Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bishops' amendments to women bishops legislation

GRAS (Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod) has issued a press release.

GRAS is deeply disturbed by the outcome of the recent House of Bishops meeting, particularly the amendment to Clause 5. This is being presented as a minor tweak, when in fact it pushes the Draft Measure beyond an acceptable level of generosity and compromise. The Measure that a huge majority of Dioceses voted in favour of was an extensive dilution from the Single Clause Measure that would have been the true and simple way to ensure full legal equality for men and women bishops. These final amendments from the House of Bishops send a further signal of disparagement to women of the Church of England. Women are once again expected to sacrifice the hope and expectation of being considered equal with their brothers in the eyes of the church. It also sends a dispiriting message that future women bishops are not trusted to minister to their parishes and clergy with generosity, grace and pastoral sensitivity… If this now nebulous Measure is passed, the 1993 Act of Synod will be replaced by law potentially even more damaging to women and to the unity of the Church of England…

Rachel Hartland has blogged Let us make the best of things – let us progress (towards women in the episcopate).

… If the measure is not supported by WATCH and therefore not passed at General Synod (and yes I believe the link is that strong), it will be a retrograde step, and damage both the future ministry of women and possibly the future chances of seeing women in the episcopate in the Church of England.

If this measure is passed at General Synod (with the support of WATCH) then that will be progress. It will mean that the Church of England will become a slightly better representation of what Christ came into the world to achieve, through the grace, love and forgiveness that we will continue to receive from the cross and proclaim to the world.

Stephen Conway, the Bishop of Ely, has included the following paragraphs in a letter to his clergy, that is also published in the diocesan newsletter.

I was party to the decision of the House of Bishops to make two amendments to the draft legislation to enable women to be ordained as bishops in the Church of God. I wholly supported the clarification about the derivation of episcopal authority from ordination. I am sure that the intention of the other amendment was to provide more secure clarification of the terms on which a male bishop would be chosen by a diocesan bishop to serve parishes asking for such extended care. This may now make it possible for some more conservative members of the General Synod to vote for the legislation if it advances that far.

I fully appreciate, however, that there is a difference between intention and effect. The draft legislation was already a compromise and enshrined further discrimination against women. The amendment has created great hurt among many [although it has given hope to others]. We must pray for all of our representatives among the bishops, clergy and laity to act according to their conscience, faithfully seeking God’s will and praying for each other in such a way that we can express our genuine anger, sadness and hope without anathematising one another. I pray that we shall find a way to pass the legislation in the coming months. It would be a dreadful witness to the world if we cannot. Many people are hurting and afraid. But we must not lose sight at any time of what we keep asking of God’s disciples in our Church who are women, not only those called to the sacred ministry, but most other women too.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 9:43am BST | Comments (120) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

General Synod - July timetable

The Church of England has issued the outline timetable for the July meeting of General Synod. This is copied below (with non-business items omitted).

GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2012

Timetable

Friday 6 July

2.00 pm – 4.45 pm
Article 7 meetings of the Convocations and House of Laity
(Canterbury Upper House meeting at 4.00 pm)

5.15 pm – 6.15 pm
Formal business (prayers, introductions, welcomes, progress of legislation)
Address by the Archbishop of Turku and Finland
Business Committee Report

8.30 pm – 10.00 pm
Questions

Saturday 7 July

11.45 am – 1.00 pm
World-Shaped Mission: Report from MPA

2.30 pm – 6.15 pm
Legislative Business
    Clergy Discipline (Amendment) Measure: Final Drafting/Final Approval
    Diocese in Europe Measure: Revision Stage and Final Approval
    Miscellaneous Provisions Measure: First Consideration
    The Church of England Funded Pensions Scheme (Amendment) Rules 2012
    (Fees Orders – deemed)
Church Commissioners’ Annual Report: presentation

8.30 pm – 10.00 pm
Fresh Expressions: Report from MPA

Sunday 8 July

2.30 pm – 6.15 pm
Liturgical Business Additional Eucharistic Prayers
Archbishops’ Council’s Annual Report: presentation
Financial Business
Testing the Bridges: Understanding the Role of the Church amidst Riots, Disturbances, Disorder: Report from MPA

8.30 pm – 10.00 pm
PMM: The Revd Stephen Trott: Manifestation of Faith in Public Life

Monday 9 July

9.30 am – 1.00 pm
Legislative Business Women in the Episcopate

2.30 pm – 6.15 pm
Legislative Business Women in the Episcopate

8.30 pm – 10.00 pm
The Church School of the Future: Chadwick Report (Education Division): Presentation
Farewells

Tuesday 10 July

9.30 am – 1.00 pm
PMM: Dr John Dinnen: Palestine and Israel
Bradford DSM: Vacancy in See Committees
Farewell to the Archbishop of Canterbury
Prorogation

Contingency business:
PMM: The Revd Christopher Hobbs: Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 at 1:19pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Monday, 28 May 2012

next Archbishop of Canterbury

The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) held its first meeting to discuss the choice of the next Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of last week.

This has prompted two articles in the Telegraph.
Edward Malnick Archbishop selection panel ‘dominated by liberals’
Peter Stanford Archbishop of Canterbury: who’ll get the impossible job?

The Guardian published this leader today: Church of England: archbishop’s move.

There were also two items about this on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Friday, at 0655 and 0846.

There has been no official announcement of the dates of later CNC meetings, but Thinking Anglicans understands that there will be two further meetings, in late July and September, with an announcement of the name of the next Archbishop several weeks later.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 28 May 2012 at 4:38pm BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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WATCH consults membership over Clause 5 amendment

Women and the Church (WATCH) has issued a press release about the House of Bishops’ amendment to Clause 5 of the draft Women bishops measure.

Women and the Church (WATCH) Press Release

Monday 28th May 2012: For immediate release

WATCH consults membership over Clause 5 amendment

The WATCH committee met on Saturday to consider the House of Bishops’ amendments to the draft legislation for women bishops and agreed the following statement:

“WATCH recognises that some amendments were rejected by the House of Bishops. However, the WATCH committee is unanimous in its serious concern about the amended Clause 5 and is therefore consulting further about how to proceed as we approach General Synod in July.”

A consultation paper has been sent to WATCH members reporting the arguments that WATCH has heard both for and against the Clause 5 amendment. This is a work in progress and does not represent WATCH’s considered view but shows that, at the time of writing, the arguments against the amendment heavily outweigh those in favour.

The principal arguments WATCH has heard in favour of the amendment are pragmatic. Those against come under a variety of headings: the problems with process; the unforeseen legal effects; the institution of a permanent state of ‘reception’ for women; the consequences of qualifying ‘maleness’ and including taint on the face of the Measure. For full details see attached paper ‘For and against’.

Many people continue to express enormous anger that these changes have been made at this late stage.

The WATCH committee will meet later in the week to consider the merits of these and other arguments. We will then consider how best to respond to the House of Bishops’ intervention.

The Rev’d Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said:
“We have not found anyone who thinks the Clause 5 amendment is helpful in substance. The Church Times poll currently shows 68% people consider it will not improve the chances of the legislation passing in July. This is a very serious situation and we need to consult more widely before deciding our response.”

We have made a copy of the For and against paper available online.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 28 May 2012 at 4:05pm BST | Comments (52) | TrackBack
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Church Representation Rules online

The Church Representation Rules are, at last, online in a convenient form. Their availability was announced today in this press release: Church Representation Rules - online for first time.

Strictly speaking this is not the first time that the rules have been available online as they form Schedule 3 of the Synodical Government Measure 1969. This has long been available but does not always include the latest amendments to the Rules. Also, because it keeps a record of amendments, it is not very convenient for anybody just wanting to know the current version.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 28 May 2012 at 3:52pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Women bishops: some more analyses

Janet Henderson Archdeacon of Richmond has written A Nettle the Church of England Can’t Seem to Grasp.

…For 18 years the Church of England has been trying out an approach that says, in effect, ‘both groups are right’. A lot of us thought we were doing this in the patient expectation that one or other group would eventually become less sustainable. How else are decisions made and people able to move forward? You pray, you argue the rationale, you try things out, you put it to the vote. In the Church of England, we seem now to be saying that however small the number of people who want to be protected from women priests becomes, we will continue to order the life of the church for their benefit and at the expense of all who want to see women in leadership.

Well, I can see that to pass legislation that is completely unacceptable to those who do not want women priests and bishops is a very hard decision to take (and not, at this point, one that is open to Synod) but let’s look at the cost of continuing with this ‘two integrities’ approach

  • It seriously endangers the coherence of episcopacy in the Church of England. The bishops will be trying to move in two directions at once over a good number of issues to do with gender and the ordering of the church.
  • It will cause arguments in parishes where there is a divergence of view about women’s ministry, particularly as the ‘supply’ (to use the bishops’ word) of clergy gets smaller.
  • It makes for a national church that treats women as second class, something parts of the church have to be protected from. How proud of that can we be?
  • It means that language about ‘taint’ and ‘the unsuitability of women having authority’ will continue to be a norm of church life. (As Desmond Tutu so famously pointed out, what you say about people in fact shapes the possibilities of your behaviour towards them.)
  • It endorses the notion of different churches within the Church of England needing different types of theological leadership - will other grounds for being able to petition for a different bishop begin to emerge? This leads to chaos!

The Church Mouse on the other hand has written So what’s changed?

…The second change (to Clause 5 for those who want to check these things) is the one which has caused the aforementioned emotional responses. This change inserts an instruction to the House of Bishops that when they are writing the Code of Practice under which arrangements for those who cannot accept the authority of a woman bishop are defined. This instruction is that the Code of Practice should include a requirement that when a diocesan bishop is assigning an alternative bishop to oversee a parish requesting an opt out from the oversight of a woman bishop, this parish’s theological convictions should be taken into account.

