Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on Sunday 25 July 2010, the feast of St James. The Guardian has published the text of her sermon: The search for dignity. ‘We must challenge the human tendency to insist that dignity doesn’t apply to the poor, or to immigrants, or to women, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian people.’
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Excess is reassuring as well as attractive.
Ekklesia has two items on religion and the media. Simon Barrow writes about The changing landscape of religion and the media.
And there is a paper by Lizzie Clifford: ‘Thought for the Day’: Beyond the god-of-the-slots. The abstract of this report is copied below the fold.
David Chillingworth is Stumped on his Thinking Aloud blog.
And if you have an answer to his “What should I say to the Pope?” question you might want to develop it into an entry for Andrew Brown’s Pope T-shirt competition at The Guardian.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about Afghanistan’s unjust war. ‘We must apply the just war tradition to our analysis of the conflict in Afghanistan. Otherwise, we risk disaster.’
‘Thought for the Day’: Beyond the god-of-the-slots
by Lizzie Clifford
In this groundbreaking new report on the long-running and (of late) controversial BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day feature, researcher Lizzie Clifford moves forward the debate about whether the prime-time ‘God slot’ should be preserved, reformed or abolished by carrying out a careful examination of the actual broadcast scripts themselves – with surprising results. Many of the claims made by both stout defenders and vigorous opponents of the current Thought for the Day format – which excludes non-religious and minority religious voices – prove questionable. What some regard as the feature’s weakness, its attenuated theological content, can in other respects assist with bridge-building and conversation between people of different belief commitments. On the other hand, the restriction of presenters to those who represent groups with a long-established liturgical and doctrinal base seems unnecessary, given that the actual content of their scripts does not always make such a requirement. Humanists and those from ‘alternative’ religious backgrounds also deserve to be heard. It is not enough for Thought for the Day to survive simply as a bastion of ‘religious’ speech, argues this report. TftD can be valuable, so long as it manages to offer a new angle on the stories making the news, triggering fresh ways of thinking, and by utilising high-quality writers and broadcasters, capable of contributing an arresting script that genuinely prompts reflection. Overall, if TftD is going to survive as prime-time broadcasting, and make a genuinely valuable contribution, it must not compromise its potential to challenge the status quo and to strive for peace and humility in the face of tensions over difference. Equally, dispute over Thought for the Day is a significant one, the report suggests, because it is symptomatic of wider questions surrounding the more general place of religious broadcasting and of religious speech in an increasingly plural society.
We have linked previously to articles by Paul Bagshaw of Modern Church.
See two recent items here.
Modern Church has now issued a press release, the text of which is below the fold. The web publication mentioned in the press release is titled A very un-Anglican Covenant.
Media release: the case against the Anglican Covenant
‘The biggest change to the Church since the Reformation’ is how the proposed Anglican Covenant is described in Modern Church’s new web publication presenting the case against it.
Modern Church, formerly the Modern Churchpeople’s Union, has been arguing against the Covenant since it was first proposed by the Windsor Report in 2004.
‘We have lots of evidence of church leaders and clergy who don’t like it one bit but feel afraid to say so openly’, said Jonathan Clatworthy, the General Secretary.’ ‘We have produced the most extensive account yet of the case against it’.
The main objection is that it will turn the Church from an open one, where Anglicans are free to disagree with each other, into a confessional one where an international committee will lay down what Anglicans are expected to believe.
Arising out of the debate over gay bishops, the Covenant is designed to establish a formal method for declaring Anglican teaching. The immediate intention is to condemn the belief that same-sex partnerships are morally permissible; but the wording of the Covenant allows the same process to apply to any controversial new development.
The authors of Modern Church’s publication, Jonathan Clatworthy and Paul Bagshaw, argue that the intention of the Covenant is to draw a clear dividing line between those who accept the new ‘authoritarianism’ and those who do not. This, they say, has already been pre-empted by the Anglican Communion Office in its decision to exclude the USA from an ecumenical Anglican committee, IASCUFO. Although the USA cannot legally be expelled from the Anglican Communion, the wording of the Covenant implies that churches which refuse to sign it will no longer be treated as equally Anglican.
For the present, the argument runs, proponents are presenting the Covenant as a small matter, in order to persuade provinces to sign it. Once they have signed, the original authoritarian intention will be reasserted, and from then on there will be an international committee with power to suppress genuine disagreement by making official declarations of ‘what Anglicanism teaches’. Modern Church argues that the Church should retain its traditional openness and comprehensiveness and accept differences of opinion as normal.
The text is on www.modernchurch.org.uk/anglicancovenant.
The minutes of the previous meeting, on 15-18 December 2009, of the Anglican Consultative Council - Standing Committee have now been published, see
Minutes of Standing Committee meeting December 2009 (PDF file)
Update an html copy is available over here.
As Episcopal Café comments in Breaking: TEC still in the AC
…though these are minutes from a meeting seven months ago, it is indeed new information about the vote to keep the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion.
The entire document is worth reading, but paragraph 4, Recent Developments in the Anglican Communion, dealing with this point, is reproduced in full below the fold.
Another paragraph of interest is this:
17. Any Other Business
The Archbishop of Canterbury mentioned two things:
a) The Church of England had issued guidelines on clergy in civil partnership. He wondered if the moratoria included those clergy involved in civil partnership. Some were in celibate same sex partnerships.
In response to the above it was noted that the moratoria referred to consecration of bishops, and authorisation of formal blessing of same sex unions. The meaning of civil partnership was unclear as it could include siblings or friends simply living in the one house.
b) Pastoral Visitors
The Archbishop reported on the work of Pastoral Visitors. They had attended the first meeting of Anglican Communion in North America and Anglican Coalition in Canada. The intention was to facilitate conversations which were different from Continuing Indaba. Could we broker civilised conversations?
The Standing Committee expressed gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury for his work in this area.
4. Recent Developments in the Anglican Communion
Discussion began with a review of developments in the Communion over the past few months, in particular, the election of a person in a same gender relationship as suffragan bishop of Los Angeles in The Episcopal Church (the election has not yet been confirmed), and the authorisation by the Bishops of Massachusetts and Ohio of rites of same sex blessings, contrary to both the Windsor Report and the more recent Windsor Continuation Group Report.
Honest opinions were expressed on all sides, and eventually it was decided to adjourn the discussion until later in the Agenda.
The second session, this time with the Archbishop of Canterbury present, resumed the earlier conversation. At the end of that session three resolutions were presented.
These were voted on the following morning:
a) First resolution:
That in view of the recent actions of the 76th General Convention, particularly Resolutions DO25 and CO56, representatives of TEC should be invited to withdraw from all Anglican Councils until ACC-15. This [time] would give both TEC and the AC a temporary safe distance for discernment in regard to the issues that currently threaten the unity of the Anglican Communion.
2 votes for, and 8 votes against, no abstention recorded
b) Second resolution:
The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion meeting in London from 15th-18th December 2009, noting that the Episcopal Church had at its 76th General Convention in July 2009 resolved to reopen a process for the blessing of same gender relationships and to recognise the right of gay and lesbian persons to any ordained ministry in the church:
i) Expresses its deep disappointment and regret over such decisions, having regard to the declared position of the Anglican Communion over those matters through various Lambeth Resolutions; the recommendations of the Windsor Continuation Report and the resolutions of the Primates’ Meeting held in Dromantine in February 2005 and at Dar-es-salaam in February 2007;
ii) Disassociates the Anglican Communion from those decisions of The Episcopal Church as well as with any actions that may be taken by churches in The Episcopal Church in North America pursuant to those decisions.
2 votes for, 7 votes against and 2 abstentions
c) Third resolution:
The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion resolved that, in the light of:
i) The recent Episcopal nomination in the Diocese of Los Angeles of a partnered lesbian candidate
ii) The decisions in a number of US and Canadian dioceses to proceed with formal ceremonies of same-sex blessings
iii) Continuing cross-jurisdictional activity within the Communion
The Standing Committee strongly reaffirm Resolution 14.09 of ACC-14 supporting the three moratoria proposed by the Windsor Report and the associated request for ‘Gracious Restraint’ in respect of actions that endanger the unity of the Anglican Communion by going against the declared view of the Instruments of Communion.
8 votes for, 1 vote against, 1 abstention recorded.
The Secretary General was asked to place the resolution in the Anglican Communion website.
The Second Church Estates Commissioner took questions in the House of Commons yesterday. The first two were about women bishops.
The hon. Member for Banbury , representing the Church Commissioners, was asked-
6. Diana R. Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): What recent representations he has received on proposals for the consecration of women as bishops. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): I have received numerous representations from people on all sides of the argument. I recently addressed the General Synod of the Church of England on this matter in York, and I have placed a copy of my statement in the Library.
Diana R. Johnson: Will the hon. Gentleman take a guess as to when he thinks we will have the historic first woman bishop in the Church of England? When does he think that will be?
Tony Baldry: The legislation completed its Report stage at York. It now has to go to all the 44 dioceses of the Church of England. If a majority of them agree, it will go back to General Synod, probably in 2012. If two thirds of each of the General Synod’s houses agree to it, I would then expect it to come here to the Ecclesiastical Committee and this House in 2013, and if this House agrees, we could see the appointment of the first woman bishop in 2014.
Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin) (Con): As someone who considered entering the ministry but realised I had too many vices and not enough virtues, may I commend the life and ministry of women in the Church, but also ask my hon. Friend whether he agrees that the first appointment of a female bishop, which will undoubtedly happen soon, must be on merit rather than political correctness?
Tony Baldry: I am sure that all appointments in the Church of England, including that of the Second Church Estates Commissioner, are made on merit.
The hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked-
8. Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): When he expects the Church of England to consecrate its first woman bishop. 
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago.
Chris Bryant: As one who did go into the Church ministry and then discovered that I had plenty of vices, may I ask the hon. Gentleman to be a little more impatient about the issue of women bishops? To be honest, it felt as if he was saying, “Nearer and nearer draws the time”, but will it be the time that will surely come when we have women bishops, and why on earth does this legislation have to come back to this House? Surely the Church of England should be freed from the shackles of bringing its legislation here, so that we can move forward on this issue rather faster.
Tony Baldry: If the hon. Gentleman reads what I said to the General Synod, he will see that I made it clear that many of us want this legislation to come forward as speedily as possible, but we have to get it right. The reason it comes back here is that we have an established Church, and until such time as Parliament decides that we do not, we will continue to have an established Church.
Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) (Con): I hope my hon. Friend will ask the Synod to recognise that the House welcomed the decision it took to trust women bishops to do the right things, rather than trying to force them into being second-class bishops.
Tony Baldry: I thank my hon. Friend for that. I made it clear in York at the General Synod that I did not think I could get through this House any legislation in which there was a scintilla of a suggestion of women bishops in any way being second-class bishops.
There was also a question about Cathedral Restoration, copied here below the fold.
9. Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab): What recent representations the Church Commissioners have made to the Government on public funding for the repair and restoration of cathedrals. 
Tony Baldry: Church groups of all denominations are seeking to encourage and persuade the Government to continue the listed places of worship grant scheme, which enables a 100% refund of VAT on church buildings and repairs.
Hugh Bayley: Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Yorkshire Forward, the Yorkshire regional development agency, was forced to withdraw a grant of £1 million toward the cost of restoring the great east window of York minster? Will the Church Commissioners make representations to the Government that funds withdrawn from RDAs should be made available to other regional or local bodies, and that funding applications to these bodies from cathedrals should still be supported?
Tony Baldry: I understand the point the hon. Gentleman makes. It is estimated that some £9 million is required to put York cathedral into good repair. Although funding has been coming forward-I understand that there is a grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Wolfson Foundation has set up a fund for cathedral repairs-we will need to find money from all sorts of sources if we as a nation are to meet the responsibility of repairing these fantastic cathedrals, which are part of our national heritage.
Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con): Can my hon. Friend explain why two of the cathedrals in Scotland-Glasgow and Dunblane-are fully funded by the public purse, yet not a single cathedral in England is so funded?
Tony Baldry: The situation in Scotland is simply different from that here. As I said, we need to raise considerable sums of money-for Salisbury, Winchester and Lincoln cathedrals, and for York minster-but that will require a number of different sources of funding: part from the state, part from trusts and charities and part from private individuals.
Professor Sarah Coakley who is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University, gave a lecture at the United Theological College, Sydney, Australia on 13 July 2010.
An edited version of the lecture is available in three parts:
Rethinking the sex crises in Catholicism and Anglicanism, Part 1
Rethinking the sex crises in Catholicism and Anglicanism, Part 2
Rethinking the sex crises in Catholicism and Anglicanism, Part 3
The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Abjua Primate of all Nigeria, addressed the fourth annual CANA Council on 23 July.
See earlier report boundary crossing in Virginia.
If you are at all confused about what CANA stands for, there’s a comprehensive reminder of its history in this post by Fr Jake.
His full remarks are available here.
Here’s an extract from what he said.
The Western Church led the world toward Christ for almost 2,000 years. But now it has cast aside its leadership and finds itself leaving Christ’s path and following its own road. The West, Nations and Church, are disinheriting their Christian inheritance. Perhaps this is the easiest road to take. But it is certainly not the right road.
This is the challenge faced in the Anglican Communion where the revisionist agenda has weakened a church, which for generations has been at the forefront of global evangelization and mission.
Given the speed with which we alter time-honored theological positions some of our ecumenical friends now doubt our reliability, and suspect our fellowship. We are all vulnerable to temptation and sin, but Christ calls us to stand shoulder to shoulder and faithfully declare that ‘there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved’ [Acts 4:12].
We are Christians. We must affirm our faith and identity, while we make allowance for others to affirm theirs as part of the grace for a plural society. We must, as orthodox Anglicans, uphold and continue to defend the biblical understanding of the family and its moral implications. The clear intention of Scripture is that marriage is a monogamous, lifelong, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. All other sexual relationships are a sad reflection of our brokenness, self-centredness and continuing rebellion against the expressed will of the Almighty God for which we need repentance.
Let there be a change. As Americans you occupy the lofty height of the world’s civilization and material glory. But as a prophet, let me humbly encourage you to remind yourselves of the rise, the reign and the fall of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known, the Roman Empire. It will do you good, to avoid certain pitfalls, as you struggle to retain your enviable position as the world’s number one nation.
At the same meeting, Bishop Martyn Minns delivered his Bishop’s Pastoral Call 2010 which is available in full as a PDF file here. Despite its length, it is worth reading for it gives a very comprehensive picture of CANA.
Mark Harris has posted two blog articles commenting on what Martyn Minns said. See
Bishop Minns accuses The Episcopal Church leadership of bribery.
The Tide of Ecclesial Pollution: Bishop Minns reads the Anglican Oil Spill.
The Partnership of the Dioceses of El Camino Real, Gloucester and Western Tanganyika
From the Diocese of Gloucester website:
Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury
Regarding the partnership of the dioceses of El Camino Real, Gloucester and Western Tanganyika
[in .doc format]
From the Diocese of El Camino Real website:
Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury from our Partnership Bishops
This letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury was drafted by Bishops Mary Gray-Reeves of the Diocese of El Camino Real, Gerard Mpango of the Diocese of Western Tanganyika, and Michael Perham of the Diocese of Gloucester.
Please read it at http://www.edecr.org/sitefiles/file/newsdocs/NEWS-Ltr2ArchbpREpartnDio-20100622.pdf [in pdf format]
Updated again Wednesday evening
See earlier ACO reports here.
Three Questions on Communion issues were asked at the recent General Synod. All received written replies only.
Q75, The Revd Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. Given that Anglican membership of ecumenical bodies no longer represents the width of opinion currently held by loyal Anglicans, will the House of Bishops review the value of the Church of England’s continued participation in such bodies or the value of any agreements that might come from them.
The Bishop of Guildford to reply as Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:
A. The agenda of the House of Bishops is set by its Standing Committee. I am not aware of any expressed intention on the part of the Standing Committee to put the Church of England’s participation in international bilateral dialogues between the Anglican Communion and other Christian world communions on the agenda of the House.
Q76, The Revd Canon Giles Goddard (Southwark) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. Given the significance of the proposed Anglican Covenant, why has the House of Bishops not sought to impose a requirement of a two-thirds majority for its final approval?
The Archbishop of York to reply as Chairman of the House’s Standing Committee:
A. The adoption of the Anglican Communion Covenant will be Article 7 and 8 business, which means that it will require the approval of at least half of all diocesan synods, and that the Convocations and/or House of Laity can also claim a reference. It will also be open to 25 members to require that votes in General Synod are taken by Houses. Given these safeguards the House was not persuaded that there was a need to impose additional hurdles.
