Monday, 30 July 2012

Necessary but not sufficient

Robert Cotton, Rector of Holy Trinity Guildford and a member of the General Synod, writes …

Restraint

At various points in the Measure actions are described which, it must be presumed and hoped, spring from deeply held beliefs; but these beliefs are not described. For example, section 2 (5) says “ … includes a statement by the bishop that he will not ordain women to the office of priest…” This statement is a declared action with no reference to the supporting theological rationale. Moreover, the provision that must be made in the diocesan scheme flowing from the bishop’s statement does not need to refer to the attitude of the diocesan bishop. ‘Legislation is generally about the achievement of practical objectives’ (paragraph 35, GS Misc 1033). So there are already examples within the Measure of restraint being shown. Legislation is not the best place to name and describe theological convictions.

Necessary but not sufficient

This is partly because theological convictions appear different to different people. My passionately held belief may appear to you to be prejudice, or vice versa. The church flourishes when convictions are articulated and understood, and not merely held. In particular, spiritual discernment is made possible when theological convictions are articulated in the company of those who may disagree. Convictions may become held more passionately when we speak with our sympathisers, but they become better tested when we are not “preaching to the choir”. Indeed, it is a present danger for the church increasingly to fragment into pockets of ardently held beliefs where the ability to listen and speak is not fully practised. It is humbling to be in a position that our deeply held convictions are not convincing others. Such humility is needed both for conversations within the church and, even more pressingly, with those ‘in the world’.

So, theological convictions may themselves be necessary but not sufficient. The Archbishop of Canterbury identified that something was missing in section 2 (1) of the original Measure in his speech to Synod on July 9 (Para 33, GS Misc 1033). He pointed out that the church should be rightly fearful of accommodating itself to certain beliefs. But paragraph 36 notes that it is very difficult as well as contentious to seek to define what theological convictions are acceptable. It may also be seen to be inappropriate for legislation to attempt this task. What the legislation can do is commit all parties to become involved in further discernment by requiring there to be conversations that explore both the roots and consequences of firmly held beliefs. Indeed, the example that is frequently used is misogyny. Given that what to you appears to be misogyny may be to the other person a deeply held belief (a theological conviction), the example acknowledges that there are theological convictions that can be deemed unacceptable. The method for making that judgement must include conversation between interested parties; no legislation can be sufficient in itself to determine the rightness or otherwise of theological convictions.

Assurance

The logic of these points moves us towards option 4. Restraint urges us to ‘prune the provision’ (Para 52); but this must be balanced by reference to process. So the suggested wording in paragraph 55, second option, captures these two aspects. Paragraph 56 raises a concern that there is no ‘assurance that the guidance would result in the provision of ministry that parishes would be able to receive’ – nor should it. For, as has already been established, there are deeply held beliefs, that will be presented as theological convictions, which the church should resist accommodating (see the archbishop’s remarks). Rather the inclusion of reference to process ensures that there will be opportunity ‘to discover more than is apparent from the Letter of Request’ (Para 60).

Seen as an enlargement of option 4, option 5 falls foul of the criteria of seeking to state too much. We have already recognised that a desire to have a male bishop leaves the theological rationale unsaid. This is inappropriate for relationships (where reasoning needs to be offered, heard and discussed), but appropriate for legislation (which is not the right forum for such discernment). In a similar way, the consequences that flow from having a male bishop should also be left unspoken within legislation, but articulated in the context of spiritual relationships between bishops, priests and parishes. The structure of the theological argument should be “we request a male bishop for XYZ theological reasons so that ABC may follow”. For example, a Traditional Catholic parish should be able to describe the particular ways in which it will flourish given the provision of a male bishop. Both reasons and goals, once discussed, heard and respected, will enable parishes, priests and bishops to work actively together with mutual understanding. The word “effective” in paragraph 67 is a good example of legislation over-reaching itself. No law can assure parishes of effective ministry; only proper training, active prayer and the blessings of the Holy Spirit can do that. So legislation itself is not the right place for reasons (XYZ) or goals (ABC).

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Monday, 30 July 2012 at 9:40am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Global South Primates' letter to the Crown Nominations Commission

In their communiqué a week ago the Global South Primates wrote that they had written to the Crown Nominations Commission about the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Episcopal Café has now seen a copy of this letter and published it in full: Global South Primates: next ABC must ‘address the ecclesial deficit’ of Communion.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 29 July 2012 at 7:24pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 28 July 2012

opinion

Theos has published a two part series on the establishment of the Church of England. Jonathan Chaplin writes that it is Time for the Church to cut the knot, whereas Nigel Biggar writes Why the Anglican establishment is good for a liberal society.

Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian about The art of religious sunbathing: giving up trying to be in control.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Friday, 27 July 2012

Women Bishops: A closer look at option 5

This article is concerned with what GS Misc 1033 calls “Option 5”. To encourage a constructive discussion of this option, I have brought together below the specific sections of the document which deal with this. This option is titled Focus on suitability/appropriateness and it builds in a specific reference to the ‘suitability’ or ‘appropriateness’ of the person selected for the particular context in which he was to exercise ministry.

Paragraph 59 contains the suggested possible rewording of sub-clause (c)

(c) the selection, following consultation with parochial church councils who issue Letters of Request under section 3, of male bishops and male priests, the exercise of ministry by whom appears to the persons making the selection to be [suitable][appropriate] for the parishes concerned.

The full text of the relevant section of the paper, paras 58 to 67 is copied below the fold.

The paper also comments on what wording in the Code of Practice would be appropriate in conjunction with option 5. Reference is made to the most recent draft code, contained in GS Misc 1007 and a few extracts from that are included as an annex at the end of GS Misc 1033.

Here is what it says:

88. In the case of option five, an alternative version would be preferable. There would also need to be a revised version of paragraph 97 (which could incorporate some of the elements from paragraph 91 below), with consequential amendments to paragraphs 126 and 127. The text to go in after paragraph 40 might be along the lines of the following:

A diocesan scheme should provide that the arrangements for selecting bishops who will exercise their ministry by delegation will enable parishes to receive ministry that is [suitable] [appropriate] to their circumstances given the basis on which the Letter of Request was issued.

This does not mean that the arrangements should allow a parish to choose its own bishop or insist that the person selected should be of its own churchmanship. But they should provide for the diocesan bishop, through consultation with the PCC, to seek to establish the nature of the conviction that underlies the Letter of Request, and, in the light of that, to select someone whose ministry can be effective in that context.”

Paragraph 91 which is mentioned above, as being partially relevant to option 5, reads as follows:

91. Paragraph 97 [of the draft code] would then be replaced (and there would be corresponding amendments to paragraphs 126 and 127 in relation to priestly ministry) by the following:

Before sending the PCC the written notice setting out the arrangements to give effect to the Letter of Request, the diocesan bishop should inform him - or herself, by consulting the PCC of the parish (either personally or through a representative), of its position in relation to the celebration of the sacraments and other divine service and the provision of pastoral care.

The Measure does not allow parishes to ask that their bishop should hold a particular set of beliefs, or subscribe to any statement of faith beyond what all bishops have to affirm when making the Declaration of Assent. Nor does it allow parishes to choose their own bishop or insist that the male bishop selected for them reflects their own churchmanship.

In determining what arrangements to set out in the written notice the diocesan bishop should seek to accommodate the parish’s concerns relating to holy orders and the exercise of ordained ministry of women so far as those matters are relevant to the parish’s position in relation to the celebration of the sacraments and other divine service and the provision of pastoral care. But the diocesan should not take into account other, unrelated matters. In practice, the needs of conservative evangelical parishes, and traditional catholic parishes, in this respect are unlikely to be identical.

Option five - Focus on suitability/appropriateness

58. A further approach, which would incorporate elements of option four but attempt to avoid some of its downsides, would be to build specifically into the provision a reference to the ‘suitability’ or ‘appropriateness’ of the person selected for the particular context in which he was to exercise ministry.