This was an issue for some who feared that there was a danger of Anglo-Catholic parishes requesting an alternative bishop, but being given an evangelical to do the job who may be just as unacceptable as the woman they were seeking to avoid.

This issue has been debated before, and has caused arguments to be raised on both sides. On the one hand if you are trying to respect theological integrity, you should try to do so in a genuine way. On the other, it sounds a bit like parishes being given the right to pick whatever bishop they like, which isn’t really how church works.

However, whatever the rights and wrongs of this argument, let’s just check what the draft Code of Practice already says on this issue. Paragraph 40 of the draft Code of Practice says:

it will be for the diocesan bishop to identify, in the written notice sent to the secretary of the PCC under section 1(8) of the Measure, which particular bishop should exercise episcopal ministry by delegation under the diocesan scheme in relation to any particular parish whose PCC has issued a Letter of Request after taking account of the theological convictions on the grounds of which the Letter of Request was issued.

So this amendment changes nothing. It was merely inserted by the House of Bishops to ask themselves, as the ones also responsible for writing the Code of Practice, to include something that is already in there…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 28 May 2012 at 8:23am BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 26 May 2012

opinion for Pentecost

The Dirty Sexy Ministry blog tells us What Priests Want You to Know.
And Ben Reed tells us 10 Things You Forget About Pastors.

Sam Charles Norton asks What is to be done?
[The Guardian article referred to is here.]

Tim Suttle at The Huffington Post asked several theologians What Is the Chief Political Concern of the Bible? and gives us their answers.

Paul Vallely writes in the Church Times about How to find Paradise on the ground.

Episcopal Café has two articles about the Ascension.
Ascension’s real message by George Clifford
Ascension to the Right Hand of God? Where? by Donald Schell

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 26 May 2012 at 8:45pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Friday, 25 May 2012

Women bishops: some media reports and blog reactions

Gavin Drake has this news report today for the Church Times House of Bishops amends women bishops Measure.

And there is this Church Times Leader: Looking forward to the women-bishops vote

…Concerning the Bishops’ amendments, we question whether making the obvious distinction between “permission” to ordain and the “power” to do so will reassure traditionalists. Also, the phrase about ensuring that the exercise of ministry of a priest or bishop is “consistent” with the views of the PCC sounds faintly alarming; but this is restricted to views on women’s ordination. It is not a general test of faith; nor is anything here particularly sur­prising or novel. Altogether, the authority of the diocesan bishop is untouched, but traditionalists are given a little more reas­surance. These amendments should be welcomed as a sign that the House of Bishops wishes to respect the views of both sides.

Pete Broadbent wrote Women Bishops - what the House of Bishops amendments mean.

…The House rejected amendments to ensconce Mission Societies in the Measure. It also rejected changes that would have removed delegation from the Measure.

Two amendments were passed…

Unshaun Sheep provided The Sheep Unpicks The Worst Press Release Ever.

Alan Wilson has written twice so far about the week’s developments:

Swimmin with the Wimmin part 94

Cooking the Curate’s Egg

Andrew Brown has also written twice:

The female priests issue threatens to envenom parish politics

A suicide note for the Church of England over female priests

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes has written Pick Your Own Bishop

David Keen has this useful roundup: House of Bishops statement - links roundup and thoughts

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 May 2012 at 10:39pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Women bishops: Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint explanatory statement about the amendments made to the Women Bishops legislation at a meeting of the House of Bishops earlier this week. It is online here and here, and copied below.

Women bishops: Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York about the amendments to Clause 5 and Clause 8 of the Draft Measure

Friday 25th May 2012
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint explanatory statement about the amendments made to the Women Bishops legislation at a meeting of the House of Bishops earlier this week.

The Archbishops’ statement follows.

There has already been a lot of discussion about the amendments agreed this week by the House of Bishops to the draft Measure concerning the ordination of women as bishops. Although the senior officers of the Synod (the ‘Group of Six’) have determined by a majority that these amendments do not alter the substance of the proposals embodied in the Measure, much anxiety has been expressed as to their implications, and it may be helpful to set out what the House attempted and intended.

The House fully and wholeheartedly accepts that the draft legislation voted on by the dioceses represents the will of an undoubted and significant majority in the Church of England. They did not intend to make any change in any principle of that legislation or to create any new powers or privileges for anyone. They believed that, if certain clarifications and expansions of the wording were made, the Measure might be carried with more confidence, and, out of that conviction, agreed the new wording, which affects two questions.

To take the simpler one first: we decided to make no change to the provision in the Draft Measure by virtue of which the arrangements made by diocesan bishops under diocesan schemes for the exercise of ministry by a male bishop take effect, as a matter of law, by way of ‘delegation. But we believed that it would help to spell out what is and isn’t meant by the ‘delegation’ of the power to perform acts of episcopal ministry. Bishops are bishops because they are ordained in the name of the whole Church; but they are enabled to act as bishops in this or that particular area in virtue of various legal provisions. For those who are not diocesan bishops, this means that a diocesan gives them the legal authority to act as bishops - as pastors and teachers and people responsible for other ordained ministers.

‘Delegation’ describes the giving of that authority. It does not take anything away from the diocesan bishop who delegates; it just allows another bishop to minister legally in the diocesan’s area of oversight. The amendment simply declares what the law and practice of the Church already is, and what we mean by delegation in other contexts.

The second amendment requires rather more explanation.

The earlier draft of the Measure already allowed parishes to request the diocesan to provide a male bishop to minister to them if their theological convictions were such as to make it impossible in conscience to receive a woman’s ministry in this role. For this to operate effectively, a diocesan would obviously have to do what could be done to find a bishop who could work constructively with such a parish.

The amendment requires the Code of Practice which the bishops will draw up to offer guidance as to how this might be achieved. This was already something the bishops and the Synod would have been able to include in the Code. The change is that they will now have to include such guidance. It does not give parishes the right to ‘choose their own bishop’ or insist that their bishop has a particular set of beliefs. It allows them to ask for episcopal ministry, as spelled out in Clause 2 of the Measure, only on the grounds of theological conviction about women’s ordained ministry. The precise wording in the Code remains something for the Bishops and Synod to determine but it attempts to take seriously the fact that, as has been clear all along, simply providing any male bishop would not do justice to the theological convictions lying behind requests from some parishes.

The bishops have listened to a great many diverse voices in the process of finalising these amendments, and they are aware that their decision to reject some amendments and accept others may be difficult for a good many people on all sides of the argument, for very different reasons. They were painfully aware that whatever decision they came to would surprise or disappoint some, but they believed that some helpful modifications could be made without sacrificing any aspect of the Measure’s main purpose or changing any of its fundamentals, and so allowing the legislation to command a wider degree of support and welcome.

So they hope that the new wording now presented will be considered carefully and dispassionately by the Church at large. We have tried to keep in view what might be for the good of the whole Church’s mission, and we commend these amendments to the Church’s reflection and prayer over the coming weeks as the moment of decision approaches.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 25 May 2012 at 4:46pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Wycliffe Hall: Principal on ‘leave of absence’

The following Statement from the Wycliffe Hall Council was published on Wednesday.

Staff and students at Wycliffe were told last week that Principal Richard Turnbull is to take a leave of absence from the Hall. The Council wishes to make it clear that the Principal has not been dismissed. The Council and Richard are now in ongoing discussions over his future role at Wycliffe, with Vice-Principal Simon Vibert assuming the position of Acting Principal. We have every confidence in Simon, and in the rest of the staff, to ensure continuity and the efficient functioning of the Hall during this time.

The outcome of the discussions with Richard will be communicated to staff and students in due course. However, our overriding priority is to ensure Wycliffe remains unequivocally committed to equipping men and women as leaders, preachers, church planters and evangelists in the mission of proclaiming and living the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, with a deeply biblical understanding of the nature of the Kingdom of God.

George Conger published Wycliffe Hall principal out at Anglican Ink.

…Dr. Turnbull’s leave of absence came as a surprise to many outside observers as the college appeared to have recovered from its difficulties. However, an insider who asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the council said the departure of Dr. Turnbull centered round issues of trust and management…

Gavin Drake published Principal on ‘leave of absence’ after more redundancies in the Church Times.

..Dr Turnbull has not been avail­able for comment since the weekend. He had been expected to lead a parish mission last weekend in Oughti­bridge, near Sheffield, but pulled out at the last minute.
On the Virtue Online blog, the Revd Julian Mann wrote: “He withdrew from that on Friday, the day of his planned arrival, strongly indicating that from his perspective his departure was sudden. The explanation given to me as the minister of the parish on Friday morning for Dr Turnbull’s withdrawal from the mission was that he was on sick leave.”
He described Dr Turnbull’s departure as “a massive loss for UK Anglican Evangelicals”.
The college’s latest annual ac­counts, to June 2011, were lodged with the Charity Commission last month. They reveal that it would have made a deficit on its unrestricted funds of £149,080 had it not made £2.3 million from the sale of property…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 25 May 2012 at 6:56am BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Announcement from Group of Six (Women Bishops Legislation)

The Group of Six (the six officers of the General Synod) has determined, by a majority, that the two amendments made by the House of Bishops to the draft Women Bishops Legislation do not alter the substance of the proposals, and so do not require a further reference to the dioceses. Their decision is contained in this press release.

Announcement from Group of Six (Women Bishops Legislation)
24 May 2012

The six Officers of the General Synod (the Archbishops, Dr Philip Giddings, the Venerable Christine Hardman, Mr Tim Hind and Canon Glyn Webster) met this afternoon. Their task was not to consider the merits of the two amendments made by the House of Bishops to the draft Women Bishops Legislation but to determine whether they had altered the ‘substance of the proposals embodied in the legislation which had already been approved last year by 42 of the Church of England’s 44 dioceses. Any such alteration necessitates a further reference to the dioceses before the legislation can come to the Synod for consideration at the Final Approval stage.

