surprised, Josh. I'm a woman in orders and I know that there are women who do not support women's ordinations. Heck, even when women were finally allowed behind the altar rail to assist in administering communion, in my church there was a woman who, every time a woman was there to administer the chalice, she would get up and walk out. As to the reasons, you will have to ask those women.

Posted by: Lois Keen on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 8:24pm GMT

Chelmsford is another "interesting" case.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 9:03pm GMT

RP Newark

You might find a majority in favour - I don't think unanimity is required.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 9:30pm GMT

I've just crunched the laity numbers and a higher percentage of women laity voted against the measure than men - 36.67% vs 35.34%.

Posted by: Tony on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 9:59pm GMT

Concerned Anglican - The Bishop of London was absent because he was ill.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 10:30pm GMT

There will be lots of ways of analysing these figures. However, the dioceses where more than 50% of the laity representatives voted against will be regarded as the election battlegrounds for 2015. These are Blackburn, Chelmsford, Chichester, Guildford, London, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Rochester and Winchester, together making up 34 of the 74 votes against. On any measure these will be regarded as the 'unrepresentative' dioceses. Of these Blackburn and London had the largest no vote in the laity in absolute terms. The dioceses where there was 100% support in both the clergy and laity were Bradford, Ely, Hereford, Norwich, St Albans, Sodor and Man, Southwell and Nottingham and Ex-Officio (where by convention the three senior lawyers did not vote). Interesting!!

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 10:46pm GMT

I believe Mary Judkins has also said she voted against legislation but not principle.

Posted by: Alan Wilson on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 11:06pm GMT

I guess that quite a few people who support WBs in principle will have voted against because they did not think there was sufficient provision for dissenters. A number of speeches followed that line. What I would like to know however is did any supporter of WBs vote against because they thought the measure already contained too many concessions to dissenters, and undermines the authority of WBs. WATCH had been suggesting that a number of their members held that view.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 12:02am GMT

As predicted the Chichester Lay reps proved to be self serving rather reflecting the views of laity in the diocese - even as represented by their own (all be it highly selective) electorate of Deanery synod members

Posted by: Confused sussex on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 12:14am GMT

Thank you for this very illuminating thread.

Instead of scolding the laity, perhaps people will pray and take stock. I'd be encouraged to have this genuinely democratic process in the US, but then, TEC is very stern in what counts for its 'mission.'

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 1:20am GMT

I've now done an extensive analysis of this. Happy to upload the files if someone tells me where to put them. There's some discussion and a supporting spreadsheet.

Headline is that some dioceses' GS reps voted considerably out of line with their own diocesan synods (albeit on a slightly different motion.) The most extreme were one where 88% of the House of Laity in Diocesan Synod voted in favour, but 2 of 3 GS reps voted against, and another where 70% of the diocesan synod laity voted in favour, and 3 of the 4 GS reps voted against.

Conservatively speaking had GS reps voted roughly in line with their diocesan synods, there would have been a majority over the two thirds of about 20.

Posted by: Adrian Beney on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 1:22am GMT

David Lamming:
I agree especially with your point 4. ("In most, if not all, dioceses, the candidates for election to General Synod produce election addresses, so their views on key issues, such as women bishops, should be stated.")

In addition it would be good if candidates's election papers were available online. As a member of the clergy here in Rochester Diocese (and I guess this is standard) I didn't even know who was standing for the House of Laity, and knew that at least some of my Deanery Synod reps might not know where the candidates stood on the issue of women bishops - you sometimes have to be able to read the "code" in election addresses to tell. Fortunately my DS reps were happy to tell me who was standing, and I was able to tell them a little more about their background - we also discussed the elections at PCC. I didn't try to tell them how to vote,of course, but I did make sure that they knew enough to make a choice that would reflect their own views on the subject. It seems to me that making election addresses public would also help the rest of the laity to know who their DS reps were choosing between, so that they could make their opinions know to their DS reps too. The whole process needs to be much more transparent, and the wonders of the internet mean that it would be very easy for that to be so. The recent travesty of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections shows what happens when the electorate have insufficient information about the candidates (or in some cases none) - most people don't bother to vote or take an interest.