59. A possible formulation along these lines might be as follows:

(c) the selection, following consultation with parochial church councils who issue Letters of Request under section 3, of male bishops and male priests, the exercise of ministry by whom appears to the persons making the selection to be [suitable][appropriate] for the parishes concerned.”

60. Again, as with option four, this approach identifies the broad subject on which guidance must be given. And, as in its second variant, it builds in a reference to process - there has to be consultation with the relevant PCC to discover more than is apparent from the Letter of Request before a male bishop or priest is selected to exercise ministry there.

61. But it goes a step further in identifying an objective, namely that the person selected by the diocesan bishop (or in the case of a parochial appointment, by those with the relevant responsibilities) should be ‘suitable/appropriate’.

62. The advantage of this approach is that it would signal on the face of the Measure that for some parishes more was at stake than simply being offered the ministry of any male bishop or priest. Thus, for the first time, there would be an acknowledgement of the much discussed ‘necessary but not sufficient’ issue.

63. The potential downside is that words such as ‘suitable’ or ‘appropriate’ are very broad unless related to particular criteria. The nature of the guidance given in the Code of Practice would, therefore, be of particular importance.

64. As between ‘suitable’ and ‘appropriate’ either would be possible. In legislative drafting ‘appropriate’ is generally used as a convenient shorthand to avoid spelling out what is clear but complex to spell out in full (so that, for example, Acts of Parliament may refer to ‘the appropriate minister’ or ‘appropriate authority’ where from the context it is clear which one is being referred to).

65. ‘Suitable’ tends to be used when the emphasis is on provision which reflects particular contexts or needs (for example ‘suitable alternative accommodation’).

66. The guidance given in the Code of Practice would need to be framed in terms which avoided carrying any implication that the parish could regard as ‘unsuitable/inappropriate’ anyone who did not match their expectations in all respects.

67. Equally it would need to provide confidence to parishes that they would receive episcopal or priestly ministry that would be effective in their circumstances, given the nature of their convictions concerning the ordained ministry of women.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 27 July 2012 at 7:00am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Prime Minister criticises Church on same-sex relationships

The Prime Minister hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening, and a transcript of his remarks has been published: Prime Minister’s speech at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Reception.

There have been several reports of this event including:

Changing Attitude David Cameron reveals government’s total commitment to equal marriage

Pink News Exclusive: Out4Marriage says David Cameron personally backs gay religious marriages

Thurible At Number 10

The speech linked above includes the following paragraph:

…I run an institution – the Conservative Party – which for many many years got itself on the wrong side of this argument, it locked people out who were naturally Conservative from supporting it and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently. Of course this is very, very complicated and difficult issue for all the different Churches, but I passionately believe that all institutions need to wake up to the case for equality, and the Church shouldn’t be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views, are also gay. And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the Churches can be in danger of doing the same thing…

This has provoked a response from Anglican Mainstream Prime Minister urged to correct serious misrepresentation.

And Reform has issued this Media Statement.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 26 July 2012 at 4:24pm BST | Comments (87) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Church of England publishes discussion document on women bishops' legislation

Updated

A discussion document (GS Misc 1033) has been issued to all members of the General Synod today. It explores possible ways of resolving the issue which led to the adjournment of the final approval debate of the women bishops’ legislation in York a fortnight ago.

Here is a link to GS Misc 1033: Women in the Episcopate – the Final Legislative Lap in PDF format.

And here is a copy of the document as a web page.

The document is in the name of the Secretary General and has been issued with the agreement of the Standing Committee of the House of Bishops (Canterbury, York, London, Coventry, Dover, Gloucester, Norwich and Rochester).

It also reflects input from the Steering Committee for the legislation (Bishop of Manchester, Bishop of Dover, Viv Faull, Paula Gooder, Ian Jagger, Margaret Swinson and Geoffrey Tattersall), and from the three bishops (St Edmundsbury, Chichester and Coventry) who were previously members of the Code of Practice Working Group.

No recommendations are made at this stage. Instead the document sets out the decision making process which now has to be followed, explains how the disputed issue concerning clause 5(1)(c) relates to the rest of the legislation (which cannot now be amended) and discusses seven possible options.

Two of these are to retain or remove clause 5(1)(c). The other five are ways in which the present wording might be replaced by a new provision. These five alternative drafting approaches are not intended to be exhaustive. As the document says at paragraph 11: ‘The hope is that these possibilities will stimulate further suggestions.’

The consultation period ends on 24 August so that the results can be assessed and reported to the House for its meeting on 12 September. On that occasion - which will also be attended by the Steering Committee - the House will need to decide how to respond to the Synod’s request to reconsider clause 5(1)(c). In the light of the decision taken then Synod members will have just over two months to reflect on how they will vote when the Final Approval debate is resumed at the group of sessions called for 19-21 November.

On 12 September the House will also consider the need for supplementing the illustrative draft Code of Practice which was circulated to Synod in January (GS Misc 1007). A final decision will not be needed then because drafting the Code does not at this stage form part of the formal legislative process.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 at 12:38pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Women bishops: Clause 5 (1) (c) What are the options?

To start our discussion of how the House of Bishops (HoB) might respond to the action of General Synod in referring the legislation back to them, let’s first look at the range of options that is legally possible.

The first point to note is that under the terms of the referral, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the General Synod, the HoB cannot make changes to any other part of the draft Measure. The only part of the Measure they are now permitted to alter is that which comes between sub-clauses (b) and (d) of Clause 5 (1).

The wording is shown in context below the fold.

There is however nothing to prevent them introducing some additional separate documentation, outside the text of the Measure, including but not limited to some proposed wording for the Code of Practice.

The second point is that the HoB could decide not to make any further change at all, and simply return the existing text to the Synod. Again this might be accompanied by some separate documentation. Those who wish to argue in favour of this course of action need to explain why they think that, despite the clear majority vote for referral, this is what the HoB should do.

The third point is that the HoB could simply withdraw the existing sub-clause altogether, thus restoring this part of the Measure to the wording that existed previously. Again, those who wish to argue for this option, need to explain why they think that, despite a clear lack of a two-thirds majority for referral in the House of Laity, this is what the HoB should now do.

The final point is that the HoB could propose some modifications to the existing wording of sub-clause (c). This would involve the additions of new words or even sentences, or the deletion of existing words or phrases. They might also split the sub-clause even further, for example to make a distinction between what it says about bishops and what it says about priests. They might add words to clarify the meaning of the term “theological convictions”. In all these cases, and any others, it may be helpful if the bishops issue some additional separate documentation, as mentioned above.

Before the General Synod considers any further change, the “Group of Six” has to determine that it is not now so substantial a change from the original draft Measure that it requires further review by all the diocesan synods.

But the purpose of any change now must be to increase the level of support that the Measure will receive in the Synod in November, and subsequently in Parliament. The question we are discussing here is what more can be said in the Measure that will allow those opposed to the underlying principle of it to feel less exposed, whilst still allowing those in favour of the underlying principle to feel able to support the Measure.

Clause 5 (1) (c) in context:

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.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 at 9:00am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Monday, 23 July 2012

Dean of St Albans reiterates his support for equal civil marriage

The Dean of St Albans, The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, has made a video for the Out4Marriage website.

You can view it via this link.

He was a signatory to a letter to the editor of The Times on this topic, published in April, which is reproduced here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 July 2012 at 6:35pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Global South Conference issues a (separate) Communiqué

In addition to the document issued by the GS primates, there is now also this: A Communiqué from the Global South Conference on the Decade of Mission and Networking, July 16 - 21, 2012 at Bangkok, Thailand.

1. This Conference is a response to the call at the 4th Global South to South Encounter in Singapore April 2010 to gather leaders from Provinces of the Global South and other mission partners, which are unequivocally committed to the apostolic-historic faith for the Global South Conference on Decade of Mission and Networking.

2. We received with thanks a note of greeting from Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who affirmed his support for the work of the Conference.

3. Similarly, we also received with thanks a note of greeting from Elder Fu Xianwei, Chairman of the National Committee of Three Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China. He affirmed his friendship with the Global South Anglican Churches and continual desire for further dialogue and partnership in ministry.