Having received legal advice they determined, by a majority, that the amendments made did not constitute such an alteration. The next steps are for the Officers of the House of Laity and the Convocations of Canterbury and York to decide whether to ask for the legislation to be referred to those bodies for consideration immediately before the Synod meets in York in July. They have no power to amend the legislation but their approval by simple majorities is required before the Final Approval debate in Synod can happen. In addition the Business Committee of the Synod will meet tomorrow to decide when to schedule the Final approval debate in July.

The Synod has no power to amend the legislation further but can adjourn the Final Approval debate and invite the House of Bishops to reconsider the amendments that they have made. If such an adjournment motion were passed the House would have to meet again-and would at that point have power to make further amendments- before the Final Approval debate was resumed. An adjournment motion in July would mean that the further meeting of the House and the resumption of the Final Approval debate would have to happen at a later date. The earliest that the General Synod might be able to conclude the Final Approval Stage in that eventuality would, therefore, be in November.

Notes
For background to Group of Six and House of Bishops’ amendments see http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2012/05/house-of-bishops-approves-women-bishops-legislation.aspx

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 24 May 2012 at 11:06pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Forward in Faith responds to House of Bishops on changes to draft legislation

Forward in Faith UK has published this response:

Statement from Forward in Faith
May 23, 2012

Forward in Faith welcomes the amendments to the draft legislation on women bishops passed by the House of Bishops on Monday.

The first amendment secures the provision of bishops for traditional catholics and conservative evangelicals who are not simply male, but who share the theological convictions of those to whom they will minister. For traditional catholics, that means bishops ordained into the historic episcopate as we understand it. The draft Measure now recognises that our position is one of legitimate theological conviction for which the Church of England must provide. This principle will be enshrined in law.

The second amendment helpfully clarifies that the charism of episcopal ministry derives from the fact of a bishop’s ordination, and is not by delegation from another bishop.

It was disappointing that the amendment which would have implemented co-ordinate jurisdiction was not passed. The draft Measure stills fails, therefore, to address questions of jurisdiction and authority in the way we need.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 2:33pm BST | Comments (30) | TrackBack
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Reactions to Dr Sentamu's response on Marriage and Civil Partnerships

Updated Friday

The original article was reported here.

A shorter version was published by the Guardian as Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would benefit nobody.

Both of those contain a number of reader comments. In addition:

The Guardian published a number of letters on the topic on Monday under the headline Sentamu’s flaws over gay marriage. Authors include Richard Harries, Mark Oakley and Iain McLean.

From Richard Harries:

The archbishop of York wants to keep marriage as a separate category but regards civil partnerships as an honourable expression of a committed relationship; that marriage and civil partnerships are in fact complementary, equal but different (Not equality but justice, 18 May). He pleads for time for civil partnerships to gain greater public understanding.

The great flaw in his argument is that he does not urge the church to bless such partnerships. This would do more than anything to obtain that greater public understanding he says he wants. Now that the government appears to have dropped its idea of legalising gay marriages, it is a chance for the Church of England to make amends for the reluctance with which it accepted civil partnerships in the first place, and to take the lead in declaring unequivocally that such committed relationships are to be warmly celebrated before God.

Richard Harries
Crossbench, House of Lords

Cif Belief has published an article by Iain McLean John Sentamu’s claims on civil partnerships are false.

John Sentamu, the archbishop of York, recently posted a long statement explaining his opposition to same-sex marriage. Some of it appeared in the Guardian and on Comment is Free. In it he referenced an interview he recently gave to the Daily Telegraph, which contains the following statement: “We [the bishops in the House of Lords] supported civil partnerships, because we believe that friendships are good for everybody.”

Like other religious opponents of same-sex marriage, he goes on to argue that civil partnership is “in every respect in ethical terms an honourable contract of a committed relationship”. Same-sex couples, he therefore says, should not press for marriage.

But his factual claim is false. The main Lords debate on the civil partnership bill took place in June 2004. Richard Harries, then bishop of Oxford, did indeed signal Church of England support for civil partnerships. But his efforts were contradicted by the five conservative bishops who spoke on the other side. Going by the bishops’ contributions to debate, the score is 5/3 against. Going by the bishops’ votes, it is 6/1 against. Six bishops voted for a successful wrecking amendment in the name of Lady O’Cathain, which made the bill unworkable. Only the Commons’ insistence on rejecting the O’Cathain amendment made it possible to enact civil partnerships…

Update
The Church Times has this report by Ed Thornton Dr Sentamu challenged over his views on gay marriages.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 at 9:22am BST | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Reform responds to House of Bishops on changes to draft legislation

Response from Reform to House of Bishops Statement

The Rev’d Rod Thomas, Chairman of Reform, said:

“We are grateful to those in the House of Bishops who have sought to protect the unity of the Church of England by seeking better provision for those Anglicans who cannot accept the oversight of female bishops.

“However we are disappointed that none of the very many compromise options that we and others suggested has been acted upon.

“While we recognise that these small amendments could be helpful, we are dismayed that the assurance for our future ministry within the Church of England will rest on what a Code of Practice says. Not only have the provisions of this Code yet to be agreed, but also, as we all know, Codes of Practice are frequently changed over time. This means that we are being asked to base our futures on a shifting foundation. In particular we are concerned that those considering ordination in the future could be discriminated against because of their views on the difference between men’s and women’s ministries.

“We will now take further counsel as we consider the exact wording of the revisions.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 at 6:38pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Women Bishops amendments: the actual texts

AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS TO THE DRAFT BISHOPS AND PRIESTS (CONSECRATION AND ORDINATION OF WOMEN) MEASURE

Clause 5

After subsection (1)(b) insert—

“( ) the selection of male bishops or male priests the exercise of ministry by whom is consistent with the theological convictions as to the consecration or ordination of women on grounds of which parochial church councils have issued Letters of Request under section 3,”.

[Note: As amended, clause 5(1) will accordingly read:

“5 (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,
(c) the selection of male bishops or male priests the exercise of ministry by whom is consistent with the theological convictions as to the consecration or ordination of women on grounds of which parochial church councils have issued Letters of Request under section 3,
(d) the exercise by those involved in the making of an appointment of an incumbent and of a priest in charge for the benefice, of their functions in that regard where a Letter of Request is issued under section 3(3),
(e) the matters referred to in section 2(5), and
(f) such other matters as the House of Bishops considers appropriate to give effect to this Measure.”]

Clause 8

After clause 8(1) insert the following subsection—

“(2) Where a male bishop exercises episcopal ministry in a diocese by way of delegation in accordance with arrangements contained in a scheme made under section 2—

(a) the legal authority which he has by virtue of such delegation does not affect, and is distinct from, the authority to exercise the functions of the office of bishop which that bishop has by virtue of his holy orders; and

(b) any such delegation shall not be taken as divesting the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her authority or functions.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 at 12:25pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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WATCH responds to House of Bishops on changes to draft legislation

WATCH (Women and the Church)

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY 22nd MAY 2012 10.15am

House of Bishops Discussion Outcome : Women Bishops Legislation

WATCH (Women and the Church) is deeply disappointed to hear that the all male House of Bishops has, in a closed meeting, decided to make two amendments to the draft legislation on women bishops that had been so carefully crafted after years of debate and scrutiny from all sides and had commanded the support of 42/44 dioceses across the Church of England.

They have failed to listen to the voice of ordained women and those who support their ministry and been swayed by those who are opposed into making concessions that can only undermine the ministry of women in future years.

Their decision to intervene in this way will significantly undermine the credibility of the House of Bishops both inside and outside the Church.

The exact wording of the amendments is not in the House of Bishops’ Press Release, nor are the figures of how many bishops voted for and against them. WATCH will be considering the amendments in detail over coming days and will issue a full response in due course.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said:

“The House of Bishops’ intervention will be an enormous blow to the morale of women clergy who were looking to their bishops for clear affirmation of their ministry as a welcome gift to the Church.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 at 11:14am BST | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Monday, 21 May 2012

"House of Bishops approves Women Bishops Legislation"

The House of Bishops considered the draft legislation to allow women to be bishops in the Church of England this afternoon. The results of their deliberations are available in a press release which is copied below.

House of Bishops approves Women Bishops Legislation

21 May 2012

The House of Bishops of the Church of England today concluded its consideration of the draft legislation to enable women to be consecrated as bishops. It agreed that the legislation should be returned to the General Synod for final approval.

The House of Bishops had power to amend the draft legislation in such manner “as it thinks fit”. It made two amendments to the draft Measure.

The House accepted an amendment making it clear that the use of the word “delegation” (in Clause 2 of the draft Measure) relates to the legal authority which a male bishop acting under a diocesan scheme would have and was distinct from the authority to exercise the functions of the office of bishop that that person derived from his ordination. For example, when another bishop ordains someone to the priesthood he needs permission to do from the bishop of the diocese (“delegation”), but the power to ordain derives from his consecration as a bishop. The amendment also makes clear that delegation should not be taken as divesting the diocesan bishop of any of his or her authority or functions.

The House also accepted an amendment to express in the Measure one of the three principles which the House had agreed in December (see notes). This amendment adds to the list of matters on which guidance will need to be given in the Code of Practice that the House of Bishops will be required to draw up and promulgate under the Measure. It will now need to include guidance on the selection by the diocesan bishop of the male bishops and priests who will minister in parishes whose parochial church council (PCC) has issued a Letter of Request under the Measure. That guidance will be directed at ensuring that the exercise of ministry by those bishops and priests will be consistent with the theological convictions as to the consecration or ordination of women which prompted the issuing of the Letter of Request. Thus, the legislation now addresses the fact that for some parishes a male bishop or male priest is necessary but not sufficient.

The House rejected more far-reaching amendments that would have changed the legal basis on which bishops would exercise authority when ministering to parishes unable to receive the ministry of female bishops.