Posted by: Anne on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 8:10am GMT

My only comment on this si that we should all be careful about who is voting in line with whoever else. We make assumptions about how representative our various Synods etc are. I can think of several diocesan synods where the make up and voting isn't necessarily in line with the parishes in my opinion. And that is the problem - my opinion. No legislature is ever totally representative of the electorate - see Parliament and the death penalty for example. And one final observation - the only way to find out how representative we are at every level is to ask everybody's opinion on every subject - Swiss style perhaps

Graeme Buttery

Posted by: Graeme Buttery on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 9:12am GMT

Have any of the people who 'voted against the legislation but not the principle' made clear what kind of legislation they would have been happy with?

Posted by: Leon Clarke on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 9:15am GMT

I take the point that General Synod members are delegates and don't have to vote according to the wishes of the majority of Diocesan Synod lay members or laity in their Diocese.

However the results seem to show that lay representatives in some areas are way out of line with the thinking of those who have been elected to Diocesan Synod - I think from the same pool of potential members - so the question that arises for me really is whether this system is actually giving proper representation to the views of lay people on any issue, and if it doesn't, how this is addressed.

I don't think you can have a system where representatives aren't allowed to vote according to their own judgement - otherwise there would be no point in having General Synod discussions (which are presumably meant to inform voting) at all.

However, people being elected to Synod in large groups from one church or one viewpoint also seems to negate the idea of the house of laity representing the spread of opinion within the laity of a particular Diocese.

I also wonder about the nature of how debates are conducted and particularly the idea of 'balance'. In the debate on measure for women to be ordained as bishops, people whose views were 'pro' and 'anti' seemed to be called more or less alternately. This not only gave the impression that support was split more or less equally, but it also prevented others from speaking. Of course you could argue that nobody knows how opinion is split until the vote, but why not choose speakers from, say, as many Dioceses as possible, to give a more accurate snapshot of how opinion is actually split?

Posted by: Pam Smith on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 9:51am GMT

Who says Diocesan Synods are representative of the people in the pews?

Posted by: Simon on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 10:07am GMT

There seems to be an underlying assumption that our Diocesan Synods are more representative than our General Synod. Why? The Deanery Synod is the electoral college for both bodies.

Posted by: tommiaquinas on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 10:16am GMT

And that, Simon, is a key point here.

I know my own views on OoW are the minority here, but I would like to think I'd get a hearing as a "thinking" Anglican who is at least prepared to discuss it, and try and work together, rather than someone happy to be in a ghetto.

Looking back at how the "debates" were conducted across the diocesan synods, it is pretty clear that some were vastly better run than others - I followed the reports at the time on this very site!

I don't know what the answer is at all, but it does seem to me that if we're going to reform the GS (long overdue), then we might as well do the DS while we're at it - and institute proper nationwide precedures for how things are to be discussed and voted on (I know these exist already, but it would be nice if they were stuck to).

It might also be nice, in the event of GS elections moving to universal suffrage by electoral roll, to see the DS's put in their box a little bit through a division of labour a la county councils vs national government. In that model we shouldn't be having a situation where GS and DS are so much out of line, because DS should be local level housekeeping while GS does the heavy lifting on constitution/belief matters. Until the electoral system of GS is addressed though, that can't happen.

Regardless of the result, on this and all other matters I'm not sure how helpful it is going round all the dioceses and asking what they think in a totally non binding fashion, before getting a different body to make the legislation. i can see why we do it, in order to make decision making as local as possible, but in reality it doesn't do any more than give the impression of that happening and reserving the power somewhere else.

In a shrinking CofE, is there any need for DS at all - couldn't the size of the electoral roll be equally well served by GS alone if everyone gets a vote?(especially if they change the hours so that more people can stand)? Just some thoughts anyway....

Posted by: primroseleague on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 11:10am GMT

Re the balance of the debate: I wonder if it might have also helped if the discussion had been restricted to the measure and the provision rather than women's ordination which had been debated/decided upon a while ago.

Posted by: Jenny Petersen on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 11:11am GMT

"[P]eople whose views were 'pro' and 'anti' seemed to be called more or less alternately."

This concern has been raised several times now. It is not a valid concern.

Alternating speakers is normal procedure in large assemblies. Whatever the question is, alternate the pros and the cons.

How else could it be done, without vesting in the chair an inordinate power to influence the flow of the debate?

