Tuesday, 11 February 2014

General Synod approves next steps on Women in the Episcopate

Updated Wednesday morning
The paragraph italicised (by me) below originally referred the voting figures to the wrong item. It has now been amended by Church House.

Press release from the Church of England following today’s debates.

General Synod approves next steps on Women in the Episcopate
11 February 2014

The General Synod of the Church of England has today voted to pave the way for the legislative process to enable Women to become Bishops to be completed this year.

In a series of interrelated legislative and procedural items the Synod held four debates dealing with differing aspects relating to women in the episcopate.

The first synod discussion related to the House of Bishops draft Declaration and Disputes Resolution Procedure regulations - GS 1932.

Both the proposed declaration and accompanying regulations were drawn up by the House of Bishops at the invitation of the last meeting of the Synod.

The debate was opened by the Rt. Revd. James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, Chair of the Steering Committee, who moved “That this Synod welcomes the draft House of Bishop’s Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests and the draft Resolution of Disputes Procedures Regulations as set out in GS 1932”
The motion was passed by the Synod.

The second debate dealt with the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure - GS 1925A - and Draft Amending Canon No.33 - GS 1926A. At its meeting in November the General Synod voted to dispense with a Revision Committee Stage for the new legislation so that the Synod could conduct the Revision Stage in Full Synod.

After debate the revision stage for both the measure and the canon were completed without any amendments being made.

The Synod then gave preliminary consideration to the draft Act of Synod to rescind the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 - GS 1934.

The measure was accepted by Synod; and the amending Canon no.33 was passed by Synod by 304 votes to 33 with 45 abstentions.

The final debate on women in the episcopate in this session took the form of a procedural motion suspending Standing Order 90(b) (iii) so that the reference of the draft Measure and draft Canon to the Dioceses under Article 8 of the Synod’s Constitution can be concluded within 3 months rather than the 6 months stipulated under the standing order.

After debate the motion, requiring a 75% majority of the whole Synod, was approved by 358 votes to 39 with 9 abstentions.

The legislation now goes to the dioceses for approval. Provided a majority approve it by the 22 May deadline the General Synod will be able to hold the final approval debate in July, less than 20 months after the failure of the earlier legislation to secure the necessary two-thirds majorities in November 2012. If passed the legislation would then go to Parliament for approval and could be in force before the end of the year.

An audio interview with the Bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff, about the latest approval of legislation towards seeing Women in the Episcopate is available here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 at 4:46pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

Tremendous news. Only the C of E can do such things.* Everybody on this site can rejoice. Everybody's interests are protected.

* Clearly the C of E is only an imperfect reflection of the C of I, but let's not quibble about details.

Posted by: John on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 at 8:12pm GMT

Now all we need to do is get the various dioceses to move at a speed beyond dead slow. Although in Chichester it will not make much difference since its synod does often appear not to even recognise there are such things as women!

Posted by: confused sussex on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 at 10:28pm GMT

"We've made a significant step forward", said Bishop James, when questioned as to his overall opinion of the overwhelming vote for Women Bishops.

What a change from last year's disappointing turn-down of the Measure to ordain Women as Bishops in the Church of England. Our prayers, in ACANZP, are that the next session of General Synod might finalise the process, which will bring the C. of E. polity in line with most of the Provinces of the world-wide Anglican Communion.

Hearty Congratulations!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 at 10:33pm GMT

Provision as well for traditionalists! Excellent news!

Posted by: Benedict on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 at 11:01pm GMT

Essential and just in itself, and a useful precedent for the swift overturning of the abusive "discipline and practice" imposed by the church on gay people.

If by any chance one of the women to be promoted to the bench happens to be reading, I implore you: don't try to fit in by giving silent consent to the church's institutional homophobia. I know how power works, but you still have a choice. You know how it feels. Don't do it to someone else.

Make a difference. Speak out. Bring change.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 at 11:46pm GMT

There seems to be an incompatibility in reporting the voting yesterday as between the Thinking Anglicans posting labelled General Synod - Women in the Episcopate debates and the subsequent Cof E Press Release.
TA said in its posting
Third debate After a very short debate a division of the whole synod was called on the draft amending canon. There were 304 votes in favour of the canon, 33 against and 45 recorded abstentions.
Fourth debate The final part of the package is the rescinding of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993. This requires another Act of Synod. Synod voted in favour of this new Act (which will require final approval at a later Synod).

Whereas the Press release from the Church of England following today’s debates says:
After debate the revision stage for both the measure and the canon were completed without any amendments being made.
The Synod then gave preliminary consideration to the draft Act of Synod to rescind the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 - GS 1934.
This motion was passed by 304 votes to 33 with 45 abstentions.

Which debate is actually correct as far as allocating the 304/33/45 votes go? The amending Canon or the Act of Synod 1993?

Posted by: Paul Edelin on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 7:05am GMT

Paul, the figures you quote apply to the vote on the Draft Amending Canon. A division of the whole synod was requested at that point by Bishop John Goddard so that those who wished could register abstentions. This was the 'third debate', being part b of the second item on the agenda. First consideration of the Draft Act of Synod rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod of 1993 was the third item/ fourth debate and this went through on a show of hands. The fourth item/ final debate after lunch was on the suspension of standing orders in relation to the article 8 reference to Dioceses. This was also a division of the whole synod and the voting figures were 358 in favour, 39 against and 9 abstentions. So Thinking Anglicans is correct!

Posted by: Jane Charman on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 9:48am GMT

As Jane has already commented these voting figures applied to the Canon. Church House has now corrected their press release and I have amended the text above to reflect this.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 11:56am GMT

"Now all we need to do is get the various dioceses to move at a speed beyond dead slow."

confusedsussex - our Diocesan Synod had an extra provisional meeting scheduled in May on the assumption that we would be discussing this matter. I would certainly hope that other Dioceses have arranged for these discussions to take place as well!

Posted by: Chris Routledge on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 2:45pm GMT

Yes, nearly all Dioceses have already made provision for a special meeting of Diocesan Synod in order to handle the reference. The Diocese of London has one in May, and we shall not be referring it to the deaneries (though they can of course discuss it if they want). I doubt that the result of the reference will differ much from last time (though I have hopes of persuading London to vote yes...)

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 5:52pm GMT
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