Friday, 30 November 2012

Women Bishops: news and comment

Here is an interesting perspective from Nigeria: Paul Obi for This Day Live Anglican Church Rejects Women Bishops amid Rancour

Alan Wilson Church & State: Another fine mess?

John Lloyd for Reuters A church divided against itself cannot stand

The Bishop of Liverpool spoke about women bishops in the House of Lords yesterday (during a debate about preventing violence against women).

Jody Stowell asks Are Women Really Human?

Ed Thornton has two articles in today’s Church Times that are available to non-subscribers.
C of E to set about resolving deadlock on women bishops
Campaigners seek to change the system

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

responses to Archbishops' Council press release

The Guardian had this news report in today’s newspaper: Lizzy Davies Church of England urged urgently to revive female bishops plan.

Affirming Catholicism has issued this Affirming Catholicism Press Statement the full text of which is reproduced below the fold.

Affirming Catholicism Press Statement – 29 November 2012

Affirming Catholicism welcomes the statement issued on the conclusion of the Meeting of the Archbishops’ Council on 27-28 November 2012, and the decision that a process to admit women to the episcopate be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013.

Affirming Catholicism hopes to be closely involved in the discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July. Affirming Catholicism will continue to bring to those discussions not only strong support for the consecration of women to the episcopate, but also a deep concern to maintain the Catholic ecclesiology of the Church of England.

In offering support to the move to bring legislative proposals before the Synod in July, Affirming Catholicism will continue strongly to assert the principle that a woman appointed to be a bishop must be a bishop on exactly the same terms as her male colleagues, whilst recognising the need to make pastoral provision for those opposed. However, the rejection of the Measure, combined with the opposition to clause 5(1)© this summer, demonstrated a lack of support for the way forward laid out in the Measure, whilst also demonstrating overwhelming support for the admission of women to the episcopate in the Church of England. This indicates that a new way forward must be found, which recognises from the beginning that acceptable provisions cannot mean structures for separate existence.

In the mean time, Affirming Catholicism urges Bishops of the Church of England to offer a clear demonstration of their commitment to the full inclusion of women, and in particular to the ministry of ordained women, in the Church of England. We believe that this is the time for the House of Bishops to ensure that every diocese in the Church of England has an ordained woman on the senior staff and regularly present at senior staff meetings. In recognition of the need to ensure that theological objections to the ordination of women do not slip into prejudice against women, Affirming Catholicism would welcome an initiative by the House of Bishops, together with those who advise them on senior appointments, to commit to engaging in proper training in gender awareness on all levels of the Church of England.

ENDS

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"Women Bishops - The Way Ahead"

Joint Press Statement From The Chairmen Of The Catholic Group And Reform in General Synod
also available here.

Women Bishops - The Way Ahead

The Chairmen of the Catholic Group in General Synod and the conservative Evangelical group Reform, who called for talks to break the deadlock over legislation to enable the consecration of women as bishops, have received acknowledgement of their request from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

Canon Simon Killwick (Catholic Group) and Prebendary Rod Thomas (Reform) have today further pledged themselves to do everything they can to ensure the speedy and safe passage of fresh legislation through the General Synod.

They said, “If agreement can be reached at round-table talks on fresh legislation which provides clearly and fairly for all members of the Church of England, there is no reason why fresh legislation should not be fast-tracked through the Synod before the next elections in 2015.”

The Synod’s Standing Orders only prevent the reconsideration of the same legislation during this period.

“It has never been our intention to prevent the consecration of women as bishops; our concern has always been for legislation which also made clear and fair provision for the substantial minority,” the Chairmen concluded.

The legislation which failed last week in the Synod would have had devastating consequences for the diversity and mission of the Church of England, had it been passed. We want the Church of England to continue to be a broad and comprehensive national Church.

Canon Simon Killwick
Prebendary Rod Thomas
(Chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod) (Chairman of Reform)

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Uganda anti-gay legislation: latest news and comment

Updated Friday afternoon

I last reported on the situation in Uganda a few weeks ago, in Uganda anti-gay bill requested by Christians. And before that in June Bishops support Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I have seen no more recent statement from the Anglican bishops in Uganda.

Meanwhile, the proposed legislation moves nearer to enactment. Here are a few recent comment articles:

Some news reports:

A detailed clause by clause analysis of the bill starts here, and ends here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 10:43pm GMT | Comments (21) | TrackBack
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Women bishops and the laity vote - voting records of the eight

We published earlier today details of a letter to The Times. It was signed by eight people who are supporters of women bishops, but voted against the Measure last week because they thought that the provisions for opponents were inadequate.

I have prepared a table of the recent relevant voting records of the signatories. This may give an indication of what they would find acceptable.

The main items are these three from July 2010 (the last meeting of the 2005/2010 Synod)

  • creation of additional dioceses,
  • compulsory delegation from women bishops,
  • the archbishops’ amendment (“co-ordinate juristiction”).

In each case a vote for the item was a vote in favour of adding the provision to the measure.

The links in the first column of the table are to our articles giving more details of the various votes.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 11:42am GMT | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Women bishops and the laity vote

A letter appears in The Times today signed by eight members of the House of Laity who voted against the Measure last week, and referring in the text to a larger group of twelve people of a similar mind. Times subscribers can read the letter in full here, and there is a report of the letter at Anglican Mainstream over here.

The following excerpts make clear, first their point of view, and second their specific proposal for the way forward.

First their point of view:

…Most of us who make up the dozen, whose votes against the Measure did not reflect any serious opposition to women bishops, had taken the trouble to state clearly in our election addresses in 2010 that we would vote against the Measure if it did not in our judgment make ample provision of oversight in the way that the minorities needed, or honour promises made to the same minorities only 20 years ago.