It also rejected amendments giving statutory expression to the other two principles (see notes) that it agreed in December, judging that it would be better to leave them to be addressed in the Code of Practice or in other ways rather than referring to them in the Measure.

Now that the legislation has been amended the six Officers of the Synod (the ‘Group of Six’) - the Archbishops, the Prolocutors of the Lower Houses of the Convocations of Canterbury and York and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the House of Laity - will need to meet later this week to determine whether the amendments constitute a change to the substance of the proposals embodied in the draft Measure as approved by 42 of the 44 dioceses last year.

If the Group of Six determines that no such change has been made - an announcement will be made after their deliberations - the way will be clear for the legislation to come to the Synod for final approval in York in July. This is subject to the possibility of the Convocations and the House of Laity asking for the draft legislation to be referred to them for approval before it is returned to the Synod. If they were to exercise this right, their meetings would take place in York immediately before the July meeting of General Synod, and the legislation would need to be approved by each of those bodies by simple majorities before the General Synod as a whole could consider it at the Final Approval Stage (at which two-thirds majorities in each House of the General Synod will be required).

The press release continues with a series of notes which are copied below the fold. They include these three principles referred to above.

  • Bishops will continue not to discriminate in selecting candidates for ordination on the grounds of their theological convictions regarding the admission of women to Holy Orders;
  • In choosing bishops to provide episcopal ministry under diocesan schemes for parishes requesting this provision, diocesan bishops will seek to identify those whose ministry will be consistent with the theological convictions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate underlying the Letter of Request;
  • The archbishops and bishops commit themselves to seeking to maintain a supply of bishops able to minister on this basis. This will obviously have a bearing on decisions about appointments and on the role of bishops occupying the sees of Beverley, Ebbsfleet and Richborough (which will, as a matter of law, continue to exist even after the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod has been rescinded).

Notes

Convocations
http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/about-general-synod/convocations.aspx
House of Laity
http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/about-general-synod/house-of-laity.aspx

The Group of Six

It is up to the Group of Six - the two archbishops, the two Prolocutors (chairs of the House of Clergy) and the chair and vice-chair of the House of Laity to determine, acting in a quasi-judicial capacity and having received legal advice, whether these amendments alter the ‘substance of the proposals embodied’ in the legislation (which would require it to be approved again in its final form by a majority of the dioceses before it could go back to the Synod for Final Approval) Membership: Archbishops of Canterbury and York: Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, Prolocutors: Ven. Christine Hardman and Canon Glyn Webster, Chair and vice-chair of House of Laity- Dr Philip Giddings and Mr Tim Hind

The Final Approval stage

This requires two-thirds majorities in each House (bishops, clergy and laity). If approved, the Measure would then go to Parliament for consideration by the Ecclesiastical Committee and each House of Parliament (see GS Misc 1012).

Extract from Archbishops’ foreword to GS MISC 1007 (January 2012)
“In the light of our discussion, the House will continue to uphold these three principles:

  • Bishops will continue not to discriminate in selecting candidates for ordination on the grounds of their theological convictions regarding the admission of women to Holy Orders;
  • In choosing bishops to provide episcopal ministry under diocesan schemes for parishes requesting this provision, diocesan bishops will seek to identify those whose ministry will be consistent with the theological convictions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate underlying the Letter of Request;
  • The archbishops and bishops commit themselves to seeking to maintain a supply of bishops able to minister on this basis. This will obviously have a bearing on decisions about appointments and on the role of bishops occupying the sees of Beverley, Ebbsfleet and Richborough (which will, as a matter of law, continue to exist even after the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod has been rescinded). “

Timeline

July 2000, The General Synod invited the House of Bishops to undertake the necessary theological work on the admission of the episcopate to women

November 2000, Publication of the Rochester report.

February 2005-July 2006 Preparatory Synod debates

July 2008, General Synod called for legislation to be drafted in line with the motion: ‘That this Synod:
(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;
(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;
(c) affirm that these should be contained in a statutory national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and
(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.’

December 2008 A further report from the Manchester Group (GS 1707) and the draft legislation, together with an illustrative code of practice, were published

February 2009 General Synod debated the draft legislation sending it to a Revision Committee that was set up in March of that year.

October/November 2009 The Revision Committee issued two interim statements on its progress in October and November.

May 2010 The Revision Committee’s report was published with a revised draft of the Measure

July 2010, the Synod left the draft legislation largely unamended and narrowly voted against the Archbishops’ amendment.

September 2010, the draft legislation was referred to the dioceses for debate and vote (‘Reference to dioceses’ explains this process in more detail and contains links to the relevant documentation under discussion).

February 2012, the Synod received a report (GS 1847) on the Reference to dioceses. Of the 44 dioceses, 42 had approved the legislation by a simple majority (Chichester and London voted against). The Synod then debated diocesan synod motions on making provision for those who, for theological reasons, would not be able to receive the ministry of women bishops. Synod voted in favour of an amended motion that asked that the House of Bishops should not amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure “substantially”.

Code of Practice

The draft Measure requires the House of Bishops to draw up a code of practice (which is not subject to the diocesan reference procedure). This cannot be formally drawn up or laid before the Synod for approval until after the legislation has received the Royal Assent. An initial illustrative draft code was prepared by the legislative drafting group in 2009 and in the light of changes subsequently made to the draft legislation the House of Bishops accepted the recommendation of the Revision Committee that further work on a draft code should proceed, rather than waiting for the various legislative stages to be completed. A House of Bishops working party on the Code of Practice (chaired by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich) started work in November 2010 with a view to enabling the House of Bishops and the General Synod to engage further with the shape of a draft code before the draft legislation reached the Final Approval stage. The Bishop gave a presentation on the illustrative code (GS Misc 1007) to the Synod in February 2012.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 21 May 2012 at 9:42pm BST | Comments (46) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 19 May 2012

opinion

Update: The audio of Peter Selby’s lecture is now working.

John Sentamu writes for The Telegraph Let’s not be afraid to talk about death.
And on the same topic, but from a different perspective, Matthew Engelke writes in The Guardian What is a good death? Ritual, whether religious or not, still counts.

Bethany Blankley writes for The Huffington Post about How Protestantism Redefined Marriage.

George Monbiot writes for The Guardian about Moral decay? Family life’s the best it’s been for 1,000 years.

Peter Selby has given the 27th Eric Symes Abbott memorial lecture: Mis-establishment: Locating, and Re-locating, the Church of England.

Reluctant Xtian gives us 5 Phrases I Think Christians Shouldn’t Say.

The Guardian has published a version of the article by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes that we linked here: Female bishops legislation must not be compromised out of existence.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 May 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Friday, 18 May 2012

Results of House of Bishops' election for CNC

The Church of England has just released the Results of House of Bishops’ election for CNC.

The Bishop of Gloucester the Rt Revd Michael Perham and the Bishop of Carlisle the Rt Revd James Newcome have been voted onto the Crown Nominations Commission, CNC, the body that will nominate the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

This result of the vote by the House of Bishops completes the make-up of the 16 member voting body of the CNC which will meet for the first time later this month.

The press release also includes this complete list of CNC members for this appointment.

Chair - the Rt Hon the Lord Luce KG, GCVO
The Reverend Canon Clare Edwards, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
Mr Aiden Hargreaves-Smith - Diocese of London - elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
Mr Raymond Harris, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
Professor Glynn Harrison - Diocese of Bristol - elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
Mrs Mary Johnston - Diocese of London - elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
Mr David Kemp, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
The Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Primate of The Church in Wales, elected by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion
The Rt Revd James Newcome, the Bishop of Carlisle - elected by House of Bishops
The Very Revd Andrew Nunn - Diocese of Southwark - elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
The Rt Revd Michael Perham, the Bishop of Gloucester - elected by House of Bishops
The Reverend Canon Mark Roberts, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
Mrs Caroline Spencer, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee
The Revd Canon Peter Spiers - Diocese of Liverpool - elected by General Synod to serve as member of the Commission for a five year period
The Revd Canon Glyn Webster - Diocese of York - elected by General Synod to serve as members of the Commission for a five year period
The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, elected from the Diocese of Canterbury by their Vacancy in See Committee

In addition, the Archbishops’ Secretary for Appointments (Ms Caroline Boddington), the Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary (Sir Paul Britton) and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion (Revd Canon Kenneth Kearon) are non-voting members of the Commission.

Full background on the CNC

The detailed voting figures are available for download.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 18 May 2012 at 10:50am BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 17 May 2012

VAT on alterations to listed places of worship

Updated Friday morning

I have written about this earlier here, here and here.

But today the Church Times reports that We will cover your whole VAT bill, says Osborne.

The Government is to find an extra £30 million a year to help repay the VAT bill on alterations to listed places of worship, it was announced today. The move marks a sig­nificant concession after zero-VAT rating for alterations was removed in the Budget. …

And the Church of England has this press release: Government agrees £30 million extra to resolve VAT concerns.

Updates

The Hansard record of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in the House of Commons

Richard Chartres in the Church Times Saved by the churches’ service

The Telegraph Osborne unveils £30m package to help churches

BBC Church of England welcomes money to offset VAT on alterations

James Chapman in the Mail Online Osborne in £30m heritage tax U-turn: Compensation fund to relieve burden on churches

ITV News VAT help “doesn’t go far enough”

The Heritage Alliance The Heritage Alliance responds to the Chancellor’s announcement.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 17 May 2012 at 2:10pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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more on Southwark evangelicals withholding money

The Guardian has this report by Andrew Brown: Money becomes new church battleground.

Some excerpts:

The Rev Paul Perkin seemed bewildered by the question: what was his take on the latest scheme for conservative evangelical churches to withhold money from the rest of the Church of England in order to keep it out of the hands of liberals, gay people or women priests?