After all, until the vote is taken, no one knows what a "fair" proportion of speakers would be.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 11:24am GMT

@David Lamming - it's possible to do this with a pledge system. It would probably get significant - very significant coverage in the secular media (look at the saturation coverage of last week's vote) and therefore would reach the laity in a way the usual round of ecclesiastical politicking did not.

Make people aware the Deanery Synod reps are the electorate for General Synod. Ask people to only vote for Deanery Synod members who agree to sign a pledge a long the lines of "I will only vote for candidates committed to the consecration of women to the episcopate at the earliest possible date." (Actually, in an STV election, it would be more accurate to say will give all my highest preferences to candidates, etc... but let's not complicate things at this stage.

There are certainly many Resolutions A & B parishes where a majority of parishioners are in favour of consecrating women bishops. I'm not sure that it wouldn't be the case in some Res C parishes, especially the ones that are actually growing and have some parishioners aged under 75. "Father knows best" is mainly a self-delusion that Father has about himself rather than an attitude held by the people these days.

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 11:31am GMT

The editors of this blog would be grateful if those of you whose Christian names are either Simon or Peter would sign your comments with more than just your Christian name, so as to make it clear to visitors that you are not one of us, so to speak! Thanks.

Now to comment on what "Simon" said, I doubt that any synod, not even a Deanery level one is representative of the people in the pews.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 12:18pm GMT

Jenny Peterson wrote:
"I wonder if it might have also helped if the discussion had been restricted to the measure and the provision rather than women's ordination which had been debated/decided upon a while ago."

That's an understandable point, but I think that the debate brought out the fact that actually, for some people at GS the issue of women's ordination didn't seem to have been decided upon not in their minds anyway. The vote to support it in principle had been passed, just as the decision to ordain women as priests had been passed 20 years ago, but that didn't mean that in the minds of those opposed women were valid priests - otherwise they wouldn't have needed provisions in place so that they could avoid their ministry.
The basic issue still seems to be, and is allowed to be, questioned. Are women capable of being ordained (from the Anglo-Catholic end ) and/or is it against the will of God to allow them to have authority over men (from the Conservative Evangelical end). This means that many female clergy can feel that they are in a kind of limbo as "Shroedinger's Priests", simultaneously priests and not priests, depending on who is looking at us. That may not be what the official understanding in whatever carefully worded formulae were devised in the 1990's, but in practice it is how things have operated. In a sense it is the question we really need to make sure we are clear on now.

Does anyone know how the current position is squared with Canon A4? It has always puzzled me.
http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/churchlawlegis/canons/section-a.aspx)

"The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, annexed to The Book of Common Prayer and commonly known as the Ordinal, is not repugnant to the Word of God; and those who are so made, ordained, or consecrated bishops, priests, or deacons, according to the said Ordinal, are lawfully made, ordained, or consecrated, and ought to be accounted, both by themselves and others, to be truly bishops, priests, or deacons."

Posted by: Anne on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 12:44pm GMT

Not so much an analysis as some ramblings on synods and controversial decisions. Despite the major set back that the no vote has caused, pointing the finger at synod itself warrants some caution. There is, as far as I can tell, a great difference with regard to procedural issues in Canada by comparison with England.

But, The Canadian Church has had a similar decision crisis, in the opposite direction, two General Synods ago. Here it was not the laity but the bishops who were the spoilers. They defeated by the slimiest of margins a measure passed by clergy and laity to allow dioceses the "local option" to bless same sex unions. This upset was in part the outcome of bishops being worried about the politics of the issue being "booted down" to their diocese.

Since then, there are several circumstantial indicators worrisome for those who believe in synodical government in the Church. Examples, the Canadian National Executive ( CoGS)refused to follow up on direction given it by General Synod by completing work on a matter of sexual ethics. The following synod ( the most recent one) was orchestrated to avoid a parliamentary style debate on the matter of same sex blessings, replacing it instead with a management technique run by consultants. Again, Episcopal politics appear to have been at play.Reports out recently suggest that the next Canadian GS in 2013 will have a more "disciplined" set of opportunities for discussion, a decision which is already causing some controversy.

There is a risk that the General Synod will become less of a forum for tackling issues by all orders, and something of a mere conference setting and an opportunity for the bishops, aided by consultants and bureaucrats, to set the agenda and hold court.