Q77, The Reverend Brian Lewis (Chelmsford) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. Has the House of Bishops considered the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost message to the Anglican Communion, and the impact it has had and is likely to have on the work of those organizations of the Anglican Communion directly affected by it and to which the Church of England contributes members and support?
The Archbishop of York to reply as Chairman of the House’s Standing Committee:
A. The Archbishop of Canterbury briefed the House, at its May meeting, about developments in the Anglican Communion before the issue of his Pentecost letter later that month. He indicated the approach he intended to take in respect of upholding the Communion’s agreed moratoria and the consequences for those Churches in breach of them for participation at member level in Communion bodies in the ecumenical and faith & order fields.
Updated Monday morning
We reported the recent incident at Southwark Cathedral, and related matters, in several previous articles:
Presiding Bishop visits the UK
Presiding Bishop at Southwark Cathedral
more from Southwark Cathedral
mitres in Gloucester
Lambeth Palace explains the Southwark episode
Church Times reports on Southwark episode
At the recent General Synod in York, two Questions were asked about this. The full text of the Q and A is given below the fold. The questions were for written reply only, and in any event the block of questions in which they came was not reached before the end of the session, so there were no supplementary answers.
Readers will recall that the letter sent from Lambeth Palace referred to “The agreed approach of the English bishops…”
Incidentally, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is preaching tomorrow at St Paul’s Cathedral, at the 11.00 Choral Eucharist.
Update ENS has a full report of the service, with photos, and links to the sermon. See Presiding bishop preaches at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Q 78, Miss Rachel Beck (Lincoln) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. Has any advice been issued recently to members of the House of Bishops, relating to the procedures for giving permission under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 to overseas clergy who wish to make short-term visits to England, and if so what was the reason for doing so? Will this advice or any further advice that may be issued be made public?
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply:
A. No general advice has been issued recently to the House of Bishops on the procedures for obtaining permission under the Measure. The provincial registrars and staff in the Archbishops’ offices offer advice on those procedures to diocesan bishops and others, as required. Active consideration is being given to whether it would be desirable to issue fuller - and publicly available - guidance on the procedures under the Measure and associated issues.
Q 79, Miss Rachel Beck (Lincoln) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. Does the House of Bishops have an ‘agreed approach’ to ‘the issue of vesture’ for women bishops from other Anglican provinces when preaching or officiating in England, and if so will this be made public?
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply:
A. The House of Bishops has not considered the issue of vesture of female bishops from other Anglican provinces who preach or officiate in England. But a female “overseas bishop” can only be given permission under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 to officiate in England as a priest. By virtue of s. 1 of the 1967 Measure, a female “overseas bishop” with an archbishop’s permission to officiate as a priest is subject to the same obligations as a priest of the Church of England - including in relation to matters of vesture (for which provision is made in Canon B 8). The 1967 Measure has not been understood as applying to those whose ministry in England will be confined to preaching.
Tomorrow (Sunday) is the festival of James the apostle.
Sophia Deboick writes a Face to faith column in The Guardian about The enigma of Saint James. The identity of Saint James has been reinvented many times over two millennia, from Moor-slayer to Spaniard-killer to pilgrim.
The archbishop of Canterbury preached, in both Welsh and English, at an ecumenical service, held at Westminster Cathedral, to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Roberts. What’s the martyr’s message to our society?
Jonathan Derbyshire profiles the archbishop in the New Statesman The NS Profile: Rowan Williams.
Theo Hobson explains in The Guardian Why I won’t pay for St Paul’s. It isn’t just meanness that makes me resent having to pay an entrance fee to visit places of worship like St Paul’s Cathedral.
Adrian Pabst writes in The Guardian that The ‘big society’ needs religion. The ‘big society’ will not work unless it is informed by religious ideas of free and reciprocal giving.
Giles Fraser also writes about the big society in his Church Times column: Why the Big Society is a good thing.
And the Church Times has this leader: Big question mark.
Writing in his blog, Nick Baines has Big questions about the ‘Big Society’.
Colin Slee writes in The Guardian about Desmond Tutu, prayerful priest.
Daniel Schultz at Religion Dispatches asks Will Gender and Sexuality Rend The Anglican Communion?
Updated Saturday afternoon
The Anglican Communion Office has published a Q and A document about this, titled What is the Standing Committee?
This body is, as it happens, meeting right now in London. The membership is shown here.
Here is the first report from that meeting:
And the new Articles of Association are available as a PDF file here.
In England, James Kirkup reported in the Telegraph that ‘Gay couples will get equal right to marry’.
Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, said that the Government will allow same-sex couples to have “civil marriage” with same legal status as marriage between a man and a woman.
His comments follow moves by a Lib Dem minister to allow homosexual couples to have religious elements to their civil partnership ceremonies.
Under current rules, same-sex couples can contract a civil partnership, which is recognised in law but not given the same status as marriage for a heterosexual couple.
Mr Hughes predicted that before the next general election, the law will be changed to give an equal right to full marriage…
In Scotland, Rebecca McQuillan in the Glasgow Herald reported on a Fresh call for gay marriages to be legalised
It might be marriage in all but name – but now campaigners want to end that final inequality in gay partnerships.
Senior churchmen and a cross-party coalition of MSPs are demanding a change in the law in Scotland to give same-sex couples full marriage rights.
Polling evidence suggests a majority of Scots would back the move…
And there was also a leader article, Same-sex couples should be afforded equality of treatment.
The following day the same reporter wrote of Roman Catholic reaction, Bishop on same-sex marriage: not now, not ever…
The Catholic Church will never celebrate same-sex unions – “not now, not in the future, not ever” – even if the law changes to allow religious celebrants to conduct gay marriages, the Bishop of Paisley, Philip Tartaglia, has told the Prime Minister…
The relationship between the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and the Equality Act 2010 was considered during the recent General Synod:
The Church Times reported that
The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry MP, said that it would be his task to steer the legislation through the House of Commons. In his constituency, many of the senior posts in the county were held by women. “I see no reason why, when there is a vacancy, the Bishop of Dorchester or the Bishop of Oxford should not be a woman. . . Let’s do it soon.” However, the Church of England was a broad Church.
The vote on the legislation on women bishops which would be presented to Parliament would be a free vote in which the views of individual MPs mattered. The equality agenda now played strongly across all parties, and there were now a record number of women MPs. The difficult task of steering through the legislation would be impossible “if there is a scintilla of a suggestion that women bishops are in some way second-class bishops”.
Robert Key, the former MP, spoke later, and opposed the inclusion of Clause 7 of the Measure.
The Church Times reported as follows:
Mr Tattersall warned that the consequences of not agreeing to Clause 7 (Equality Act exceptions), which had been introduced in order to comply with the Equality Act, would be that the Measure could be found to be in conflict with that legislation, and so would be “legally deficient”. The Equality Act had been drawn more narrowly than the Equality Bill had originally been drawn; so the new legislation was necessary to prevent any possible conflict with the Act, the committee had been advised.
Robert Key (Salisbury) had given notice that he wanted to speak against Clause 7. He said that the Bishop of Durham was, “of course, wholly wrong: the Church of England cannot act wholly in its own interest.” God spoke not just to the Synod, but also to Parliament. The evidence he had seen was that Clause 7 was not a proportionate and reasonable approach and his view was that it would fail in the courts. The law of the land would apply to everyone except Christians.
The Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament had to ensure that the Church respected the constitutional rights of all the population.
Mr Key elaborated his position in this video interview with Ruth Gledhill: Should Church of England be exempt from Equality law?
I wrote a news article for the Church Times recently which gave some of the background on this, see Equality Law will affect church appointments.
I am going to write a further and more detailed explanation soon.
Here are the reports for everything else, except women bishops.
Last week’s Church Times detailed reports of synod debates are now available to all. Here are the links to the main topic of discussion. All other reports will be linked in a second article soon.
Letters on the topic last week are at Incomprehension all round? Reactions to the General Synod’s voting.
Other Church Times coverage was linked earlier, see over here.
Updated Friday morning
I linked to the raw voting lists from this month’s General Synod earlier today.
I have now compiled tables of how each member of Synod voted (or abstained or was absent) on the main votes on the legislation to allow women to become bishops. These tables are available as a web page.
At present only the bishops and clergy are included; the laity will be added later.
The tables are now complete.
The detailed voting lists from the electronic votes at the July General Synod are now available.
We will be publishing analyses of some of these votes. [Now available here]
Women in the Episcopate legislation - major votes
Women in the Episcopate legislation - other votes
item 522 - remove the need for a two-thirds quorum at PCC meetings considering making a request
item 525 - remove a clerical veto
item 541a - require two-thirds majorities in each house for any subsequent amendment or repeal.
The Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, is in Virginia, attending the annual council of CANA.
According to Episcopal Café
Asked about whether Okoh had sought permission to be in the diocese, Henry Burt, a spokesperson for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, said “Bishop Johnston received no request from Archbishop Okoh to exercise any ministry in the Diocese of Virginia. Unfortunately, the circumstances of this visit do not aid the process commended by the Windsor Report.”
According to Breakaway Groups Prevented Anglican Split, Nigerian Primate Suggests in the Christian Post
According to Okoh, the Church of Nigeria received the same sanctions as The Episcopal Church this year, which include removal from the Anglican Communion’s ecumenical dialogues and from a body that examines issues of doctrine and authority.
“The command of Scripture is that we should go everywhere and preach and teach. So we came here to help our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But instead of getting commendation, we are getting punishment or sanction,” said Okoh, who was elected as primate in September.
Criticizing the move, he commented, “To do so, to ban us … we believe they were not properly advised. So if you ask me whether there is justification for that, I will say no.”
Sanctions were proposed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, earlier this year for provinces that breach the three moratoria that leaders in the 77 million-member global body had agreed to since 2004. The moratoria include cross-border interventions, the ordination of partnered homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions.
The legal situation in Virginia is complex. Previously, in ADV motion for rehearing has no merit, and even earlier in Anglican District of Virginia files motion of appeal Episcopal Café explained the detail. In summary now:
In a motion for rehearing to the Virginia Supreme Court the nine churches in dispute with the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia over church property earlier this month reversed field and instead of claiming they are a branch of the Church of Nigeria now claim that CANA is not a branch of the Church of Nigeria…
Pastoral Letter - 16th July 2010 from the Bishop of Richborough:
THE AFTERMATH OF THE GENERAL SYNOD
The members of the General Synod have returned home; no doubt some will be preparing their addresses for the forthcoming Synod election in the autumn. For many this Synod achieved exactly what was wanted as far as the ordination of women to the episcopate is concerned but for a sizable minority it has left them feeling despondent and unwanted. When the Bishop of Manchester commended the draft legislation for revision in February 2009 he emphasised that it would be possible to make significant changes during the revision process. Despite the valiant efforts of some members of the Revision Committee what came back to the Synod this July was even less helpful than the original draft. I was not surprised. It was inevitable once the bishops decided to put the process in the hands of the Synod rather than controlling it themselves, which they had been doing until May 2008 when they sent a motion to synod recommending a Code of Practice as the best way forward. We have consistently said since then that ‘a Code of Practice will not do’ and there is no reason we should change our minds. It simply will not do – not then and not now.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York made a brave attempt to amend the legislation and while I did not think it would have been able to achieve what some hoped it would achieve it was defeated in the House of Clergy. It is not often, if ever, that two Archbishops have proposed an amendment to such a contentious piece of legislation concerning the future unity of the Church of England; to have done so and not succeeded says a great deal about the problems of our synodical structures. The Draft Measure will now go to the dioceses for further scrutiny though it is highly unlikely that it will not gain the necessary support. It will return to the Synod in 2012 when it will need to gain the necessary two thirds majorities in all three Houses of Laity, Clergy and Bishops.
If the Measure is passed -if it isn’t the issue will not go away-the landscape in the Church of England for traditional Catholics and Evangelicals will be bleak. There will be no resolutions to be passed, no Episcopal Visitors to petition for, the Act of Synod will be abolished and the episcopal ministry of the Bishops of Beverley, Ebbsfleet and Richborough will not exist. The process of reception so ably explained by Dame Mary Tanner in New Directions a few months ago has been forgotten. All the promises which were made to us in the early 1990’s about having a permanent honoured place in our Church have been ignored. No doubt many of the supporters of women’s ordination will say there has been compromise on both sides. They will point out they preferred a simple piece of legislation without a statutory Code of Practice. However, from our point of view, this legislation offers us little hope. It addresses none of the issues which are of concern to us and about which we have argued for so long. The only provision will be that a parish can request a male incumbent or the sacramental and pastoral care of a male bishop when needed. It is simply not sufficient for those for whom it is supposed to apply. Far from providing for those who have serious theological objections to the ordination of women the legislation allows parishes to discriminate against women.
I cannot overemphasise how serious this situation is for us. No amount of promises from the Archbishop Canterbury and others that there is more to be done can produce anything which would address the issues of jurisdiction, ecclesiology and sacramental assurance which we require.
Many of our priests signed an open letter before the July Synod of 2008, which began the process which has led to the present draft legislation, in which we said.
It is with sadness that we conclude that, should the Church of England indeed go ahead with the ordination of women to the episcopate, without the same time making provision which offers us real ecclesial integrity and security, many of us will be thinking very hard about the way ahead. We will inevitably be asking whether we can, in conscience, continue to minister as bishops, priests and deacons in the Church of England which has been our home.
The time for such discernment on the part of priests and laity has drawn considerably nearer since last week end. We will all have difficult questions to consider and the answers may depend as much upon our particular circumstances as on our understanding of the Church. What is essential is that we should have a period of calm reflection and prayer before any important decisions are made. Priests and people will need to have serious conversations about the future; we cannot bury our heads in the sand and hope this will go away. The priests in the Richborough Area have been invited, with other clergy from the Province of Canterbury, to a Sacred Synod on the 24th September to take counsel together.
The visit of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to our country in September will give us a good opportunity to meditate on our Lord’s call to Christian unity. The high spot of the visit will be the Beatification of John Henry Newman who himself wrestled with similar issues in his day. This may be a moment when his thoughts and writings can help us to consider the way forward.
May God bless you as you discern his will for you,
Rod Thomas Chairman of Reform, writes:
The General Synod
At the General Synod’s meeting in York earlier this month, I moved an amendment to the proposed measure on women bishops which, had it passed, would have enabled parishes to opt for a ‘complementary bishop’ when it came to key issues like selecting ordinands for training, disciplining clergy and appointing incumbents. There was a good debate but the amendment was lost in the subsequent vote. The voting figures were:
Bishops 10 28
Clergy 52 124
Laity 73 118
These figures are significant because they show that more than 1/3rd of the House of Laity felt the present draft Measure to be in need of major revision…
The Irish Civil Partnership Bill was signed into law by the President of the Republic yesterday. The bill was passed without a vote in the Dail (the lower house of the Irish parliament) and was supported in the Seanad (Senate) with only 4 dissenting votes, out of 52.
Irish Times Signing into law of new civil Bill welcomed
Some earlier reports:
According to RTE in this report Civil Partnership Bill passes the Seanad:
The Seanad rejected, without a vote, an amendment that would have allowed Registrars opt-out of presiding over civil partnership ceremonies.
The so-called ‘conscientious object’ amendment had been tabled by Independent Senator Rónán Mullen, however the matter was not put to a vote because not enough Senators called for one.
Senators spent three hours discussing the amendment, in total there were 77 amendments down for discussion.
The BBC Radio 4 programme Profile featured the Bishop of Fulham last week. Here is the BBC blurb about the programme:
The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham and chairman of Forward in Faith, the mainly Anglo-Catholic organisation opposed to the ordination of women. Traditionalists like Bishop Broadhurst were left more isolated this week after the Church of England’s ruling body the General Synod moved one step nearer to the concecration of women bishops. Those close to him say frequent accusations of misogyny have been wounding but are completely misplaced.
Listen to the 15 minute programme via this page.
The programme’s presenter, Mary Ann Sieghart wrote about it in her latest column for the Independent newspaper, Women on top? You’ve got to be joking:
…Even in the Church of England, which now has women priests and is close to accepting women as bishops, the hatred and vilification are shocking. At last weekend’s meeting of the General Synod, some women priests were spat at. And a male bishop who appeared on the radio programme I made complained that the Synod had now been “swamped” by part-time women clergy or – as he put it – “ladies with time on their hands”.
Hearing a word like “swamped”, you might expect the House of Clergy to have been taken over by women. In fact, they account for just 39 of 197 members. In other words, men still take up 80 per cent of the places. But if women are seen as threatening and monstrous – as in that priest’s painting – even their minority presence is hugely amplified.