“I can’t talk about that,” he said. “You’ll have to ask James Paice.” Both men are vicars in south London. And both are directors of the company set up last month to implement this scheme, the Southwark Good Stewards Company. It is the latest, and perhaps the most serious, move in a bitter power struggle within the CofE and the wider Anglican communion.

Not contributing to central funds could represent a serious threat to the rest of the CofE, whose cohesion depends in part on a redistribution of money from rich, largely suburban and middle-class parishes to the inner cities and the countryside where congregations are too small and the buildings too old to be economically sustainable.

Although the Good Stewards Company claims not to be separating from the rest of the CofE, this reading is plausible only if you assume it is the rest of the CofE that has separated from Christianity.

The money will be made available only to churches that commit themselves to a rejection not just of homosexuality, but of liberalism: they must sign “in good faith” a declaration that they will “reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed … Pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.” Such people include the present archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams…

And this:

…Five retired English bishops, among them Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester who was the evangelical candidate for archbishop of Canterbury last time, have promised to act as bishops for those clergy who sign up to the pledge not to accept women bishops or tolerate gay people in the church. It is not at all clear that these arrangements are legal, since the authority of the bishops over their clergy is established by the law of England. But any legal battle would be enormously expensive and time consuming. There is no sign that the rest of the Church of England has the stomach for it.

One crisis is approaching rapidly. This summer the synod must decide whether to accept legislation allowing women to become bishops that will not make special provision for their opponents. The present draft is the product of years of wrangling. If it goes through unamended Nazir-Ali predicts that more clergy will come over to his organisation. They will attempt to leave the rest of the CofE, taking their money and their churches with them – all the while claiming, as their rhetoric already suggests, that it is the rest of the church that has left them.

But if the bishops water down the draft to avoid this open split the other side – a great majority of the church – will probably rebel. Campaigners for women bishops threaten to vote the whole measure down rather than accept amendments that would give them a permanent second-class status. The bishops meet later this month to decide and their space for compromise is vanishingly small.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 17 May 2012 at 11:28am BST | Comments (17) | TrackBack
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Archbishop of York's response on Marriage and Civil Partnerships

The Archbishop of York has issued a lengthy statement: A response on Marriage and Civil Partnerships.

Following reports of my interview, in Jamaica, with Martin Beckford of the Daily Telegraph, I have received a number of letters and emails relating to the views which I shared in that interview, including an open letter from students in the JCR of my beloved college, Selwyn, Cambridge.

Media reports of long interviews are inevitably selective, and the full transcript is available here for clarification: (http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/2338/archbishops-interview-with-the- daily-telegraph).

A number of letters endorsed the points I made in that interview. Others challenged my views, raising a number of points on which my arguments differ from theirs.

I am therefore writing a general open reply to all the issues raised in these letters.

Let me start by setting out the areas where I believe there is agreement.

First, there is no question about the equality of all human beings, “heterosexual” or “homosexual”. None of us is of greater value than anyone else in the eyes of the God who made us and loves us. ‘At the deepest ontological level, therefore, there is no such thing as “a” homosexual or “a” heterosexual; there are human beings, male and female, called to redeemed humanity in Christ, endowed with a complex variety of emotional potentialities and threatened by a complex variety of forms of alienation.’

Second, I have pastorally supported people in same sex relationships even before Civil Partnerships came into being. And it is important to note one aspect of the remarks I made to the Telegraph. The interview took place in Jamaica, a country where homosexual relationships are still criminal acts. It was in this context that I said same sex relationships must not be diminished, condemned, criticised, or patronised in any sort of way.

Some people have expressed surprise that for me it is another thing entirely to say that there is no difference between civil partnerships and marriage. Explaining that difference is not a matter of simple, knock-down arguments or slogans, so I will try to set out my case clearly…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 17 May 2012 at 11:01am BST | Comments (78) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Women bishops: do not amend the current draft legislation

WATCH has published two documents which argue against making any changes whatsoever to the current draft legislation concerning women in the episcopate.

The first is a letter sent by Rachel Weir on behalf of WATCH to all members of the House of Bishops who will be meeting next week. This is available here as a PDF, and is reproduced below.

The second is an article by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes which has now appeared here but is reproduced below the fold in its original form. (Also available as a file here.)

Re: House of Bishops meeting 21-22 May

Dear Bishop,

I am writing on behalf of WATCH (Women and the Church) to urge you to resist making any amendment to the face of the current draft Measure concerning women in the episcopate and to resist placing any assurances into ancillary documents that would work against the spirit of the Measure as currently drafted.

I am sure that you have had a great deal of correspondence on the matter but please bear in mind the following reasons for resisting any amendment:

1. This draft Measure is the most generous compromise that is possible for those who support the ordained ministry of women.
As the Bishop of Gloucester reminded us at last February’s General Synod, this draft legislation is the compromise. It represents a very significant concession from those who support the ordained ministry of women and would have preferred legislation in the form of a single clause measure. Many mainstream Synod groupings have compromised in order to show generosity to those opposed, but this is as far as we can go. We want women as bishops but not at any price.

2. This draft Measure is the legislative package most likely to be passed by Synod in July.
Amended draft legislation, that makes even more provision for those opposed, will be voted down by women clergy and others in July. The best way to get legislation for women in the episcopate passed this summer is for the House of Bishops to throw its weight behind the current draft legislation.

3. This draft legislation commands a consensus in the dioceses and represents a basis for unity moving forward.
The current draft legislation has the support of 42/44 dioceses. It commands a consensus that provides the basis for maximum ecclesial unity going forward. There are no winners and losers here; significant compromise underpins the consensus the draft Measure has achieved across the Church.

4. The draft Measure is a carefully worded document that has been produced after lengthy and detailed consideration of the issues. Hasty amendment is unlikely to improve it.
The Revision Committee wrestled with drafting in detail for over a year. After this level of scrutiny, it is inconceivable that any genuinely new amendment could be found or given adequate consideration in the course of a 24 hour meeting. Furthermore, any amendment worth making would certainly go to the substance of the issues that were considered at length by the Revision Committee.
The two issues under consideration at present, namely ‘delegation’ and ‘maleness’ were the two issues that preoccupied the Revision Committee more than any others, as you will note from the Report of that committee. It is difficult to see, in that case, how any amendment on those points could be considered ‘insignificant’. The Dioceses considered those two issues above all others and would expect to be consulted were there to be any changes in these areas.

5. Assurances in ancillary documents will be a source of ambiguity and cause problems for future implementation of the Measure.
Please be wary of introducing ‘harmless’ explanatory wording whether in a Preamble or any other ancillary document (aside from the Code of Practice). The status of ancillary documents is ambiguous and any ambiguity will be taken to signal a lack of support for draft legislation thereby encouraging those who are dissatisfied to find ways of avoiding the intentions of the Measure in future years.

6. Please pay attention to the signals any amending intervention would send.
Any intervention to amend the draft legislation would send signals to Dioceses and Deaneries that their time and input was ultimately insignificant. It would send signals to the whole Church that the House of Bishops is prepared to overturn the careful settlement achieved after great labour and to seek to impose a new settlement on the Church.
Such an intervention would risk the House presenting itself in opposition to the will of the wider Church. For people outside the Church it would convey the clear impression that the bishops are out of touch with what is both wanted and needed. It would also do enormous damage to the morale of ordained women and those who support their ministry.
We respectfully remind you that that this legislation involves reforming the House of Bishops. Many would see it as deeply inappropriate for the very body that is the subject of reform to intervene at the eleventh hour to alter a compromise that has been so carefully negotiated.

7. Please listen to the mind of the Church and lead us into renewal with enthusiasm
We would therefore ask you to exercise your episcopal leadership by listening to the mind of the Church. The clear desire, as expressed in diocesan voting, is for this legislation, to be put to Synod in July unamended.
It sometimes easy to forget that a vote for women as bishops will be wonderful news for the Church of England. There is an opportunity over coming weeks for the House to lead the Church towards this exciting phase of renewal with enthusiasm – anticipating the great enrichment to the House that female colleagues will bring. Please embrace this opportunity wholeheartedly!

With our prayers and good wishes,

Rachel Weir
The Reverend Rachel Weir
Chair of WATCH (Women and the Church)

On behalf of the National WATCH Committee

Women Bishops Legislation Briefing Paper by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes

Executive Summary: The current legislation is a major compromise for all, and is the only solution with majority support. It should be put to Synod in July unchanged.

1. Theological Rationale

1.1. As a body, the Church of England cannot hold two opposing views on women’s ordination simultaneously. It is clear that, as individuals, we all hold our very different views on this subject in good conscience and with integrity. But that is very different from saying that official church policy is that both views are equally correct. A church cannot with integrity ordain people whom it simultaneously considers both validly and invalidly ordained.

1.2. Since women have been ordained to the priesthood for nearly 20 years, it is clear that the Church of England is a church that ordains women. Synod has repeatedly affirmed since 1975 that there is ‘no fundamental objection to the ordination of women’, and the recent diocesan synod voting shows that the consecration of women bishops is the will of the church. It is important that the legislation to allow women bishops is not framed in such a way as to throw doubt on the legitimacy of very thing it is legislating for. Historically, the whole point of Canon A4 was to make explicit that the Church of England has both the legal right and the ecclesiastical power to legally and validly ordain its own clergy. It would be invidious to undermine that statement now over this issue.

1.3. Some argue that it is simply impossible for a woman to be a priest or a bishop, and so wish to avoid both our ministry and that of male priests or bishops tainted by association. But this cannot be accepted as valid simply because it is a deeply held belief. The key theological principle at stake is Gregory Nazianzen’s famous phrase, ‘the unassumed is the unhealed’. If this is accepted, then Christ, as the fully representative human being as well as fully God, must be understood as essentially having assumed humanity, rather than maleness. In Aquinas’ sacramental terminology, Christ’s maleness must be essentially accidental, the substance of the incarnation being Christ’s humanity. If the maleness of Christ is to be understood as a key salvific characteristic of the incarnation, or if gender is understood as a fundamental division within humanity, then the theological implication is that women are not included in the saving activity of the incarnation. On this understanding women, to put it bluntly, not only cannot be ordained, but cannot be saved.