Many of us 12 were prepared to vote for the Measure as it stood in July with a clause referring to “theological convictions” of those requiring alternative oversight, had the Bishops not lost their nerve and decided under pressure from “senior women” to reconsider their proposed “helpful” clause…

Second their proposals for the way forward:

…But we now all believe there can be a simpler way forward. A new briefer Measure could incorporate the 1993 Act of Synod governing alternative oversight as we have it, with all the valuable experience it has provided of living together with fellow Anglicans who cannot accept women priests and bishops. The new Measure should provide for alternative oversight on a churchwide basis to those unable to recognise their woman diocesan bishop and also to those parishes that accept or have women clergy which are unsuitably served by a traditional orthodox male diocesan bishop in a predominantly conservative diocese. It will minimally amend but not repeal the 1993 Measure which has served us all well. The Church must be concerned for, and provide for, all its members…

The eight signatories are:

Tom Sutcliffe, Mary Judkins, Phillip Rice, John Davies, Anne Bloor, Priscilla Hungerford, Keith Malcouronne, Christopher Corbet

More information about their voting records will follow soon.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 10:44am GMT | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Archbishops' Council says restart process to admit women to the episcopate at July 2013 General Synod

The Archbishops’ Council issued this statement today.

Statement on the Conclusion of the Meeting of the Archbishops’ Council November 2012
28 November 2012

“The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England met on November 27-28th to consider a wide ranging agenda. A substantial amount of time was given over to the discussion of the recent vote by General Synod on Women in the Episcopate.

“As part of their reflections, many council members commented on the deep degree of sadness and shock that they had felt as a result of the vote and also of the need to affirm all women serving the church - both lay and ordained - in their ministries.

“In its discussions the Council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013. There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency. The Council therefore recommended that the House of Bishops, during its meeting in a fortnight’s time, put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July.”

Notes

The Archbishops Council is a body of 19 members which acts as the standing committee of the General Synod and has a number of other responsibilities as a trustee body.

The members of the council include the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the chairs of the House of Clergy and the Chairs of the House of Laity. Full membership of the groups is available here.

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Women Bishops: yet more news and comment

First, here are two press reports on yesterday’s release of the General Synod voting lists.

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Almost half the lay members who voted against female bishops were women

John Bingham in the Telegraph Half of women bishops opponents in Synod were women

And then there are several comment articles.

Bruce Kaye for ABC Religion and Ethics The triumph of the radicals: Women bishops and the Church of England

Savi Hensman for Ekklesia Women bishops: how to move forward?

John Coles, director of New Wine Synod Vote: Women Bishops

Paul Roberts A possible way out of the Women Bishops bind

Colin Coward of Changing Attitude The deeper (mis)understandings which divide us

Alice Udale-Smith for Varsity Female bishops and me: a defence of the General Synod

And finally, WATCH has issued a press release “Pressure for simple legislation mounts as first analysis of voting patterns shows General Synod House of Laity dramatically out of step with lay members of diocesan synods” which is copied in full below the fold.

WATCH (Women and the Church)
Press Release 27th November 2012
For immediate release
Pressure for simple legislation mounts as first analysis of voting patterns shows General Synod House of Laity dramatically out of step with lay members of diocesan synods


A week after the disastrous vote in General Synod and after a period of intense scrutiny from both houses of Parliament, pressure continues to grow on Church authorities to find a way to break the impasse on legislating for women bishops.

Given the failure of all attempts at a compromise enshrined in statute, there is increasing support for the adoption of the simplest possible legislation with provision for those opposed being made outside the legislation itself.

On Monday 26th November, the voting records were published. This shows how individual members of the House of Laity of the General Synod voted and also enables comparisons with the votes previously cast by the lay representatives in the diocesan synods.

As expected, there was a considerable discrepancy between the local and national voting patterns.

When the legislation was debated at diocesan level, it achieved more than a two-thirds majority among lay people in 37 of the 44 dioceses. In Guildford, for instance, 70% of lay members voted in favour at diocesan level, but three of the four General Synod members voted against. Had the General Synod members representing six dioceses chosen to reflect the views expressed by their diocesan synods, the measure would have passed.

Full details of the House of Laity voting figures can be found via Thinking Anglicans.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said
“It is clear that the lay members of General Synod have not reflected the wishes of ordinary parishioners in their dioceses. If the House of Laity of General Synod had followed the pattern of the diocesan synods, this legislation would have passed comfortably last week”

Bishop John Gladwin, the recently retired Bishop of Chelmsford, and Hon Vice President of WATCH said
“The public humiliation and deep wound inflicted on the Church of England by the vote in Synod on November 20th has changed the whole landscape of this and many other issues. What a small minority has done is blow up the bridge to any compromise solution. The consecration of women into the episcopate has been moved from certainty to inevitability. There is now only one route which must be travelled to that outcome. That is the route which removes all discriminatory provisions from the life and ministry of the Church”

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Monday, 26 November 2012

Women Bishops: electronic voting results

Electronic voting results for last week’s General Synod on the women bishops legislation have now been published. These take the form of a pdf file, arranged by house, by vote (for/against/abstain) and then alphabetically.

Arun Arora, the Church of England Director of Communications, in announcing the publication of these results has reminded us all that Matthew 5:43-48 applies.

For convenience I have put the results into a spreadsheet arranged by synod number (which brings members together by diocese) for each house and added absentees and vacancies.

For this purpose an “absentee” is someone who did not record an electronic vote (for/against/abstention). There are various reasons for being an absentee; examples known to me include illness and being on sabbatical in New Zealand. In addition some at least of the three ecclesiastical judges consider it inappropriate to vote on church legislation which they may later have to enforce.

Update I have now added a webpage version of my spreadsheet.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 2:46pm GMT | Comments (68) | TrackBack
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Women bishops: what might Parliament do?

