Wednesday, 12 February 2014

WATCH and Forward in Faith respond to yesterday's votes on women bishops

WATCH press release

Women and the Church (WATCH)

Press Release Tuesday 11 February 2014 2.00pm

Women in the Episcopate Legislation

WATCH is very pleased that the legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England is now proceeding. We look forward to having the first woman bishop being nominated by the end of the year.

Hilary Cotton, Chair of WATCH, said, “There was a real sense of wanting to move forward today”.

Forward in Faith statement

The Act of Synod and the House of Bishops’ Declaration
Feb 12, 2014

As part of the package of proposals regarding the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England, the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 is to be replaced by a House of Bishops’ Declaration and a Resolution of Disputes Procedure (to be established by Regulations made under a new Canon).

Yesterday the General Synod welcomed the draft Declaration and Regulations and included the text of the new Canon in the legislation that will now be referred to the diocesan synods for approval. It also voted in favour, at the preliminary stage, of the draft Act of Synod that will eventually rescind the existing Act of Synod. We note that this will only come into force when the new Canon is promulged, thus ensuring continuity.

We welcome the fact that the new House of Bishops’ Declaration refers to the Sees of Beverley, Ebbsfleet and Richborough by name. It notes that they will remain in existence as one of the means by which episcopal ministry is provided to parishes that pass resolutions under the Declaration.

We welcome the following statement by the House of Bishops in paragraph 23 of its most recent report (GS 1932):

‘The title and role of the “provincial episcopal visitor” are currently set out in the 1993 Act of Synod. There is no reason why these – or the financial arrangements for the three sees – should change when the 1993 Act of Synod is rescinded, given the House’s wish for there to be continuity. As noted in paragraph 30 of the Declaration, the three sees and their occupants remain an integral part of the new dispensation.’

We welcome the fact that, once the new Declaration has been finalized, the House of Bishops will only be able to amend it if the amendment has been approved by two-thirds majorities in each House of the General Synod. This gives us assurance as we approach the new era that the legislation will initiate.

The Act of Synod has served the Church of England well. We are confident that the Declaration will enable us to flourish within its life and structures for generations to come.

The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker

Dr Lindsay Newcombe
Lay Vice-Chairman

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 12:20pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

As an Episcopalian, I find all this confusing. Do or do not the proposed changes eliminate flying bishops? Flying bishops, I suggest, have not served the Church of England well. Whereas the church might have made a decision about the ordination of women and moved forward, it instead institutionalized opposition to such ordinations, opposition that has effectively disappeared on this side of the pond. I fear the Church of England is about to continue in its sin, rather than repenting of it and moving on.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 2:07pm GMT

The proposals do not eliminate the Provincial Episcopal Visitors.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 2:49pm GMT

The Archbishop of York, in reflecting at Synod on the coexistence of women bishops and their adversaries within the same church, spoke of the conundrum of two vehicles at a cross roads, in which neither was permitted to move until the other had passed.

Perhaps the decision to accept and welcome women bishops could be alternatively described as a vital strategic principle, equivalent to agreeing on which side of the highway one may drive. Once enacted, those that disagree should confine their perambulations to their historic tramways, circuits, cloisters, stockades and sandpits.

Posted by: Paul Edelin on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 4:14pm GMT

Good statement from these intelligent FiF leaders.
I remember well my former friend Father Jeff Steel confidently predicting that when push came to shove Jonathan Baker would 'swim the Tiber'.

Posted by: John on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 4:42pm GMT

The so-called 'flying bishops' are in fact suffragan bishops in the dioceses of Canterbury (Ebbsfleet and Richborough) and York (Beverley). As the new arrangements require that episcopal ministry under the new scheme is provided by bishops who are members of the house of bishops of a diocese and, therefore, not only by retired bishops, it seems sensible that such sees remain filled.

One of the principal provisions of the Act of Synod was to give a mechanism for alternative episcopal oversight to be sought - this became colloquially known as 'resolution C'. As such resolution is now available in the main body of the scheme the Act of Synod is no longer necessary.

