Friday, 25 July 2014

Women Bishops - detailed voting results

The detailed results for the electronic votes at this months’ meeting of General Synod are now available.

The two relating to the ordination and consecration of women are:

Item 503 - Draft Bishops and Priests (Ordination and Consecration of Women) Measure
Item 504 - Draft Amending Canon No.33

These are pdf files arranged by house, by vote (for, against, abstain) and then by name. I have rearranged them by house and then by synod number, so that members from the same diocese are grouped together. I have also added the names of the absentees. These results are in this spreadsheet.

A very small number of lay and clergy members voted differently for the measure and the canon.

1 voted against the measure and abstained on the canon.
2 abstained on the measure and voted for the canon.

2 voted against the measure and for the canon.
3 voted against the measure and abstained on the canon.
1 voted for the measure but was absent for the vote on the canon.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 4:53pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Thank you. The Chichester votes are completely at variance with the mood of the Diocese. Roll on the election of the synods next year and synod reform after that.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 5:10pm BST

This is dynamite.

Posted by: John on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 7:28pm BST

"This is dynamite" John

A secret ballot would ensure that synod members voted according to their conscience and not according to the way in which they think they should be seen to vote.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 10:42pm BST

I am afraid I was being facetious.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 6:40am BST

To be fair only some of the Chichester votes were at variance with the mood of the Diocese. But I agree that one can only hope that at the next election the slightly strange electoral college that are allowed to vote for General Synod members will need to think hard before voting for those who voted against the measure

Posted by: confused sussex on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 7:23am BST

It might be a slightly strange electoral college,but as I have said on here before, it helps if the electors actually vote! I hope the problems of the last two years will galvanise both clergy and laity,so that the percentage of those voting resembles voting figures in communist countries in the 1950s!

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 9:34am BST

The Chichester votes are:
Bishop - against
Clergy- 2 for, 4 against
Laity - 3 for, 5 against

Can that really be said to represent the mood of the Diocese? It only represents the mood of those who got themselves elected last time. It certainly doesn't and can't represent the laity in the pew.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 12:08pm BST

The Chichester votes in no way represent the majority view in this diocese where approximately 60 parishes are under an excluding priest without having been given the choice. Discussion of the subject has been strongly discouraged in these parishes, and supporters of women priests, myself included, have been marginalised and 'named and shamed' as troublemakers and dividers of the church.

Posted by: Rosina Elston on Saturday, 26 July 2014 at 10:53pm BST

What Rosina describes happens, I'm sure, in many parishes outside Chichester diocese too. It certainly was the case in the parish in which I live and worship. I, like you, was marginalised and regarded as a troublemaker and divider. On one occasion I was told I was unwelcome at a public meeting to discuss the Ordinariate; on another occasion I was abused from the chair at the annual parochial meeting, and shouted down by the same chair when I tried to speak. But after 20 years or so times change. Now I am churchwarden in the same parish. God is good.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 3:08pm BST

Back in 2012, Rochester was named as being one of the dioceses where the GS votes were most at variance with the views of the diocese. There were 5 votes against and 4 in favour.
This time there were 5 votes in favour and 3 against, but only because one of the previous naysayers had prematurely gone to meet his maker, otherwise it would probably have been 5-4. Only the Archdeacon of Tonbridge changed his vote, and the 3 naysayers all come from the same parish. Not representative at all!
Shamefully, one of the naysayers had previously told a deanery synod that he was intending to vote in favour of the measure. Like Richard Ashby, I look forward to next year's elections to provide the appropriate response to such duplicity.
My own experiences in a Res C parish were uncannily similar to Simon Kershaw's, but I could add denunciation from the pulpit after a letter of mine in the CT. Unfortunately, the outcome was not as favourable, as I had to move elsewhere.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 10:09pm BST

> My own experiences in a Res C parish were uncannily similar to Simon Kershaw's, but I could add denunciation from the pulpit after a letter of mine in the CT. Unfortunately, the outcome was not as favourable, as I had to move elsewhere.

Why would someone who was in favour of the ordination of women want to join a Resolution C parish, unless it was the only one physically possible for them to attend? It would be as odd as a passionate opponent of women's ordination joining a parish where the Rector or Vicar was a woman.

Posted by: RJ on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 12:59pm BST

I can't answer for Malcolm. In my own case I can give two answers. First, I worship at my parish church -- that's an important part of my ecclesiology. Why should I be forced out of my parish church? And secondly, and perhaps more pertinently, I have lived and worshipped in the parish since 1986 -- several years before legislation was enacted, let alone Acts of Synod drafted. This was simply not a live issue in 1986. Anyway, the point is that I did not join a parish that had passed any of A, B or C: the PCC passed them several years after I had joined.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 1:08pm BST

Thanks, Simon. Both your reasons make good sense, although in a comparable situation some years ago where I felt that I was unwanted and that my presence was a distraction to others I didn't stay and fight my corner but went elsewhere - a temperamental difference, perhaps.