There is an excellent article discussing this, on the Law and Religion UK blog, but written by Bob Morris of the UCL Constitution Unit.

He is the principal author of Church and State in 21st Century Britain: The Future of Church Establishment (Palgrave, March 2009).

Women as bishops: should Parliament intervene?

I urge all TA readers to study this article in full. His concluding paragraphs:

The key political and constitutional problem is that, although the Church of England now behaves largely as if it is a voluntary society, it remains nonetheless part of the state. The Queen as head of state is ‘Supreme Governor’ of the Church, must be in communion with it, holds the title Fidei Defensor and – nominally – appoints its senior clergy. The Archbishop crowns and anoints the new sovereign, and the Church conducts important public ceremonies and rituals effectively in relation to the UK as a whole. The Church’s courts remain courts of the land, although they lost their public law jurisdictions in the 1850s. Twenty-six bishops continue to sit in the House of Lords – each nowadays actually appointed by a private, unaccountable committee of the Church itself.

These are high matters and could be addressed again by Parliament. However, whatever the degree of change made, none could procure the appointment of female bishops unless Parliament legislated directly to that end. In other words, disestablishment could not by itself resolve the particular question of female bishops. On the other hand, what disestablishment could do would be – a very different matter – to permit the state and Parliament to wash its hands of Church of England affairs altogether.

Since nothing so far suggests that Parliament contemplates such a rupture, it follows that the Church must be allowed to deal with the present crisis itself. Whether in doing so it strengthens the case for a radical review of remaining church/state ties is another question.

However, it appears from a story broken exclusively in The Times this morning by Ruth Gledhill that William Fittall has a somewhat different view. The original Times story is behind a paywall, but it starts this way:

The Church of England is facing a “major constitutional crisis” as a result of the fiasco last week over women bishops, according to an internal document written for the archbishops by one of their most senior staff. The Established Church must take steps in July next year to consecrate women bishops and vote them through by 2015, otherwise it risks the matter being taken out of its hands by Parliament, the secret memo says. It is to be debated behind closed doors this week by the Archbishops’ Council. The memo, a hard copy of which has been handed to The Times, is intended for the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the council members. Women in the Episcopate — Where Next? is a response to growing outrage in and beyond…

The Telegraph has published this version of the story: Failure to vote in women Bishops risks ‘constitutional crisis’ in Church.

And there is this Church ‘faces crisis’ over bishops.

And the Guardian now has Church needs radical new strategy over female bishops, says internal memo

And here are some further quotes from the memo:

“What is for sure and not for maybe is that urgent and radical new thinking is now needed if major shifts in position are to be secured.”

“Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it’s capable of sorting itself out we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in Church State relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence.”

“We have to do so because time is not on our side. Parliament is impatient. In addition to the all-party savaging that the Church of England had yesterday [last Thursday] in the House of Commons and the Prime Minister’s reference to the need to give us a ‘sharp prod’, there was ferocious criticism from some members at the House of Lords at a lunchtime meeting at which the Bishop of Manchester spoke on Wednesday.

“There was a particularly telling sequence of devastating attacks from the formidable combination of Detta O’Cathain (normally a supporter), Elspeth Howe and Margaret Jay. Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it’s capable of sorting itself out, we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in Church State relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 26 November 2012 at 9:18am GMT | Comments (47) | TrackBack
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Women Bishops: more news and comment

Updated Sunday afternoon and evening

The Tablet editorial Measure of compromise

ABC Religion and Ethics John Milbank Unrepresentative laity: The women bishops debacle demonstrates why bishops need more authority

Telegraph John Bingham Women bishops decision a ‘stab in the back’ to female clergy – Lord Carey
Adam Luser Reputation of Church damaged by decision on women bishops

Revising Reform Rachel Marszalek Women in Christian servant-leadership, with a look at Rev Angus Macleay’s summation speech from General Synod on Tuesday November 20th 2012

OurKingdom Charlotte Methuen Women bishops in the Church of England: No or not yet?

Guardian Catherine Bennett No to women bishops? It’s high time the Church of England was taught a lesson

Mail Online Marie-Elsa Bragg ‘I’m still proud of our history in the women’s ministry’: Melvyn Bragg’s curate daughter on how it feels to be stuck in the middle of the bishops debate

Lay Anglicana Rosemary Lain-Priestley A Very Significant Tipping Point

Modern Church Linda Woodhead It’s believing in the common good that’s got the Church of England into this mess over women bishops

Update

Anglican Ink Gerald Bray Evangelical supporters of women bishops are “liberals in disguise”
to which Peter Carrell has this response: Has Gerald Bray lost the plot?

Jody Stowell The Morning After

This morning’s Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 included a major item on women bishops starting 20 minutes from the beginning.

Telegraph John Bingham Women bishops rejection has damaged Church, traditionalist bishop admits

Eureka Street Andrew McGowan Rejection of women bishops is not terminal

Ian Paul What does the decision on women bishops mean?

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 2:34pm GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Women Bishops: online petitions

There are a number of online petitions protesting in various ways against the decision by General Synod not to approve the legislation to allow women to be bishops. Here are the ones I am aware of.

No women Bishops, no automatic seats in the House of Lords

Responsible department: Cabinet Office

The Church of England on 20th Nov 2012 voted not to allow women to be Bishops. Though that is within its rights to do, this should worry the Government as Church of England Bishops are awarded legislative power through seats in the House of Lords.

The Church has chosen to be a sexist organisation by refusing women the right to hold highest leadership positions and therefore should not be allowed automatic seats in the House of Lords, as this clearly does not comply with the spirit of UK Equality law.

We call on the Govt to remove the right of the Church of England to have automatic seats in the House of Lords, in line with its commitments to equality and non-discrimination, set out in the Equality Act (2010) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979)”

Women bishops - another vote

To: Church of England “Group of Six”

Please authorise another vote in this Synod in 2013, to allow the House of Laity to reconsider the results of their vote of 20 November 2012 in the light of clearly-expressed wishes of their electorate.