So, one should be careful to separate out one's distaste from decisions from the polity that decides.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 1:15pm GMT

Anne (post at 8.10 am)—

In some dioceses the election addresses were placed on the diocesan website. Many can still be viewed online at http://gensyn.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/online-election-general-synod.html
However, not all who were opposed to women in the episcopate said so clearly. Hence my advice that, before deciding how to vote, an elector should challenge candidates to make their views clear on any important issue.

Posted by: David Lamming on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 1:37pm GMT

The people who 'voted against the legislation but not the principle' would like some legislation to cater for the needs of the traditionalist wing, not no legislation.

Posted by: brackenrigg on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 3:21pm GMT

The way this matter was laid left anyone who had made a commitment to vote FOR women to back off. Take Glynn Harrison for example, in his Opening Statement found on YouTube he is for women bishops, his next statement on the place of catholic dissenters is not presented as qualifying that position nor is this evident in the hustings that followed here
http://www.bristol.anglican.org/churches/gensynelections2010/audio/laity.mp3 , though you have to say that there is some wriggle room.

But from my point of view it would be hard to argue that the bishops had failed to make the effort he said was required to accommodate dissent.

From all that he says there is little to suggest Harrison would switch to NO - but he does. Not that I find this at all surprising in this case.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 5:28pm GMT

Anne: 'Does anyone know how the current position is squared with Canon A4?'

One obvious answer is that a Measure is primary legislation, whereas a Canon is subordinate legislation, so if there's a direct contradiction between a Measure and a Canon [*], then the Measure stands.

[*] and I'm not necessarily saying there is any such direct contradiction

Posted by: Feria on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 10:47pm GMT

One of the 33 lay women who voted against is Vivienne Goddard from Blackburn Diocese who happens to be the wife of John Goddard the Bishop of Burnley - one of the 3 Bishops who voted against.

Posted by: Beth on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 at 10:52pm GMT

Feria, I think Anne's point is that if Anglo-Catholics deny that women priests are priests, then they deny the religious doctrine described in the Canons of the Church of England.

The Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure provides a legal framework to accommodate dissenters, but it doesn't endorse their views.

Church doctrine affirms that women priests 'ought to be accounted, by themselves and others', as priests. But the Church does not absolutely insist that this teaching be accepted. This is not considered an essential issue of faith like the 'catholic creeds' and 'historic formularies' to which new priests have to assent.

Posted by: Christopher on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 4:00am GMT

I think Anne's point about a lack of acceptance of women's ordination is key. The vast majority of the opponents of WB don't see women priests as being valid either (or only in very clearly subordinated roles). So the practical problem is how do you give clergy an "honoured place" in an organisation when they don't accept that 20% or more of their colleagues should be in their posts? Long term, the problem is only going to get worse, as a higher proportion of new ordinands are women. We can try and develop structures to keep opponents of WO in the church, but inevitably the space available is going to get smaller and smaller for them, and eventually the end will come. What would those who are anti-women bishops do if the Archbishop of Canterbury was female, for example? How could you create a Church of England that would satisfy them at that point? So you either have to say that a woman must never be allowed to be Archbishop of Canterbury, or those who are opposed to WO will eventually find themselves in a position they apparently cannot accept. Or the Church of England would have to decide that it will stop have women priests and that really would be suicidal.

Posted by: magistra on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 7:18am GMT

Please may I say that the majority of the lay people and clergy in Winchester Diocese are in favour of women Bishops and are very very sad and disappointed at the way that the majority of our lay members voted.

Posted by: Dave Foster on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 9:09am GMT

Jeremy said

""[P]eople whose views were 'pro' and 'anti' seemed to be called more or less alternately."

This concern has been raised several times now. It is not a valid concern.

Alternating speakers is normal procedure in large assemblies. Whatever the question is, alternate the pros and the cons.

How else could it be done, without vesting in the chair an inordinate power to influence the flow of the debate?

After all, until the vote is taken, no one knows what a "fair" proportion of speakers would be."

No, theoretically we can't know what the proportions are until after the vote - though that rather begs the question of how people can know whether they want to speak 'for' or 'against' until they have heard the other speeches!

General Synod is meant to be reflecting opinion across the whole of the C of E. It is definitely a concern if speakers from one Diocese are more likely to be called than speakers from another and this is the effect of calling alternate 'for' and 'against' speakers when opinion on one side or another is clustered in relatively few Dioceses.