This overestimation of the power and representation of women is commonplace. Research shows that when women speak in the classroom exactly 50 per cent of the time, both men and women think they spoke more. When I took part in an internet debate recently about whether Oxford University was sexist, James Kingston, president of the Oxford Union, said: “Most of the History tutors at Christ Church seem to be women.” In fact, there are six women and six men there…
A recent UK Supreme Court case concerned the deportation of gay asylum seekers. As the UKSC blog explained:
Under the Convention on the Status of Refugees, members of particular social groups (which can include groups defined by their sexual orientation) are entitled to asylum where they can establish they would face a well-founded fear of persecution if they returned to their home states. The issue concerned the extent to which those who seek asylum will, if returned to their countries of origin, be able to conceal, or at least be discrete about, characteristics of themselves which give rise to the fear of persecution. The Supreme Court unanimously overturned the Court of Appeal’s decision that it was permissible to return a person if they would conceal their sexuality in order to avoid being persecuted, provided their situation could be regarded as “reasonably tolerable”. To compel gay people to pretend their sexuality does not exist is to deny him his fundamental right to be who he is. Simple discriminatory treatment does not give rise to protection under the Convention, but the Convention does not envisage applicants being returned to their home country “on condition” they take steps to avoid offending their persecutors.
The full judgement is available here.
In HJ (Iran) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 31 the UK Supreme Court held that gay people cannot properly be required or expected under international asylum/refugees to conceal their sexuality/pass as straight to avoid State sponsored but usually religiously inspired persecution in their home countries. The central point about the UKSC decision is that the court rejects the cogency of any distinction between acting on one’s sexual orientation and being of a particular sexual orientation. It was argued by the Home Office that it could properly send back avowedly gay men to Iran and Cameroon respectively on the basis that, if they were to be discreet (not – openly – act on their sexual orientation) they would not invite persecution…
He goes on to review some American legal comment on the decision, and concludes:
…what seems to concern the Professor and what he seems to be driving at, is a suggestion or feeling that the specifically religious motivation for discriminatory attitudes and practices resulting in State persecution, should be worthy of some respect and deference from the courts. But his objection to Lord Hope’s use of the word “misguided” itself seems to be misguided, in that it is clear from the passage quoted that Lord Hope was not there seeking to make any theological point, or to suggesting that the anti-gay views expressed were not in fact true expressions of the particular religious beliefs described. Rather the tenor of the whole court’s decision in HJ (Iran) is that those religious beliefs when acted upon are morally wrong because inimical to the proper respect for individual human dignity that is incumbent upon all States and societies.
The (anti-relativist) realization that there are absolute moral values (captured in the concept of “human rights”) which are not culturally relative or religiously specific and which States and societies and religions must protect and promote in order to have legitimacy is a post WW11/post-Nuremberg phenomenon common to the political/legal cultures of the civilised world. An expression by the court that the actions by another State or significant religious or cultural or political non-State institutions within that state contravene fundamental human rights is very much the province and duty of the judge. There is no usurpation of power in the judges so doing in this particular case.
Press Statement from WATCH (Women and the Church) 17 July
Generosity Offered to those Opposed as Draft Legislation Overwhelmingly Endorsed by Synod
General Synod overwhelmingly agreed last weekend to have women as bishops alongside provisions for those opposed. The decision to include provisions was passed by 373 votes to 14. This was urged on Synod by senior clergywomen who, despite the consistent demands on them to ‘be gracious’ towards opponents in the past 16 years, still want to offer those who disagree with them an honoured place.
Hilary Cotton, WATCH Campaign Coordinator commented, “This has been described as uncharitable by the opponents because it does not give them what they say they need. But generosity does not always mean giving people what they want: it means weighing up the issues and coming to a judgement about the best way forward for as many as possible. Women had made it clear in the debates that they could not accept appointment as bishops under the conditions of the Archbishops’ amendment. The provisions in the legislation ARE generous: no parish will have to have a female bishop or priest – meaning there will still be no-go areas for ordained women”.
Elections for General Synod take place in September. WATCH hopes that the new Synod will be truly representative of the majority of Church people who want women bishops and want to be generous to those opposed. This legislation has been given overwhelming endorsement as the will of this Synod. We trust that will be confirmed by the next Synod, and that women will be appointed bishops by 2014.
Does Hywel Williams have the answer to one of the Church of England’s problems? He writes in The Guardian: Ditch the bossy-boot bishops. Rather than debating if women are eligible, the church should scrap the absurd post of bishop.
The archbishop of Canterbury spoke on the precious gift of Martyrs on BBC Radio 4.
Gerald Warner writes in the Telegraph about Why it is a mistaken policy for Rome to offer Anglicans converting en bloc a church within the Church.
Janet Street-Porter writes in The Independent that The C of E will die if it shuts out gays and women.
Ruth Wishart in HeraldScotland Why won’t men in frocks let women wear the trousers?
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Religious pilgrimages: The hard slog that refreshes the soul.
This week’s The Question at Comment is free belief is Can science explain everything? Here are the responses.
Monday: Sue Blackmore Science explains, not describes. The experience of consciousness seems incommunicable and ineffable. Yet science can hope to explain how it arises.
Wednesday: Mark Vernon Chaos theory and divine action. Physicist John Polkinghorne is often accused of offering up a God-of-the-gaps argument. But his work has subtler shades.
Thursday: Adam Rutherford Ever-increasing circles. The domain of knowledge amenable to science has only ever changed in one direction: at the expense of all others.
Friday: Keith Ward The parts science cannot reach. We need to distinguish in detail all the different sorts of explaining we do in life. No one key opens every lock.
British Religion in Numbers has a report Gender and the Anglican Episcopate.
The Church of England has hit the media headlines again during the past week or so over its continuing internal divisions about the issues of women’s ministry and homosexual clergy. The general public’s reactions to all this have been explored by YouGov in an online survey of 2,227 adult Britons aged 18 and over on 11-12 July.
The Church Mouse has also reported on this at Public perceptions of women bishops.
The Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh addressed a press conference on Wednesday. The full text of his prepared remarks can be found at ADDRESS OF PRESS CONFERENCE DELIVERED BY THE MOST REVD NICHOLAS OKOH.
Among his remarks was this:
We congratulate Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the new CAN President and wish him a very successful tenure. We invite him and all denominational leaders to protect Christian interests and our cherished way of life, including speaking out against the invading army of homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexual lifestyle under any guise. In this matter silence can be detrimental to public well being. The issue at stake of human sexuality is not an Anglican prerogative and it is by no means limited to the Anglican circle as it is clearly shown all over the world. Same sex marriage, paedophilia and all sexual pervasions should be roundly condemned by all who accept the authority of Scripture over human life…
And then he continued:
…Recently, our Church was classified along with Churches who have broken call for moratorium by the Anglican authorities in Canterbury, in certain areas such as ordination of Gay Bishops, conducting of same sex marriage and border crossing. Our church is said to have crossed borders in its pastoral work in the USA. We reject being put in the same category with churches conducting gay ordination and same sex marriage, and the equating of our evangelical initiative (for which we should be commended) with those who are doing things unbiblical. But for the Nigerian initiative and others like her, many of our faithful Anglican American friends who cannot tolerate the unbiblical practices of the Episcopal Church in America could have gone away to other faiths. The great commission to go in to all the world to save souls is our compelling constitution. The step taken by Canterbury in this regard therefore is ill-advised and does not make any contribution towards the healing of the ailment in the Anglican extended family.
The Church in the West had vowed to use their money to spread the homosexual lifestyle in African societies and Churches; after all Africa is poor. They are pursuing this agenda vigorously and what is more, they now have the support of the United Nations. We therefore call on parents to ensure that their children obtain their first degree in Nigeria before travelling abroad. Parents and guardians should closely watch and monitor the relationship which their children or wards keep so that deviant behaviour could be timely corrected. The sin of homosexuality, it must be reemphasised, destroyed the communities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Hat tip Episcopal Café which reported it under the headline Primate of Nigeria speaks on homosexuality and border crossing.
Today’s Church Times summarises the debate last weekend: Traditionalists face threadbare future as Measure is passed by Ed Beavan.
Scroll down for a very useful sidebar on What happens next.
There is a very full report of the debates in the paper edition, that will be online next Friday. Subscribers to the newspaper can find them via this link.
There is a Leader: Extra time, or game over?
Last week’s newspaper, published just before the debates, had a number of letters on the topic.
Giles Fraser’s column has some bearing on the issue, see It’s still time to stick together.
In addition to the above, unofficial copies of documents published on TA during the debate:
Like you, I was very disappointed at the outcome of last weekend’s debate at General Synod in York and appalled at the intransigence of some feminist clergy and their supporters. What kind of a church is it that is willing to ignore the leadership of its Archbishops and to renege on a solemn promise given to Parliament about an honoured and permanent place for us?
We now face a most serious situation, made all the worse by the refusal of the Synod to pass the Archbishops’ amendment. Resolutions A & B - which provide the basis in law on which the ordination of women can be opposed - are to be removed. This means that any opposition which might be tolerated will be based on the recognition of supposed prejudice rather than the respect of theological principle. Further, the abolition of the PEVs is proposed, which will leave our constituency in an intolerable position. All we would be allowed under the draft Measure as it now stands is access to a male bishop, whose own beliefs need not coincide with ours. That is sexism writ large.
Despite the dreadful result in York, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Catholic Group in General Synod, along with all those who supported them in the debate. In the coming weeks, a new Synod is to be elected and it is vital we all do all we can to ensure the return of as many orthodox candidates as possible, in order that a Catholic presence on the Synod can be there to continue to represent the interests of Catholic Anglicans throughout this divisive and unnecessary process.
That these are very difficult times for all of us goes without saying; we need, above all, to take time to pray, to consult together and to support one another, as we try to discern our respective ways forward – not just in faith, but also of course in hope and in love.
TA note: Bishop John Broadhurst is Bishop of Fulham, a Suffragan in the Diocese of London.
Here’s some more articles about General Synod from people who were actually there.
First, there is the GenSyn blog of Alastair Cutting and Justin Brett. Alastair has written this very helpful article Synod: updates on the blogs. And earlier he had written Lots of reasons to vote against the Archbishops amendment.
Colin Coward wrote on the Changing Attitude blog: General Synod and women bishops - is the Holy Spirit calling the church to adulthood?
Justin Brett appears yet again at the Church Mouse blog, with What the papers don’t say.
John Martin wrote several articles for the Living Church:
Rod Thomas wrote about it for Cif belief Opponents of women bishops are part of the church too
Over at Reuters Miranda Threlfall-Holmes wrote a guest piece, Pragmatism beats idealism in fight for women bishops.
Dear Brother/Sister in Christ
So, General Synod has voted to send the draft legislation on women bishops to the dioceses. Any debating chamber anywhere would have been proud of the consistently high level of debate over two long, hot days (and discussions that went on well into the night). I was bobbing up and down all one morning trying to get called to speak! Some of the votes were very close; some were very definite. For example, the vote on the Archbishops’ amendment was only lost in the House of Clergy, and that by just 5 votes, but the final vote on clause 2 which laid a duty on diocesan bishops to make arrangements for the care of those opposed to the legislation, was a decisive 373 to 13.
The outcome is that General Synod is now inviting the dioceses to join them in discerning God’s will for the consecration of women as bishops and the care of those who cannot accept their episcopal ministry. We are therefore another step along the way but the process goes on. To those who are delighted with this decision, I want to say: ‘I share your pleasure; the gifts of women to every order of the Church are a step closer to being recognised’. To those who are deeply disturbed by this development, I want to say: ‘Please don’t panic - there’s still a process going on and we still want you.’
For the record, I voted for the draft Measure and against the Archbishops’ amendment. +Rowan specifically said they did not want their amendment to be a test of loyalty (although I suspect that many people probably saw it that way). I voted against it for a variety of theological reasons: I believed it would entrench two sorts of bishop in the Church’s life; I saw it as creating an even stronger variety of ‘flying bishop’; it seemed to be ‘transfer of jurisdiction’ by any other name, ‘when is a bishop not a bishop?’ and so on. I also want to affirm in the strongest possible terms the quality of ministry that women priests are offering to the Church, particularly in this diocese. But I recognise that the vote at this point was ambiguous and that if the voting had not been by Houses, the amendment would have been passed. It’s clear therefore that many people were looking for a way through which both affirmed women in the episcopate but also made space for traditional catholics and conservative evangelicals which went beyond the Code of Practice. Given that voting, I have to think therefore in terms not just of what is desirable but also of what is possible. I want to be pragmatic as well as idealistic in what we do now.
Sue Booys used a vivid image. She said that the conscience of those in favour allowed them to get to a certain point, and the conscience of those opposed to the legislation enabled them to get to another point – and these lines are only ten yards apart, but the chasm between them is very deep and full of sharks. The task therefore is to see if we can yet close that gap. To develop the image, we might not attempt to leap over a ten yard gap, but we might be prepared to try three. Perhaps we should try to get behind the rhetoric and focus entirely on what makes up those ten yards and what might close that gap. It might be impossible; the gap may be too deep and the sharks too hungry, but it might just be achievable, and that’s why we need to look in a number of directions.
Firstly, we need to look to the Code of Practice which the House of Bishops has now to start drawing up. Although a Code can only be approved by General Synod after the Measure has been passed, it will still be important that the dioceses know what kind of opportunities and constraints the Code might contain in order to judge whether the whole package seems fair. The Code will need to be robust and imaginative and the House will get on with it in September.
Secondly, we need to trust the wisdom of the wider Church, speaking through deanery and diocesan synods. They will have before them the draft Measure from General Synod (together with headings for the Code of Practice), and they will simply be asked to vote on that legislation. However, dioceses can come up with ‘following motions’ to go through to General Synod and those might have some very helpful thinking in them.
Thirdly, it isn’t over until the fat lady sings, and the archbishops may yet do more work on their thinking. Their amendment had not been seen before Synod by either the Revision Committee or the House of Bishops and they might now want to develop it differently.
It’s inevitable that the coming elections for a new General Synod will have this important issue as a major backdrop. I very much hope, however, that they will not be ‘single issue’ elections. We need the most thoughtful, Christ-centred people standing for election in order to tackle the whole range of issues facing the Church in our time. Please consider standing if you are in a position to do so and feel you have something to contribute, and encourage others to do the same.
What I very much recognise, however, is that the Body of Christ is both rejoicing and hurting. It’s very important that women priests should not feel any blame over this. It was Synod that made this decision. In any case, women priests have borne their cross of ambivalence and prejudice very graciously for a long time. But other parts of the Body are hurting now and that has to be recognised with sorrow as well. Many in the Body are wounded. As Archbishop Rowan said, ‘It’s that kind of Body.’ He also asked us to see the way ahead as an opportunity to serve one another. Mutual recrimination is not a helpful way of being Christian. Supporting and serving one another as we examine that ten yard gap is a much better way. We need to remember that conscience matters deeply to people on both/all ‘sides’.
I and other members of the Bishop’s Staff are available at any time to discuss these things, so do keep in touch.
Brothers and sisters, pray on. And think.
With warm good wishes in Christ,
To All Clergy
The procedures of General Synod are difficult enough for its members to understand so it is excusable that media reporting is sometimes wide of the mark. It’s often forgotten that the General Synod is the only body in England which can frame parliamentary legislation and which Parliament itself cannot amend but simply approve or reject. Hence, when it comes to legislation the process is very similar to that within Parliament itself with the addition that the framing of that legislation is also subject to a complex synodical procedure.
I begin this letter in a rather technical way since it may help to explain why the General Synod seems to be having so many ‘final’ votes on the Ordination of Women as Bishops. It’s been reported for several years that the Synod is about to have a decisive vote but we haven’t got there yet and will not be there for about another couple of years.
What the General Synod did this past weekend was to send the draft legislation to be considered in each diocese. Our own Diocesan Synod will consider it sometime next year and I hope every Deanery Synod will have the legislation on its agenda too. Recent meetings of our Diocesan Synod have begun to prepare the ground for this and our Agenda Planning Group will soon recommend a process and timetable for our diocesan consideration. The majority of the dioceses will need to approve this legislation before the General Synod begins the concluding stages and does reach a final vote.
I have described the process before offering any opinion of my own. However, I think you should know how I voted this weekend and the conclusions I have reached.
I believe that the Church of England would be enriched by women in the episcopate. The gifts and graces which women have brought to the ordained ministry seem self evident to me and I am convinced that in the ordained ministry it is our humanity which is more important than our gender, just as it is in relation to our salvation in Christ.