4. More than 100 delegates from provinces in the Global South (comprising Africa, Asia, the Pacific and South America) gathered together in prayer, fellowship and listening to the teaching of the Word. We were also joined by a number of our mission partners from other parts of the Communion and various Mission agencies…

Jim Naughton has already commented on this statement at Episcopal Café in The Global South Anglicans and what they didn’t say:

…Followers of Communion politics will note that the statement contains no mention of The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada or the Church of England’s politics and practices regarding the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The statement comes on the heels of a relatively mild statement from the “Global South Primates”, a smaller group that often meets in conjunction with larger Global South gatherings, but in the past has taken a harder rhetorical line against more gay-friendly churches.

While the communique does identify the members of this particular fellowship as “unequivocally committed to the apostolic-historic faith” (hence the usual absence of the leaders of numerous southern Anglican provinces who define that term differently than the organizers of this meeting) that phrase is perhaps the only example of the kabuki boilerplate that previously studded the statements of all parties in the Anglican struggles over sexuality…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 23 July 2012 at 4:12pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Global South Primates issue a Communiqué from Bangkok

The full text of the document: Communiqué of the Global South Primates Bangkok, Thailand, 20 July 2012

It starts out:

1. We, the Primates and representatives of 17 Global South Provinces, met in Bangkok, Thailand, from 18-20 July 2012, in conjunction with the Global South Conference on the Decade of Mission and Networking.

2. The theme of Conference called the Church to “Be Transformed by the Renewing of the mind to Obedience of Faith for Holistic Mission in a Radically Changing Global Landscape”, offering our sanctified bodies and renewed minds as living sacrifices for our Lord’s glory.

And it includes this passage:

6. We note with great sadness the passing of Resolution A049 at the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church which authorized a liturgy for blessing same-sex unions. This action confirms our disappointment that The Episcopal Church has no regard for the concerns and convictions of the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide.

7. We stand in solidarity with our brethren in the Communion Partners who have dissented from this action. We uphold them in prayer and support them in fellowship as they continue in their commitment to the evangelical faith and catholic order of the Church, as expressed in their Minority Report known as The Indianapolis Statement.

8. We also appreciate and support all the faithful in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) as well as those in the Anglican Church in Canada who remain true to our biblical and historic faith.

9. We deeply respect and appreciate our historical and spiritual relationship with the See of Canterbury. We have written to the Crown Nominations Commission with concerns from the Global South and important principles for consideration as it nominates candidates for the appointment of a new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Those present are listed:

Primates Present or Represented:

The Most Rev Dr Mouneer Anis, Primate of Jerusalem & the Middle East
The Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, Primate of Nigeria
The Most Rev Ian Ernest, Primate of the Indian Ocean
The Most Rev Bolly Lapok, Primate of South East Asia
The Most Rev Dr Eliud Wabukala, Primate of Kenya
The Most Rev Stephen Tan, Primate of Myanmar
The Most Rev Henri Isingoma, Primate of Congo
The Most Rev Daniel Deng, Primate of Sudan
The Most Rev Bernard Ntahoturi, Primate of Burundi
The Most Rev Onesphore Rwaje, Primate of Rwanda
The Most Rev Valentino Mokiwa, Primate of Tanzania
The Most Rev David Vunagi, Primate of Melanesia
The Most Rev Joseph Kopapa, Primate of Papua New Guinea
The Right Rev Dr Johannes Seoka representing Southern Africa
The Right Rev Matthias Medadues-Badohu representing West Africa
The Right Rev Dr Chad Gandiya representing Central Africa
The Right Rev Peter Bartlett representing the Southern Cone

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 22 July 2012 at 1:03pm BST | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review offers a new vision for the Church in Wales

The Church in Wales has issued this press release: Review team offers radical vision for Church

A radical new vision for the future of the Church in Wales is set out in a report launched today.

Supersize parishes run by teams of vicars and lay people, creative ideas for ensuring churches stay at the heart of their communities and investing further in ministry to young people are among the report’s recommendations following an independent root and branch review.

The Church in Wales commissioned the review a year ago to address some of its challenges and to ensure it was fit for purpose as it faced its centenary in 2020. Three experienced people in ministry and church management examined its structures and ministry and heard evidence from public meetings across Wales attended by more than 1,000 people.

On the Review Group were: Lord (Richard) Harries of Pentregarth, former Bishop of Oxford, who chaired it; Professor Charles Handy, former professor of the London Business School; and Professor Patricia Peattie, first chairwoman of the Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust and former Chair of the Episcopal Church in Scotland’s Standing Committee.

Their report will now be presented to the Church’s Governing Body for consideration.

It makes 50 recommendations which include:

  • Parishes replaced by much larger ‘ministry areas’ which would mirror the catchment areas of secondary schools, where possible, and be served by a team of clergy and lay people;
  • Creative use of church buildings to enable them to be used by the whole community;
  • Training lay people to play a greater part in church leadership;
  • Investing more in ministry for young people;
  • Developing new forms of worship to reach out to those unfamiliar with church services;
  • Encouraging financial giving to the church through tithing

The full report is available as a PDF file here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 21 July 2012 at 5:06pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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opinion

Mark Chapman writes for Thinking faith about Rowan Williams in Retrospect.

Giles Fraser writes for The Guardian that No, I am not a liberal – I believe that community comes before the individual.
And in the Church Times he writes that It might be legal, but it is not right.

Paul Handley writes this leader comment on the Church Times Peace is part of the Christian DNA.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 21 July 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Church of Ireland Gazette interviews at General Synod

Ian Ellis, editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette, interviewed the bishop of Dover, and two of the editors of Thinking Anglicans, following the General Synod vote to adjourn the debate on final approval of the women bishops legislation. You can listen to, or download, both interviews here.

The Gazette also has an editorial about the Synod meeting which you can read here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 21 July 2012 at 10:27am BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Bishop of Durham to serve on Banking Standards Commission

It was announced earlier this week that the Bishop of Durham is to serve on the Banking Standards Commission. Here is the Church of England press release.

Bishop of Durham to serve on Banking Standards Commission
17 July 2012

The Rt Revd Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, has been invited to sit on the Parliamentary Commission On Banking Standards. His appointment to the Commission underlines the depth and value of the non-partisan expertise the Lords Spiritual bring to their work in the House of Lords.

The Commission will be chaired by Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee. The terms of reference set out in the motion which established the Commission require it to consider and report on ‘professional standards and culture of the UK banking sector, taking account of regulatory and competition investigations into the Libor rate-setting process’ and ‘lessons to be learned about corporate governance, transparency and conflicts of interest, and their implications for regulation and for Government policy’.

Following graduation, Bishop Justin spent most of his professional life in business, including 11 years in the oil industry. He was part of the senior management team of a large British exploration and production company, responsible for its financing operations, eventually becoming Group Treasurer of Enterprise Oil PLC in 1984.

Giles Fraser interviews the bishop for The Guardian: The Saturday interview: Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham

There are some press reports of the bishop’s appointment.

Ed Thornton in The Church Times Durham joins team to tackle banks

BBC Bishop of Durham on UK banking committee

And The Guardian has a list of all the commission members: Parliamentary commission on banking standards set up.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 21 July 2012 at 10:10am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 19 July 2012

General Synod - business done & electronic voting

The official summary of the business transacted at the July Synod (including the texts of the motions carried) is now available for download: Business Done.

All the electronic voting results lists for the group of sessions are now available to download here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 19 July 2012 at 10:06am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

What's in A Name? A report on Equal Marriage

The Policy Exchange think tank has published a report entitled What’s In A Name? Is there a case for equal marriage?

The synopsis reads:

The Government’s proposals to introduce civil marriage for same-sex couples have provoked controversy and a wide-scale debate. The public consultation, which concluded in June sparked more responses than almost any other Government consultation. The debate has, in many ways, been more diverse, impassioned and wide-ranging than previous debates around ‘gay rights’. In particular, a ‘conservative case’ in favour of reform has emerged.

