Thursday, 31 January 2013

Women Bishops - summit next week

Madeleine Davies writes in the Church Times: Women-bishops summit next week. She reports that ““Intensive” facilitated discussions are to be held on Tuseday and Wednesday next week by the working group on women bishops”.

The chair of the working group has sent a statement to all General Synod members (GS Misc 1041), and this is copied below.

GS Misc 1041
Women Bishops: Working Group on new legislative proposals

Please see below a statement which the Chair of the Working Group has asked to be circulated to Synod members.
William Fittall
Secretary General
31 January 2013

Synod members will have seen that, on 11 December, the House of Bishops established a working group drawn from all three Houses of Synod to advise it on the preparation of fresh legislative proposals to be brought before the Synod in July. The Archbishops announced the names of the ten members of the Group on 19 December.

We held our first meeting on 3 January and met again yesterday. At our first meeting we decided to invite 15 people to join us for intensive facilitated discussions on 5/6 February. We sought nominations for some of these places from interested groups and issued some invitations to named individuals.

We thought long and hard about the best arrangements and came to the conclusion that an event of this kind, at which we could do intensive and focused work with the help of outside facilitators, would be what was most productive at this stage of the process.

After our conversations conclude at the end of Wednesday afternoon the Working Group will be meeting the Archbishops and other members of the House of Bishops Standing Committee that evening in preparation for a special meeting of the House of Bishops on Thursday 7 February.

It will be for the House to decide what should happen thereafter in the light of the conversations that have happened. My expectation is that the House will issue a statement and give the working Group a fresh mandate for the next phase of its work. I would also hope that, shortly thereafter, there will be an opportunity to circulate a consultation document enabling all Synod members to make a contribution. Given the timescale to which we are working we shall probably need to seek responses by the end of February.

The ten of us who have been appointed to serve on the Working Group – 4 bishops, 3 clergy and 3 laity – are very conscious of the weight of expectation and responsibility placed on us. Do pray for us and for all those involved in the various discussions during the week of 4 February

+Nigel St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

We reported on the establishment of the working group here and here; the second link includes a list of the group’s members.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 4:24pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

What will be at stake, in the legislation, obviously, is the position of those in the Church of England who ‘in conscience’ do not believe that women can exercise a priestly or episcopal ministry in the Church, but who still wish to be part of the Church of England.

The C.of E.’s canonical position has been to accept women’s ministry – albeit, in the past, with the proviso that those objecting will be provided for by bishops who also object to the validity of women clergy in the Church of England. One wonders on what particular theological basis this can be any longer sustained.

Now is surely the time when the House of Bishops, and General Synod, should stand by the courage of their convictions – and by the manifest desire of the majority of the Church – go ahead with legislation for women bishops , unimpeded by any measure that would in any way inhibit the authority of such bishops operating by the same principles as those of their male colleagues, as is proper to a truly collegial House of Bishops.

Furthermore, such legislation should make redundant any idea of the special provision of episcopal oversight for those who refuse to recognise female episcopal oversight. The whole idea of a two-tier college of Bishops is repugnant to catholic order, and should not be encouraged to remain part of the episcopal oversight of the national Church of England.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 1 February 2013 at 7:19am GMT

will be praying for you all, so much at stake.

Posted by: Lindsay Southern on Friday, 1 February 2013 at 11:26am GMT

Dear sirs,

Thank you for this excellent website - only recently discovered. For years I have wished there was a good periodical, akin to the Tablet, which could publish thoughtful articles by the laity, as well as the vital papers you yourselves have gathered here. I hope this is read by the keepers of this site!
As regards equality of opportunity in the Church for women, the House of Bishops must, in my view, take the lead, and bite the bullet (before the July synod).If not,their lordships' credibility will be fatally undermined. Yours sincerely, H.F.T.(Miss)

Posted by: a long suffering member of the laity on Friday, 1 February 2013 at 12:08pm GMT

> The whole idea of a two-tier college of Bishops is repugnant to catholic order

In the view of many, the whole point of introducing women bishops is to *overthrow* Catholic order!

Posted by: Veuster on Friday, 1 February 2013 at 3:03pm GMT

I see the hat. I don't yet see the rabbit.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 1 February 2013 at 4:37pm GMT

Forget romantic notions of 'catholic order' -what it may be - and get on with pragmatic on the ground solutions to ordained ministries.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 1 February 2013 at 7:42pm GMT

"[T]he whole point of introducing women bishops is to *overthrow* Catholic order!"

Indeed let us overthrow discrimination.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 2 February 2013 at 3:18am GMT

Who are these 'many' who want to 'overthrow Catholic order'?

I don't think I've come across anyone who has expressed that motivation. Those who don't care much about 'Catholic order' don't worry much about it one way or the other. Those supporters of women bishops who do care do not consider that it breaks 'Catholic order'. That just leaves those who care about 'Catholic order' and are opposed to women bishops -- and I would think that most of those would concede that the motive of 'overthrowing Catholic order' is not primary.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Saturday, 2 February 2013 at 9:09am GMT

This American Anglican considers any argument over whether women should be bishops as undisputedly silly. Not only do we consecrate women as bishops, they also practice law, medicine and accounting as well as dig ditches. You should pass this legislation, the sooner the better, with NO exception for those who don't "accept" female clergy. If God chose a woman to bring Jesus into the world, a woman can be a bishop!

Posted by: David Justin Lynch on Tuesday, 5 February 2013 at 3:06pm GMT

Why are some people hung up on "Catholic order???" What the heck does it mean? We are a small c catholic church, not large C Catholic. I was raised Greek Orthodox before becoming part of TEC as an adult. As an outside observer of the Reformation and the RC's arcane policies on women and birth control, I can't imagine why folks in the CoE would get so worked up about "Catholic order."

By the way, I'm actually Anglo-Catholic, we have liberal ones in the US. The crux of A/C being the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and a beautiful liturgy surrounding that Great Mystery. It has nothing to do with Rome and the pope. Are there strains in the CoE that actually care about Rome?

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 6 February 2013 at 5:55am GMT
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