As regards the PCC and resolutions being passed, there was a time when I would have sympathised with those who wanted to pass resolutions in order to give themselves what they would have seen as a "safe space". But the time for all that is past. The C of E has changed irreversibly, and one either stays and embraces the change or finds a new home in another Communion.

Posted by: RJ on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 2:05pm BST

All good interesting points. Further thoughts though. Until we ballot everyone on the electoral rolls we don't know for definite everyone's views; and in our church the major financial contributors and helpers are the catholics. If they left for Rome we couldn't keep going, this fact would influence an electoral roll vote more than the sex of a bishop (who we never see). As far as getting true representation on deanery synods - the reality is no one's interested in doing it. Out of the 60+ on the roll we are just glad to find someone who can be bothered.

Posted by: Henry Dee on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 2:41pm BST

Henry, that's the problem. Deanery Synods are the pits. Diocesan and General Synods are where the power is. The current electoral college made up of Deanery Synod Representatives, many if not most of whom have been voted without opposition because no one else will do it, is completely unrepresentative of the person in the pew. The only way forward is one person one vote. In the meantime, with the last Diocesan and General Synod elections having produced such a disaster in 2012 I hope that there will be enough standing to ensue a more balanced result next year.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 4:30pm BST

Simon K can't answer for me but, in fact, his own reasons are again uncannily similar to my own. In my case, my wife and I had joined the parish in 1985, long before women priests became an issue. We argued against passing the resolutions in 1994 but the outcome was inevitable once the then incumbent had made it known that he would have 'in conscience' to resign if the resolutions were not passed. We stayed in the hope of changing the position in time but, once we had been denied even a discussion of the matter during the first interregnum in 2009 and the new incumbent (from a parish which had not passed Res C) proved to be 'more zealous than the zealots', we lost heart and decided to move elsewhere for the sake of our spiritual wellbeing.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Monday, 28 July 2014 at 5:40pm BST

Malcolm Dixon says that the Rochester vote was only as it was because 'one of the previous naysayers had prematurely gone to meet his maker.' This man was my former parishioner in Sevenoaks, Jim Cheeseman, who died aged 79 after suffering ill health for some time. He spent his working life as the head teacher of a Church of England Primary School in Rotherhithe, represented the laity of the diocese on General Synod since 1975, was Treasurer of the Queen Victoria Clergy Fund and Chairman of the Diocesan Board of Patronage, was a loyal reader at St John's Sevenoaks, remaining when many parishioners left to join the Ordinariate, and has a son serving the Church of England as a priest in the Oxford diocese. He deserves far better than to be dismissed in this uncharitable way.

Posted by: Robin Ward on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 2:46pm BST

I am very sorry, Dr Ward, that I have caused offence by my remark referring to Jim Cheeseman, and I apologise unreservedly to you and to anyone else I have offended. I really didn't intend to be uncharitably dismissive. I knew Jim Cheeseman from my time on Rochester diocesan synod, and greatly respect his distinguished service to the diocese and the wider church (and to Kent cricket!). I should have just said that he had died, but I thought that 'gone to meet his maker' was a less prosaic but entirely non-judgemental way of saying the same thing. I added 'prematurely' to reflect that he had died before being able to vote on this issue. No offence or disrespect was intended.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 3:56pm BST

I am sure Jim Cheeseman was a devout and faithful man. But I note he was 79.In the House of Bishops and House of Clergy there is presumably noone over 70,the retirement age ( and many go earlier). How many in the House of Laity are over 70 I wonder? Has a retirement age ever been suggested?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 6:52pm BST

Well said, Perry Butler. I don't know if a retirement age has ever been suggested for the HoL, but I can't think of any good reason why laity should be allowed to serve beyond 70 when clergy and bishops are not.
It will no doubt be said that GS would lose much valuable experience if its older lay members were forced to retire, but that is equally true for clergy and bishops, so why should it be any different?
Adding an upper age limit might also help (slightly) to dispel the widely held impression outside church circles that GS is largely a load of old buffers hopelessly out of touch with the modern world.

Posted by: Malcolm Dixon on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 3:50pm BST

Malcolm: there is though a difference between clerical and lay reps. Clergy are (generally speaking) paid when they attend the Synod and can therefore give their time and expertise during their stipendiary ministry. Lay people are (generally) not paid by their employers to attend the Synod but must use their own time. For most this will only be possible after retiring from their paid employment and therefore when they are older.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Thursday, 31 July 2014 at 4:14pm BST

True Simon..but not a very satisfactory state of affairs if it means the laity are overly represented by the retired or those with the means/leisure.What is the situation in other Provinces? They,of course,meet less frequently... But perhaps GS should...and at weekends? If the H of L is unrepresentative then it surely requires the Church to consider ways of improving the system.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 1 August 2014 at 9:38am BST
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