Supporters of equal marriage suggest that allowing same-sex people to marry would be an important act to ensure that gay and lesbian people have equal rights under the law. It’s also suggested that marriage is a beneficial institution, encouraging commitment and stability and that these benefits should not be denied to gay people, with some suggesting that marriage could be particularly beneficial to gay people.

Opponents argue that the change would redefine the nature of marriage and weaken the institution as a whole. They also argue that it could lead to a ‘slippery slope’ that could see the likes of polygamous marriage legalised at some point in the future. Concerns have also been expressed by opponents that the changes could be detrimental to religious freedom.

This report adopts an evidence-based analysis of the arguments around marriage equality to consider whether there is a compelling argument to reform the law. It pursues a reasoned analysis of the equal marriage concept and its practical implications and evaluates the arguments on both sides of the divide. It also explores the experience of other countries where marriage equality is already a reality.

The report can be downloaded as a PDF from here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 at 10:21am BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Monday, 16 July 2012

Clifford Longley writes about the General Synod

This article, which appeared in The Tablet last week, is reproduced here by kind permission of the Editor.

Nowhere is it written that a parish may excommunicate its bishop’

The Church of England has reached an impasse over the issue of women bishops. As conservatives blame the liberals and liberals blame the conservatives – and both blame the bishops – might a candid friend suggest that they would be more honest if they blamed themselves?

On 11 November 1992, the General Synod gave the required two-thirds majority to the decision to ordain women as priests. There were three hostages to fortune given that day. The first was to suppose a theological issue could be settled by such a majority as that. Not long before, the issue of unity with the Methodists had required a 75 per cent majority, which it failed to get. Two-thirds was chosen simply because the pro-women-priests side felt it could be achieved.

Secondly, the assumption was made that the issue of the consecration (i.e. ordination) of women bishops could be postponed to another day. Anything that might have alarmed the waverers was removed. Indeed, even this minimalist proposal was only secured by a margin of two votes, and there were more than that number of abstentions. But in the apostolic tradition, the priesthood is a unity. Priests exercise their ministry with their bishop; bishops with their priests. Theologically, one follows from the other. It is the attempt to separate them that is now coming unstuck, for the theological unity of the ordained ministry is deeply embedded in the Church of England’s structure, where it has survived since before the Reformation.

Thirdly, the two-thirds requirement guaranteed that up to a third of the Church would withhold its assent. The solution was to give the minority what was, in effect, their own Church-within-a-Church, with its own bishops who would not themselves ordain women (dubbed flying bishops because in effect they flew in when episcopal ministry was needed, and then flew out again).

This had two consequences. It meant abandoning any attempt to achieve a better consensus, to bring the Church to one mind on the matter. The Church proper and the Church-within-a-Church were henceforth destined to be rival and mutually incompatible versions of Anglican orthodoxy. It also implied that there was, in conservative eyes at least, a fundamental flaw in the episcopal credentials of any bishop who had ordained women, a “taint”.

By voting for the flying-bishop proposal as part of the minimalist package, furthermore, the liberal majority had colluded in this theology of taint, whether they meant to or not.

But it is not a doctrine known to the Catholic and apostolic tradition, to which the Church of England has pledged to be faithful. Nor is it biblical. It is a toxic novelty. Nowhere in the tradition is it written that a parish may excommunicate its own bishop and opt for another one, which is what the flying bishops idea amounts to. If a parish decided to reject the ministry of the local bishop if that bishop was female, it could arguably question her orders. But to reject it because a (male) bishop had, at least once, ordained a woman priest is contrary to the necessary (and Catholic) principle of ex opere operato – that the validity of a sacramental ministry is independent of the worthiness of the office-holder.

So the pro-women-priests majority may have set up this untenable situation by their eagerness to scrape up a two-thirds majority. But the anti-women-priests minority then made a grievous error by embracing the theology of episcopal taint that the flying bishops solution implied, contrary to the Catholic tradition. Henceforth they were sitting on a time bomb. If the Church decided to follow the logic of 11 November 1992 and ordain women as bishops, the minority’s position would become hopeless. Bishops often participate in each other’s consecrations: “taint” would become a sort of theological virus, transmitted by the laying on of hands. Sooner or later, none would be untainted.

The measure to ordain women bishops was adjourned by the General Synod this week because it entitled parishes by law to choose a bishop of the pure kind if their local diocesan bishop is tainted (or even more so, if the local bishop is female). The objection was made that this is deeply insulting to women priests and to any woman subsequently chosen as a bishop. So it may be, but this is an issue that is better dealt with by rigorous theological analysis than by indignant rhetoric.

Theological chickens have a habit of coming home to roost. The next step forward therefore needs to be a step back, to examine afresh what happened on 11 November 1992. And to be honest about – wherever that may lead.
——
Clifford Longley is an Editorial Consultant to The Tablet. He is a journalist who has been a religious affairs specialist since 1972, for The Times for 20 years and then until 2000 for the Daily Telegraph.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 16 July 2012 at 6:12pm BST | Comments (90) | TrackBack
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General Synod - electronic voting results for adjournment

Updated Monday evening to add a webpage version of the spreadsheet.

The detailed electronic voting results for the vote on the motion

That the debate be now adjourned to enable the new clause 5(1)(c) inserted by the House of Bishops into the draft Measure entitled “Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure” to be reconsidered by the House of Bishops.

at General Synod last Monday are now available for download.

As already announced at the time of the vote the result was 288 votes in favour and 144 against with 15 recorded abstentions.

From the detailed electronic voting results I have calculated how the votes went in each house.

  for against abstain
Bishops 36 10 4
Clergy 136 54 6
Laity 116 80 5
total 288 144 15

From these figures it can be seen that there was a comfortable two-thirds majority in the houses of bishops and clergy. But the majority was only 59% in the house of laity. These figures may or may not be relevant to the vote on final approval in November when a two-thirds majority will be required in each house for the measure to be approved.

I have split the voting lists into houses in this spreadsheet, also available as a webpage. I have also added the names of those members who did not record a vote or abstention. They are marked as absent for convenience but at least one (the Archbishop of York, who was in the chair) was present.

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Saturday, 14 July 2012

opinion

David Keen writes about The Leading of the 5000: Redesigning the CofE.
And Sam Charles Norton says that The dying of a church is not a management problem.

Simon Barrow writes for Ekklesia about Why the church should back community schooling.

Alan Wilson blogs Overview and Inner View.

Peter Heslam writes for LICC (The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity) about Barclay’s Apology.

Giles Fraser writes on The guardian that An inclusive church is a fundamental gospel imperative.

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Friday, 13 July 2012

Vicarious liability: RC Diocese of Portsmouth loses appeal

Last November, we reported Court rules on RC priest/bishop relationship.

In the event, that decision was appealed by the RC Diocese of Portsmouth, and this week judgment was given in the appeal case. The panel of three appeal judges voted 2-1 against the diocese.

JGE v The Trustees of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust

The full text of the judgment can be found here (PDF).

A press statement by the diocese is over here (PDF).

Some press reports and comment:

Guardian Owen Bowcott Catholic church loses abuse liability appeal

Telegraph John Bingham Clerical abuse case ‘disastrous’ for charities, claims Church

Catholic Herald Mark Greaves Court rules that Diocese of Portsmouth is liable for clerical abuse and Alexander Lucie-Smith Yesterday’s Appeal Court ruling strikes me as a serious blow to religious freedom

Southern Daily Echo Diocese of Portsmouth loses appeal against liability for priests’ wrongdoings

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Revision of Clause 5(1)(c)

On Monday the General Synod voted to adjourn the debate on Final Aproval of the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to enable the House of Bishops to reconsider the new clause 5(1)(c) that the House had inserted.

We propose to conduct a discussion here on Thinking Anglicans with the aim of making one or more suggestions to the House on the form that reconsideration might take. In order to make this as constructive, helpful and eirenic as possible, we will conduct this in a more formal way than we normally do.