It would be much fairer to ensure speakers are called from as many Dioceses as possible, given that there is a spread of opinion in many Dioceses this might give a false picture but it's much more likely to represent the spread of opinion.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 9:11am GMT

I think there is a possible question about how the debate was structured, viz:
a) having a Reform person speak last and restoring the 5 minute limit after reducing it to 30 seconds was maybe not wise. Angus McLeay did not really speak against the measure but against OW per se - and he veered into doctrinal error by suggesting that there is eternal subordination in the Immanent Trinity. Apparently at least one waverer in the HofL voted no after hearing him as they thought he must be some important theologian to be called last and give extra time! I can see why ++ York set the debate up like this, but with hindsight it wasn't a good idea - not that he could do anything about it! (And I might have done the same if I'd been him - but I was hoping a bishop -as guardian of the faith - might have jumped up with a point of order about the doctrinal error bit).
b) Confining the debate to one day was necessary but unhelpful as speech limits had to be reduced to 30 seconds in the end. I stopped standing to speak then. +Sheffield gave up at one minute. Both of us would have spoken as evangelicals about the Biblical basis for women in ordained leadrship / how the NT handles disagreement. Either extend the sitting (but till when?) or run the debate over into Wednesday (also not an easy move).

Charles W Read (so you know which one I am)

Posted by: Charles Read on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 11:11am GMT

I feel so strongly that a number of the lay members who voted against and were mandated by their Diocese to attend Synod and that Diocese had already voted in favour of the motion they should in all honesty reflect on their position in Synod - and for my part that includes the two lay members from Ripon and Leeds who voted against the motion. For something as critical as this they should at least have asked for a mandate from all parishes to vote against what Ripon and Leeds had already approved.
I hope they both submit their resignations as they have done significant damage to the Church and its reputation.

Posted by: Andrew Phair on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 11:47am GMT

Well the elephant has certainly left the room! Cover has been blown and elections will never be the same again after this debacle.

Posted by: Robert Ellis on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 1:46pm GMT

I've listened to several General Synod discussions via the live feed now and I have always been puzzled why a church council - presumably attempting to discern God's will - has discussions that are pre-polarised into 'pro' and 'anti' sides.

If we want a system where members vote according to 'party' then those parties need to put out manifestos before elections. We could also do away with all the applause which, as ++ Sentamu points out, wastes a great deal of time and really achieves nothing in terms of the business of Synod.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 2:54pm GMT

As far as I understand, the diocesan synods did not vote on this legislation. They had voted on an earlier form of the legislation.

There is also the fact that several (I have 10 in my head but that may not be quite right) dioceses affirmed the 'following motion' for additional provision.

It is simply not as black and white as "Diocesan Reps said 'yes'/'no', General Synod Reps should have said 'yes'/'no'."

Posted by: Richard on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 3:07pm GMT

I think I have said here..or somewhere!..that the McLeay view of the Trinity is that propounded officially by the Diocese of Sydney to keep women from the presbyterate/episcopate. You can follow this in Muriel Porter's book on Sydney Anglicans (2nd Ed) and with more theological depth in Archbishop Peter Carnley's book "Reflections in Glass". it seems to me important, given that the C of E subscribes to the first four General Councils that set the parameters for Trinitarian Orthodoxy ( plus the Athanasian Creed) ,that this be looked into by patristic scholars...or our own Doctrine Commission ( cf Sarah Coakely's remarks)

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 3:32pm GMT

While I am deeply disappointed at the recent vote in the General Synod, I find it interesting to note, that when I have served as a deputy to TEC's General Convention, I have been told that my job was definitely not to reflect the views of the majority in my diocese, but to vote according to my own conscience.

Posted by: Old Father William on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 6:06pm GMT

I feel so strongly that a number of the lay members who voted against and were mandated by their Diocese to attend Synod and that Diocese had already voted in favour of the motion they should in all honesty reflect on their position in Synod - and for my part that includes the two lay members from Ripon and Leeds who voted against the motion.

If members of Synod are 'delegates' who are required to vote in line with their dioceses, then debate at General Synod should be abolished, and so should prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit before the meeting, since presumably the Holy Spirit has stopped giving guidance after the meetings of the diocesan synods. If no one comes to a GS debate with the view that the Holy Spirit might change their minds, what's the point of the whole exercise?