Why is this important?

42 out of 44 Dioceses have voted for women bishops; the House of Laity vote clearly did not reflect the democratic wishes of the membership they are supposed to represent. A year’s delay will enable Dioceses to reflect again, and make their views even clearer to their Synodical representatives.

Unconditionally ordain Women as Bishops in the Church of England

To: The General Synod of the Church of England

The Anglican Episcopacy should be open to women. Synod and the Dioceses of the CofE have agreed this. The vote at Novembers synod has been deeply hurtful to many women, and damaged the Church as a whole.

The next time this issue is voted on it should be as a single clause: The Church of England may ordain women as Bishops.

As well as a campaigning tool, this petition is a way of gathering together people, especially lay Anglicans, who can organize to elect new and representative Deanery, Diocesan and General synods that will effect this change.

No Confidence in General Synod: Calling for an Urgent Review

We the undersigned therefore hereby lodge a vote of no confidence in General Synod until such time as it can bring its affairs into order by effecting a genuinely democratic voting system that gives a fair and proper representation to its members in place of the current inequitable system.

The Petition

We call upon the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops to conduct an urgent review into the rules of governance in Synod to correct this grossly unfair system; and if the matter is not resolved before his enthronement, we further call upon Archbishop Designate the Rt Revd Justin Welby to make addressing this inequitable situation one of his first priorities following his installation at Canterbury.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 24 November 2012 at 11:27pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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CNC dates 2013

The Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) meets on two occasions per Vacancy in See to nominate candidates for diocesan bishoprics to the Crown. The dates for 2013 are now available and are listed below. They have been linked to particular vacancies, where these are known.

See of Blackburn
10 January
30/31 January

See of Manchester
11 March
19/20 April

See of Durham
8 May
6/7 June

See of Bath and Wells
18 July
5/6 September

Vacancy 5
2 October
29/30 October

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Women Bishops: latest news

Guardian Aida Edemariam and Lizzy Davies Pressure piles on church to vote again on female bishops
Aida Edemariam Maria Miller interview: ‘It’s very disappointing that the Church of England has taken this decision’

Telegraph John-Paul Ford Rojas Lord Carey calls for Church of England to push through introduction of women bishops

Liverpool Echo Alan Weston Frank Field MP tables parliamentary Bill over women bishops
Here is a press release from Frank Field and this is the bill’s entry on the UK Parliament website: Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill.

Stephen Croft, the Bishop of Sheffield, gave this presidential address to his diocesan synod this morning.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 24 November 2012 at 5:06pm GMT | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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opinion

All my choice of Opinion articles this week have been prompted by General Synod’s decision on women bishops, but they also have a wider relevance.

Simon Barrow Ekklesia Time to set church and state free

Zoe Williams Guardian Female bishops row: where could feminist Christians defect to?

Giles Fraser Guardian The puritans who scuppered female bishops revel in our criticism of them

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 24 November 2012 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Bishop of Gloucester questions Church’s equality law exemption

Michael Perham, the Bishop of Gloucester, has questioned the Church’s equality law exemption in a statement issued yesterday. The full statement is available online and is copied below the fold. It is summarised in this press release from the diocese.

Bishop questions Church’s equality law exemption
Friday 23 November 2012

The Bishop of Gloucester is questioning the Church of England’s right to exemption from equality laws, following the recent voting against women bishops.

In a statement released today, the Rt Revd Michael Perham speaks of his huge disappointment and sadness at the outcome of this week’s voting. He said: “It has undermined the sense of value of our church’s more than 3,000 women priests. It has puzzled our society and brought ridicule upon the Church.

“There are questions that now have to be faced. Is the Church’s exemption from equality laws defensible? Does a system that requires 2/3rds majorities in three separate houses place the bar too high? Can it make sense for members of the Synod to be permitted to vote entirely contrary to the view of their diocesan synod?”

In the Diocese of Gloucester, more than 95 per cent of the diocesan synod voted in favour of the legislation. At General Synod 74 per cent voted for the legislation.

Bishop Michael continued: “It is really important to keep a welcome place in the Church for those who are unhappy with the idea of women bishops, but they must not hold the Church back, undermine its mission or make it a laughing stock in the mind of the nation.

“There will be women bishops in the Church of England. I have no doubt about that. Our response to the Holy Spirit and the effectiveness of our mission require it.”

Full statement from the Bishop of Gloucester

It has been a bleak few days for the Church of England. A failure to approve the legislation that would have allowed women to be bishops has made a sad finale to the archiepiscopate of Dr Rowan Williams, whose visit to our diocese in July was such a high point in our diocesan life. It has also created a major problem for his successor, Bishop Justin of Durham. It has undermined the sense of value of our church’s more than three thousand women priests. It has puzzled our society and brought ridicule upon the Church.

People have been saying, understandably, that the Church of England is in crisis. At a certain level that is true. The General Synod has acted foolishly and its leadership has been undermined. There is a huge repair job to be done in our relationship with our society as well as within the church. But, at another level, we are not in crisis, for, as many have said, the real Church of England is to be found, not in synods, but in parishes and other communities, where Christian ministry to the people of our nation goes on being effective in churches and schools, in pastoral care and in the fulfilment of our mission. The irony is that we would be unable to fulfil that ministry without the women clergy of our church.

It is important to say today that the church has not rejected the ministry of its women clergy. In the Diocese of Gloucester more than 95 per cent of our Diocesan Synod voted in favour of the legislation. In the General Synod 74 per cent voted in favour - I wish it were 100%, but 74% is much more than enough. The responses I am receiving to this vote from ordinary Christians give evidence of the fact that the church has received the ministry of women, values and affirms it and wants to see that ministry extended to include episcopal ministry. The ministry of ordained women has been a huge gift of God to the church.