  • Discussion will begin with a post from one or more guest contributors
  • Commenting will as now be subject to moderation, but we will more strictly enforce the rules on relevance, ad hominem comment (none allowed) and so on. ‘Relevance’ means keeping to this particular topic: constructively discussing possible texts that would satisfy the reference back to the HoB from the Synod, i.e., we are solely concerned with revision, removal, expansion, replacement etc of clause 5(1)(c).
  • We hope that various viewpoints will be offered, and we expect all to be respected. However, the purpose of the discussion is to make the draft Measure more likely to gain Final Approval at the General Synod, and more likely to gain parliamentary approval.

We firmly believe and hope that a site named ‘Thinking Anglicans’ can and should be a place for this sort of debate: one of high quality, and high regard for other participants, as well as for those who are not participating, whether an individual agrees with them or not.

We will introduce this debate shortly.

Simon, Simon and Peter

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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

General Convention declines to take a position on the Anglican Covenant

ENS reports Convention ‘declines to take a position’ on Anglican Covenant.

The House of Bishops concurred with the deputies July 10 to affirm their commitment to building relationships across the Anglican Communion, especially through the Continuing Indaba program, and to decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant.

After considering eight resolutions, the General Convention’s committee on world mission recommended adoption of two resolutions on Anglican Communion relationships and the Anglican Covenant, a document that initially had been intended as a way to bind Anglicans globally across cultural and theological differences.

Connecticut Bishop Ian Douglas, chair of the world mission committee, told ENS following the vote that the resolutions are “a genuine pastoral response because we are not of one mind, and to push a decision at this time would cause hurt and alienation in our church on both sides and instead we chose to stay in the conversation.”

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition issued this statement:

The wind has clearly gone out of the sails of the Anglican Covenant. There was not even a single dissenting vote when the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia declared itself unable to adopt the Covenant. While our Coalition would have preferred a clearer “no” from the Episcopal Church, the resolution passed in Indianapolis is scarcely more than an abstention – and the commitment to “monitor the ongoing developments” rings hollow when we consider that the same General Convention phased out funding for the Episcopal Church staff position for Anglican Communion affairs. Perhaps they will monitor the situation by following #noanglicancovenant on Twitter.

The next major step in the Covenant process will be at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, this fall. We understand that there will be an attempt to introduce a ratification threshold and a sunset date to the Covenant process. Depending on the details, our Coalition is likely to be broadly supportive of both initiatives.

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General Synod - Monday afternoon business

Here is the official summary of Monday afternoon’s business at General Synod, which concluded this group of sessions: General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Monday 9th July PM.

The Press Association carried this report of one of the debates: Schools ‘must keep spiritual core’.

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General Convention approves Same Sex Blessings

Updated again Sunday morning
Episcopal News Service reports: Blessing rite authorized for provisional use from First Advent

Same-gender couples soon can have their lifelong relationships blessed using a rite approved by General Convention July 10.

In a vote by orders, the House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops to pass Resolution A049, which authorizes provisional use of the rite “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” starting Dec. 2 (the first Sunday of Advent). Clergy will need the permission of their bishop under the terms of the resolution.

The motion in the House of Deputies carried by 78 percent in the clergy order, with the clergy in 85 deputations voting yes, 22 no and four divided; and 76 percent in the lay order, with laity in 86 deputations voting yes, 19 no and five divided. The bishops had approved the resolution on July 9 with a roll call vote of 111 to 41 with three abstentions…

The text of the resolution, as amended, is here as a PDF.

The Diocese of South Carolina released a statement in opposition to this action.

Some other statements in reaction to this, and some press coverage can be found here.

Updates

Anglican Ink reports
12 bishops say no to gay blessings

A coalition of conservative and moderate bishops attending the 77th General Convention has released a statement denouncing the passage of Resolution A059: “Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships.”

The “Indianapolis Statement” joins declarations by the bishops and deputations of South Carolina and Central Florida in rejecting the authorization of provisional local rites for gay blessings as being contrary to Scripture, the Prayer Book, the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the undivided theological, pastoral and moral witness of the universal church for the past 2000 years…

and South Carolina walks out of General Convention

“Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.”

and South Carolina not seceding from the Episcopal Church

Sunday Updates
Statement from Diocese of Central Florida
Statement from Diocese of Albany (PDF)

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 at 8:37am BST | Comments (121) | TrackBack
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Monday, 9 July 2012

General Synod Adjournment debate - more reports and comments

Updated Monday evening

John Bingham writes in the Telegraph Women bishops row is a ‘train crash’.

Stephen Lynas (a synod member) blogs Monday: delayed but not denied.

Avril Ormsby writes for Reuters Church of England delays women bishops vote.

A Statement from Forward in Faith

Forward in Faith is disappointed that the General Synod today resolved to adjourn the debate on final approval of the draft Measure to permit women to be ordained as bishops in order to give the House of Bishops an opportunity to rethink its recent amendments to the Measure. We call upon the House of Bishops to stand firm in the face of this unwarranted pressure and to return the draft Measure to the Synod in a form which will provide for the future of traditional Catholics and conservative Evangelicals in line with the clearly expressed mind of the Synod throughout this morning’s debate.

Reform comment on Women Bishops adjournment

Following today’s adjournment of the debate on women bishops, Rev’d Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, said: “We stand ready to co-operate to find a solution if there is a genuine desire to see a permanent place secured within the Church of England for those who on theological grounds cannot accept women as bishops.”

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian Women bishops amendment has been rightly thrown out.

George Pitcher writes for the Mail Online If some parts of the Church of England want women bishops, they must also satisfy those who don’t.

Updates

Jerome Taylor writes in The Independent Months of frantic lobbying expected as women bishops debate is temporarily stayed by Church of England .

Lizzy Davies writes in The Guardian that Church of England must reassure female clergy.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2012 at 2:45pm BST | Comments (46) | TrackBack
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General Synod - press reports of Monday morning's business

BBC Women bishops: Church’s General Synod delays vote

Jerome Taylor in The Independent Church backs away from women bishops debate

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Church of England postpones vote on female bishops

Ed Thornton, Gavin Drake and Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Synod postpones final decision on women bishops

In addition, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s contribution to this morning’s debate is now online, both as an audio recording and a transcript.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2012 at 2:22pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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Women bishops - what happens now

Following Synod’s vote to adjourn, the House of Bishops will reconsider its amendment to clause 5(1)(c) of the draft measure at its meeting on 12/13 September. The General Synod will meet in November (19-21) in London to resume the Final Approval debate in the light of the House of Bishops’ consideration.

There are two official press releases on this morning’s business and its consequences.

Latest on women bishops legislation from General Synod
General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Monday 9th July AM

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2012 at 12:59pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Women bishops debate adjournment - WATCH press release

Women and the Church (WATCH) has issued this press release.

Press Release 9th July 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Adjournment gives bishops opportunity for the House of Bishops to reconsider Clause 5(1)(c)

WATCH is relieved that General Synod has today adjourned the final vote on consecrating women as bishops in the Church of England. 288:144 with 15 abstentions.

There has been widespread opposition to the inclusion of an amended Clause 5 and this adjournment gives the House of Bishops the opportunity to reconsider.

WATCH hopes that the bishops will withdraw Clause 5(1)(c) so as to allow General Synod the opportunity to vote on legislation that is as close as possible to that which was approved by 42 out of 44 dioceses.

WATCH’s petition asking the House of Bishops to withdraw Clause 5(1)(c) has now attracted nearly 6,000 signatures after just over a week See link on our website.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH, said

We are very relieved that the House of Bishops now has the chance to reconsider Clause 5(1)c and we hope that there will be a thorough consultation process over the summer so that whatever is presented to General Synod in November keeps faith with the dioceses that voted overwhelmingly for the unamended Measure.

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General Synod - women bishops debate

General Synod has just voted to adjourn its debate on final approval of the legislation to allow women to be bishops. The vote was 288 in favour of the adjournment and 144 against with 15 recorded abstentions. The measure will now go back to the House of Bishops, and return to General Synod at a later group of sessions.