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 at 11:51pm GMT

One point constantly made by conservative evangelicals is that theirs are the growing churches. But has anyone (the TA team in particular) got statistics on how many evangelical churches are conservative evangelical ones? I found by comparing Reform and the Evangelical Alliance website that of 8 Church of England members of the EA within 15 miles of me, only one was a member of Reform. Is this typical? In that case, the existence of a small number of relatively large conservative evangelical churches would be expected, if they're very thinly spread, so that all those opposed to WO from a wide area would cluster in one church.

Posted by: magistra on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 7:09am GMT

It's quite hard to get hard numbers on the Forward in Faith side as well - the intro to their directory of churches states

"This directory includes parishes known to us which have (in England) have passed
Resolutions A, B or C together with many other parishes where the priest himself has declared that women priests will not minister within his care of souls."

This is quite hard to check up on (as well as, incidentally, going some way beyond the 'legal safeguards' offered by the Act of Synod).

http://www.forwardinfaith.com/resources/parishes-uk.html

Posted by: Pam Smith on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 9:59am GMT

Magistra, you may well be right. However, I'm not a con-evo by any stretch but isn't the point with them that they go their own way?

You won't get a trad AC church that isn't a member of multiple organisations - FiF, CBS, etc, but the con-evos may well not join organisations (even Reform) because they're just not impacted by what's going on outside their own 4 walls. At least the ACs, coming at it from a sacramental argument, NEED bishops, etc. Evangelicals don't - so it's possible for an evo church to be entirely against WO and not come up in the figures, simply because no one's asked and they haven't self identified. I'd hazard that 2 minutes listening to their sermons might leave an observer in no doubt one way or the other though.

Basically, you can be much more confident of the Anglo Catholic numbers than the con-evo ones. I suspect, as a trad anglo-catholic, that we are significantly outnumbered by those we have ended up in alliance with......

Posted by: primroseleague on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 10:46am GMT

Don't rely entirely on the 'Reform' statistics. There are no 'Reform' linked parishes shown in the diocese of Lincoln, but I know of at least one with a very heavy Reform agenda and a fully-paid up Reform pp.

Posted by: david rowett on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 12:00pm GMT

Yeah, they do talk up their numbers. I have a large number of thriving and sensible evangelical and charismatic parishes in my patch. Not one of them is Reform.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 12:27pm GMT

In response to Will Adam's post, I've not done a complete analysis, but the following are the most striking:

• Chelmsford: 44 for, 16 against, 1 abstention. Vote by GS members: 3 for, 4 against.
• Guildford: 36 for, 15 against, 3 abstentions. Vote by GS members: 1 for, 3 against.
• Oxford: 55 for, 15 against, 2 abstentions. Vote by GS members: 4 for, 4 against
• Ripon & Leeds: 30 for, 4 against, 2 abstentions. Vote by GS members: 1 for, 2 against.
• Rochester: 34 for, 11 against, 2 abstentions. Vote by GS members: 2 for, 3 against.
• Winchester: 37 for, 23 against, 2 abstentions. Vote by GS members: 1 for, 6 against.

Taking the total figures in those six dioceses, 73.75% of lay members voted in favour of the Measure but 22 out of their 34 GS representatives (64.7%) voted against. If just one of the 'no' voters from each diocese had voted the other way, the Measure would have secured the necessary two-thirds majority in all three houses.

A vote of no confidence in the GS (or even in the House of Laity), as some have suggested, seems inappropriate, given that there was a majority, albeit not two-thirds in the H of L, for final approval of the Measure. Diocesan Synods in the above dioceses, however, might wish to consider passing motions of no confidence in their diocesan lay GS representatives and calling on them to resign and, if they wished, to stand in the resultant by-elections when it would be seen if their views still commanded support among the deanery synod members who constitute the electorate.

Posted by: David Lamming on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 5:15pm GMT

May I correct Anthony Archer with regard to Portmouth Diocese. In fact all our reps present voted in favour of Women Bishops.

Posted by: Ken Roberts on Saturday, 1 December 2012 at 4:43pm GMT

Are the names of those who voted for and against in 2014 also recorded for posterity?

Posted by: Rob Edlin-White on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 4:33pm BST

Yes they are now available at http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006681.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 6:32pm BST
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