Tuesday, 9 April 2013

WATCH meeting: Preparing for Elections

WATCH (London) Invitation

Preparing for Elections

Everyone is welcome to St James’s Church Piccadilly (nearest underground Piccadilly Station, Piccadilly Line or Green Park Station, Victoria and Jubilee Lines) on Wednesday 17 April 2013 from 6.45pm - 9.15pm

This event will provide an opportunity for us to prepare for the forthcoming elections to Deanery Synods now and in 2014 at which members vote for those standing for General Synod.

It is crucial we are prepared for this as soon as possible so that the expressed wishes of those in the Church who support Women Bishops can be properly represented.

Revd Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s, Piccadilly will give a key-note address.

The Revd Stephen France, Rector of Christ Church Brondesbury in the London Diocese will take us step by step through the synodical processes to secure a General Synod lay membership which represents far more accurately than the present House of Laity the overwhelming desire of church people to welcome women as bishops.

Pamphlets giving clear guidance will be provided at the meeting for distribution in your parishes. Individuals who have been closely involved in Synod’s various efforts to achieve women in the episcopate, members of General Synod past and present and from the National WATCH committee will be on hand to hear your views and experiences.

There will be time for questions and comments. We will end with Compline.

Light refreshments will be available.

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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Just one question, please. What if the opponents of woman bishops win at the next synodal selections, "win" in the sense of increasing their numbers, and hence strength, in the House of Laity?

Posted by: William Tighe on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 2:27pm BST

Could/will the pamphlets mentioned above be made available online?

Posted by: useful in parts on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 2:36pm BST

It all smacks of desperation if you ask me. Why can't WATCH just keep their noses out until Synod has deliberated in July? And do they not for one minute imagine that similar machinations might be afoot elsewhere if there is delay? Ridiculous!

Posted by: Benedict on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 4:36pm BST

William Tighe, thank you for your salutary warning. It will be relatively easy for hardline opponents in the House of Laity to muster enough votes to block the process again, although not now in the other two Houses.

You ask what will the consequences be if that happens?

There'll be a lot of anger but the matter will just keep coming back again and again until it is resolved in favour of women bishops as that is clearly and permanently the mind of the Church.

Posted by: Concerned Anglican on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 4:46pm BST

Oppression is about power. The church has wielded oppressive power for a very long time in a variety of ways. There are only 2 ways in which it gives it up:
a. when it truly and deeply listens to the people they are oppressing and their Witnesses; or,
b. by the exercise of power to overcome the power of the oppressors.

A. may be ideal for the church, but it looks to me like CoE's polity is not particularly open to the listening I described. That only leaves people with option B.

Clearly, the Synod that met last November did not resemble the will of the laity, as expressed in the diocesan synods. Political machinations thwarted that will, that spirit. Power. The anti-women people who have had power forever are still good at keeping it, even when they are in a small minority.

It is quite proper for WATCH, and anyone interested in justice and dignity for all women, to work to make sure their voices are heard properly at this next opportunity. I will hold them in prayer.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 7:35pm BST

I don't know what evidence Concerned Anglican has for saying that it will be relatively easy for hardline opponents in the House of Laity to muster enough votes to block the process again. There are six (or so) key dioceses, the so-called swing dioceses. Simply by increasing the turnout in most dioceses will ensure a more representative House of Laity. The last one issue election was in 1990, when the conservatives failed to pack the Synod to vote against women priests. As to Benedict, there will hopefully be a well-worked new package in time for the 2015 elections for the new Measure to be certain to go through, but WATCH and others are right to start now. The first elections that play a role in all this are the elections from PCCs in 2014 for the 2014-2017 Deanery Synod Triennium.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 9:32pm BST

Benedict, we are a campaigning group like FinF or REFORM. What we all do is, er, campaign....

Posted by: Charles Read on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 10:04pm BST

Anthony Archer ought to know better: it is the APCMs in 2014 (not the PCCs) that will elect the lay representatives to serve on deanery synods for the 3 years 1 June 2014 to 31 May 2017, and thus form the electorate for the General Synod election in 2015. All those (and only those) on the church electoral roll are entitled to attend and vote at their parish's APCM. So it is vital to ensure (i) that those entitled to enrol do so now, or at the latest during the 2014 roll revision period, and (ii) to encourage those on the roll to attend and vote at their 2014 APCM, making sure that those they elect to the deanery synod (a) are truely representative of the views of the 'people in the pews', and (b) are able and willing to check out the views of those standing for election to the General Synod before casting their votes in 2015.

Posted by: David Lamming on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 11:49pm BST

I'm afraid that Benedict is way behind the pulse of the Church of England's desire for Women Bishops - as clearly indicated by the majority of Diocesan Synods' outcomes on this issue.