In more detail, immediately after the motion

That the Measure entitled “Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure” be finally approved.

was moved by the Bishop of Manchester, the Bishop of Dover proposed an adjournment to allow the House of Bishops to reconsider their amendment to clause 5:

That the debate be now adjourned to enable the new clause 5(1)(c) inserted by the House of Bishops into the draft Measure entitled “Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure” to be reconsidered by the House of Bishops.

It was this latter motion that was carried.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2012 at 11:22am BST | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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New Zealand "Unable to adopt" covenant

The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia today (Monday 9 July 2012) voted that it “Is unable to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant due to concerns about aspects of Section 4, but subscribes to Sections 1, 2, and 3 as currently drafted to be a useful starting point for consideration of our Anglican understanding of the church.”

Anglican Taonga (the communications arm of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) reports this as “Unable to adopt” covenant.

As expected, the General Synod said a final: ‘No’ to the proposed Anglican covenant today.

But it did so quietly, and the original motion was amended to stress this church’s desire to remain tightly knit with the Communion.

And to suggest that the early parts of the covenant – the non contentious bits about “Our Inheritance in Faith” etc – “are a useful starting point” for future Anglican thinking about their church…

Also available is the full text of the resolution as passed by the Synod.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2012 at 11:06am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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General Synod - Monday morning press reports

The General Synod debate on women bishops will start at about 10.00 am this morning. Here are some more predictions of what might happen.

BBC Women bishops: Church’s General Synod to delay vote

John Bingham in the Telegraph Women bishop vote set to be suspended

Avril Ormsby of Reuters Church of England seen delaying women bishop vote

And here are some reports on some of yesterday’s business

Lizzie Davies in The Guardian Church report on riots warns about effects of cuts

Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Christians should show their faith in public, Synod says

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 9 July 2012 at 9:21am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 8 July 2012

General Synod - more Sunday reports

Cal Flyn in the Telegraph Archbishop warns followers ahead of crucial vote

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Church of England vote on women bishops likely to be postponed

Ed Thornton in the Church Times Don’t get depressed, Dr Williams tells Church of England

Here is the official summary of today’s business.
General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Sunday 8th July PM

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 8 July 2012 at 6:05pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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General Synod - Sunday reports and comments

Ed Thornton writes in the Church Times Whittam Smith ‘shocked’ by banking scandal.

Edward Malnick writes in the Telegraph: Women bishops must be given full powers, MPs warn.

Lizzy Davies writes in The Observer that Women bishops campaign approaches crucial synod vote.

BBC has Women bishops vote facing postponement at general synod.

The BBC Radio 4 programme Sunday this morning presented this special programme from General Synod in York.

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave this speech on Saturday in the debate on World-shaped Mission.

The Archbishop of Canterbury preached this sermon in York Minster this morning.

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian reports on the Archbishop’s sermon: Rowan Williams issues warning ahead of women bishops vote.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 8 July 2012 at 3:12pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Women bishops legislation - Permission to be sought to move adjournment motion

It was announced at lunchtime today that the Steering Committee for the draft legislation on Women in the Episcopate will seek permission to move a motion to adjourn tomorrow’s debate to allow the House of Bishops to reconsider the amendment that they made to clause 5 of the draft measure. Here is the press release.

Latest on women bishops legislation - General Synod July 8
08 July 2012

Permission to be sought to move adjournment motion

The Steering Committee for the draft legislation on Women in the Episcopate has indicated that it intends to seek permission from the Chair of the debate on the Final Approval of the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to move a motion adjourning the debate to enable the House of Bishops to reconsider the amendment made by the House to clause 5 of the draft Measure.

Permission will be sought to move the motion during the Final Approval debate on Monday morning (July 9).

If permission is given to move the motion, and the Synod passes it, the effect will be to adjourn the Final Approval debate on the draft Measure until the House of Bishops can meet (probably in September). When it does so it will have power to amend the part of the text of the draft Measure previously altered by the amendment it made in May to clause 5.

Following the reconsideration by the House, the Final Approval debate would be resumed at the next group of sessions of the General Synod - the earliest date for which would be in November this year.

Notes

The two amendments made by the House of Bishops in May (see press release).

The amendment made by the House to clause 5

The House accepted an amendment to express in the Measure one of the three principles which the House had agreed in December. 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 must 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 draft Measure now addresses the fact that for some parishes a male bishop or male priest is necessary but not sufficient.

Amendment to Clause 8

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 is 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.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 8 July 2012 at 2:45pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 7 July 2012

General Synod - more Saturday reports and comments

Diarmaid MacCulloch writes for The Guardian about Women bishops: Jesus was happy with female apostles. What is the CofE’s problem?

Madeleine Davies writes for the Church Times that Archbishop defends gay-marriage response.

Lizzy Davies writes for The Guardian that Church of England votes to ban clergy from discriminatory political parties.

Edward Malnick writes in the Telegraph: Archbishop of Canterbury: Government has no right to introduce gay marriage.

Gavin Drake writes in the Church Times: Ban on clergy in racist groups approved.

Official summary of Saturday’s business
General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Saturday 7th July AM
General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Saturday 7th July PM

On 3 July The Times published a letter from a group of bishops, led by the Right Rev Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, in which they write:

We are wholeheartedly committed to honouring those women whom the Church of England calls to the ordained ministry. We ask, too, for that proper respect for conscience which will continue to allow all traditions in our Church to flourish without detriment to one another.

The original copy of the letter is behind The Times paywall, but it has now been published elsewhere, including here on the Better Together website.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 5:32pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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General Synod - official summary of Friday's business

General Synod - Summary of business conducted on Friday 6th July PM.

This summary also includes links to audios of the sessions.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 12:09pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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General Synod - Saturday morning reports

The Press Association CofE to vote on BNP membership ban

BBC Church of England to ban race group membership

Paul Vale in The Huffington Post: Women Bishops: Church Of England To Vote On Female Ordination

Benny Hazlehurst writes about last night’s Questions & Answers (& more Questions).

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 12:03pm BST | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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WATCH petition gains over 5,000 signatures in its first week

WATCH (Women And The Church) issued this press release this morning.

Loyal Anglicans say “Enough!”
WATCH petition gains over 5,000 signatures in its first week

To the House of Bishops [of the Church of England]: Withdraw Clause 5(1)c

Today WATCH (Women And The Church) sent the interim results of their Petition, to the House of Bishops in advance of their emergency meeting this morning.

The Petition calls upon the House of Bishops to withdraw their last minute amendment to clause 5(1)c which many feel will entrench discrimination against women in the Established Church and place a permanent question mark over the validity of women’s orders, if passed into law.

Over 5,000 have signed in the first week and the numbers are still rising rapidly.

The signatories represent a very broad constituency including lay and ordained women and men, committed church goers, and those who are on the fringes and put off deeper commitment by (amongst other things) the Church of England’s perceived ambivalence towards women.

The comments that many people have made when signing the petition offer lucid and powerful arguments for the withdrawal of the amendment to Clause 5(1)c, but there is also much anger and sadness that the House of Bishops have seen fit to override the opinions of the overwhelming majority who voted in diocesan synods to approve the unamended legislation.

Most worryingly, there are many people who are truly beginning to lose faith in the Church of England, and there is clearly a danger that by falling over backwards to accommodate the loud demands of those who will not accept the ministry of women bishops the church will lose many thousands of quietly despairing loyal but weary Anglicans.

Comments can be viewed can be viewed online here.

The following quotes give a flavour of the responses;

“As a lay woman in the C of E, I have observed developments in this field for nearly 50 years. It is now time to say that ‘enough is enough’. I value the Anglican approach to holding views in tension, but there comes a time when it is simply a matter of refusing to address prejudices”

“This amendment gives permanent support to a theology of ‘taint’ and a theology of male headship. As the co-founder of a women’s refuge and worker there before ordination I am sadly aware this has ramifications far beyond the priesthood and reflects badly on the C of E. General Synod has a responsibility to look beyond itself. ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ Acts.10.15, this morning’s NT reading.”