1.4. The Church of England must firmly and decisively distance itself from any such suggestion, and this is why the full incorporation of women into the threefold ministry of the church is of such immense theological value. It is therefore crucial that the legislation does not compromise this fundamental understanding of gender as an essentially secondary characteristic to humanity.

2. Will the Measure and Code of Practice have teeth?

2.1 The substance of what bishops will be expected to do is spelled out in the Measure, and that has full legal force. The Measure specifies that bishops must draw up a Diocesan Scheme respecting the national Code of Practice, and must respond to Letters of Request by providing a male priest or bishop as requested. Failure to abide by the Measure would be a serious breach of the law, and subject to the Clergy Discipline Measure. It is hard to imagine the archbishops not taking complaints that bishops are breaching the Measure very seriously. It may be of help for the House of Bishops to request the archbishops to set out a policy position in relation to how they would deal with such complaints, if this is a cause for concern.

2.2. The Report of the Code of Practice Drafting Group, GS Misc 1007, sets out the legal standing of the Code in paras 14-16, pp. 18-19. Several House of Lords judgements give Codes such as this significant legal weight. A bishop could only depart from the Code if able to give ‘cogent reasons’ for doing so, and decisions not in accordance with the Code could be challenged, and set aside, by Judicial Review.

2.3. In response to concerns about how these provisions may work out in practice, the Measure now includes a requirement that the Diocesan Schemes be reviewed every five years. Any complaints about the operation of such Schemes thus have a formal way to be heard and, if substantiated, the Schemes would be altered as needed.

2.4. The Code of Practice has more legislative standing than the current Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod. The Act of Synod is simply a policy statement, not legislation.

3. Will the current Measure and Code of Practice do?

3.1. This legislation is a major compromise for all concerned. For me, it is offensive because it codifies discrimination on the grounds of gender. However, because I have heard the extent of the pain and fear felt by many opponents to women’s ordination, I am prepared to make the huge compromises demanded of me in the current legislative package. Over the lengthy legislative drafting process which has produced the Measure and Code of Practice that we have before us for Final Approval in July, those who feel as I do (including groups such as WATCH, GRAS, Affirming Catholicism, Modern Church, and SCP) have given away as much as possible in the hope of helping everyone to feel able to vote for the legislation.

3.2. We can’t find a better compromise than this. This has been debated extensively for many years, and options either to have simple legislation without any provision for opponents, or to have more legislative ‘safeguards’ against women’s ministry, have consistently failed to achieve the necessary 2/3 majority. Several commissions and revision committees have repeatedly investigated the implications of all the options. It is almost inconceivable that a last minute ‘tweak’ could improve the legislation.

4.2 This legislative compromise has, in contrast to all the other options considered over the years, commanded widespread support. It has been scrutinised at deanery and in many places parish level throughout the country, and debated in detail at diocesan synods. 42 out of 44 dioceses have approved the current legislation. Following motions calling for some amendment to the existing legislation to be considered were passed in 10 dioceses, but lost in 30 dioceses (GS 1847).

3. This is a compromise package. But we can’t compromise away the entire point of having women and men together in the threefold ministry, or the theological integrity of our church. There is no point having this legislation just to get women bishops at any price. If the House of Bishops can’t bring itself to wholeheartedly endorse women’s ordination, I think I will feel I have to vote against the Measure at Final Approval, rather than vote for enshrining theological incoherence and gender discrimination in Canon Law.

M. T-H April 2012

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Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Statement on marriage from CofE Evangelical Council

The Church of England Evangelical Council has issued this St Matthias Day Statement (PDF).

The CEEC has several FAQ pages on its website including answers to: What is CEEC? and Who does CEEC actually represent? and How big is the Council?

An actual list of members can be found here.

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Monday, 14 May 2012

Church Commissioners announce annual results for 2011

The Church Commissioners have today announced their annual results for 2011 with a lengthy press release starting “The Church Commissioners have today published their full Annual Report and Accounts for 2011, announcing a 2.9 per cent total return on their investments during 2011 and confirming the fund’s strong long-term performance.”

Also available for download are

The full reports from two previous years are also available: 2010 and 2009.

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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Church of Ireland: report of sexuality debate

Updated again Monday morning

This is what happened on Saturday.

The motions were re-introduced as a single motion, in this form.

The Archbishop of Dublin proposed them in this speech.

The Bishop of Down & Dromore seconded them in this speech.

Four separate amendments were proposed. After some debate, they were voted on, and all of them were defeated.

Text of amendments:

The unamended motion was then passed.

Some official reports now published:

Motion Passed On Human Sexuality In The Context Of Christian Belief

General Synod Passes Motion On Human Sexuality In The Context Of Christian Belief

Discussion On Human Sexuality Motion Encompasses Broad Range Of Views

The following voting figures for the main motion have been reported on Twitter

Clergy 81-53 in favour, Laity 154-60 in favour, Bishops 10-2

They are confirmed by this Irish Times report CofI affirms marriage teaching and there appears to be a later version of this article here.

The motion, proposed by the Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson and the Bishop of Down & Dromore Harold Miller, was supported by 81 clergy and 154 laity. It was opposed by 53 clergy and 60 laity.

Following the general vote, the church’s bishops then voted, by standing. All but the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross, Paul Colton, and the Bishop of Cashel & Ossory, Michael Burrows, supported the motion.

Church News Ireland has several additional reports, including:

General Synod debate on sexuality 2 – Contributors and voting

Votes on amendments

There were then votes by orders on the four proposed amendments which involved members passing though tellers and in accord with standing orders a five minute interval was required before each vote was taken. The process in all took over 45 minutes.

A proposal by Canon Patrick Comerford and the Reverend Stephen Fielding which inter alii sought to include reference to the BCP pp 405 − 438 was lost. Clergy for 58, against 73 – Laity for 84, against 122.

A proposal by Mr Andrew McNeile and the Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunn, to replace the fourth paragraph of the motion was lost. Clergy for 54, against 75 – Laity for 84, against 126.

A proposal by Neville Bagnell and AG Oughton to remove a word and insert the word bigotry was lost. Clergy for 56, against 73 – Laity for 89, against 121.

A proposal by the Reverend Darren McCallig and Mrs Joan Bruton extending the definition of marriage and referring to “the normative context for sexual intercourse” was lost. Clergy for 48, against 81- Laity for 60, against 148.

Vote on substantive motion

The motion in the names of the Archbishop of Dublin and the Bishop of Down was passed. Clergy for 81 , against 53 – Laity for 154 , against 60 .

The House of Bishops then voted in public. Two against.

General Synod debate on sexuality 3 – Media coverage

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opinion

Richard Beck asks us to Let Them Both Grow Together.

Christopher Howse for The Telegraph has been on A journey with Nikolaus Pevsner to the very edge of Englishness to see a 12th-century font and a 1902 church.

Giles Fraser in The Guardian asks Why should spirituality prioritise the needs of the busy?

Also in The Guardian Andrew Brown writes about A vicar’s war against English Heritage Christianity.

Symon Hill of Ekklesia writes about Trusting in what is not real.

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Friday, 11 May 2012

Church of Ireland: Sexuality resolutions to be reintroduced

This morning there is a further development in this story. From the official news service:

Following morning devotions, the Archbishop of Armagh announced that the majority of the bishops were of the view that the General Synod should have the opportunity to discuss the issues raised by Motions 8a to c on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief which was not able to happen yesterday. He said a revised motion was to be introduced. The discussion on the new motion will take place tomorrow morning (Saturday) immediately after the completion of consideration of Bill No 6.

Belfast Newsletter CoI U-turn on gay row motion

THE Church of Ireland will debate gay relationships tomorrow after a decision to stop the debate taking place was effectively overturned following behind the scenes negotiations in Dublin today.

A motion brought to the church’s General Synod by two bishops to re-affirm the church’s teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman was ruled out of order by the Archbishop of Armagh, Alan Harper, on Thursday in dramatic scenes which led to two other motions about same-sex relationships being withdrawn.

But between Thursday night and Friday morning, conservative members of the church succeeded in bundling all three motions together and re-introducing them for discussion on Saturday morning under Standing Order 31 (d) in what could be a bitter debate.

Tomorrow’s motions will allow for the church to publicly discuss homosexuality for the first time since the News Letter revealed last September that Dean Tom Gordon had become the first serving Church of Ireland cleric to enter a civil partnership.

The three original motions had been presented by the liberal Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, and the evangelical bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Miller in a public show of unity.

But on Thursday as the first motion came to be debated the liberal Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, Michael Burrows, raised a point of order about his fellow bishops’ motion which led to Archbishop Alan Harper ruling that it could not be discussed.

Bishop Burrows, who was aware of Dean Gordon’s civil partnership before it took place, was openly jeered by large sections of the synod in Dublin’s Christchurch Cathedral but applauded loudly by others in a public sign of the considerable strain within the church.

Reintroducing the motion has infuriated some liberal members of the church who yesterday believed that they had defeated a motion which they believe will make it harder to get the church to accept gay relationships at a later point.

The Church of Ireland press office said that while the text of the three motions had now been incorporated into a single motion, the ‘preamble’ to the original motions had been dropped.

