Thursday, 22 May 2014

Women in the Episcopate - final diocesan synod votes

The final three diocesan synod votes on the legislation to allow women to be bishops in the Church of England took place this week: Chester and Rochester yesterday and Manchester tonight. All three voted in favour.

Apart from Europe, which was unable to arrange a synod meeting before the deadline of midnight on Thursday 22 May 2014, all the dioceses have voted in favour of the draft legislation, which will return to General Synod in July for the debate and vote on final approval.

Detailed voting figures for all dioceses are here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 22 May 2014 at 10:26pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

My complete analysis of this year's votes are here: and the Excel workbook I used in 2011 and 2014 is available here:

Posted by: Dan BD on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 1:17am BST


Posted by: Father David on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 8:17am BST

Can the process go ahead if one of the dioceses hasn't voted, or does only the total number in favour matter?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 8:24am BST

Thank you very much for this information. It has been a gripping build-up and an impressive result. We'll pray hard for the July General Synod and follow-up.

Posted by: Sister Mary on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 8:55am BST

Erika, the only requirement is that a majority of the diocesan synods approve the motion; and 'approve' in this context means that both the house of clergy and the house of laity of the diocesan synod have each voted in favour by a simple majority.

There is no requirement for every diocesan synod to vote.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 12:18pm BST

One might reasonably imagine that the house of laity at General Synod must now give 66.7% approval, I wish I could be sure that it will, unrepresentative as it is of the "views in the pews", and bearing in mind how many of its members feel unconstrained by Diocesan Synod Article 8 voting results.

Posted by: Stephen on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 12:30pm BST

I think the result in the House of Laity in GS will depend on the traditional Anglo-Catholics. The male headship block looks like it is going to vote against, judging by votes so far. If the ACs join them, the package will most likely fail; if they abstain, it will go through.

Posted by: Simon Taylor on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 1:16pm BST

A technical question from abroad, since abstention is not allowed in the US Episcopal Church's General Convention: is the 2/3 majority of those "present and voting" or of "votes cast" (thus not counting abstentions) or of those "present" (thus counting the total number and rendering abstention the equivalent of a "No")? From Simon Taylor's comment it appears the former is the case, but I'd welcome the clarification.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 2:30pm BST

For this purpose, abstentions don't count. The number of 'ayes' must be at least twice the number of 'noes'. In each of the three Houses.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 2:45pm BST

"UT UNUM SINT" -that was one of the best examples of Orwellian new speak that I have come across in recent years!

Posted by: Antony on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 3:59pm BST

Thank you, Simon.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 6:03pm BST

'Ut unum sint'. Personally, intellectually and theologically, I like (and myself deploy) irony. I also deeply believe that 'we' (liberal, 'thinking Anglicans') can 'do business' with fellow-Anglicans (sometimes 'traditionalists') who so deploy it. I greatly believe that 'they' (who are also 'we') reciprocate this sentiment.

Posted by: John on Friday, 23 May 2014 at 10:33pm BST

"Ut Unum Sint": meaning what, exactly? (Besides the Biblical text of John 17:21 in Latin) It seems to me this is a phrase upon which one* can project what one wishes (* including the "sainted" Karol Wojtyla).

At any rate, good on ya, dioceses of the CofE. From a Yank Episcopalian POV: the BLESSING of the Imago-Dei-Made-Female in the episcopacy awaits!

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 24 May 2014 at 2:48am BST

(* including the "sainted" Karol Wojtyla).

The Pope, as chief bishop of the Catholic Church, entered Blessed John Paul II Into the canon of saints of the catholic church. As, clearly, we are not one as Jesus prayed for us to be, others, including Yank Episcopalians, are not obliged to accept it. Even so, the inverted commas are a bit tacky!

Posted by: ian on Saturday, 24 May 2014 at 2:25pm BST

It looks from the Dioceses that the laity are more in favour of this legislation than the clergy ... will General Synod reflect this view?

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Saturday, 24 May 2014 at 10:06pm BST

"Even so, the inverted commas are a bit tacky!"

From the church whose members never cease to write ('inverted commas') "marriage" of those lawfully-joined couples who happen to be of the same sex?

Nevertheless, point taken. I happen to be a universalist, and accept ALL the deceased as saints (on some level: MADE holy by God, w/o need of action on their own). I should have said "Karol Wojtyla (aka Pope John Paul II), recently 'canonized' by Rome", and left it at that.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 25 May 2014 at 12:00am BST

I'm uncertain what to hope for in July.

On the one hand, were I a woman priest in the CofE, I would have a strong sense of urgency, and would probably think, let's just get this done.

On the other hand, I question the provision being made for opponents. It is storing up trouble for the first women who have to serve as bishops.

Furthermore, Synod's vote against women bishops was greeted with a degree of public scrutiny and scorn that was salutary. The CofE has been reminded of its national role--and what a national role requires, in the way of nondiscrimination.

Unfortunately, however, the scorn and scrutiny did not achieve all that one might wish. As examples, we have the notorious House of Bishops "pastoral" statement and Canterbury's equally odious suggestion that marriage causes murder.

So with an eye to other battles--whether clergy can enter into same-sex marriages, and whether the Covenant might be revived somehow--I wonder whether it might be helpful, over the long term, for the present measure to fail.

Then we would have a refiner's-fire round of Synod elections in 2015. Across a range of issues, reformist elections that result in a drastic weakening of the traditionalist wing can only work to the long-term benefit of thinking Anglicanism.

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 25 May 2014 at 3:00am BST

The Church, Roman and otherwise, doesn't make saints, it recognizes them. The Vatican has an established procedure for doing so that tries to distinguish between mere popularity and holiness. In the case of Wojtyla (as with Mother Teresa), the process was overridden. The mandatory five-year waiting period was waived. The public image that Wojtyla cultivated swept aside questions about his relation to banking scandals and sexual abuse cases. He championed the Legion of Christ organization for its many ordinands and financial contributions, ignoring the documented corruption of its founder and leader, Marcial Marciel.
And now Wikipedia informs me that there is popular acclaim for the title John Paul II the Great.

I think there is justification for a raised eyebrow about the cause of Wojtyla, if not a curled lip. But there always has been a lot of hype in the declarations of sainthood. Those people were, after all, human.

Posted by: Murdoch on Monday, 26 May 2014 at 9:01pm BST
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