What is also evident to me is that many of those who are opposed to the ordination of women in our Church also believe it is right for the Church of England to ordain women to the episcopate. They see it as an inevitable consequence of a Church which ordains women to the diaconate and the presbyterate. However, they do want appropriate provision for those who do not believe this to be a legitimate development in the one holy, catholic and apostolic church.
This is why there has been so much focus on what sort of provision should be made to enable those who are opposed to remain with integrity within the Church of England. I have come across very few people who do not want to make some sort of provision for enabling conscience to accept this development in our tradition. But what should it be?
A Code of Practice which means that a woman bishop would delegate her authority to a male bishop (for pastoral and sacramental care) for parishes which cannot accept her authority does mean that the parish concerned would have to recognise the apostolic authority of the female bishop in order to make this request. That’s what some of the opponents find so difficult. That’s also why our Archbishops proposed an amendment which suggested co-ordinate jurisdiction deriving from the Measure itself. It would not have impaired the jurisdiction of the female bishop but required her (and male bishops too) to work with an episcopal colleague in order to provide pastoral and sacramental care for every parish within any diocese. It was this amendment which was carried by majorities in the House of Bishops and House of Laity but fell by five votes in the House of Clergy.
The Archbishops made it clear that it was not a test of loyalty to them but a way of so re-shaping the Code of Practice to make it something which could work for everyone without any losers. I voted for it and regret that it failed so narrowly to receive the Synod’s approval.
However, the House of Bishops is intending to get on with the work of drawing up the Code of Practice with some urgency. One of the difficulties is that we do not have a Code of Practice to work with yet which is why so many people were in the dark about the Archbishops’ intentions or what the consequences would be of what they had suggested at what seemed like the last minute (though this was inevitable).
I am very glad that the process of considering this legislation continues and I’m also glad that the present General Synod indicated such significant determination to make provision for those who find the proposal that women should be bishops so difficult. Under God I believe we are charged to do what we believe God calls us to do. For St. Paul this meant that the food laws he had cherished as a Jew should be set aside in a new dispensation brought by Jesus Christ. But he did continue to honour them among Christians who still observed such laws. We now live in a world which is likely to treat minorities in a cavalier and callous way. I long to see women as bishops in our Church but I also want the world to see that we honour and include the minority who do not believe this to be God’s will. The secular world may find that hard to understand but it seems to me to reflect both a New Testament principle and an honouring of our humanity redeemed in Christ.
This comes with my prayers for you all.
Another milestone passed
Inclusive Church gives thanks that General Synod agreed the draft legislation for the consecration of women as bishops by an overwhelming majority. The process in Synod over the weekend was thoughtful, respectful and gracious.
“Another milestone has been passed” said Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of Inclusive Church. “The Church of England is gradually reaching the point when all are able to live out their vocation as bishops, clergy or laity. As a church we can now move forward after forty years of discussion.”
“This is good news for the whole church and we are delighted,” said the Rev’d Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH and a member of IC’s Executive Committee. “Synod’s decision gives the church a powerful mandate to move forward enthusiastically; welcoming the ministry of women at all levels whilst making space for those who are opposed to stay within our body.”
The legislation will now be discussed in Dioceses before its final return to Synod in about 18 months time. The provision for those opposed represents a compromise for all sides. We hope that over the coming months and as the Code of Practice is agreed, many of those who have questioned the provision will find that it does in fact meet their needs.
We were alarmed however that the adversarial nature of the debate means that there seems to be very little trust between the two sides on this issue. There are strong partnerships on both sides, but there’s an urgent need to build friendship across boundaries. Inclusive Church is committed to trying to make this happen.
We hope that in the coming months the various groups and organisations involved can meet and talk, so that we can develop bonds of love in what is likely to continue to be a difficult process. Our prayer is that when final approval comes, it can be something the Church of England welcomes unequivocally.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Inclusive Church is a network of organisations and individuals who come from differing traditions and locations but are united in one aim; to celebrate and maintain the traditional inclusivity of the Anglican Communion.
Our Partner Organisations are
- Accepting Evangelicals
- Affirming Catholicism
- Association of Black Clergy
- Changing Attitude
- Clergy Consultation
- Evangelical Fellowship of Lesbian and Gay Christians
- Group for the Rescinding of the Act of Synod
- Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) Anglican Matters
- Modern Churchpeople’s Union
- Society of Catholic Priests SCM
- Women and the Church (WATCH)
We already linked to the full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks at the beginning of Monday’s debate.
This was the second of three interventions. The first was in the course of Saturday’s debate and is reproduced immediately below.
The third was at the end of Monday, and is reproduced below the fold, i.e. after the Saturday text.
There is a comprehensive set of links to these texts and others on the Lambeth Palace website here.
Thank you Chairman. Archbishop of Canterbury, 001.
As I indicated this morning, the moving of this amendment doesn’t betoken any lack of appreciation for the labours of the revision committee. We wish to test Synod’s mind on whether the kind of provision already outlined in the draft legislation can be adjusted so as to give it just enough extra credibility with those for whom it’s intended, to help us towards an outcome which we can all find constructive.
Feelings have run quite high in recent weeks and the Archbishops’ amendment has been presented by some in very negative – not to say sinister – terms. It may help to make just one or two points in response:
First, we know it is unusual for archbishops to move amendments. But we should both be very disappointed if this was seen as some kind of covert loyalty test. Synod must scrutinize our suggestion in the way it would scrutinize any other. Because, of course, Synod’s task is scrutiny, including the scrutiny of draft legislation. It’s odd to claim that this piece of draft legislation – whatever its virtues – should be exempt from that kind of scrutiny and the possibility of an amendment. Now, the archbishops have a responsibility for trying to find ways of preserving the highest degree of communion possible, and it’s with those responsibilities in mind that they are asking whether this would help. When the revision committee’s report was published we tried (both of us) to give ourselves time to reflect on what it did and didn’t say on the history of the discussion, which references have already been made to, and to digest the possibilities and explore them. During that time, naturally, we had conversation with a range of people. But again I need to say no group saw these amendments before publication; they’re not the result of ‘horse-trading’. They’re neither a long-framed plot nor a hasty response.
Second, it’s essential to stress what’s already been stressed by the Archbishop of York and by the Bishop of Coventry, that the idea of a coordinate jurisdiction does not take away any liberty or any prerogative from a diocesan bishop in law. Nor does it carve out any community from a diocese. What it does is this: it allows a dissenting parish or congregation the ministry of a bishop whose right to exercise that episcopal ministry is agreed by the diocesan and, so to speak, guaranteed by the decision of the bishops, clergy and laity of the Church of England in Synod – that’s us.
And I would want to echo what’s been said earlier today in debate about the seductions of a view of episcopal jurisdiction that sees it as completely territorial and exclusive. Even a seamless robe may be a coat of many colours, you might say. And we’ve already had allusion to those models of interweaving and cooperative jurisdiction which the history of religious orders – not to mention of course the example of service chaplaincies in our dioceses – already provide.
And third, with a nod in Christina’s [Rees] direction if I may: Many of the points of unease raised today and elsewhere are already recognized in the existing report as unfinished business. The revision committee explicitly does not rule out (for example) the formation of a society or societies that will give more solidity to minority groups. There’s a recognition that a code will have to deal with this. The amendment introduces no distinction between male and female bishops. It preserves the principle that every diocese must draw up a scheme, not those presided solely over women. Such schemes must be worked through in the light of a national code of practice, they are subject to scrutiny, once again, and are appropriate to revision and reworking. The legislation does not seek to answer every possible question here and if there are issues between a diocesan bishop and a nominated bishop – issues which could occur anyway in the present draft – there is the possibility of discussion, consultation and adjustment in the scheme. And I might just add here in parentheses that I didn’t feel able to support the previous amendments partly because I was wary to attempt to do too much on the face of the legislation, and to produce something too detailed.
There are other questions which I think could arise on the existing draft which I don’t think our amendment in any sense makes any more complex – the business has to be done.
In short, this amendment doesn’t introduce any complexities not already present in the proposals. What it does is to put, we believe, one crucial element on the table that we hope might allow significantly more people in the Church of England to own the legislative outcome. It does not sanction prejudice or discrimination. It does not envisage any automatic obligation that disadvantages women bishops as distinct from men. It attempts to be faithful to the visions set out in paragraph 459 of the report if you want to look at that.
The Archbishops have been seeking a solution that goes with the grain of Synod’s wishes to preserve a church in which dissidents from the majority view may still live with – and I’m sorry about the word but I can’t think of any other – integrity. But they do not wish to pursue that at the expense of the integrity of their commitment – and I want you to be in no doubt about the commitment of both archbishops to seeing women ordained to the episcopate – at the expense of the integrity of their commitment and Synod’s commitment to the ordination of women as bishops.
Some of the debate today, I think, has illustrated a real risk that in excluding or marginalising the theological position of certain persons in the Church, division is actually made more serious, not less. We’re trying to give some ground for showing those who are in a minority that their views are taken with a degree of seriousness.
And so the question I want to leave you with is quite simply: Who loses if this amendment is passed? The Archbishop of York and I have offered it in the hope and the prayer that the answer just might be: no-one.
Before I invite you to pray, just a very brief word about where I think we now are:
We have decided to invite the dioceses to join us in prayer and reflection. We have decided to send to the dioceses a number of suggestions, proposals, by way of draft legislation, about which the feelings of many people in this hall are still very mixed. Some will have decided to, in effect, to send forward to the dioceses proposals, suggestions, which they are not themselves committed to but which they believe need to be discussed as fully and deeply as possible.
I might, perhaps, just say, to read into the record, I had technical difficulties this morning with my voting machine – I was not able to vote on the motion around clause 2 standing part of the measure. In spite of having proposed amendments and in spite of my expressed doubts about that, I believe that that should be discussed by the dioceses because that is an opportunity for doing necessary work, so I should’ve voted in favour had I been able to master a recalcitrant machine. And I do that with some difficulty.
But that is where we are. We are inviting the dioceses to give to this business some of the depth and honesty of feeling that members of Synod have given to the business. We are hoping and praying that the dioceses will regard this as something more than a ‘mechanical’ task. And I would remind you that there are further stages to this process in which we all need to revive flagging energies, looking forward to what I spoke of this morning which is that possibility of finding a way of serving one another through all this, however challenging it is. Like the Chair I’m grateful, as one of the Presidents of the Synod, for the degree to which people have attempted to listen to each other, and I hope that - to echo my fellow President - what emerges is - in the long run, and whatever way - a witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ; after experiences which, for people on all sides of the debate, have involved a good deal of carrying the cross. And by that I mean those who are in a minority and are feeling at the moment bruised and excluded, but also those of our sisters in ministry and in baptised identity who have also had moments of feeling deeply bruised and excluded. The Body of Christ is that sort of body. But it’s also the body which is raised, so in that hope I invite you to pray.
Statement from Catholic Group
Jul 14, 2010
The Catholic Group in General Synod is encouraged by the remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury that there is still ‘unfinished business’ and that ‘the Church is only part of the way through the process’ of determining the way forward for women bishops legislation.
The Group was, however, disappointed that there was a lack of support for financial hardship where clergy feel by conscience that they need to resign from the Church of England. The onus now is on the Church of England to provide for its clergy to remain within the Church for which we have always fought as loyal Anglicans.
We remain committed to both the process and our Church, and would wish to play a major part in helping the Church in its ongoing journey in a spirit of unity that is Christ’s way.
Most of us get information about what is happening in the rest of the church beyond our own patch from the mass media. Understandably in a fierce ratings war and in the struggle to get religious news of any kind reported there is tendency to hype and dramatise and to give undue prominence to extreme voices.
Almost every week we are told that that the Church of England faces “the greatest crisis since the reformation” and “that a split is imminent”.
Actually the weather at the 2010 General Synod in York was much more temperate than in July 2009. I was very proud of the way in which your representatives from the London Diocese, speaking from different viewpoints, made a constructive contribution to many of the debates. The Bishop of Willesden in particular with his characteristic candour shone a bright light on the complex business before us.
The outcome is that the measure to permit women to be consecrated to the episcopate has been remitted for consideration in the Dioceses. This process will take about eighteen months before the matter returns to the General Synod.
There is no doubt that a substantial majority in the Synod and in the Church is strongly in favour of this change and for many, the Synod’s decision will be a cause for heartfelt rejoicing. It was also significant that only a very few of those opposed to this measure sought to delay the process. There is a general feeling that it is urgent to conclude a debate which can appear somewhat introverted when our real focus must be on our unity in mission and in service to a country facing turbulent times.
In consequence much of the discussion was about how to secure an honoured place for those who cannot accept such a decision as one authorised by scripture and tradition and who believe that it will erect new obstacles in our relations with other parts of the “one, holy catholic and apostolic church” to which we claim to belong.
It is emphatically not true to say that the measure as it stands contains no provisions for those who hold such a view. Attempts during the two days of debate to amend the draft measure to remove any arrangements to assist those who adhere to the present practice of the Church were decisively rebuffed.
The draft as it stands offers a “statutory code of practice” to protect the position of those opposed to this development. The question which occupied much of our time was – “Is it enough?”
There was clearly an anxiety in some parts of the Synod that given the sense among a number of supporters of the proposal to ordain women as bishops that this was a gospel and justice matter, “a code of practice” would not be strong enough to ensure respect for the minority who on theological and biblical grounds continued to resist the change.
It is a complex question particularly given the fact that the contents of such a code have not been worked out. At the same time a number of words which have been used in the debate thus far, such as “delegation” and “transfer” have become freighted with negative connotations.
The Archbishops attempted to clear a way through the impasse by introducing the concept of “co-ordinate jurisdiction”. The contents of such a “co-ordinariate” would also have to be settled by reference to the, as yet undrafted, code of practice. Although I voted for the amendment, it is unsurprising that there was a good deal of confusion about what such a concept might mean in practice. The Archbishops’ proposal failed to secure a majority in the House of Clergy although it passed the Bishops and the Laity.
The important point is that valiant attempts are being made to open the way for women to be consecrated bishops without excluding from the church those who adhere to the present position and who share the faith which inspires our mission.
We now have an opportunity to consider the draft legislation in the Diocese and I shall be setting out the process for doing this in due course. At the same time the House of Bishops is charged with working on the vital question of the Code of Practice. The Bishop of Willesden and I will be fully involved in these discussions.
There will be a special meeting of the Diocesan Synod to ponder and vote on the advice which London will be sending back to the General Synod. I do hope that anyone questioning their place in the Church of England on the basis of media reports or premature judgements about the final shape of the legislation will get in touch with me or with their respective Area Bishop before making any personal decisions or public statements.
I returned from York clear both that the majority will is to ordain women bishops while at the same time preserving, as far as possible, the unity of the church in her mission and service to our country.
With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel
The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO DD FSA
The General Synod at York
IT IS now 40 years since the Church of England General Synod came into being. It was an exciting new development, replacing an even more cumbersome system of dual control by Convocations of Clergy and the Church Assembly. The laity at last had a full and effective voice in the government of the Church of England. There were some safeguards in place. Certain matters had to be passed by two thirds’ majority and there could be a call for a vote by Houses, even when one was not strictly required. That meant that there needed to be majorities in each of the three Houses, Bishops, Clergy, and Laity.
It was this last safeguard which torpedoed the attempt of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to introduce an amendment to safeguard the ministry of traditionalist bishops. (As far as the democratic process is concerned, the archbishops are simply two members of the Synod). The amendment was voted down by five votes in the House of Clergy. This followed an earlier vote, where only 34% of the Synod supported new dioceses. Finally the whole draft Measure was approved, the only safeguard for traditionalists being the promise of a Code of Practice. The matter now moves from the General Synod, whose quinquennium has now ended, to the dioceses. It will return from there to the new General Synod. In 18 months’ time, November 2012, the hope of supporters of women bishops is that the Measure will be finally passed by the necessary two-thirds majority in each House, the hurdle which the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood Measure cleared on November 1992. Thereafter it must pass muster in Parliament, receive the Royal Assent, and be promulged as a canon. Last time, all of that took another 15 months, which would take us to February 2014, with the first consecrations of women bishops soon thereafter.
Traditionalists have been beaten four-square. When (though, strictly, it is still ‘If’) the Measure comes into force, there will be no more Resolution A and B, no more ‘petitioning parishes’. There will be no more ‘flying bishops’, no more Beverley, Ebbsfleet, and Richborough. There will be again the assurance of good behaviour: no one will be over-faced by women priests and bishops ministering where they are not wanted. But there will be no guarantees (and, increasingly, no likelihood) that male bishops and priests ministering to us will share those convictions, or derive their orders from an unbroken apostolic succession of bishops in the Catholic line. Avoiding women ministers will become not a conviction about Catholic Order, shared throughout the ages, but a matter of sexual discrimination, abhorrent to all of us. In a very short time, it will have become unacceptable to invoke a sexist Code of Practice.