What the church has done is to fail to pass legislation that made generous provision for those unwilling to accept this development. And, of course, there are questions that now have to be faced. Is the church’s exemption from equality laws defensible? Does a system that requires 2/3rds majorities in three separate houses place the bar too high? Can it make sense for members of the Synod to be permitted to vote entirely contrary to the view of their diocesan synod? It is really important to keep a welcome place in the Church for those who are unhappy with the idea of women bishops, but they must not hold the Church back, undermine its mission or make it a laughing stock in the mind of the nation.

The more immediate question is how we may find a way forward more speedily than over the cycle of a whole new General Synod. I don’t know the answer and I would be suspicious of anyone who thought they did at this stage when we are all still so “raw” after the reverse of this week. But the mood of our leadership, and indeed the mood across the church and the nation, is that a way forward must and will be found without haste but with urgency. I ask you to pray for all those who will be starting conversations about that very soon. I ask you to pray also for those clergy who have experienced this vote as a painful undermining of their ministry. Above all pray for justice, peace and reconciliation in the church.

It has been a difficult time, “grim” as the Bishop of Durham put it, but I have found myself repeating with quiet conviction those wonderful words of the Lady Julian of Norwich - “All shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” I do believe that.

+Michael Gloucestr:

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 24 November 2012 at 10:21am GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Friday, 23 November 2012

Women Bishops: latest opinions

Here are some more opinions on General Synod’s decision not to approve the legislation on women bishops, and transcripts of some of the speeches made in the debate.

Paul Vallely How a recalcitrant minority stopped the Church from entering the 20th let alone the 21st century

Jane Tillier Ekklesia Rejecting women bishops harms the church’s mission

Fulcrum Statement on the Decision of General Synod not to approve the legislation on Women Bishops

Sarah Coakley at ABC Religion and Ethics Has the Church of England finally lost its reason? Women bishops and the collapse of Anglican theology

John Gladwin Some reflections on the November 20th Vote

Nick Baines Get real

Jeremy Fletcher Women Bishops – After Tuesday

Kevin Lewis man boobs

Benny Hazlehurst Two feet in the grave…

Lesley Crawley I would like General Synod to pass a policy denouncing sexism

Justin Brett What now, then?

Sam Wells Response to Women Bishops Vote

Tom Wright Women Bishops: It’s about the Bible, not fake ideas of progress

Some of the speeches made to General Synod

Elaine Storkey
Philip Giddings
Tom Sutcliffe
Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham
James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 23 November 2012 at 3:28pm GMT | Comments (18) | TrackBack
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Women bishops: Church Times report and comment

The Church Times has extensive coverage:

  • News articles:

Women-bishops Measure falls by six votes in House of Laity

Dr Williams warns: no short cut, no simple solution

Campaigners talk of betrayal and disaster after vote

Politicians express their dissatisfaction with Synod vote

  • Comment articles:

Leader: After the vote, what next?

Frances Ward What difference does women’s ministry make?

David Houlding I work happily with women clergy

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 23 November 2012 at 7:46am GMT | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 22 November 2012

fast track for equal civil marriage law?

The Daily Mail reports: MPs to vote on gay marriage ‘within weeks’: Fast track plan as opposition campaign gathers momentum by James Chapman

Plans to allow gay marriage could be voted on and approved by MPs within weeks, it emerged last night
David Cameron and Nick Clegg have agreed to fast-track the controversial change in the law – bringing it before Parliament in the New Year…

And other newspapers have followed:

Telegraph Gay marriage could be approved within weeks by Rosa Silverman

Guardian Patrick Wintour Plans for gay marriage vote likely to get go-ahead before Christmas

…There is also a belief that with Christian evangelicals on the back foot over the vote on the ordination of women bishops it may be the right time to show they may have over-played their hand, and are in the minority in terms of public opinion.

The government has repeatedly stressed that the church will not be required to administer marriages stating “no religious organisation will be forced to conduct same-sex religious marriages as a result of these proposals”.

In a sign of the potential cross-over, Sir Tony Baldry, the Tory MP and second church commissioner, told MPs that church members would be “deluding themselves” if they thought their views on moral issues would be given the same weight as before.

He said: “If the Church of England thinks that parliament is going to listen to them on moral issues such as same-sex marriage with considerable attention when the Church of England seems to be so out of step on others issues of concern to parliament then they are simply deluding themselves.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 5:06pm GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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House of Commons discusses women bishops

Sir Tony Baldry, Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered an urgent question tabled by Labour MP Diana Johnson on women bishops on 22 November 2012.

Watch a video recording of the ensuing debate (lasts about 34 minutes) via the Democracy Live website here.

The Hansard transcript of the debate is now available here.

Initial media reports:

Yesterday there were also exchanges with the Prime Minister during Question Time, details are below the fold.

From Hansard record, here:

Q11. Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend share my deep disappointment, and that of many hon. Members on both sides of the House, that the Church of England yesterday failed to make proper provision for women bishops? It was a sad day for our national Church and our national character, particularly given that 42 of 44 dioceses voted overwhelmingly in support of women bishops. Is the dangerous consequence of that vote not the disestablishment of the Church of England but simply disinterest?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend speaks with great expertise and knowledge. On a personal basis, I am a strong supporter of women bishops and am very sad about how the vote went yesterday. I am particularly sad for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, because he saw this as a major campaign that he wanted to achieve at the end of his excellent tenure of that office. It is important for the Church of England to be a modern Church that is in touch with society as it is today. This was a key step it needed to take.


……. Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Following the Prime Minister’s answer to the hon. Member for Banbury (Sir Tony Baldry) a moment ago, and given that the Church of England is the established Church, will the Prime Minister consider what Parliament can do to ensure that the overwhelming will of members of the Church and of the country is respected?

