Saturday, 29 March 2014

Women in the Episcopate - diocesan synod votes 4

Five more diocesan synods voted on the Women in the Episcopate legislation today: Bristol, Hereford, Lincoln, Norwich, Portsmouth.

So far I have heard that four (Bristol, Hereford, Lincoln and Portsmouth) have voted in favour by large majorities (in Hereford’s case unanimously), making a total of 24 in favour and none against.

All five voted in favour, making a total of 25 in favour and none against.

So a majority of the 44 diocesan synods have now voted in favour, and the legislation will definitely return to General Synod for final approval in July.

The next votes are in Blackburn (3 April), Southwell & Nottingham (5 April) and Worcester (30 April).

Detailed voting figures for all dioceses are here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 12:28pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
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Two very gracious speeches at lincoln from an fif priest and a female colleague in the same deanery. Hope this carries over into General Synod.

Posted by: david rowett on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 12:48pm GMT

Hereford - Bishop yes, clergy 35-0, no abstentions, laity 33-0, 1 abstention.

Posted by: Neil Patterson on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 2:54pm GMT

Comparing these figures with the 2012 figures is interesting. Some of the dioceses that did not approve (London and Chichester) or that did not get a 2/3 majority in the 2012 votes have not yet voted. In those in that category that have voted so far the change is marked:
e.g.
Winchester Clergy up to 88% from 52%, Laity up to 92% from 62%
Sheffield Clergy up to 75% from 52% and Laity 78% from 59%
Bradford laity up to 100% from 65%
and so on.

Of course it isn't over until the fat lady sings (or rather the GS reps vote).

Posted by: Will Adam on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 4:20pm GMT

Pontefract Contra Mundum

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 29 March 2014 at 4:40pm GMT

Pontefract contra Madame? I wonder how they think about the reality of Her Majesty's role as the Defender of the Faith? H.M. also signed up to the Equal Marriage Legislation. Good for Her.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 4:53am BST

Fr. David,

You do know, I hope, that many of us who believe in women as bishops and priests arrive there not in a spirit of accommodation to the world or society, but rather in a confirmed belief that this is what the Spirit is saying to the Churches? And we too have scripture on our side--Galatians 3:28. As someone who is an Anglo-Catholic who holds a high Christology and believes the creeds, you and I would probably agree on a lot of theological issues. But I really must deplore your assumption that your view is the only one that is grounded in faith, not the world.

Posted by: John Wirenius on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 3:31pm BST

Thank you, John Wirenius, for noting that those of us who are for inclusion are for it because of our reading of Scripture and understanding of the Risen Christ.

It is most unfortunate that many conservatives insist that their view is the only one consistent with Scripture. It is fundamentally dishonest as well as rude.

The gay men in the UK are driving me nuts the way some cherry pick Scripture to support their inclusion, while cherry picking it further to support the exclusion of women.

Our altar party today was diverse, gay-straight (leaning gay), male-female (leaning male, which is unusual for us). We were also perfectly balanced with soprano-alto-tenor-bass. The perfect harmony was a very good metaphor for what the church can be when we stop using Scripture to exclude people. Please no calls for a return of the castrati…

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 10:32pm BST

How can citing one verse from an author who explicitly forbade the leadership of women "in all the churches of the saints" constitute scripture being on your side?

Posted by: Barrie on Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 11:20pm BST

It is perfectly clear that St. Paul in Galatians chapter 3, verse 28 is referring to baptism and has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of the consecration of women to the episcopate, which according to any serious study of scripture must return the answer of no or not proven.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 8:26am BST

Barrie and Fr. David,

1 Tim. 2:12 is not given as a divine command, but is quite literally Paul "speaking in the I": "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to vsurpe authoritie ouer the man, but to be in silence." 1 Cor. 14 supports your interpretation, but again is about a practice--it is fully in accord with the lowly status of women in Greek culture (see, e.g., Plato's Symposium), and with Jewish mores of the time.

Kirster Stendahl has explored the "breakthrough" moments in St.Paul's writings, when he transcends the cultural limitations of time and place, specifically pointing to Galatians 3:28, as one such. He argues that where Paul does so, it's very likely that the Spirit is is acting there. (For a brief conspectus of Paul's view, and those following him, by Benjamin Reaoch, who is actually on your side of the debate, but tries to be fair in presenting that made see http://www.prpbooks.com/samples/9781596384019.pdf I don't agree with the complementarian rejoinders, and would refer you to the authors Reaoch is discussing, but I commend him for engaging with the arguments.

Fr. David, forgive me, but that's a gross misreading of Gal 3:in context--Paul is clearly in 3:28 discussing the *effect* of baptism, to merely eligibility for it:

27 "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"

Ye here meaning all heirs, all one in Christ.