It is important for us all to understand how momentous all this is and what the implications are for our life together. I was never very hopeful of the Archbishops’ amendment, though it was good that it was debated. It would not have brought a clear and certain place for the Catholic understanding of Faith and Order. But it would have allowed a new generation of Provincial Episcopal Visitors - flying bishops - to try to work out, with the Archbishops, some sort of corporate life for our priests, people, and parishes. It is fair to say that both Archbishops wanted that. Moreover 60% of the bishops in Synod (though not two thirds) were prepared, more or less enthusiastically, to support the Archbishops and accept their spiritual lead.
Come the final judgment when, as the Prayer Book says in the Marriage Service, ‘the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed’, some will have to account for the broken promises of the early 1990s. Traditionalists were then assured of a permanent and honoured place. Great store was set by the doctrine of reception (whereby no change in Holy Order would finally thought to be ‘received’ until it was accepted by the ancient churches of East and West). It was on the basis of these promises - both now very hollow - that Provincial Episcopal Visitors were appointed, ordinands and their families exchanged comfortable life styles for theological college, curacies, and what promised to be a lifetime of ministry, and parishes set to work energetically with the task of evangelism and catechesis. However honourably these promises were made, there were liberal pressure groups intent on destroying them. These liberal pressure groups are not full of bad people: the women and men concerned were always exasperated that the Church made such high-sounding, but undeliverable, promises. In their view -the view that has prevailed - we all simply needed to get used to the new ‘inclusive’ way of doing things. In their view, twenty years is quite long enough for that to have happened. But there have been broken promises indeed and some supporters of the women bishops’ project recognise that and seek forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.
For Ebbsfleet, the critical vote came when nearly two thirds of the General Synod rejected the creation of new dioceses. The only sense we have been able to make of the whole Ebbsfleet project these last sixteen years (of which I have been bishop for nearly ten), is that the See of Ebbsfleet is an ‘Apostolic District’. That is, it is an area of the vineyard which seeks to grow into, and become, a ‘local Church’, a ‘diocese’. To that end, we have had our Stational Masses of Initiation, our Ordinations, and our Chrism Masses. We have had our Area Deans and Deaneries, our Council of Priests, our Lay Council, and our Lay Congress. We have also had parish evangelism weekends and research into resources for catechesis and formation. We have had clergy retreats, festivals of faith, and the annual Children and Young People’s Eucharistic Festival. Our churches have been as well-attended as most, with, if anything, more than our share of men, children, young families, and other endangered categories of church-goer. Here was a new kind of diocese, not without its problems, but with promising signs. ‘In house’ there has been very little discussion of ‘church issues’ and that in itself has made us vulnerable. We have never been attacked by anyone who got to know us and experienced our corporate life. It has always been fear of who we might be, what we might represent, rather than what we actually are.
For now, the prescription is for some serious summer rest and to get some praying and thinking done. I shall be addressing these issues further in the September Pastoral letter, at a Sacred Synod for clergy, and at the Ebbsfleet Lay Conference, but, for now, at least we know where we are. It is time to stop trying to make bricks without straw.
May God bless you as you seek to discern, obey, and trust his will.
13th July 2010 Reform statement on women bishops draft legislation
The Archbishop of Canterbury said to Synod yesterday that “we still have not cracked it”, and we agree.
There are two main problems with this measure as it stands.
First the provisions made for those who cannot in conscience accept the oversight of a female bishop are inadequate. This measure does not provide a secure future for our ministry within the Church of England.
Second we think that given the voting patterns we saw this time, unless the Dioceses recommend some significant changes, we will very likely see this voted down at the 2012 General Synod.
The positive response to the Archbishops’ own amendment shows that there are still options available which have not yet been fully explored and which could give Reform members and others adequate provision. We want to see these explored and will seek discussions to ensure they are.
Reform was established in 1993 and is a network of churches and individuals within the Church of England. Current individual membership is around 1,700, in addition to 35 member churches. More than 350 ordained clergy are Reform members.
Here s the official summary of the final session of this month’s meeting of General Synod.
Updated again Tuesday morning
Press Association Women bishops bid passes key hurdle
Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones Hundreds of traditionalist clergy poised to leave Church of England and Archbishop of Canterbury urges General Synod not to stall women bishops plan
Independent Jerome Taylor ‘Desperately difficult’ to keep Church together over women bishops
Cif belief Sally Barnes High time for women bishops
Episcopal News Service Church of England advances plans for women bishops
This includes some information about women bishops in other countries.
An extract from the report in The Times by Ruth Gledhill appears over here.
The draft Measure to permit the ordination women as bishops, approved today by the General Synod and sent for discussion and approval by Diocesan Synods, contains nothing which can satisfy the legitimate needs of members of Forward in Faith.
Now, though, is not the time for precipitate action. There will be ample opportunity for priests to take counsel together at the Sacred Synods called by the Catholic Bishops in each province in September, and for Forward in Faith to take stock at the National Assembly in October.
WATCH Press Statement 5.45pm 12th July 2010
Both Sides Compromise as Draft Legislation Goes Forward for Discussion in the
Today the General Synod overwhelmingly endorsed the draft legislation prepared
by the Revision Committee with only a couple of minor amendments. After
rejecting the ways of accommodating those opposed, that were debated on
Saturday, Synod accepted the proposals suggested by the Revision Committee in
clause 2 of the draft legislation.
After a moving debate, the motion was passed with an overwhelming majority; 373
in favour; 14 against with 17 abstentions.
Several powerful speeches made it clear the sacrifice that had been made by the
majority who welcomed women’s ordained ministry in voting for this compromise.
“This is good news for the whole Church and we are delighted” says the Revd
Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH. “Synod’s decision gives the Church a powerful
mandate to move forward enthusiastically; welcoming the ministry of women at all
levels within the Church whilst making space for those who are opposed to stay
within our body”.
The full text of what the Archbishop of Canterbury said at the start of Monday’s continued debate on Women in the Episcopate is copied below the fold.
Thank you very much Chair.
Mention was made on Saturday during the debate of the possibility of some presidential reaction to where we are in the process. After conversation over the weekend with many people from different stances within the Synod, it seemed right to say something this morning. First I’d like to say that I would want encourage Synod to complete the business here before it in York. It’s very tempting at times of stress and difficulty, such as we’ve been through in the last couple of days, to think: “We’ll drop it in the ‘too difficult’ basket” - I don’t really think that’s an option.
Archbishop Sentamu and I explained when we moved our amendment on Saturday that we didn’t think a further referral to a revision committee would really help us at all at this stage and we remain of that view. We believe that we now need the dioceses to give their wisdom, their prayer and their thought to this process, and to move on.
The second thing I’d like to say is - and we’ve had a meeting of House of Bishops this morning - the House of Bishops will set in hand promptly the necessary work involved in producing a draft code of practice which will be available for debate in Synod, when legislation returns from the dioceses in about 18 months time. That, of course, is the moment at which we’ll enter the final phase of this long and complex process. That is when all the material will be finally on the table.
I’m well aware that proposing an amendment as we did on Saturday, without an illustrative code of practice to accompany it, was asking a great deal of the faith and charity of Synod, but time was not on our side there. Nonetheless, the House of Bishops now wishes to proceed with as much speed as humanly possible to get that work done. That work will include trying to see how a code of practice can enshrine the best possible provision in the light of what we’ve heard and what we’ve discussed, in the light of the votes taken on Saturday.
You’ll also be aware that the next phase of committal to the dioceses, it’s possible for the dioceses to shape following motions. So the point I’m making is quite simply there remains work to be done. The House of Bishops will attempt to do the work that they need to do as swiftly and effectively as possible, and we ask for your prayers and support in what will undoubtedly be a very demanding task.
And third and last: obviously Archbishop Sentamu and I would have like our amendment to pass, that’s what you do when you pose amendments, but we would want to encourage those disappointed by the outcome, and also the whole Synod as seeing that not as the end of the road. We are, in the Church of England, in the middle of both a legislative process and a process of discernment, and, I would dare to add, a process of service to one another.
The next phase of the work we try do together, I think has to be very, very closely focused on the service we seek to do one another. And that means of course, working in the interests of those who will be taking different decisions from our own, different paths from our own, so that all may grow up into Christ as best they can.
Here are the official summaries of Monday’s business at General Synod.
link to afternoon and evening summary to follow when available now added]
The archbishop of York’s presidential address to General Synod, delivered on Saturday, is now online.
Presidential Address to the General Synod
Theme: The way to come closer to God is to be generous and honest towards everyone.
Amended late Monday afternoon to correct the Clause 11 items
This follows on from our report on Saturday’s debates.
This page will be updated during the debates.
These are the relevant papers.
GS 1708-09Y Report of the revision committee.
GS 1708A Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure
GS 1709A Draft Amending Canon 30
Notice Paper 5 Amendments before Synod
We will update the following two web pages during the debates to show what happens to the amendments and how those amendments that are passed change the text of the draft measure.
After BCP Morning Prayer, and statements from the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of Manchester, Synod resumed its consideration of the draft measure.
This is the clause that requires diocesan bishops to make arrangements for delegation of functions to a male bishop for parishes who request the ministry of such a male bishop.
9.57 am Geoffrey Tattersall, on behalf of the Steering Committee, moved item 518 “that Clause 2 stand part of the Measure”.
10.55 Synod votes in favour of closure of debate on item 518. Sufficient members stood to require a division of the whole synod. Item 518 was carried by 373 votes in favour, with 14 against and 17 recorded abstentions.
This sets how parishes can issue a letter of request asking for the ministry of a male bishop.
11.01 am Anthony Berry moved his amendment 519 to require PCCs to consult with electoral rolls before making such a request. The steering committee resisted the amendment. Fewer than 40 members stood so the amendment lapsed.
11.10 am Gerald O’Brien moved amendment 520 to require PCCs to consider making, or not making, a request every five years. The steering committee resisted the amendment, but more than 40 members stood so the amendment was debated.
11.26 am Synod voted against item 520 by a show of hands.
11.27 am Hugh Lee moved amendment 521 to require those involved in appointing incumbents or priests in charge to take into account whether or not a parish has issued a letter of request. The steering committee resisted the amendment, but fewer than 40 members stood and the amendment lapsed.
Several amendments (522 - 527) then followed changing the rules for votes at PCC meetings when considering making a request.
11.33 am Peter Hobson moved amendment 522 to remove the need for a two-thirds quorum at PCC meetings considering making a request. The steering committee resisted the amendment, but more than 40 members stood, so the debate continued.
11.53 am Synod agreed to proceed to a vote. This was a division of the whole synod. The amendment was defeated with 128 votes in favour, 239 votes against and 5 recorded abstentions.
11.56 am Clive Scowen moved amendment 523 to stop a minority being able to frustrate a majority by simply staying away from a meeting.
The steering committee were in favour of the amendment.
Synod voted in favour of the amendment on a show of hands.
Gerald O’Brien moved amendment 525 to remove a clerical veto. The steering committee resisted the amendment, but more than 40 members stood so the debate continued.
12.20 pm Synod voted to proceed to the vote. Sufficient members stood to require a division by houses. The amendment was defeated in all three houses with the following votes.
Brian Walker moved amendment 527. The steering committee was in favour of this technical amendment. Synod voted in favour on a show of hands.
Synod then moved onto the debate on item 528 “That clause 3 (as amended) stand part of the Measure”. The motion was carried.
12.37 pm Synod voted in favour of 529 “That clause 4 stand part of the Measure”.
12.38 pm Synod voted in favour of 532 “That clause 5 stand part of the Measure”.
12.39 pm Synod voted in favour of 533 “That clause 6 stand part of the Measure”.
12.40 pm Synod debated 534 “That clause 7 stand part of the Measure”.
1.00 pm Synod voted in favour of item 534 on a show of hands.
2.30 pm Debate resumed
Amendment 536 was carried, as consequential on item 523.
Synod voted in favour of 537 “That clause 8 (as amended) stand part of the Measure”.
Synod voted in favour of 538 “That clause 9 (as amended) stand part of the Measure”.
Synod voted in favour of 539 “That clause 10 (as amended) stand part of the Measure”.
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes did not move her amendment 540a
2.35 pm Paul Benfield moved amendment 541a, to generally approve a new clause that would require two-thirds majorities for future amendment of the legislation. The steering committee resisted the amendment. More than 40 members stood so the debate continued.
Sufficient members stood to support a division of the whole synod.
3.00 pm The amendment was passed with 287 votes in favour, 78 against and 20 recorded abstentions.
Synod then passed 541b “That the clause be inserted in the Measure”.
3.02 pm Paul Benfield moved his amendment 542 to amend clause 11 to require a provision for the relief of hardship to be made available before the measure comes into effect. The steering committee resisted the amendment. More than 40 members stood, so the debate continued.
3.47 pm Synod voted to close the debate.
Synod then defeated the amendment on a show of hands.
Synod then passed 543 “That clause 11 stand part of the Measure.”
Schedules and Long Title
Finally Synod voted in favour of all the following.
544 That Schedule 1 stand part of the Measure.
545 That Schedule 2 stand part of the Measure.
546 That Schedule 3 stand part of the Measure.
547 That Schedule 4 stand part of the Measure.
548 That the Long Title stand part of the Measure.
3.54 pm Simon Killwick then proposed that “That the Measure entitled Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure be committed for further revision in
4.19 pm Synod voted to close the debate and move to a vote.
Sufficient members stood to require a division of the whole synod.
The motion was defeated with 102 votes in favour, 293 votes against and 12 recorded abstentions.
Synod then voted in favour of 549 “That paragraphs 1-9 stand part of the Canon.”
4.25 pm That completed the revision stage of the Measure and Canon.
The measure will now be referred to dioceses.
Guardian Riazat Butt General Synod urged to unite as issue of women bishops divides Church of England
Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones A divided church faces its darkest hour
Independent Jerome Taylor Church on brink of schism as synod votes for women bishops
The Times Ruth Gledhill article Embattled Archbishop urges synod to behave like children of Christ is behind paywall, but copy is over here.
Press Association Women bishops bid to pass key stage
Independent Schism might be a better option
Meanwhile, out in the real world…
There will be a synod fringe event at lunchtime on Monday about the Church in Zimbabwe. Today, Brian Castle, Bishop of Tonbridge, writes at Cif belief ‘Don’t forget us,’ say Zimbabwean Christians.
The Observer has an editorial, The church should always put humanity before unity. Sexual equality, rather than schism, should be the Archbishop of Canterbury’s foremost concern.
This article also deals with the Southwark episcopal appointment.
Cif belief has an article by Una Kroll Women bishops: what God would want.
Jul 10, 2010
We deeply regret that the General Synod has decided to ignore the leadership of the chief pastors of the Church of England Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
The voting was by the three Houses of Synod separately, with support from the Bishops and Laity but not from the Clergy. In total, 216 people voted in favour and 191 against with 9 abstentions - so there was support for the Archbishops’ amendments.
By rejecting the opportunity for unity that the Amendments they proposed would have achieved, it has made it very difficult for those who in conscience cannot accept the ministry for women priests and bishops.
The process in General Synod is not over and we would wish to be involved in the ongoing discussions as to a way forward that includes all loyal members of the Church of England.
Jul 10, 2010
Forward in Faith notes that the amendment to the draft Measure to permit the ordination of women as bishops standing in the names of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York failed to gain approval today by just five votes in the House of Clergy, despite the fact that a significant majority of the members of Synod voted in its favour.
We naturally share the Archbishops’ disappointment at this turn of events and will now take counsel together, as we await the resumption of the debate on Monday.
July 10th, 2010
The debate in synod is not about gender equality. It is about the liberty to hold within the Church of England two views about leadership in the church which are compatible with scripture and tradition. Most have accepted that there will be women bishops in the Church of England.
The problem the Archbishops were trying to address was trying to address was the problem of monoepiscopacy, the belief that only one bishop can have jurisdiction in one geographical area. Synod had two objectives:
i) To affirm that all bishops would be of equal status and
ii) To enable those who, on grounds of scripture and theology, cannot accept women as bishops, to continue to flourish within the Church of England without diminishing the status of women bishops.
So far we have yet to find a solution. Further meetings to address this will take place.
WATCH (Women and the Church) Press Release Sunday 11th July 7.30pm
Vote on Archbishops’ Amendment is Standard Practice.