The Prime Minister: I will certainly look carefully at what the right hon. Gentleman has said. The Church has its own processes and elections. They might be hard for some of us to understand, but we must respect individual institutions and the decisions they make. That does not mean we should hold back in saying what we think. I am very clear that the time is right for women bishops—it was right many years ago. The Church needs to get on with it, as it were, and get with the programme, but we must respect individual institutions and how they work, while giving them a sharp prod.

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Enter the peacemaker

Here is the second of our articles republished from The Tablet with permission of the editor.

Enter the peacemaker
Jonathan Wynne Jones

Both conservative and liberal Anglicans have welcomed the appointment of Justin Welby. Can he really hold the two sides together when he starts to address the problems besetting the Communion?

Before Justin Welby had even been officially confirmed as Rowan Williams’ successor, African bishops were making it clear that he should not expect any honeymoon period in office. They sent messages of consternation rather than congratulation, warning that the Anglican Communion is “fractured”, in spiritual and institutional crisis, and suggesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury should be replaced as leader of the Anglican Communion by an elected chairman.

Given the scale of the task that awaits Welby when he arrives at Lambeth Palace, it was fitting that he was introduced to the world’s media with his sleeves rolled up. He inherits an Anglican Communion that has fallen apart over the issue of homosexuality and a Church of England similarly divided, not to mention struggling with dwindling congregations and a huge shortfall in pensions for its clergy. On the face of it, turning to someone who has been a bishop for little more than a year might seem like an act of desperation.

Yet the Crown Nominations Commission took a bold decision to look past his episcopal inexperience because they realised that if there is any bishop in the Church of England who has a chance of steering it away from the rocks, it is Justin Welby. His time at Coventry Cathedral’s Centre for Reconciliation will have given him excellent preparation for trying to resolve the seemingly intractable differences between the Church’s warring factions, and his comparatively late ordination could well work in his favour.

As David Cameron noted after the appointment was finally announced: “Having someone who had a life outside the Church in business … will bring a great breath of fresh air to the Church of England.” While Rowan Williams devoted most of his formative years to academia, Welby spent much of his early career as an oil executive, and risking his life trying to settle disputes in Nigeria. It has given him an ability to communicate with the layman in a style that the outgoing archbishop has rarely possessed and that could prove crucial if the Church is to dispel its image as other-worldly and irrelevant.

The other marked difference between the two men has been the reaction to the announcement of their respective appointments. While news of Dr Williams’ promotion back in 2003 was met with rancour and division, there has been an outbreak of long-forgotten harmony ever since it was confirmed that Welby was succeeding him. Graham Kings, the Bishop of Sherborne, pointed in disbelief to the “amazing confluence” between voices as polarised as Canon Chris Sugden, a champion of conservatism, and the Revd Giles Fraser, the left-wing Guardian columnist and former canon chancellor at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Crucially, the Cambridge-educated bishop enjoys the trust of the African Churches, something Rowan Williams never had despite his best efforts to appease them. He has visited Nigeria, the centre of power in the Global South grouping of 23 provinces in the Anglican Communion, as many as 70 times, and is close to its primate, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh. His evangelical background and opposition to same-sex marriage is exactly what conservatives were hoping for.

Yet, rather incredibly, he also has the support of America’s Episcopal Church. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, said she was “delighted” at his appointment and Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop whose appointment in 2003 split the worldwide communion, described Welby as a man of the “twenty-first century”. If such comments are likely to have raised eyebrows among his friends in Africa, they will have been concerned further by his promise to “listen to the voice of the LGBT communities and examine his thinking”.

How Welby handles the divisions over homosexuality will be key to his chances of reuniting the Anglican Communion, and also to conveying a message to the public about what the Church represents. With the Church of England set to publish reviews of its stance on sexuality and same-sex partnerships early in the new year, he is likely to find himself having to clarify his thinking sooner than he might have hoped.

Liberals will have been encouraged by his declaration that he is “against the language of exclusion”, but to prove it he will have to follow his words with action. The smart, though admittedly risky, move would be to appoint a respected, openly gay cleric as bishop. Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, has already been mooted by some as a potential replacement for Welby in Durham amid a growing consensus that there is no justifiable reason barring him from being consecrated. Presenting a more tolerant, inclusive approach to the issue of homosexuality will be vital for reconnecting with society, particularly with the younger generation.

Even more important will be Welby’s ability to provide a compelling narrative for the Church that in recent years has been characterised by discord and exclusion. Presiding over the first women to be made bishops will certainly help, but it is his passion for social justice that could be the most effective witness to a country where many families are struggling to afford to put food on the table.

Suggesting that an Old Etonian should campaign on social welfare might seem rather contrary if it weren’t for the fact that it is clear that Welby, unlike some of his fellow alumni, genuinely cares. His time in Durham has had a real impact on him. He has used his seat in the House of Lords to hit out at the loan sharks exploiting vulnerable people in his diocese, and to express his concern at the high levels of unemployment in the region.

The day after being unveiled as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, he was present at the launch of a food-parcel scheme in Sunderland. It is clear that he’s left a significant mark on the diocese even though he’s only been there for a year. Faced with one of the worst deficits in the Church, he revolutionised the quota system of giving by redrawing the budget around what parishes decided they could afford to pay. Considering the Church of England’s pension hole is estimated to be around £500 million, such novel thinking, combined with his business background, will be invaluable.

It was symbolic that at his last diocesan synod earlier this month, Welby’s long-term programme of evangelism received unanimous backing. Here is a leader who is committed to trying to spread the Christian message and carries people with him, united behind his vision. Asked recently about his feelings on the future of the Church, he replied that he was “utterly optimistic”. With Justin Welby at the helm, churchgoers have every reason to share that optimism.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 9:05am GMT | Comments (3) | TrackBack
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Archbishop who means business

With the kind permission of the editor we are republishing two articles from the current issue of The Tablet.