That preamble had said: “Having regard to the present discussions in the Church of Ireland on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief, the General Synod affirms that…”

The full text of the motion now reads:

HUMAN SEXUALITY IN THE CONTEXT OF CHRISTIAN BELIEF

To the Honorary Secretaries:

I wish to propose the following motion under Standing Order 31(d)

The General Synod affirms that:

The Church of Ireland, mindful of the Preamble and Declaration, believes and accepts the Holy Scriptures as revealing all things necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ;

The Church of Ireland continues to uphold its teaching that marriage is part of God’s creation and a holy mystery in which one man and one woman become one flesh, as provided for in Canon 31:

‘The Church of Ireland affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching that marriage is in its purpose a union permanent and life-long, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity’.

The Church of Ireland recognises for itself and of itself, no other understanding of marriage than that provided for in the totality of Canon 31. The Church of Ireland teaches therefore that faithfulness within marriage is the only normative context for sexual intercourse. Members of the Church of Ireland are required by the Catechism to keep their bodies in ‘temperance, soberness and chastity’. Clergy are called in the Ordinal to be ‘wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Jesus Christ’.

The Church of Ireland welcomes all people to be members of the Church. It is acknowledged, however, that members of the Church have at times hurt and wounded people by words and actions, in relation to human sexuality.

Therefore, in order that the Church of Ireland is experienced as a ‘safe place’ and enabled in its reflection, the Church of Ireland affirms:

A continuing commitment to love our neighbour, and opposition to all unbiblical and uncharitable actions and attitudes in respect of human sexuality from whatever perspective, including bigotry, hurtful words or actions, and demeaning or damaging language;

A willingness to increase our awareness of the complex issues regarding human sexuality;

A determination to welcome and to make disciples of all people.

The Church of Ireland is mindful that for all who believe ‘there is no distinction’ and that ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:22 - 23) and are in need of God’s grace and mercy. We seek to be a community modelled on God’s love for the world as revealed in Jesus Christ. We wish that all members of the Church, through the teaching of the scriptures, the nourishment of the sacraments, and the prayerful and pastoral support of a Christian community will fulfil their unique contribution to God’s purposes for our world.

That the General Synod requests the Standing Committee to progress work on the issue of Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief and also to bring a proposal to General Synod 2013 for the formation of a Select Committee with terms of reference including reporting procedures.

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Church of England Canons

The seventh edition of the Canons of the Church of England was recently published. Paper copies are available for purchase from Church House Publishing and elsewhere, and a Kindle version is available from Amazon.

The Canons are also available to view online. This is new, but it does replace the pdf version which was available for the sixth edition.

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Thursday, 10 May 2012

News from the Church of Ireland General Synod

Go here for recent updates to earlier press reports. Official news releases from the synod can be found here.

The Archbishop of Armagh, Alan Harper delivered a Presidential Address.

…The other matter, along with clergy pensions, that may occupy us at this year’s synod is that of Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief. I want to say something about the way in which we should address this sensitive subject and the interplay of different factors that impact upon the way we should respond as a church.

Arising out of the atmosphere created and the desire expressed at the Conference on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief that we should continue the journey of respectful and charitable listening in pursuit of deeper and clearer understanding of the will and purpose of God in these matters, the archbishops and bishops of the Church of Ireland, with the encouragement of the Standing Committee, will seek to present three motions offering a possible way forward.

The motions that the Archbishop of Dublin and the Bishop of Down and Dromore will seek to introduce belong together. The first sets out the doctrinal understanding of marriage and the appropriate context for sexual intercourse, as currently set forth in the formularies of the Church of Ireland. To set out the current position is not to pre–determine any future adjudication the General Synod may reach on such matters. Indeed, Canon 31, which is quoted in the first motion, actually takes the form that it does as a direct result of decisions taken by the General Synod permitting the re–marriage in church of divorced persons is itself witnesses to the fact that Canons may be added, altered, refined, replaced or abolished by the General Synod at its absolute discretion.

The second motion acknowledges openly the hurt and injury experienced at times by Lesbian and Gay people as a result of the words and actions of Church members. It articulates the commitment of the Church of Ireland to being sensitive to the pastoral needs of Gay and Lesbian people and a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

The third motion, if approved, directs the Standing Committee to bring to next year’s synod recommendations for the formation of a Select Committee to study the issue of Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief and to report progress to the General Synod on the basis of a specific timetable.

The additional work generated by the need to provide for the special conference for synod members that took place at the Slieve Russell Hotel in March, followed by the framing of motions to be brought to the synod, have made heavy demands on the time and energy of my fellow bishops. Therefore, I want to pay a particular and personal tribute to my colleagues in the House of Bishops, not only for their commitment to providing means by which the Church of Ireland may address what are experienced in all the churches as difficult and potentially divisive issues, but also for their commitment to modelling and sustaining a spirit of unity in the Church of Ireland.

Members of the General Synod, this is but ‘work in progress’, and it is work not for bishops alone but for the General Synod on behalf of the Church of Ireland as a whole. Leadership in the Church of Ireland, especially in the context of the role of bishops, consists not in telling the Church what to think but in assisting the Church in coming to a richer, deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the faith we have received.
The archbishops and bishops of the Church of Ireland guard and define the doctrine of the Church only to the extent that they may be called upon to declare whether or not a particular view is consonant with the current teaching of the Church as the Church of Ireland has received it. Ultimate sovereignty under God rests with the General Synod. Therefore, I want to say something about the character of the Church of Ireland, particularly in the context of the work of the General Synod and especially the role of the laity…

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Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan elected to the CNC

One more member of the Crown Nominations Commission to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury has been announced by the Anglican Communion News Service.

Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan elected to the Crown Nominations Commission
Posted On : May 9, 2012 4:40 PM

The Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Primate of The Church in Wales, has been elected to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission for Canterbury, the body that will nominate the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Archbishop Morgan was elected by members of the Standing Committee. They had been asked to nominate one Primate to represent the Anglican Communion on the Commission and their chosen Primates were grouped according to the five regions of the Communion. The Standing Committee then voted by single transferable vote—the method agreed by the Anglican Consultative Council for all its elections—and the name of Abp Morgan emerged.

The vote took place by email and was overseen by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Standing Committee with advice from its legal advisor.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

This is the first time that a Primate of the Anglican Communion has been invited to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission.

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, the Canon Kenneth Kearon is a ex-officio member of the Crown Nominations Commission.

The Standing Committee comprises members elected by the Anglican Consultative Council together with the Primates Standing Committee whose members are themselves elected at the Primates’ Meetings.

The five regions of the Anglican Communion are Africa; Central, North and South Americas & the Caribbean; East Asia & Oceania; Europe; Middle East & West Asia

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Church of Ireland synod to discuss sexuality resolutions

Updated again Friday morning

The Church of Ireland General Synod 2012 which will take place in Christ Church Cathedral Dublin from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th May. The official synod website is here.

One item of business is receiving a great deal of attention. The Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, and the Bishop of Down & Dromore, Harold Miller, have tabled three motions on the subject of Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief. The text of these motions can be found as a PDF file here.

Because these were submitted after the regular closing date for receipt of Motions, Tuesday 10 April, the synod has to agree by a two-thirds majority to accept them for debate. However, if that is achieved, then only a simple majority is required for approval.

Some Irish press reports:

Belfast Newsletter Gay backlash ahead of CoI debate on sexuality and earlier there was Unease in CoI at gay row motions.

An open letter has been published in several newspapers:

Belfast Telegraph Church motion on sexuality needs debate

Belfast Newsletter Group urges delay over gay debate.

And this letter: Serving clergy are afraid to ‘come out’

Irish Times (along with two more letters) Church of Ireland and same-sex relationships

Irish Independent Exclusive church

A website has been established at Say No to Resolution 8A.

Belfast Newsletter Church group’s petition opposes gay relationships

Belfast Telegraph Gay clergy could face witch-hunt if Church of Ireland synod backs motions, say campaigners

Church News Ireland General Synod Sketchbook – 10th May and then General Synod sketchbook – Day 1 and then this one. These reports are the most detailed and uptodate available.

Three motions in the area of human sexuality and Christian belief (Ref – 8 a,b,& c) are being brought before the synod by two members of the House of Bishops. A cursory examination of the C of I e-mail forum, the correspondence in yesterday’s Irish Times – see this site May 9 - and of an independent web site set up to rally opposition to the first of the motions (8a) indicate that a good number of clergy and laity regard the nature of the motion as being extremely contentious at worst and unhelpful at best…

From the comments below:

Motion 8A was ruled out of order and Motions 8B & 8C were then withdrawn by the bishops. Canon Nigel Dunne raised a point of order that 8A clashed with the Order Two marriage service in BCP 2004 and therefore sufficient doubt was raised that it was a change in doctrine.

From the Diocese of Down & Dromore:

Motions on Human Sexuality fail to come before Synod

The Bishops’ Motion 8A on Human Sexuality did not come before the General Synod on a point of order. After submissions from several speakers, it was ruled that there was doubt as to whether motion 8A constituted a change of doctrine which would necessitate bringing a bill before Synod.

Following this ruling by The Archbishop of Armagh, the proposer and seconder of motions 8B and 8C withdrew the motions altogether.

Friday’s Irish Times carries this report of yesterday: Motions run high as synod debate on same-sex marriage is called off on a technicality

…Raising the point of order, Dean of Cork Rev Nigel Dunne said that the church’s teaching on marriage “as expressed in Canon 31 stands in conflict with an understanding of same as expressed in Marriage Service Two in the Book of Common Prayer”.

He continued: “Canon 31 gives first place to the procreation and nurture of children. Marriage Service Two does not. Marriage Service Two is quite clear that sex and sexual intercourse is firstly to strengthen the relationship. The procreation of children comes second.” Motion 8A, he suggested, could “constitute a modification or alteration of doctrine” and ought not be considered as a motion but ought to be a Bill.

Following some debate on the matter the Church of Ireland primate and Synod president Archbishop Alan Harper, concerned with “the avoidance of doubt”, ruled that the motion not be taken. Related motions 8B and 8C were withdrawn by proposers Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson and the Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller, who had also proposed motion 8A…

Belfast Telegraph Gay row: Church of Ireland’s resolutions withdrawn

The row over same-sex relationships in the Church of Ireland has ended after three motions opposed by gay rights campaigners were withdrawn from the General Synod without debate.