“There comes a point at which the Church of England must find the courage to make a decision and stick to it - there is no way to square this particular circle. I am fed up with being expected to accept being a kind of “Shroedinger’s Priest” - simultaneously a priest and not a priest, depending on who is looking at me - and it baffles and offends most of those outside the church that this should be the case.”

“This measure implies that women can only make second class bishops and maintains the perception that male bishops are ‘tainted’ by association once they’ve ordained women. I’ve been a member of the CofE for over ten years since becoming a Christian, moved churches at the beginning of the year and recently became an Adherent member of the Salvation Army. It’s so refreshing and affirming to be in a church where gender just isn’t an issue and women are treated as equals.”

“Having worked as a Training Officer in Chaplaincy, relating to Chaplains of several denominations and World Faiths, I have always found myself to be respected as fair, sensitive and generous in my dealings. I am profoundly shocked that fellow Anglicans seem unable to trust potential women Bishops to be just and generous. It is time to pass this measure in the form in which it has already been affirmed by a large majority.”

“Too many questions have been raised by this late addition to draft legislation that has already been through a long process, including overwhelming approval in the dioceses. There is insufficient time for General Synod members to consider and weigh all the implications of enactment of the legislation as amended before taking a final vote.”

“I am an Anglican worshipper, married to an Anglican priest. I don’t want the polite internal schism we agreed to when women were ordained to the priesthood to be perpetuated for further generations. The arrangements for woman-free enclaves of the church should only ever have been transitional: the amendment threatens to make the division, and the injustice, a lasting feature.”

Following the preliminary debates yesterday, the measure will be considered again on Monday. WATCH urges General Synod to adjourn the debate on Monday to allow the House of Bishops to reconsider and withdraw the amendment.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 11:56am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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opinion

Doug Chaplin gives us Five conversations for a declining church.

Dave Bookless writes on the A Rocha blog about The poor or the planet: which comes first?

Jamie Arpin-Ricci writes for The Huffington Post: Preach the Gospel at All Times?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Friday, 6 July 2012

General Synod - more Friday press reports and comment

John Bingham reports in the Telegraph on what the Archbishop of Canterbury said to his convocation this afternoon: Women bishops: Church is looking into the abyss, says Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lizzy Davies writes for The Guardian: Rowan Williams urges speedy solution to row over women bishops and Debate on women bishops goes to General Synod.

Gavin Drake writes for the Church Times: Convocations and laity say preliminary yes to women bishops.

Steve Doughty writes for the Mail Online: Archbishop of Canterbury warns supporters of women bishops they face years of delay if they do not accept compromise.

Christian Today has Rowan Williams: I long to see women bishops in CofE.

Robert Pigott at the BBC has Church of England votes to allow women bishops vote.

The Guardian has published this editorial: Church of England: what women don’t want.

Christina Rees writes for The Guardian: Female bishops: this is about the church’s attitude to all women.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 6 July 2012 at 9:31pm BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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General Synod - convocations and laity meetings

The House of Laity and the two Convocations (the clergy and bishops) met separately this afternoon to debate the legislation to allow women to be bishops.

The votes below are for the main vote on the approval of the draft measure. There were also votes (all in favour) on the consequential draft amending canon.

The bishops of the Canterbury Convocation approved the legislation by 27 votes to nil. The Canterbury clergy voted 95 for and 19 against with one recorded abstention.

In the York Convocation the bishops voted 11 for and 2 against. The clergy voted 38 for and 11 against with 2 abstentions.

The House of Laity voted 123 for and 53 against with no recorded abstentions.

Since all votes were in favour the draft legislation can now go to the whole Synod for the debate on final approval on Monday.

Many members will have voted to approve the legislation not because they are in favour, but to allow it to be debated in full Synod on Monday.

The Church of England website has this press release Latest on women bishops legislation from General Synod 06 July 2012 which starts “Convocations and House of Laity approve draft legislation”.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 6 July 2012 at 3:19pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Women Bishops - Friday morning press reports

Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Bishops to meet amid fevered pre-Synod lobbying

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Fears Church of England vote on women bishops has begun to unravel

Robert Pigott for the BBC Women bishops: Vote could change Church forever
The BBC also has Q&A: Women bishops vote and Church of England meeting ahead of women bishops vote.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 6 July 2012 at 8:45am BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Equal civil marriage: some developments

Andrew Grice at the Independent reported yesterday Religious figures meet at conference to back plans to legalise civil gay marriage.

Religious figures who support gay marriage will today launch a fightback against church leaders who have come out against same-sex marriage.

Representatives from the Church of England, liberal Jews, the Quakers and the Unitarian and Free Church will join forces at Westminster to declare their backing for the Government’s plans to legalise civil gay marriage, which have provoked strong opposition from leaders of the Anglican and Catholic churches.

Some faiths want the Coalition to go further by giving churches the freedom to carry out religious same-sex marriage.

Those attending the conference will include Giles Fraser, a priest who resigned as Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral last autumn following the Occupy protests; Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans; Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for the Quakers; Rabbi Roderick Young; Derek McAuley, chief officer of the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches; and the Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement…

The BBC had Labour host meeting of faith groups backing gay marriage.

Today the Evening Standard reports: Nick Clegg: Gay couples should have the right to marry in church, and also expresses editorial support for this.

Gay couples could soon win the right to marry in churches in a historic step towards equality, Nick Clegg told the Evening Standard today.

In an exclusive interview before Saturday’s World Pride festival in London, the Deputy Prime Minister said he now believed religious organisations should be free to conduct same-sex weddings if they wish.

“This is a personal view at the moment, but I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn’t force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn’t stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage,” said Mr Clegg…

And John Bingham at the Telegraph has Nick Clegg backs gay marriage in churches – in break with David Cameron pledge.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 9:16pm BST | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Vivienne Faull to be next Dean of York

Number 10 announced today that Vivienne Faull, who is currently Dean of Leicester, is to be the next Dean of York

Dean of York

Thursday 5 July 2012

The Queen approves Vivienne Frances Faull as Dean of York.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Very Reverend Vivienne Frances Faull, MA, Dean of Leicester, in Leicester Diocese, to be appointed to the Deanery of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, York, on the resignation of the Very Reverend Keith Brynmor Jones, MA, on 30 April 2012.

Notes for Editors

The Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, (aged 57) studied at the Queen’s School, Chester and Saint Hilda’s College, Oxford.

After teaching with the Church Mission Society in North India and youth work at Shrewsbury House, Everton, she trained for ministry at Saint John’s College, Nottingham and Nottingham University.

She served as a Deaconess at Saint Matthew and Saint James, Mossley Hill in the Diocese of Liverpool from 1982 to 1985, moving to become Chaplain, later Fellow, at Clare College, Cambridge.

She was made Deacon in the Diocese of Ely in 1987.

She began cathedral ministry in 1990 as Chaplain at Gloucester Cathedral where she married Michael, a Physician, and where she was ordained priest in 1994. In 1994 she moved to become Canon Pastor, and later Vice Provost, at Coventry Cathedral.

In 2000 she was appointed Provost of Leicester (the first women to lead a Church of England cathedral), becoming Dean of Leicester in 2002.

She has been a member of the General Synod representing Deans of cathedrals since 2004 and is currently on the panel of Chairs of Synod.

In 2009 she was elected Chairman of the Association of English Cathedrals (the cathedrals’ representative body) and is serving her second term on the English Anglican Roman Catholic committee for ecumenical conversations.

She is currently a governor of Leicester College, one of the largest and most diverse Further Education Colleges in the country, and a Trustee of Curve, Leicester’s new theatre. She has recently been elected Honorary Fellow of Clare College Cambridge.

York Minster has an expanded version of the Number 10 announcement: New Dean of York announced.

Women and the Church (WATCH) has welcomed the appointment with this press release.