Here is the first.

Archbishop who means business
Christopher Lamb

Justin Welby’s appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury puts a man at the helm of the Church of England and wider Anglican Communion formed by deep faith, personal tragedy, Establishment Britain and the business world. It makes for a combination of strong pastoral and managerial skills

Despite his meteoric rise to be named last week as the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, is not a man who takes himself too seriously. At his diocesan synod this month, he and his suffragan, Mark Bryant, opened their joint presidential address in the style of the British comedy duo, the Two Ronnies: Corbett and Barker. “So it’s a hello from me,” said Bishop Welby. “And it’s a hello from him,” Bishop Bryant replied amid much laughter.

Given the scale of the task facing the incoming archbishop, a self-deprecating sense of humour might be useful. But who is Justin Welby, the one hundred and fifth man to sit on the throne of St Augustine?

His family background is smart, Establishment, but with a touch of the maverick. His father, the late Gavin Welby, was a bootlegger who traded whisky during the days of Prohibition in the US and later became friendly with President John F. Kennedy. Eventually, to get around the law, he imported Communion wine.

Welby’s mother, Jane Portal, who is married to the Labour peer Lord Williams of Elvel (his parents divorced when Welby was a child) served as private secretary to Winston Churchill throughout his second term as Prime Minister. The archbishop-designate is close to his stepfather, whose own father was Norman Powell Williams, the eminent Anglo-Catholic theologian. His mother was also related to Lord (“Rab”) Butler, the Conservative politician and post-war education reformer; the new archbishop’s godfather was Rab’s son, the Conservative politician Sir Adam Butler, who died in 2008.

Now aged 56, Bishop Welby was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, before starting a career in the oil business. He has said he took a job at Elf Aquitaine, Paris, where he worked in the finance department for five years, because he could not find anything else. After Paris, Welby moved to Elf’s UK operation before becoming group treasurer at Enterprise Oil. Sir Graham Hearne, the former company chairman, who recruited him, remembers the future archbishop well: “He has a very quick mind and a very intelligent grasp of financial matters,” he told me. “We were far from a monastic company; we were engaged in oil and gas exploration and it was a demanding environment.”

Sir Graham recalled how disappointed he was when Welby told him he was leaving the firm. “I was very cross because I thought he had been poached, so I asked him, ‘Who’s poached you?’ He said: ‘Don’t worry; it’s the Lord.’ ” Sir Graham added: “When he left, I said to him, ‘One day, Justin Welby, you will become a bishop of the Church.’”

Married with five surviving children, Bishop Welby’s decision to offer himself for ordination did not happen overnight. His faith came alive at Cambridge, where he was a member of the Christian Union. A turning point came in France in 1983, when his seven-month-old daughter, Johanna, died in a car crash. “It was a very dark time for my wife, Caroline, and myself, but in a strange way it brought us closer to God,” he said of the incident later. Back in London, he started attending regularly at the charismatic evangelical church, Holy Trinity Brompton, in Kensington, home of the Alpha Course course.

He studied for ordination at St John’s College, Durham – a solidly evangelical institution – and, in 1992, was appointed a curate in Nuneaton, before moving on to become rector of St James’ Church, Southam, in Warwickshire. His rise up the ecclesiastical ranks has been breathtakingly swift. In 2002 he was appointed a canon at Coventry Cathedral, where he worked for five years leading its ministry of reconciliation around the world. He became Dean of Liverpool in 2007 and Bishop of Durham in 2011.

While his background is evangelical, Welby retains a deep interest in Catholic Social Teaching, particularly Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. In answer to a question from The Tablet at the press conference announcing his appointment, he said: “I have gained and learned so much from the Roman Catholic Church. I have learnt much from Catholic spirituality and from the glorious and – if I may say so to The Tablet – far too well-hidden structure of Catholic Social Teaching, which surprisingly few Catholics know about, let alone others.”

Afterwards he explained how he had first became aware of this body of church teaching through the International Association for Catholic Thought, based at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven). In a lecture on finance last month in Zurich, Switzerland, he quoted Pope John Paul II’s definition of a company as “a community of persons in service” and argued that banks which demonstrate a “social purpose” might be rewarded with a lighter tax burden. What gives Welby credibility in this area is his business experience. Earlier this year he was appointed to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, investigating the scandal surrounding the fixing of the inter-bank Libor rate. After his appointment as archbishop, the London Evening Standard City diary remarked: “At last, a bishop who understands capitalism.”

But it is not just the Catholic Church’s social teaching that interests the future archbishop In his opening statement on being appointed to Canterbury, he paid tribute to “the riches of Benedictine and Ignatian spirituality” and the “treasures of contemplative prayer and adoration”. His spiritual director is a Catholic monk, Fr Nicolas Buttet, founder of the Eucharistein Community in Switzerland; he reads extracts of the rule of St Benedict “most days”; and is an oblate of Elmore Abbey, an Anglican Benedictine community in Berkshire.

He is also close to Chemin Neuf, a French Catholic community with an ecumenical mission rooted in Ignatian spirituality and founded as part of the Catholic charismatic renewal. As Dean of Liverpool, he oversaw the appointment of an Anglican deacon who had worked for Chemin Neuf.

Dominique Ferry, the community’s UK provincial, said of Welby’s relations with the Catholic Church: “He is someone who is open and looking for dialogue. It doesn’t mean he would endorse the position of the Catholic Church on things such as women bishops. But he won’t do it in a provocative way.”

Welby has made it clear he will vote in favour of women bishops when the issue comes to the General Synod next week. He is opposed to gay marriage although he has said he needs to “examine my own thinking prayerfully and carefully”. While keen on Catholic Social Teaching and spirituality, it is less clear, however, how committed he is to Catholic ecclesiology. Will decisions about the strained Anglican Communion – divided over the question of homosexuality – come down to personal theological conviction or the desire to keep the Church together?