WATCH is disappointed that some opponents of women bishops are seeking to discredit the standard practices of General Synod after the vote on the Archbishops’ amendment yesterday. The procedure of votes being taken “by houses” is standard practice for many issues. It must be requested from the floor and supported by 25 members of synod. Once this decision is taken, the votes of each House of Synod (Bishops, Clergy and Lay) are added separately. A majority is required in all three houses for the motion to be carried. This ensures that all three groups are prepared to support a proposal and the Church can move forward together.
Ironically the same procedure was used in 1978 when Synod first fully considered ordaining women as deacons, priests and bishops. Although it obtained a majority overall, the motion failed to achieve a majority in the House of Clergy and therefore fell.
“It is important that we all continue to honour the processes of Synod and move forward in the light of the decisions they have made,” said the Revd Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH. “ We hope and trust that the graciousness and attentive listening that characterised Saturday’s debate continues on Monday when Synod completes its consideration of the draft legislation.
Supporting the draft legislation represents a significant compromise for WATCH and others who support women’s ordained ministry: a compromise made in a spirit of generosity to make space for those opposed.”
WATCH looks forward to these proposals going forward to the wider church for further consultation.
Here is the official summary of Sunday’s business at General Synod.
Andrew Brown writes in his blog about The triumph of Anglican women. As the strap line says “The General Synod’s rejection of compromise on women bishops is historic. There’s no return from here.” He concludes with:
Anyway. I have been watching this story, more or less, for nearly 25 years now, and in all that endless wrangling this is only the second time I can remember the synod making an unequivocal choice. From now on, things really will be different.
For Immediate Release
10 July 2010
ANGLO- CATHOLIC AND EVANGELICAL GENERAL SYNOD MEMBERS SEEK ‘URGENT’ MEETING WITH ARCHBISHOPS FOLLOWING THIS AFTERNOON’S DEBATE ON WOMEN BISHOPS
ANGLO-CATHOLIC and Evangelical members of the Church of England’s General Synod, meeting in York this weekend, have asked for an “urgent” meeting following Synod’s defeat of the Archbishops’ amendment on the Measure which would allow Women to be Bishops in the Church of England.
The Archbishops’ put forward an unprecedented amendment to the Women Bishops Revision Committee’s recommendations , which they felt would help maintain unity within the church and be pastorally sensitive to those who, from theological and conscience issues, cannot accept the Episcopal ministry of women.
Despite a majority of synod voting FOR the Archbishops’’ amendment, it failed on a “procedural device” of requiring a two-thirds majority in all three houses: Bishops, clergy and laity. In the House of Clergy, the vote was split 50/50.
The subsequent crisis in the CofE, and its Synodical and Episcopal leadership has led senior Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical leaders this evening to request and urgent meeting with both Archbishops to discuss the matter before Synod resumes its Women Bishop debates on the issue on Monday morning.
In the meantime, leaders of the two groups within the CofE are asking parishes to pray earnestly this weekend for grace and wisdom for the General Synod as they seek God’s will for His church.
Press Association Synod rejects compromise on bishops
Ruth Gledhill’s blog is now behind a paywall, but her latest entry is copied in part below the fold.
Mitre versus Right: Clergy defeat Archbishops over women
Ms Ruth Gledhill
…So in the end it was neither laity nor bishops, but the clergy who defeated the bishops. This is a terrible blow to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Their personal and archiepiscopal authority is massively diminished.
Canon Celia Thomson of Gloucester gave one of the best speeches illustrating the problems with what the Archbishops proposed:
‘This is the source of such sadness, such dismay among the ordained women at all stages of their ministry. The effect would be to legislate for the automatic transfer of episcopal authority in law in a way that would not only damage the authority of a woman bishop but also undermine the whole nature of episcopacy in the Church of England.’ She said the nominated bishops were ‘flying bishops’ by another name and that concept had not worked, in particular for women. It could also open up demands for alternative episcopal oversight in other areas where people did not agree with the diocesan bishop.
But even worse, it would send out a ‘damaging message’ about the Church to the wider world.
‘If the Church is seen to discriminate against women by law, not only will it compromise the ministry of women bishops in future and by default of all its women priests, but more fatally, the mission of the Church in the 21st century. Many people will despair of the Church. Most people under 40 simply cannot understand it and so dismiss our beloved Church as irrelevant in our life and in attitudes towards the world.
‘One-third of all clergy are now women.
‘If and when women become bishops they must be allowed to be bishops. The Church cannot have two categories of bishop.’
She warned that women called to be bishops might not have wished to serve under such circumstances.
I had also been given to understand that Parliament might reject a measure as amended by the Archbishops, and that the women themselves might vote against it and defeat it in the end had the Archbishops been successful…
Press Release Saturday 10th July 2010
Women and the Church (WATCH)
Full Steam Ahead for Women Bishops
Church can Move Forward at Last
WATCH is delighted that the Church has today affirmed its wish to appoint women as bishops on the same basis as men.
The General Synod, meeting in York, re-iterated its decision of July 2008 that when women are appointed bishops they will be in charge of their entire Diocese. Amendments suggesting that there should be separate dioceses for those opposed, or permanent flying bishops, or that parishes should automatically be transferred to another bishop, were all rejected by the Synod.
Hilary Cotton, Vice-Chair of WATCH, said, ‘We are absolutely delighted that Synod has stuck with its decision of two years ago and wants women to be bishops with full authority. This is good news for all women, not just women in the Church.’
Rachel Weir Chair of WATCH said, ”This has been an agonisingly slow journey and the Church has rightly wanted to do all it could for those who find this difficult, but we are delighted that Synod has made the right decision in the end”. Now at last the Church can move forward and accept the wonderful gifts of leadership that our women bring.”
On Monday the Synod will decide what minor amendments to make. It will also be given the opportunity to vote for the simplest possible legislation, in other words that ‘the Church will appoint male and female bishops’. Arrangements for those opposed would then be entrusted to individual bishops under a Code of Practice that will be drawn up in the near future.
This is not the end of the journey. The wider Church will now be invited to debate the proposals and if approved General Synod will have a final vote on them in about eighteen months time.
This page will be updated during the debates.
*Debate continued on Monday, and our report is here.*
After morning worship and the presidential address from the archbishop of York, Synod started its mammoth series of debates on the Women in the Episcopate legislation this morning.
These are the relevant papers.
GS 1708-09Y Report of the revision committee.
GS 1708A Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure
GS 1709A Draft Amending Canon 30
Notice Paper 5 Amendments before Synod
We will update the following two web pages during the debates to show what happens to the amendments and how those amendments that are passed change the text of the draft measure.
This started with a “take-note” debate on the report of the revision committee.
The Chair of the Revision Committee (the Ven Clive Mansell (Archdeacon of Tonbridge)) moved:
501 ‘That the Synod do take note of this Report.’
This was a general debate. Voting in favour did not necessarily imply supporting the report, but the take-note motion had to be passed before any further progress on the legislation was allowed.
11.47 am Synod voted to close the debate. Archdeacon Mansell the responded to the debate.
11.52 am Synod voted in favour of item 501 on a show of hands.
12.00 noon Synod started the revision stage.
Canon Simon Killwick proposed the creation of new, parallel dioceses by moving amendment 512a in Appendix 1 of notice paper 5.
The steering committee resisted the amendment. In these circumstances standing orders require more than 40 members to stand for the debate to proceed. Many more than 40 stood.
12.52 pm Synod voted to close the debate on amendment 512a. Enough members (standing orders require at least 25) then stood to require a division of the whole synod, ie an electronic count. There were 134 votes in favour, 258 against and 8 recorded abstentions, so the amendment was defeated.
12.58 pm Synod broke for lunch.
Saturday afternoon2.00 pm Synod resumed the revision stage
The combined figures (135 for, 270 against and 9 abstentions) were almost identical to the vote on the previous amendment.
Synod then took a ten minute break.
Clause 23.45 pm Synod resumed.
In the light of the result, there was a motion to adjourn the debate until Monday. This was defeated on a show of hands.
5.25 pm Bishop of Salisbury, David Stancliffe, proposed his amendment 515 to restrict the delegation of functions to the celebration of the sacraments and other divine service.
The steering committee resisted the amendment. Fewer than 40 members stood so the amendment lapsed.
5.37 pm Kevin Carey proposed amendment 516. The steering committee resisted the amendment. Very members stood so the amendment lapsed.
5.41 pm Tom Sutcliffe proposed his amendment 517 to set up a Review Commission.
The steering committee resisted the amendment. Fewer than 40 members stood so the amendment lapsed.
5.52 pm The next item on the agenda was the motion to include clause 2 in the measure. The chair adjourned the debate until Monday as he judged there was insufficient time to complete this before the scheduled closure time of 6.15 pm.
*Debate continued on Monday, and our report is here.*
Updated Sunday morning
Here are the official summaries of Saturday’s business at General Synod.
We will add links to the afternoon and evening’s business in due course.]
These summaries are now complete.
Dave Walker has this view of the Synod at his Church Times blog.
The Seminal has this Saturday Art article: William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Emma John asks in The Guardian Should women ever be bishops? It’s an issue which could result in schism and put the future of the church in jeopardy. Four women who would be in line for the top job, reveal why it’s time for Christians to put their differences behind them.
Ellen Painter Dollar writes on the her.meneutics blog: Confessions of a Church-Skipping Mom. Is it better to attend church burnt out and stressed, or occasionally stay home but miss corporate worship?
Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian about A new model Christianity. The “emerging church” movement may offer something more than new manners and styles if it breaks free of establishment.
Albert Radcliffe argues in The Guardian that The Bible is an open book. The Bible does not end moral debates on gay rights and the role of women. Its pronouncements are there to open discussion.
Jack Valero writes in The Guardian about The sad demise of celibate love. It is symptomatic of modern values that we conclude Cardinal Newman’s intense love for a man meant he was a homosexual.
Philip Ritchie writes on his blog about Gossip: cancer of the community.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Turkish scars need healing
Graham Kings asks at Fulcrum Should Christians share Christ with People of other Faiths?
Riazat Butt in The Guardian General Synod meets to discuss Catholic defection
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Archbishops face test of authority over women bishops at Synod
Ruth Gledhill in The Times and reproduced here, Bishops ready to sabotage Williams over consecrating women.
ENS Matthew Davies General Synod set for lengthy debate on women bishops legislation
Press Association Further debates over women bishops
Thinking Anglicans will do its best to provide up to date reports during the long debates today and Monday on Women in the Episcopate. We will report here on each amendment in turn as the debate progresses.
For Twitter coverage please follow all those contributing by using the #synod hashtag. That will include occasional contributions from @simonsarmiento.
You may find Peter Owen’s summary of the various amendments useful to read while you wait.
There is a live audio feed on Premier Radio.
Updated Saturday morning
Here are the official summaries of Friday’s business at General Synod.
We will add a link to the evening’s business in due course.]
The page linked below now includes the evening business.]
These entries also include links to audios of the sessions and to relevant papers.
Jim Naughton writes in The Guardian that Rowan destroys his own credibility. Rowan Williams cannot speak truth to power when he has so clearly capitulated to it himself.
… as the General Synod convenes once again, to discuss issues about which its members can actually be presumed to know something, I find myself walking right up to the precipice of that promise to say a few words about what it will mean if the synod embraces Rowan Williams’ poorly conceived ecclesiastical innovations.
LGBT Anglican Coalition Press Release 9 July 2010
Southwark failure damages Church of England
Both recent meetings of the Crown Nominations Commission to choose a new bishop for the Diocese of Southwark have been the subject of serious leaks to a newspaper. This has resulted in huge personal pain and distress for one candidate, Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, for the second time in seven years. It is particularly outrageous that some senior church officials have suggested the leaks were engineered by supporters of Dr John, rather than by those opposed to his nomination.
It has brought the Church of England into even further disrepute with the general public, who will regard it, rightly or wrongly, as another example of the blatant homophobia that exists in the Church.
Once again the Church has failed to act with courage. The whole Commission must be held responsible for this, regardless of whether the source of the leak was an elected member, an ex‐officio member, or one of the staff in attendance at what is supposed to be a totally confidential meeting.
It is essential that a thorough independent enquiry be held immediately to determine who was responsible. There should also be an urgent review of the process of appointing bishops, as the present arrangements are not fit for purpose, and an open and transparent procedure is clearly necessary.
Notes for Editors
1. The Anglican Coalition is here to provide UK‐based Christian LGBT organisations with opportunities to create resources for the Anglican community and to develop a shared voice for the full acceptance of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion.
2. The Coalition members are:
Accepting Evangelicals www.acceptingevangelicals.org
Changing Attitude www.changingattitude.org.uk
The Clergy Consultation www.clergyconsultation.org
The Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians www.eflgc.org.uk
Inclusive Church www.inclusivechurch2.net
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement lgcm.org.uk
The Sibyls www.sibyls.co.uk
Nick Baines writes in The Guardian today to say that Jeffrey John was not the favourite. The stories about Jeffrey John’s nomination as bishop of Southwark are mischief-making based on ignorance.
He wrote on the same topic earlier in his blog: Media literacy: Lesson 1
Nick Baines is the suffragan bishop of Croydon in the diocese of Southwark.
Updated again Friday morning
The Guardian has three articles this evening all connected in some way with the choice of the next bishop of Southwark.
Riazat Butt How to become a bishop – secret ballots and royal approval
Andrew Brown Jeffrey John and the global Anglican schism: a potted history
Stephen Bates How the Church of England became the church of state
Stephen Bates also has this news item: Rowan Williams under siege over gay bishop veto
Stephen Bates also has this: Profile: Dr Jeffrey John
And in The Guardian Riazat Butt and Stephen Bates write Church divided over gay rights: new fears of schism and anguish for archbishop
And for good measure, there is an editorial in the Guardian The state and religion: The church risks looking absurd.
…This week a gay but celibate cleric, Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans and a man of the highest intellectual and moral standing, was rejected as a candidate for the diocese of Southwark because of his sexuality. No other private or state institution would have been allowed to do this. No institution, either, would be allowed to bar women from applying for the job, allowing them to be ordained but not promoted.
The internal agonies of a church caught between its Protestant and Catholic, and its liberal and conservative, tendencies cannot excuse this official institutionalisation of intolerance. It is true that disestablishing the church would require a huge amount of constitutional unpicking – much of it beneficial, such as the removal of anti-Catholic discrimination from the Act of Settlement. No government is likely to devote parliamentary time to the cause. It is true, too, that the established part of the church tends to be the more liberal, and that pulling back state involvement may do little to advance the cause of men such as Jeffrey John. Any mechanism that allows dialogue and change between the hard core of the committed and the penumbra of the vaguely supportive has something to be said for it. Religions that are entirely cut off from the surrounding culture neither die nor fade away, but turn crazy and dangerous. But formal disestablishment need not mean isolation, only the end of an unhealthy pretence that one church above all others can speak for a diverse nation.
David Hume once argued: “The union of the civil and ecclesiastical power … prevents those gross impostures and bigoted persecutions which in all false religions are the chief foundation of clerical authority.” The Church of England can obey his advice and accept the tolerant norms of modern society, as defined by the state. Or it can decide, privately, what it believes. Caught between the two, it risks becoming, as its archbishop feared, absurd
Damian Thompson writes in his Telegraph blog about The second humiliation of Jeffrey John: Rowan’s liberal credentials go up in smoke
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph has Archbishop of Canterbury accused of second ‘betrayal’ of gay cleric
Jonathan Wynne-Jones on his Telegraph blog writes The Church of England looks mad following the Jeffrey John snub
Updated Thursday morning
Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports on his blog for the Telegraph Dean Jeffrey John, leading gay cleric, rejected as next Bishop of Southwark.
I can reveal that Dr Jeffrey John, the openly gay but celibate Dean of St Albans, has been blocked from becoming a bishop once again. He has not been chosen as the next Bishop of Southwark. Liberals will be dismayed that the Church has lost its nerve – but there is no reason for evangelicals to celebrate, either…
…It is also bad news for Rowan Williams. Although he is only one of 14 members of the Commission, liberals will be perplexed as to why he allowed John’s name to be included on the shortlist if it was only to be rejected at the last minute. To be fair, he didn’t know that this fact would be leaked to me, and he is said to have been livid with the Commission that it was. But, given what happened in 2003 and his apparent distress at forcing his old friend to stand down from becoming Bishop of Reading, it will surprise many that he didn’t use his influence to try and sway the few undecided members who could have secured his selection.