Posted by: John Wirenius on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 12:35pm BST

If this innovation really were of the Spirit, then would not God in His infinite wisdom have imparted this "disclosure experience" to the great Churches of East and West?

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 5:14pm BST

Fr. David,

As the late George MacDonald Fraser wrote (in a different context), "by that logic, Ur of the Chaldees would be a damned crowded place by now." After all, the Reformation has yet to be accepted by those churches, and this is an Anglican blog, so I think your objection proves too much.

More to the point, I have no expectation of persuading you on the merits; I could retort that the resistance of established authority to the Spirit recurs throughout history, in both the Old and New Testaments, but my point here is actually far more modest: I am an advocate for women's ministry not because of the World, but because of the Gospel. If you expect me to grant your sincerity in the discussion, you have a reciprocal duty to grant mine.

Posted by: John Wirenius on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 6:08pm BST

Dear John, I do not for one moment doubt your sincerity. This is indeed an Anglican blog and look what a mess these recent innovations have landed the Anglican Communion in when we depart from the long and ancient traditions of the Church. I've never known a period of such disunity within our Communion. That is why we need a wider ecumenical vision and take seriously to heart what our older and greater sister Churches of East and West consider what the Spirit is saying to the Church Universal.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 7:23pm BST

Dear Father David,

Thank you for that; I misinterpreted your comment as dismissive and apologize.

On the merits, I hold to my position, while understanding yours better than I did. Yes, this is a terrible period for the Communion, in part because we are seeing the divisions that have long been papered over, and in part because of massive shifts in church-going and believing in what used to be called the First World. I agree with you that we need greater ecumenism, though not at the cost of those advances (as I see them) that will help build a more just, Christ-like church, and are just, well, right.

The optimist in me sees hope for the future with the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis has changed the tone in such a way that we might be able to increase collaboration on the ground.

Thanks for your reply, and for clarifying your viewpoint.

Posted by: John Wirenius on Monday, 31 March 2014 at 10:46pm BST

"I've never known a period of such disunity within our Communion."

The unity to which you were accustomed, and which you seem to prefer, was achieved at great cost to others.

Is being unified in bigotry really a virtue?

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 2:24am BST

"I've never known a period of such disunity within our Communion."

And obviously, continuing old injustices is just the right way to promote unity…

But not injustice against gay men, just the injustices against women. If you are going to use the Scripture passages against women, rather than the example of Jesus, how do get around Leviticus and gay men?

We learned in the 20th Century that no one is free while any of our brothers and sisters are not. That's true of race, gender, and sexual orientation. We are not going to arrive at the Promised Land simultaneously. That doesn't mean that the Promised Land should be denied to anyone because some have not accepted the Radical Love of Jesus poured out for ALL.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 3:25am BST

Thank you John for your warm and generous comments. I certainly think that Francis is the most Christ-like pope we have had in decades. As such we must take seriously to heart the teaching of this most holy man who is indeed a great gift of the Lord to the Church Universal.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 6:54am BST

"If this innovation really were of the Spirit, then would not God in His infinite wisdom have imparted this "disclosure experience" to the great Churches of East and West?" - Fr. David, on Monday -

Do you not think it possible dear Father, that both may have heard the call of the Spirit, but that each might be waiting for the 'other' to move first. They wouldn't want to get this wrong now, would they? Whereas we, in the Anglican Communion, being more schooled in semper reformanda, may have no such qualms.

However, like you, I too have a great regard for the emerging eirenic wisdom of Pope Francis. He may yet surprise us all - with his take on what best to do - for God's justice to prevail.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 11:47am BST

Father David wrote: "If this innovation really were of the Spirit, then would not God in His infinite wisdom have imparted this 'disclosure experience' to the great Churches of East and West?"

I must ask: How do you know that God hasn't? I suspect He has (though certainly can't claim to know for certainty), but they've opted to ignore Him. In any event, I'm quite confident that God, indeed "in His infinite wisdom," has chosen to disclose the Truth to various heirs of the great 16th century Reformation, including the Church of England.

Unless I am mistaken, Father, when you were ordained to the presbyterate, you assented to the Thirty-Nine Articles, including XIX, which ends thus: "As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith."

In view of this indisputably correct statement, I see no reason to defer to "the great Churches of East and West" merely because they are such. They can err, even "in matters of Faith." And those of us who believe that God is calling women to all three orders of the Church's three-fold ministry do believe that Rome and the East have erred on this issue.

Majority vote doesn't determine Truth -- and let me be clear: I don't accept "majority vote" arguments from my side either. What's right is right, whether a majority believe it or only a minority.

Posted by: WilliamK on Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 2:20pm BST
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