Posted by: Will Adam on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 5:12pm GMT

So that's a copper bottom guarantee that the Sees of Ebbsfleet, Richborough and Beverley have an indefinite long term future? We are about to see the demise of the Suffragan Sees of Pontefract and Knaresborough, it would be a tragedy if the three PEVs went the same way for this would not encouraging the "flourishing" of the Traditionalist wing of the Church of England.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 7:34pm GMT

The sees of Pontefract and Knaresborough are merely being renamed, Wakefield and Ripon, respectively.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 9:08pm GMT

How about renaming or translating Ebbsfleet, Richborough and Beverley to Hereford, Guildford and Gloucester, now that really would encourage flourishing.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 at 9:36pm GMT

One more time: we do not and will not provide alternative episcopal oversight. We provide extended oversight - i.e. you do not cut out the diocesan. This is especially important when the diocesan will be female for alternative oversight would give us two classes of bishop. We have, as a General Synod, rejected that track.

Posted by: Charles Read on Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 11:24am GMT

Will Adam - the Act of Synod allowed for extended episcopal care, not alternative episcopal oversight, which is a very different thing. Unfortunately, most parishes which passed 'Res C' behaved as if they had been granted alternative episcopal oversight, and nobody in authority sought to disabuse them of this error. That has been at the root of our problems these past 20 years.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 12:29pm GMT

Isn't the distinction between extended and alternative a bit difficult to maintain? I understand that the Diocesan retains jurisdiction and thus the PEV will be acting under that jurisdiction and as an extension of it. But, that kind of extension is surely different to that which applies to a normal suffragan or commissary? In normal cases another bishop is functioning on behalf of the Diocesan in circumstances where it could just as easily be the Diocesan him/herself if only they could bilocate. In the case of the PEVs, they are ministering in situations where the diocesan is bound to send an "alternative" because they are not acceptable.

Posted by: david malloch on Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 12:40pm GMT

The current Bishop of Rochester has found a good way of making the distinction between extended and alternative. His predecessor used to leave Res C parishes to get on with it, and +Fulham did everything, including the installation of new incumbents. +James insists on carrying out installations in Res C parishes himself - he brings along +Fulham as well to provide sacramental assurance to the zealots, but it leaves no possible doubt as to who the Ordinary is.
Some of the zealots have found this a bit hard to take, but the point has been well made, and attitudes in the diocese are beginning to change. Deo Gratias!

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 3:20pm GMT

All this argument about extended or alternative matters not one jot to us in resolution c parishes. We see our bishop as the one who has pastoral and sacramental oversight, be it Beverley, Richborough, Fulham or one of the other traditionalists. That is and will continue to be the truth of the matter, whatever synod does, and however many angels dance on the head of a pin on Thinking Anglicans.

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 6:11pm GMT

I don't think that Malcolm's use of the word "zealots" greatly assists in furthering the concept of mutual flourishing.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 13 February 2014 at 9:41pm GMT

No Fr. David, it doesn't greatly assist, and I'm sorry for it. It derives from 18 years of frustration in a Res C parish. Unfortunately, Benedict's post immediately above yours confirms only too clearly that the zealous attitude alluded to in my posts is still alive and well in those parishes. It was the contempt for their Ordinary, for synods, and indeed for any authority save that of their fellow-travelling PEVs, that eventually drove me out of that parish, after 27 years in all. If these parishes wish to remain in the CofE, as they say they do, they will have to learn to respect those lawfully placed in authority over them. That's one of the 'five principles' of the new package.
And, if we're talking about assisting mutual flourishing, nor does your earlier post suggesting that the PEVs be translated to Hereford, Guildford and Gloucester, which I took to have been made 'tongue in cheek'. If not, why should the many women priests in those dioceses be subjected to the new humiliation of having a bishop who does not believe their orders to be valid? It is too much to ask.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Friday, 14 February 2014 at 6:40pm GMT
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