The Archbishop has appeared increasingly resolute and self-assured over recent months, but liberals will be left wondering why he loses his backbone when it comes to fighting their corner. Even conservative evangelicals made clear that there was no reason to object to the dean’s appointment this time round, pointing to the fact that he has stressed that his homosexual relationship is celibate…
And the Telegraph newspaper report is now here: Gay cleric blocked from becoming Church of England bishop by Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Martin Beckford
…It is understood that discussions at the two-day meeting, held at a secret location in Stepney, were heated with members of the Commission arguing over whether they should select Dr John.
Dr Williams is said to have been furious at the pressure placed on him and the other members by a leak to The Sunday Telegraph, which revealed the dean was on the shortlist. He asked the rest of the Commission to swear an oath of secrecy about the talks.
Church insiders considered that his name would not have been included unless there were plans to make him a bishop, as Dr John was forced to stand down from becoming the Bishop of Reading in 2003 after it emerged he was in a homosexual, but celibate, relationship.
His supporters fear the development represents further embarrassment for the controversial dean and is another sign that the Archbishop is unwilling to advance the liberal cause…
Colin Coward at Changing Attitude reports also, see Jeffrey John will not be the next Bishop of Southwark
Jonathan Wynne-Jones has ‘revealed’ in the Telegraph that Jeffrey John is not to be nominated as the next Bishop of Southwark. Neither, so I am told, will Nick Holtham, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, be nominated.
This is painfully disappointing news for Jeffrey, who has lived through a week in which his identity and reputation have been pored over, analysed and attacked once again by conservative forces in the church in a way which I can only describe as poisonous. Those who claim the moral and ethical high ground in the church behave in ways which are scandalous and unchristian.
Anglican Mainstream deliberately left a link to the lecture that Dr Jeffrey John gave to the Post Lambeth 1998 Affirming Catholicism Conference entitled “The Church and Homosexuality : Post-Lambeth Reflections” at the top of their home page until this evening, when it suddenly disappeared, its work done.
How was Jonathan able to leak the news? Because someone on the Crown Nomination Commission for the Southwark appointment ignored the absolute confidentiality of the group and deliberately leaked information about yesterday’s meeting to a conservative hostile to Jeffrey and LGBT people in the church. That person, for a second time, passed the information to Jonathan Wynne-Jones - one of the non-voting members, perhaps?
Conservative Evangelicals are ruthless in their determination to win total control of the church, even if in the process, they destroy the Church of England’s ability to communicate the gospel to the nation, and destroy the unity of the Anglican Communion, by whatever unprincipled, destructive means possible.
Archbishop Rowan was apparently so furious about the first leak that he unilaterally vetoed Jeffrey’s name, betraying his friend for a second time and handing an apparent victory to the conservatives who seem to be successfully controlling him. Archbishop Rowan would have directed his anger in a more healthy direction if he had targetted the people inside and outside the Commission who have deliberately sabotaged its work…
The Press Association has Gay cleric ‘not selected for post’
Guardian Riazat Butt Gay clergyman blocked from becoming bishop
Justin Brett a member of General Synod has written a splendid essay explaining what will happen. See A Lesson concerning the Debating of Women Bishops.
“Good morning class. Today’s lesson is all about how to work out what on Earth General Synod is doing in all these debates over the next few days. You are going to need the following set texts - the Report of the Revision Committee, the Draft Measure, and Notice Paper 5. If you have forgotten them, go and download them now. Yes, we’ll wait… OK. Everybody got the right bits of paper? Good. Now, the first thing you need to know is that there are actually only two debates about this happening at Synod. Yes, I know it looks from the Agenda as though there are going to be at least five, but it’s actually one short debate and one very long one, that will take about a day and a half to get through. Let’s deal with the short one first…
Support for a simple measure comes from an unlikely quarter, see Ed Tomlinson’s article at Cif belief This fudge on bishops must fail. An Anglican considering going to Rome says, keep your women bishops, and give us the money and buildings we need.
And Riazat Butt in the Guardian reports that women clergy could be driven out if too many concessions are made. See Female bishops decision in the balance.
The Guardian has an editorial, In praise of … Dr Jeffrey John
In the recent history of the Church of England, there can have been few more miserably resonant meetings than the one that took place on 5 July 2003 at Lambeth Palace between Archbishop Rowan Williams and his friend the then Canon of Southwark, Jeffrey John. It occurred because the nomination of Dr John, who is gay, as Bishop of Reading had set off a storm at home and overseas. Parishes had threatened to take their money and loyalty elsewhere, and senior clergy in Africa and the Caribbean had called for the nomination to be revoked. The meeting at Lambeth lasted six agonising hours. It ended with Dr John agreeing to sign a letter withdrawing his acceptance of the bishopric “in view of the damage my consecration might cause to the unity of the Church”. A few months later, Dr John moved to St Albans, where he has worked as dean with distinction ever since. Now, seven years almost to the day after the humiliation over Reading, he is a step away from becoming the next Bishop of Southwark. Dr John was shabbily treated over Reading. No damage that his consecration may have done compares to the damage done to the church and Dr Williams by its abandonment. Dr John has behaved with great dignity throughout. He has no presumptive right to the Southwark see. Yet surely neither he nor Dr Williams would have allowed things to get this far if they were not determined to see a different outcome this time. Right should be done. Dr John’s name should go forward.
The Associated Press has A gay bishop for the Church of England?
Christina Rees who is a member of General Synod has written a detailed press briefing entitled A Response to the Archbishops’ Amendments.
In addition to the web page version linked above, there is a PDF version here.
Andrew Goddard has made a detailed analysis of what the conservative evangelical objections are to women bishops, see at Fulcrum Evangelical opponents of women bishops: What is sought and required?
As is my wont, I awakened to the tones of the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4. The day’s controversy centred on the news that Dr Jeffrey John – the gay Anglican Dean of St Albans, who lives in a civil partnership, was being considered to become the Bishop of Southwark.
The raised voices came in a debate between two Anglican priests, in which one, Canon Chris Sugden – Executive Secretary of something called Anglican Mainstream – raised his voice in protest against the proposed appointment.
He was enraged that a priest who had indulged in an “active gay relationship” with the man whom he now enjoyed a civil partnership, was now being considered to become a Bishop. The Canon dismissed the suggestion that Dr John was now celibate. I already sensed that the discussion had veered into the priestly private life further than felt comfortable at 7.10 in the morning. But the Canon ploughed on.
He described an active homosexual, who had now become celibate, as akin to “someone entering the Cabinet having once fiddled his expenses”. The climax to the Canon’s wrath was that his fellow Canon had “never apologised” for his journey from active homosexuality to celibacy…
Reform has issued one of their rare press statements, see Comment from Reform on Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, being nominated for the post of bishop of Southwark:
“Dr John’s teaching regarding homosexual practice is contrary to both the Bible and to the current doctrine of the Church of England. To appoint him Bishop would send two very clear signals. First that the diocese of Southwark wants to walk in a different direction to the Church of England’s doctrine. Second that there is now little to stop the Church of England proceeding in the same divisive direction as the Episcopal Church in the USA . We would support churches in Southwark seeking alternative oversight should Dr John be appointed.”
Reform was established in 1993 and is a network of churches and individuals within the Church of England. Current individual membership is around 1,700, in addition to 35 member churches. More than 350 ordained clergy are Reform members.
Colin Coward has blogged about this topic, see Conservative evangelicals threaten to split church, defy bishops and withdraw financial support.
And yesterday, he wrote The new paradigm unfolds on Radio 4 between Chris Sugden and Giles Fraser!
Criticism of what the Anglican Communion Office is doing comes from more than one direction.
On the one hand, Paul Bagshaw of the MCU has this detailed critique of Part 4 of the Anglican Covenant, Questions on the critical clause.
This is a follow-up to his earlier articles linked here.
On the other hand, the Anglican Communion Institute has this detailed criticism of the Anglican Communion Steering Committee. See ACC Standing Committee: Five Things That Should Be Done Now.
Last Sunday’s Observer had a feature in the Magazine section written by Emma John and titled Should women ever be bishops?
It includes the following statistic:
Forward in Faith and Reform between them have a combined individual membership of 24,000; the Church of England has a regular worshipping community of 1.7 million (who attend at least once a month), the majority of whom – 65% – is female.
Monday’s Guardian had an article by Paul Handley titled Rowan turns rough.
Is Rowan Williams finally getting tough? And is he doing so with the right people?
So, here’s the scenario. Rowan Williams, just turned 60, eight years into the job at Canterbury, decides, at long last, to start throwing his weight around. People are always grumbling about the need for some strong leadership, so, right, he says, let’s give it a go…
…Next, women bishops. The General Synod decided in July 2008 to press ahead with women bishops without giving any cast-iron, legal safeguards to those who don’t accept them. There would be a code of practice, but nothing legally binding. Since then has come the Pope’s offer of sanctuary for traditionalists in the Roman Catholic Church.
In the light of this, New Rowan, joined by the Archbishop of York, a fortnight ago concocted their own cunning plan, introducing the idea of co- ordinate bishops for the traditionalists, so that each diocese has a sort of episcopal twin-set. Supporters of women bishops haven’t been overwhelmingly enthusiastic; but hey, says Rowan, I’m an Archbishop. So, there we have it: at long last, the bearded hippy finds his true voice, and it turns out to be a reactionary, authoritarian one…
But, read the whole article. This was a response to the week’s Cif belief question, which is Which way will synod jump?
(The latter article seems to assume that the synod will be considering the Covenant this weekend, which is not correct.)
press release from Affirming Catholicism 6th July 2010
Women and the Episcopate
Affirming Catholicism welcomed the Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee published on 8th May 2010. We believe that the draft legislation proposed by the Revision Committee offers a good and balanced means by which the Church of England can legislate to allow women to take their full place within the Church of England’s ministry.
After much consideration, Affirming Catholicism does not recommend supporting the Archbishops’ amendments. Although these amendments claim to retain the authority of the diocesan bishop, they do not clarify what would happen if the diocesan and the coordinate bishop found themselves in disagreement. The Archbishops’ amendments therefore create – through the legislation itself – a situation in which authority is granted to the diocesan bishop in name, but potentially not in actuality if the diocesan bishop is a woman. This is precisely the situation which the Revision Committee sought to avoid. The archbishops have not resolved the tensions between the different views on women bishops, but have merely transferred them into the detail of the Code of Practice, which does not yet exist. The danger therefore remains that by passing these amendments, two ‘classes’ of bishops will be created, a development that would threaten the catholic nature of the Church of England. We share the concerns ably expressed by Fulcrum in their helpful commentary (http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=545).
Many other amendments have been proposed. The two most significant and far-reaching ones attempt to re-write the entire Measure in order to reflect positions which the Revision Committee considered at length and eventually regarded as impracticable – and in the case of separate dioceses, undesirable. The passing of either of these amendments would in our view so compromise the catholic nature of the Church of England, and so hamper the ministry of women ordained as bishop under such arrangements, that they would have the effect of wrecking the primary purpose of the legislation.
The Report documents the Revision Committee’s consideration of a range of structural solutions to arrive at a proposal which will leave the authority vested in the Diocesan Bishop, whilst making pastoral provision for those who cannot recognise that authority in the case that the Bishop is a woman. As the Report notes, the legislation as proposed “will, for the first time, enable women to be admitted to all orders of ministry. By preserving intact the authority of the diocesan bishop it will avoid any changes in the historic understanding of that office and of the episcopate more generally. And by making statutory arrangements for those with theological difficulties it will endeavour to preserve that broad and comprehensive character of the Church of England that is one of its defining and most attractive features” (Report, § 459).
The proposed legislation, unlike suggestions for separate structures for those who cannot in conscience accept the sacramental ministry of women, will preserve the parochial structures of the Church of England, preventing the creation of parallel Church of England jurisdictions in the same place. Affirming Catholicism shares the basic assumptions upon which the Draft Measure is based and would therefore recommend that it be supported.
We do, however, have some concerns about certain aspects of the proposals put forward by the Revision Committee:
- We are cautious about the wisdom of allowing bishop’s declarations to be made on the basis of the views of others in the diocese (Draft Measure, § 2.4).
- We believe that the provisions for those in dioceses where the bishop has made a declaration that he will not ordain women to the priesthood are not strong enough (Draft Measure, § 2.5). In particular, they do not ensure that the voice of someone supportive of the ordination of women will be heard on the senior staff of such diocese; neither do they make provision for the pastoral care of laity who are supportive of the ordination of women.
- Whilst Affirming Catholicism respects the reasons why the Revision Committee deemed the Parochial Church Council the proper body to petition on behalf of a parish (Report §§ 236-240), we remain convinced that the legislation needs to include an explicitly stated duty of the PCC to consult widely when seeking to make parochial declarations (Draft Measure, § 3).
Affirming Catholicism supports the legislation as proposed by the Revision Committee, whilst welcoming amendments relating to these three points.
Updated Tuesday afternoon to include comment on the effect of deleting certain clauses
Note: “clause” and “section” are used interchangeably.
Here is a simplified explanation of what I think is the intended effect of the various amendments.
The first three make provision for transfer of episcopal functions by right and not by delegation from the diocesan bishop.
512 This set of amendments will create additional dioceses for parishes unable on grounds of conviction to accept the episcopal ministry of women. There will be no women bishops or priests operating in these dioceses. The additional dioceses will exist in parallel with the current geographical dioceses. A PCC will be able to vote for its parish to join or leave one of these additional dioceses.
513 This set of amendments will set up complementary (or transferred) episcopal arrangements (sometimes abbreviated to TEA). There will be suffragan bishops acceptable to those who cannot accept the episcopal ministry of women. Parishes will be able to require that the episcopal functions of their diocesan bishop be transferred to one of these complementary bishops.
514 and 531 These are the Archbishops’ amendments to set up Co-ordinate Jurisdiction.
The remaining amendments leave intact the principle of delegation from the diocesan bishop.
515 This will restrict delegation of episcopal functions to sacraments and other divine services by removing the reference to “the provision of pastoral care to the clergy and parishioners”.
516 This provides that schemes of delegation to a male bishop will also include support for parishes not seeking such delegation.
517 This will set up a Review Commission to regularly review the arrangements for male bishops.
519 This will require PCCs to consult with electoral roll members before requesting episcopal ministry from a male bishop.
520 This will require every PCC to consider requesting episcopal ministry from a male bishop every 5 years.
521 This will require those involved in appointing incumbents and priests in charge to take account the fact that a parish has not requested episcopal ministry from a male bishop as well as the fact that it has.
522 to 527 These will relax in various ways the voting requirements when PCCs vote on requesting episcopal ministry from a male bishop.
530 This will give the House of Bishops complete discretion about what to include (or not include) in the Code of Practice.
531 See 514 above.
535 and 536 These relate to guild churches and are consequential on 523 and 524.
540 This will cause the provisions of the measure (except for allowing women bishops) to expire after 40 years.
541 This will require two-thirds majorities in each house of General Synod to subsequently amend or repeal this legislation.
542 This will require compensation to be made available to those who resign from ecclesiastical service before the measure comes into effect.
Synod procedures require a vote to be taken on the inclusion of each clause in the draft measure, and the relevant motions are also included in the notice paper. Notice has already been given that speeches will be made against the inclusion of clauses 2, 3, 4 and 7. The effect of deleting these clauses (in particular 2 and 3) would be to give the “simplest possible solution” with no provision for those opposed to women bishops and priests other than a code of practice.
There are no proposed amendments to the accompanying amending canon.
Updated Tuesday morning
Riazat Butt reported in the Guardian on the conservative opposition in Southwark, see Gay bishop for Southwark ‘will split Church of England’. Dr Jeffrey John nominated for Anglican diocese but parishes could seek leadership abroad, conservative clerics warn.
Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief Sex and the archbishop. Installing the openly gay Jeffrey John as bishop would be a decisive victory for Rowan Williams. But if he’s beaten, he’s finished.
Tuesday’s Guardian Diary column has this:
The issue of gay bishops has them marching as to war within the church and no mistake. How can we have Jeffrey John, an openly gay man, as bishop of Southwark, thundered traditionalist canon Chris Sugden on the Today programme yesterday? Yes, it’s muskets at dawn, and when the hostilities begin, look out for the Rev Paul Perkin, a member of the Church of England General Synod and vicar of the deeply evangelical St Mark’s in Battersea, part of the Southwark diocese in south London. He strongly opposes the proposed candidature of John, and the cut of his jib is such that his parish website programme page is decorated with cartoon graphics of military tanks. “Faith Under Fire,” reads the caption. Those who feel threatened will inevitably fire back.
Martin Beckford at the Telegraph has Traditionalist Church of England groups warn of defections if gay bishop is ordained
A notice paper listing all the proposed amendments to the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1708A) has been published.