The issue may be raised again within the next two days at the synod in Dublin, although it is more likely that any major decision on the issue will be delayed for up to two years…

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Sunday, 6 May 2012

some Southwark evangelicals rebel on finance

Updated Tuesday afternoon

Last week’s Church Times carried a report by Ed Thornton Evangelicals warned on cash. (This earlier report gives the background.)

…Some Evangelicals in the diocese are setting up an alternative parish-share scheme, which will be a registered charity (News, 20 April). It is understood that a presentation about the plans will be made to members of the South­wark Diocesan Evangelical Union in the next couple of months, and that briefing papers will be available for PCCs to discuss.

Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Kuhrt, Priest-in-Charge of Christ Church, New Malden, in Southwark diocese, criticised the plans for an alternative fund. He said that he did not want “further schism and separation” in the diocese. “Creating separate structures is tempting, but is virtually always unhelpful because it creates confusion. We don’t need Evangelical ghettos being created, and we mustn’t use money as a means of blackmail… Anyone who’s really concerned about the mission of the diocese will not be wanting to go down this track.”

One source of information used in this report was this statement at evangelicals.org, which is run by Church Society:

Ministry Trust to be established in Southwark Diocese

Due to widespread concerns in the Diocese of Southwark, a Trust is being established to support the ministry cost of parish clergy.

There will be a presentation for members of the Diocese of Southwark Evangelical Union and other interested bodies within the next couple of months, which will include a question and answer session, and briefing papers to take away for Parochial Church Councils to discuss, should they want them.

There has already been an expression of interest from clergy in the Diocese of Salisbury, because of their own local concerns.

However, a letter in this week’s Church Times from the chairman of the Southwark Diocesan Evangelical Union says:

…it is under­stood that a presentation about an alternative parish-share system in Southwark is to be presented to members of the DEU next month. The Executive Committee of the DEU has no plans to organise such a meeting.

Details were then published of the Southwark Good Stewards Trust in this article: Southwark Ministry Trust releases FAQs

The Southwark Good Stewards Company Limited report that because there has been, in the last few days, much misrepresentation of the Southwark Good Stewards Trust, the Directors have issued the below Frequently Asked Questions, ahead of the official Trust launch and reception. The Directors hope that the FAQ’s may be of interest to members of churches of other Dioceses where there is also widespread concern about revisionism…

Update

Fulcrum has published an article by Stephen Kuhrt titled Why the ‘Southwark Ministry Trust’ is not the solution.

…Within Southwark Diocese, most of us describing ourselves as evangelicals are agreed that we are facing a major problem. A diocese of considerable diversity that has for several years maintained a balance between its different traditions has very suddenly appeared to lurch in one direction. This has come about through seven successive senior posts within the diocese all being given to liberal-Catholics. Hopefully for evangelicals in Southwark, this imbalance is temporary rather than indicating something more permanent. But it is definitely serious and has created a good deal of damage to the perception of how evangelicals are viewed and valued. At an extremely delicate time, these appointments have also created a very specific anxiety about so many of the leadership positions within the diocese now being held by those committed to a revisionist position on homosexuality. It is for these reasons that I have been among those who have criticised the imbalance within the Southwark appointments and strongly communicated this upset and dissatisfaction to our Bishop, Christopher Chessun.

At the basis of this response has been a commitment to what I see as the ‘principled comprehensiveness’ of being part of the Church of England. Part of what the ‘principled’ aspect of this involves is being prepared to make strong protest when decisions are taken that are seen as wrong or misguided and being committed to patient and ongoing pressure to reverse them. Part of what the ‘comprehensiveness’ side of this involves, however, is an equal commitment to remaining fully embedded within a diverse church partly because of the conviction that evangelicals equally need those of other traditions to tell us (just as strongly) when we go wrong as well…

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

opinion

St Boniface Trust has held a prize essay competition for people to write on the subject of Why I am an Anglican and believe I shall remain so. The winning entry by Natacha-Ingrid Tinteroff is available to download.

Last week I linked to two articles about a new translation of the Bible. Savi Hensman also writes about it for Ekklesia in Approaching the Bible with an open heart.

Adam J Copeland writes for The Huffington Post about Acts 8:26-40: Castrating Our Customs .

Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian Goodbye, St Paul’s. Hello, St Mary’s.

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Friday, 4 May 2012

Canterbury reps on CNC elected

The Canterbury Vacancy-in-See Committee met yesterday, and as part of their business elected the following six diocesan representatives on the Crown Nominations Commission responsible for the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Reverend Canon Clare Edwards
Mr Raymond Harris
Mr David Kemp
The Reverend Canon Mark Roberts
Mrs Caroline Spencer
The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott

The Church of England centrally and the Diocese of Canterbury have both published these names.

Canterbury Diocese elects six representatives to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission
Archbishopric of Canterbury: Canterbury Diocese elects six representatives to serve on the Crown Nominations Commission

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

more on VAT changes

I have written about this earlier here and here.

The Church of England reports on a VAT lobby on alterations held on 23 April.

Also on 23 April Tony Baldry MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered two Written Questions in the House of Commons.

A Treasury minister was asked a question in the House of Lords on 24 April.

Madeleine Davies has reported in the Church Times that Oppose ‘alterations’ levy, Baldry urges.

George Parker writes in the Financial Times that Churches reprieved from new VAT charge (free registration required).
But David Ainsworth writes for Third Sector that Archbishops’ Council says compensation for listed churches won’t cover loss of VAT relief.

Tony Baldry asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer a question about VAT on improvements to listed buildings and received this written answer on 30 April.

This doesn’t just affect the Church of England. The Baptist Union of Great Britain has published this: VAT and listed buildings.

Aaron Morby writes for Construction Enquirer that Greens, builders and RIBA call to scrap listed building VAT.

The Construction Index has Builders join heritage lobby in calls for listed buildings VAT plan to be axed.

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103rd Bishop of Chichester Announced

Updated Monday

The next Bishop of Chichester is to be the Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Whitby. This has been announced by Number 10 this morning.

Diocese of Chichester
Thursday 3 May 2012

Queen approves Right Reverend Martin Clive Warner for election as Bishop of Chichester

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Martin Clive Warner, MA, PhD, Suffragan Bishop of Whitby, for election as Bishop of Chichester in succession to the Right Reverend Dr John William Hind, BA, DD, on his resignation on the 30th April 2012.

Notes for Editors

The Right Reverend Martin Warner (aged 53) trained for the ordained ministry at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He served his first title at St Peter’s, Exeter from 1984 to 1988. From 1988 to 1993 he was Team Vicar of the Parish of the Resurrection, Leicester. The Right Reverend Martin Warner was the Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham from 1993 to 2002, and also Priest in Charge of Hempton with Pudding Norton from 1998 to 2000. He was an Honorary Canon of Norwich Cathedral from 2000 to 2002. From 2003 to 2010 he was Canon Residentiary of St Paul’s Cathedral. Since 2010 he has been Suffragan Bishop of Whitby.

The Right Reverend Martin Warner has wide ranging interests in the arts, including opera, theatre and medieval and contemporary art. He enjoys writing and has been widely involved in the area of theological and spiritual exploration. Preaching engagements have taken him round the world, and he has led pilgrimages in Europe and the Holy Land. For relaxation he enjoys travel by bike.

The Diocese of Chichester has a longer announcement on its website and there is also this video.

Updates

The Rector of Chichester Diocese Society of Catholic Priests Chapter and the Convenor of Affirming Catholicism in Chichester Diocese have written to their members following the announcement of Bishop Martin Warner’s appointment as their new Bishop. You can read their letter as a PDF here.

WATCH has issued a press release which is copied below the fold, as it has not appeared on any other website yet.

WATCH press release

Appointment of the Bishop of Chichester

The decision to appoint another diocesan bishop to Chichester who will not ordain women will cause widespread disappointment throughout the diocese and across the rest of the Church of England. After a full consultation, many in the Diocese were hoping to work with a new bishop who follows normal practice in the Church of England in accepting ordained women on the same terms as men.

The message this gives to the wider Church of England is that it still acceptable for women to be seen as a problem that some people feel they need to be protected from rather than a gift to the Church. We wonder how the ordained women of Chichester will feel supported with a bishop who does not recognise their orders? We wonder how the lay women and men of Chichester will feel seeing their female priests compromised in this way?

At a time when 42 out of 44 Dioceses have voted for women to be made bishops and large numbers in the Church are looking to the day when women will become bishops this decision seeks to preserve a past that has long gone.

Even in Chichester the Diocesan Synod voted (informally) ‘in favour of ordaining women to the episcopate in the Church of England’, but the three Bishops did not support the motion. Total clergy + laity figures were 86 for, 61 against including 3 Bishops.

In a diocese where the courageous bishop George Bell and the saintly Richard of Chichester served the Church with such distinction and foresight this is a missed opportunity.

Nevertheless, it is hoped that the new bishop of Chichester will help to explore opportunities to move women’s ministry forward for lay and ordained alike and to make full use of the gifts and experience they offer.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 9:15am BST | Comments (96) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Tom Sutcliffe: Lost in the Wilderness

Updated Thursday

Tom Sutcliffe has provided us with an improved version of his article about Archbishop Rowan Williams which we have published as a web page here.

Readers may like to know that an earlier, much shorter version of this article originally appeared here.
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Tom Sutcliffe has written a very perceptive article about Rowan Williams which has been published by Anglican Ink.

The title is Lost in the wilderness: Rowan Williams’s via crucis as Archbishop of Canterbury, and the future without him.

This is well worth the time to read in full, even though it is over 6000 words.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 7:32am BST | Comments (39) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England