Refractory opposition to Women as Clergy or Bishops in the Church of England will do no-one any good. If the General Synod indicates that there is no legitimate canonical reason for withholding the acceptance of a call to Women in the Church to become Bishops (it has already ordained Women as priests) - then who, in the Church, should be gifted with the continuation of a right to object to such a movement, by means of special provision that discriminates against the Women involved.

This initiative, by WATCH, is only different from the initiatives taken by the opponents of Women's Ministry - in its determination to harness the obvious majority will of the Church to facilitate the means to secure its objective.

It has long been known that those who formerly sought power and influence in the government of the Church were champions of the status quo. A modern understanding of the need for emancipation of Women as equal partners with men in the ministry of the Church has demanded a more competitive basis on which to campaign for seats in Synodical bodies.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 9 April 2013 at 11:56pm BST

Is WATCH taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut? All we traditionalists want is proper provision then you can have your women bishops. There is no need to gerrymander the election process to achieve your aims and objectives.

Posted by: Jill Armstead on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 7:38am BST

Jill: sorry to be picky but...
1. this meeting is organised by the London diocese branch of WATCH and not WATCH as a national organisation - the politics of London diocese are different from any other diocese! Nevertheless, they have opened up the meeting to people from other dioceses.
2. Please stop hijacking the word 'traditionalist' - there are many who support the ordination of women who might fairly want to be described as traditionalist - eg they value certain styles of worship, they accept certain expressions of doctrine.
3. Plus those who support the ordination of women believe this to be a legitimate development within the tradition- using that word here in its traditional theological sense!
4. I'm happy to see the church provide proper provision for opponents - but not provision that splits the church or demeans women (lay and ordained) - you seem to use that phrase to mean 'give us what we want'. That is not a realistic position to hold I'm afraid.
5. The small word 'your' is the give away - I want a one church provision (that keeps us together) not a two-church provision where one group gets women bishops but the other can pretend they don't exist - or are not proper bishops.

Posted by: Charles Read on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 9:31am BST

A little disingenuous of Jill Armstead to say that all traditionalists want is proper provision, as this is an argument that they can hide behind sine die, depending on how you define 'proper provision.' Once they had made clear that 'any male bishop will not do' the scope for an agreed provision narrowed substantially. I hope a way forward will be found in advance of the 2015 Synod elections, but if not then the traditionalists may live to regret not giving Final Approval to the Measure in November. There can be no gerrymandering of diocesan boundaries, but every scope for fighting the election on the real issue and for knowing how candidates will vote if elected. Simple democracy in action.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 12:18pm BST

"All we traditionalists want is proper provision then you can have your women bishops"

- Jill Armstead -

Is your 'proper provision' an attempt to divide the Church on its canonical decision to include women in the House of Bishops? If so, that road leads to a schismatic double-mindedness about Church Order - something that 'traditionalists' used to treasure.

If the Church of England decides that women are canonically acceptable as Bishops in the Church, how can any participating member of the Church of England deny this status to women bishops? There is an alternative - that is to join up with a Church that meets with your understanding of Church Order - either R.C. Orthodox or Ordinariate

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 12:32pm BST

Have I understood this right? When FiF, Reform and others run a very well organised and successful campaign to recruit to synod people with their convictions and so boost their share of the vote that is legitimate and simply a concern to seek 'proper provision'.
When WATCH, and others, start organising the same this 'smacks of desperation', and is denounced here as 'machinations', 'gerrymandering' and sticking noses into a process that should apparently be allowed to run without any such manipulation or interference.

Posted by: David on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 1:12pm BST

Charles: Perhaps I ought to have said traditional Anglo-Catholic and yes, the 'you' was rather tactless. I am quite happy to see women priests and bishops in the C of E - the great thing about the C of E is its acceptance of all-comers: so please - just provide proper provision for us: we want to stay together too.

Posted by: Jill Armstead on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 3:04pm BST

So what is proper provision Jill? I hear these words so often, but have no idea what they might mean in practice. In 10-20 years there will be women bishops who may well be in a position to be considered for ABC or ABY: how would that affect your idea of proper provision?

Posted by: Helen on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 9:09am BST

Sadly there were, in the last elections to General Synod, a number of people who said that they supported the ministry of women, but failed to say that this did not include the ordained ministry of women. Some of those General Synod members who say that they support the ordained and consecrated ministry of women in principle have voted against almost every attempt to make that possible. We cannot afford to have another election in which the electorate is politically naive - the church will collapse in on itself.

I think it is very clear that the CofE as a whole and on the whole is hugely supportive of women becoming bishops. I think that elections in which these issues are honestly faced rather than avoided will make that clear. And if I am wrong and fair elections go the way I don't want, I will have to live with that as part of the church. We all need to know that the elections reflect the will of the electorate. Let's not play "fantasy democracy" - "know the truth and the truth will set you free" ...

Charles Read has got it spot on.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Thursday, 11 April 2013 at 9:42pm BST
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