Appointment Announced of the Very Revd Vivienne Faull as Dean of York Minster

If a woman can lead York Minster without legal barriers, a woman can lead a Diocese in the same way.

As the Very Revd Vivienne Faull is announced as the next Dean of York Minster, WATCH looks forward to her ministry with excitement and joy. For a woman to hold such a senior position in the Church of England is a great encouragement to all who have worked over decades for such a moment.

York Diocese has a number of parishes and clergy who will not accept the priestly ministry of women, so there will be work involved in continuing to welcome and affirm their faithful ministry at the Minster. But Rev Faull is no stranger to this: when she was appointed as Dean of Leicester Cathedral one of her close colleagues there did not accept the priestly ministry of women. They worked hard to honour each other’s ministry and different views and there is no reason to suppose that this will not also be the case in York.

As General Synod meets this weekend the good news of Rev Faull’s appointment gives clear evidence that women are being called by God to positions of leadership in the Church of England. Such women must be enabled to flourish in those roles, and this involves meeting the needs of those who will not accept their ministry with grace and respect, not with legal structures and barriers. We continue to ask the House of Bishops to withdraw their amendment to Clause 5.1.©.

And what do ordinary people think? See the WATCH Petition, signed by over 4500 people, at
https://www.change.org/petitions/the-house-of-bishops-of-the-church-of-england-withdraw-clause-5-1-c and read some of the comments to find out.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 3:54pm BST | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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Women Bishops - more news and comment

The Artsy Honker on her blog: A Provisional Note

Jeremy Fletcher on his blog: General Synod – What’s a chap to do?

Benny Hazlehurst on his blog: Trouble at the Top…

Richard Coles in The Independent: A typically Anglican compromise on women bishops

Avril Ormsby for Reuters: Church of England vote on women bishops could be derailed

Jerome Taylor in The Independent: Can the Church finally embrace women bishops?

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 5 July 2012 at 11:00am BST | Comments (5) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

"Proper Provision" and women bishops

The group Proper Provision has written to members of General Synod urging them not to vote for an adjournment of the women bishops debate next Monday. The letter can be read on the Anglican Mainstream website, and is copied below.

Time to put this Measure to the test – from Proper Provision

Dear Member of General Synod,

We are writing to you on behalf of the thousands of loyal Anglican women who believe that men and women are inherently equal, and that our families and churches prosper when men take responsibility to provide godly oversight and headship. You may have heard about the petition we took to the House of Bishops asking them to amend the Measure.

We would urge you not to seek an adjournment for three reasons:

1) The House of Bishops have listened:

  • To the laity and clergy in the Dioceses, of whom 23% rejected the unamended Measure and 3% abstained.
  • To General Synod:
    • who in February voted to ask the House of Bishops to make amendments as long as they were insubstantial. The Group of Six has ruled that they are insubstantial.
    • and who historically have never given two-thirds majority support to an amendment or motion on this topic unless it specifically moved towards proper provision.

The House of Bishops have listened to the concerns of this substantial minority and simply sought in their amendments to clarify two points in order that it would make it easier for these people to give their consent to this innovation, the heart of which goes against their conscience.

2) The amendments have revealed how unwilling to compromise some proponents of women bishops can be.

WATCH have suggested that both sacramental assurance and headship are “non-gospel theologies” which “indirectly contribute to domestic and sexual abuse and violence against women”.

A Statement of our Concerns 11/06/12 p5

WATCH have also criticised the House of Bishops for attempting to “provide a permanent, guaranteed doctrinal space” for those who seek male clergy and bishops.

A Statement of our Concerns 11/06/12 p6

The suggestion that we are not fellow-Christians and that the women in our congregations are unsafe is personally hurtful. Doctrinally, it makes a mockery of the 1998 Lambeth statement, affirmed by General Synod in July 2006, which recognized that both those in favour of women bishops and those opposed were loyal Anglicans.

The House of Bishops deemed the amendments necessary to provide proper provision for all loyal Anglicans. The adjournment motion is simply an attempt to remove even that (inadequate) provision in favour of arrangements that are anticipated to be purely temporary and which will immediately be wholly insecure.

3) An adjournment will be expensive and may achieve very little.

In November 2010 it was estimated that a four-day Synod in London cost approximately £400,000 (including the lost revenue from Church House). While recognizing that our meeting may be shorter, we are not convinced that this would be money well spent.

If the Measure returns in its present form then nothing will have changed; we will have simply delayed the day when supporters of a female episcopate finally have to decide whether their priority is the Bishop’s attempt at church unity or their own particular understanding of equality.

If the Measure returns without the amendments then, unless it is defeated, we will have confirmed that there is no secure place in the Church of England for those who until now have been considered loyal orthodox Anglicans.

It has been the constant desire of the majority of General Synod both to consecrate women as bishops and to provide for those who seek male clergy and bishops. Let’s use the time we have in July to try and convince one another that this Measure could work and if we can’t do that, then so be it.

Surely the time has come to put this Measure to the test and move on.

Lorna Ashworth GS 287
Jane Bisson GS 428
Mary Durlacher GS 272
Sarah Finch GS 344
Susie Leafe GS 416
Andrea Minichiello Williams GS 293
Jane Patterson GS 403
Kathy Playle GS 275
Alison Ruoff GS 350
Ruth Whitworth GS 277
Alison Wynne GS257

The petition referred to at the beginning of the letter can be found at the end of this article on the Reform website: Media Statement: Proper Provision Petition 2012: 2,200 Anglican women say.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 7:18pm BST | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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House of Lords Reform Bill published

On 27 June, the Government published a House of Lords Reform Bill. A PDF copy is available at this link. As the CofE press release summarises it:

…proposes a House of Lords consisting of an 80% elected and 20% appointed membership, with 12 Lords Spiritual as supernumerary members. The elected members would serve for single non-renewable terms of 15 years, on a semi-open list system of election and represent regional areas along the same lines currently used for elections to the European Parliament. Appointed members would also serve for non-renewable 15 year terms and be chosen by an Appointments Commission.

The Bill makes provision for 12 Lords Spiritual to continue to serve in a fully reformed House, consisting of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishops of London, Durham and Winchester and seven other diocesan bishops of the Church of England. Under the terms of the Bill the process of selection of the seven is left to the Church of England. The number of bishops would be reduced from 26 to 12 across a 10-year transitional period beginning with the first elections to the House in 2015. Unlike other members of a reformed House the Lords Spiritual would be ex-officio and unsalaried.

The Government has accepted the suggestion of the Archbishops, endorsed by the Joint Committee, that the Lords Spiritual should be subject to the same tax and disciplinary measures as other members of a reformed House.

The Bishop of Leicester, Convenor of the Lords Spiritual, issued this statement:

“We on these benches recognise the need for some reform of this House and we welcome the opportunity that this Bill will give for thorough debate about the future of Parliament.”

“In particular we are pleased to see that the Government endorses the recommendation of the Joint Committee on the continuing contribution of the Lords Spiritual to a reformed House…”

Stating on behalf of the Bishops’ Benches that “we have always said that we will assess the proposals on the basis of what makes for the good governance of Britain” the Bishop raised two issues of concern in relation to the proposals in the Government’s Bill…

See the press release for the rest of his remarks.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 July 2012 at 6:41pm BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 1 July 2012

The BBC and the press on Women bishops

The BBC has covered the debate over women bishops in several ways today.

The Sunday programme on Radio 4 this morning included an interview with Lucy Winkett. You can listen to this here; it runs from 23 min 49 sec to 28 min 48 sec.

Also on Radio 4 Charlotte Smith presented a half-hour documentary: The Frock and the Church which can be listened to online.

And Charlotte Smith also wrote this: Anglican agonies over women bishops.

Emily Dugan writes in the Independent: Church set to reject ‘deal’ on female bishops.

Christian Today has: Orthodox Anglicans to vote against legislation on women bishops.

Jonathan Petre writes in the Mail Online: Historic vote on women bishops put in jeopardy as senior female clergy say concessions would make them second-class citizens.

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 1 July 2012 at 3:04pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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