It is 37 pages long.
The Church Times blog has a useful set of links to earlier events at The Telegraph reports that Jeffrey John is the ‘favoured candidate’ for Bishop of Southwark post
Colin Coward has his analysis at Changing Attitude in The new paradigm unfolds on Radio 4 between Chris Sugden and Giles Fraser!
Jim Naughton has an American view at the Episcopal Café in Not entirely baseless speculation about the Jeffrey John situation.
John Richardson wrote at The Ugley Vicar Be very careful before you object to Dr John.
Press Statement from WATCH (Women and the Church) 5th July 2010
WATCH Opposes Archbishops’ Amendment Regarding Women Bishops
The text of the Archbishops’ amendment on women bishops appears innocuously brief and simple. However, their proposed small alterations to the draft legislation hide some changes for the Church that WATCH sees as highly contentious.
In removing the reference to ‘delegation’ we are returned to the idea of ‘transfer’ of jurisdiction: a female bishop will have some of her job automatically removed as soon as she is appointed. This was rejected (as TEA) by the House of Bishops in 2006, and found unworkable in practice after detailed examination by the Revision Committee.
When it comes to having ‘coordinate jurisdiction’, the Archbishops appear to be seeking to create, in effect, two Diocesan bishops in each Diocese: one to minister to those who accept ordained women, and one to minister to those who don’t. This is a step further even than flying bishops. Such an innovation must not be accepted without serious examination of the consequences.
Senior clergywomen have written in the last week to the Archbishops asking them to withdraw their amendment. They say that the proposed amendment ‘brings dismay and despair amongst women priests, and many have voiced their reaction by saying how deeply undermining it is of their ministry as ordained women.’ WATCH remains opposed to the Archbishops’ amendment.
Updated again Monday afternoon
Anglican Mainstream has reproduced an extract from a blog entry by Ruth Gledhill under the (confusing) headline Scholastics v Orthodox: As Jeffrey John story breaks, we have Bishop Marshall’s ACC resignation letter. Ms Ruth Gledhill.
It includes the following:
It is of course possible that the Archbishop of Canterbury has had a dramatic Pauline conversion to the justice argument of gay rights campaigners in the Church of England. More likely is that he was boxed in and had little choice but to approve Southwark’s mandatory candidate. Nick Holtam from St Martin-in-the-Fields is likely to be the other name that goes forward to the Prime Minister. Under the new rules of the Crown Nominations Committee, David Cameron would normally expect just one name but I believe he has on this occasion asked for two.
The Times subscribers can find the whole article here.
The Australian has reproduced a news article from The Times headlined Gay bishop to divide Anglicans.
Anglican Mainstream has also published the following:
Updated Monday lunchtime
The BBC Radio 4 Today programme carried an item earlier this morning, which you can listen to here.
‘No chance’ gay bishop will split CofE
Canon Chris Sugden and Dr Giles Fraser discuss if the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Southwark would reopen the wounds of the debate over gay bishops in the Anglican Church.
The interview is 7 minutes long.
The BBC now has a news report, based on the interview linked above, at Appointing gay bishop ‘risks splitting Church’.
Updated Sunday lunchtime
Tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph has an article by Jonathan Wynne-Jones headlined Gay cleric in line to become bishop in Church of England.
A second article in the Sunday Telegraph by Jonathan Wynne-Jones has now appeared online, see Meeting on appointment of gay bishop will determine future of the Church.
The official document entitled BRIEFING FOR MEMBERS OF VACANCY IN SEE COMMITTEES (version dated November 2009) is available here as a PDF file.
The process of selecting a diocesan bishop is also described here.
The Southwark Diocesan Statement of Needs can be found here. (PDF)
Members of the Southwark Vacancy-in-See Committee are listed here (scroll down).
The national members of the Crown Nominations Commission are listed on this page.
The Southwark nominees to the Commission are listed in this press release.
The meeting “next week” is in fact on Monday and Tuesday 5/6 July.
The Church Times published a leader column yesterday, Have the Mexicans started a wave?
This argues the desirability of seeking a supermajority of votes in the CofE General Synod:
…The records of the recent House of Bishops meeting, released this week, show that the House agreed not to propose special majorities when it comes to the vote in the General Synod. The decision is surprising, given the impact that the Covenant might have on the Church of England. Although the text contains no mechanical means whereby one province can influence the deliberations of another, it will obviously change matters to know that a decision might result in some form of severance from the Communion mainstream. This might not be a bad thing — greater responsiveness to each other is, after all, the object of the Covenant — but it will be a different thing.
As matters now stand, the implications if a province decides not to endorse the Covenant are unknown. The Covenant Working Group concluded that, in such an eventuality, “there should be the flexibility for the Instruments of Communion to determine an appropriate response in the evolving situation.” In other words, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates’ Meeting, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and, if time drags on, the Lambeth Conference would have to make something up. The C of E is not any old province, however, and were it to reject the Covenant, it is hard to see the project surviving. At the very least, the Archbishop of Canterbury would find it hard to support the Covenant without the backing of his Church. As so much rests on the vote, a two-thirds majority in the Synod would provide a clearer endorsement.
Paul Bagshaw has published an article today, Why the Covenant won’t work.
The Covenant will work in all sorts of ways, of course, some intended some predictable if unintended.
What it won’t do and can’t do, is what it says on the tin. It cannot ‘prevent and manage’ disputes:
This Commission believes that the case for adoption of an Anglican Covenant is overwhelming:
* The Anglican Communion cannot again afford, in every sense, the crippling prospect of repeated worldwide inter-Anglican conflict such as that engendered by the current crisis. Given the imperfections of our communion and human nature, doubtless there will be more disagreements. It is our shared responsibility to have in place an agreed mechanism to enable and maintain life in communion, and to prevent and manage communion disputes. (Windsor Report §119)
The reason it cannot ‘prevent and manage’ disputes is simple. If the Covenant mechanisms can be applied retrospectively (which is effectively what is being attempted) then these mechanisms are applied as it were from the outside of the dispute. They step in like courts and police to adjudicate and enforce an outcome – in this case the expulsion (in whole or part) of the offending members of the Communion…
A few days ago, he also published Just what will the Covenant cost?
Fulcrum has published this Fulcrum Press Statement.
WOMEN BISHOPS AND THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
Statement by the Fulcrum Leadership Team
3 July 2010
(read the Commentary on this Statement here)
The Bible supports ending restrictions on the ministry of women by making women bishops and the mission challenges of our times require it. It is vital that the General Synod debate later this month does not produce a stalemate. We need to move forward now toward women bishops in the life of the Church of England and we need them serving from 2014 and not 2018 or 2025.
We recognise that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are loyal Anglicans. Those who oppose this development need a space and a future in the Church of England. We believe this would be best served by appending a Code of Pastoral Practice to the Measure, not permanent legislation.
We believe the new legislation must not be framed to create what might be deemed to be a second class of bishops based on gender or a “Church within a Church”.
For these reasons we believe the legislation as proposed by the Revision Committee provides the best framework for a practical way forward.
Comment on the relationship between the work of the Revision Committee and the alternatives suggested by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is posted on the Fulcrum Website.
Do read the full commentary.
Roz Kaveney in The Guardian asks What are demons, really? Christians and Satanists are both divided about the reality of demons. But even liberal believers can be led to silliness by their beliefs.
And John Casey writes in The Tablet about Talk of the Devil: Satan in Catholic theology.
Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian about The eroticism of the Church of England. The BBC’s new sitcom, Rev, is a surprisingly realistic picture about the sexual undercurrents of normal Christianity.
Alex Klaushofer writes in The Guardian about New wine in old church buildings. All over the country small churches are growing while the large buildings that once housed them decay.
And Ian Jack writes, also in The Guardian, about Saving churches for their history - not religion. These buildings are an important part of our landscape – even if they are not used for worship.
Symon Hill writes in The Guardian about Queer, Christian and proud. Ultra-conservative anti-gay Christians are a just a noisy minority. That’s why this coming Pride, the rest of us should raise the roof.
Peter Stanford has this Face to faith article in The Guardian: Christianity, arrogance and ignorance. After decades of discussion on world faiths, how could I know so little of their core beliefs?
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about The football babies come home.
Jay Michaelson asks in Religion Dispatches Does the Bible Really Call Homosexuality an “Abomination”? This word, used for centuries to justify an anti-gay posture, has been badly translated and even more poorly understood.
This week’s The Question at The Guardian’s Comment is free belief is Should religions compete? Would the world be a better place if religions concerned themselves only with the crimes and follies of their own?
Here are the responses.
Monday: Alan Race Conversation demands mutual respect. Without trust we cannot talk about God, but to build trust we must avoid trying to convert or lecture people
Thursday Maggi Dawn Religions should not compete for power. The call for peace at the heart of most religions contrasts with the way they behave as competing communities.
Friday Mehdi Hasan
Islam should not be missionary. Muslims must shun the divisive idea of a marketplace of religions which all compete for believers.
The Times has now hidden itself behind its paywall.
ACNS reports two further resignations: Archbishops Henry Orombi and Justice Okrofi.
But the headline reads: Two new members to be welcomed onto the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.
The forthcoming Standing Committee meeting will welcome two new members from Asia and Africa: Bp Paul Sarker (Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh and Bishop of Dhaka) and Revd Canon Janet Trisk of South Africa (Rector of the Parish of St David, Prestbury in Pietermaritzburg, in the Diocese of Natal).
The two new additions and the existing members face a packed agenda for their July meeting that includes reports on finance, mission, the Anglican Relief and Development Alliance, evangelism and church growth, and unity, faith and order including the progress of consideration of the Anglican Communion Covenant by the Provinces.
They will also be discussing Standing Committee membership issues including electing a successor to Bp Azad Marshall, Bishop of Iran, and noting the resignations of Archbishops Justice Akrofi and Henry Orombi.
Outside of Committee business, the members’ agenda includes visits to Lambeth Palace, its library and Westminster Abbey.
The then current list of Standing Committee members as given in a recent ENS report on the resignation of Bishop Azad Marshall was:
[old list deleted]
While I was writing the above, ENS published a new article, Standing Committee membership, resignations confirmed by Anglican Communion Office
The Anglican Communion Office has announced that two new members will serve on the Standing Committee beginning with the July 23-27 meeting in London: Bishop Paul Sarker, moderator of the Church of Bangladesh and bishop of Dhaka; and the Rev. Canon Janet Trisk, rector of the parish of St. David, Prestbury, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Trisk was elected at the last Standing Committee meeting to replace Nomfundo Walaza, also from South Africa, and Sarker is the elected alternate for Middle East President Bishop Mouneer Anis, who resigned his membership in February saying that his presence has “no value whatsoever” and that his voice is “like a useless cry in the wilderness.”
The July 2 release also confirmed that Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda and his elected alternate, Archbishop Justice Akrofi of West Africa, have resigned from the Standing Committee.
And giving an updated membership list (quoted verbatim):
The Church Times has a report headlined Slash spending on bishops’ houses, says task group.
EXPENDITURE on bishops’ houses is out of control, an official task group has concluded.
The funding for see houses is set every three years. The total spent in 2002-04 was £11 million. In 2008-10, it is forecast to be £21 million. The average maintenance cost of some bishops’ houses is now well over £50,000 a year.
The figures come in a document prepared by a task group on spending, chaired by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres. Other members include the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd Andrew Urquhart, and the First Church Estates Commissioner, Andreas Whittam Smith.
The group acknowledges that a number of the houses are Grade I and Grade II listed. It also accepts that much of the expenditure is a result of work on office space in many of the houses, which are used by diocesan staff as well as by the bishop. Such expenditure seldom adds to the value of the house.
It concludes, none the less, that the money allocated in 2011-13 should be capped at £15 million, with a view to bringing it down to no more than £10 million in 2014-16. “There is a compelling need to bring control over this area of expenditure,” the group says.
This all comes from GS Misc 946 Archbishops’ Task Group: Report on Spending Plans 2011-2013, a document with lots more interesting information, which is among the General Synod papers, but has not yet appeared on the CofE website. It might perhaps appear on this page when it does.
This is an attempt to explain in plainer English what the amendments, that the two archbishops are proposing to make to the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure, are trying to do.
First, they remove from the wording of the measure the explicit reference to “delegation”.
for the exercise by
way of delegation toa male bishop
This is because the concept of “delegation” has proved to be a stumbling block for some of those who are opposed to women bishops. See for example the discussion in this earlier TA thread from last October, when for a brief while it appeared that the Revision Committee was going down a path towards “statutory transfer” which is exactly what this amendment now seeks to restore. See also the earlier (2006) proposals which were for Transferred Episcopal Arrangements (shortened to TEA) and from the debate in July 2008, look at Amendment 72, which is reported on here, and which sought to insert the words:
“either by way of statutory transfer of specified responsibilities or”;
The vote on that amendment was relatively close, compared to the others, but it failed in the House of Clergy.
This point is summarised in the press release from the archbishops as follows:
Second, they make an assertion that this change:
shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions.
From the press release:
Third, they insert into the section about the Code of Practice, an explicit requirement that the code must include guidance about the
arrangements for co-ordinating the exercise of episcopal ministry under section 2(1), (3) and (5) by the bishop of the diocese and any other bishop who exercises episcopal ministry in accordance with those subsections.
This is intended to ensure that the Code of Practice does cover the topics mentioned in those subsections.
From the press release:
So, to summarise, the amendments do exactly, but no more than, what the press release from the archbishops said they would do. They are a reversion to the principle of “statutory transfer” which was voted down by synod in 2008, and abandoned by the revision committee last November.
Updated to include (below the fold) the text of the measure after amendment
Updated Thursday evening to correct extent of struck through text below the fold
The Archbishops have today released the text of their proposed amendments to the Women in the Episcopate legislation. We have copied this below.
We linked to the Archbishops’ original announcement of their proposals here.
General Synod Draft Legislation: Women in the Episcopate amendments
Thursday 01 July 2010
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have submitted the following amendments to the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure, GS1708A, to be considered at the forthcoming July sessions of the General Synod of the Church of England.
DRAFT BISHOPS AND PRIESTS (CONSECRATION AND ORDINATION OF WOMEN) MEASURE
Draft amendments to omit reference to delegation
1. In subsection (1) leave out the words “way of delegation to”.
2. After subsection (1) insert –
“(2) The episcopal ministry referred to in subsections (1), (3) and (5) shall be exercisable by virtue of this section and shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions.
In section 5(1)(b), at the end, insert the words “and, in particular, arrangements for co-ordinating the exercise of episcopal ministry under section 2(1), (3) and (5) by the bishop of the diocese and any other bishop who exercises episcopal ministry in accordance with those subsections”.
+Rowan Cantuar +Sentamu Ebor
We show below the fold the effect of these amendments on the text of the measure.
Here are the relevant sections of the measure showing the effect of the archbishops’ amendments. Deleted text is
struck through and added text is in bold
2 Duty of diocesan bishop to make arrangements
(1) The bishop of each diocese shall be under a duty to make and publish a scheme containing arrangements in his or her diocese for the exercise by
way of delegation to a male bishop who is a member of the House of Bishops of the diocesan synod of that or another diocese of episcopal ministry which appears to the bishop of the diocese to relate to —
(a) the celebration of the sacraments and other divine service in parishes which request such arrangements in accordance with section 3, or
(b) the provision of pastoral care to the clergy and parishioners in those parishes.
(2) The episcopal ministry referred to in subsections (1), (3) and (5) shall be exercisable by virtue of this section and shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions.
(3) A scheme made under this section may include such additional arrangements for the exercise of episcopal ministry as the bishop of the diocese thinks fit.
(5) Where a scheme made under this section includes a statement by the bishop that he will not ordain women to the office of priest, the scheme shall make provision —
(a) for the ordination of female candidates for the office of priest, and
(b) for the support of the ministry of clergy who are women and their pastoral care.
5 Code of Practice
(1) The House of Bishops shall draw up, and promulgate, guidance in a Code of Practice as to —
(a) the making of schemes under section 2,
(b) the exercise of episcopal ministry in accordance with the arrangements contained in such schemes and, in particular, arrangements for co-ordinating the exercise of episcopal ministry under section 2(1), (3) and (5) by the bishop of the diocese and any other bishop who exercises episcopal ministry in accordance with those subsections,
(c) the exercise, by those involved in the making of an appointment of an incumbent of and a priest in charge for a benefice, of their functions in that regard where a Letter of Request is issued under section 3(3),
(d) the matters referred to in section 2(5), and
(e) such other matters as the House of Bishops considers appropriate to give effect to this Measure.