His predecessor, Rowan Williams, had been willing to put his own theological views on homosexual partnerships to one side for the sake of ecclesial unity. Bishop Welby says he wants “safe spaces” for the contentious issues to be discussed “honestly and in love” so that Christians may find a better way of disagreeing with each other. His skills in conflict resolution will be tested in this area.

Those who have worked with Welby praise his grasp of complex situations and ability to be a good manager. But is he a chief executive officer or a pastor? “He managed to do both,” said one church source. “He likes to get to the bottom of things, but in a spiritual way. He listens to people. He is not the sort of person to go round with three mobile phones.”

What is clear is that the archbishop does not accept the narrative that the Church is in terminal decline. In his short time as Bishop of Durham, he set out a strategy for growth in the diocese and has said that now is a time for “optimism” in the wider Church. All of this is grounded in a deep faith, no more evident than when he invoked the Holy Spirit during a prayer at the beginning of the press conference announcing his appointment. And that’s not a bad way for a new archbishop to start.

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 9:00am GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

General Synod days two and three

Audio files for Tuesday’s debate, and (when available) for today’s debate can all be found here.

The business summary for Wednesday has been published: General Synod Wednesday 21 November 2012: Debates and farewells.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 3:49pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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More press coverage and comment

Major Update on Wednesday evening
Updated Thursday morning

Guardian Patrick Wintour Female bishops controversy: government says it will not step in
Andrew Brown Why the church’s house of laity is vulnerable to capture by interest groups
Alan Wilson What next for the Church of England?

Telegraph PMQs: David Cameron said the Church needs a ‘sharp prod’ over women bishops

Independent Jerome Taylor Church of England in crisis: Archbishop of Canterbury attacks members for voting against women bishops

Channel 4 News Archbishop: Church less credible after women bishop vote

Huffington Post Female Bishops Deal Will Happen, Says Justin Welby, Archbishop Of Canterbury

Mail Online Steve Doughty and Matt Chorley ‘Very grim day’: Next Archbishop of Canterbury tweets his verdict after Church of England Synod rejected women bishops

BBC Women bishops: PM ‘very sad’ at Church of England rejection

Update

Church Times Women-bishops legislation falls

Guardian Lizzy Davies Female bishops and the Church of England: what happens next?
Lizzy Davies Church of England bishops plot response to vote to exclude women
Patrick Wintour and Lizzy Davies and agencies David Cameron: Church of England should ‘get on with it’ on female bishops
Patrick Wintour and Lizzy Davies Cameron warns priests of turbulence after church votes no to female bishops
Lizzy Davies Female bishops supporter: ‘Although I’m gutted, it’s not the end of the road’
Giles Fraser After the bishops vote, I’m ashamed to be a part of the Church of England
Simon Hoggart Prime minister issues prod for God after vote against women bishops
Suzanne Moore The Church of England can no longer continue as an arm of the state

BBC Women bishops: A century-long struggle for recognition

Mail Online George Pitcher It’s not really about women bishops, it’s a fight for the Church of England’s soul
Steve Doughty The troubles that brought the Synod vote have been building up for decades

Telegraph Allison Pearson Swaziland has a woman bishop – why not Suffolk?
Rowena Mason and Tim Ross David Cameron: Church needs to ‘get with the programme’ after rejecting women bishops
Martyn Percy Women bishops: a failure of leadership
Tim Stanley In its search for ‘relevance’, the Anglican Church is losing relevance

Independent Susie Leafe Why I voted no to women bishops
Jerome Taylor Strong-arm tactics vs misplaced niceties: how the legislation was sunk

Huffington Post Susan Russell A Seriously Sad Day for the Church of England

Ekklesia Symon Hill “Too good for a girlie”? Sexism and women bishops
Fran Porter The Church of England and women: a rare moment of clarity?

Changing Attitude Colin Coward Reform and Forward in Faith achieve unexpected success

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes My reaction? Incredulity, hurt - and anger

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop tells women “this is still your Church”

Thursday update

Rachel Weir Time to reform General Synod

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 at 3:29pm GMT | Comments (19) | TrackBack
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Archbishop's comments

Following an emergency meeting of the House of Bishops this morning, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the Presidential Statement to General Synod, in which he called on members to ‘attend to one another…to give to one another the care that we need’. said that the failure to approve the draft Measure meant that the Church of England has “lost a measure of credibility” and that the Church could be seen as “wilfully blind” to modern trends and priorities.

At the end of yesterday afternoon’s proceedings the Archbishop of York said that the Presidents would be consulting overnight in the light of Synod’s decision not to give final approval to the proposed legislation about women in the episcopate. We met last night and we also this morning had the opportunity of an informal discussion with members of the House of Bishops. And what I say is in light of those meetings.

I’ve already said something in public about my personal reaction to yesterday’s vote and I don’t want to repeat what said then or offer a commentary on other people’s comments. But there are a few things it would be helpful to say from the chair today before we move on, as we must, to the rest of today’s business.

Whatever decision was made yesterday, today was always going to be a difficult day. There would have been, whatever decision was made, people feeling that their presence and their significance in the Church was in some sense put into question. There will be people feeling profoundly vulnerable, unwanted and unsure, and that means that the priority for today for all of us is to attend to one another in the light of that recognition, that is to give to one another the care that we need, and whatever else we do today, and think today and say today, I hope that that is what we will be able to offer one another.”

UPDATED Wednesday afternoon (transcript now available)
You can read and listen to the Archbishop’s address on the Lambeth Palace website. The full text is also reproduced below the fold.

Full text of the Archbishop’s presidential address:

At the end of yesterday afternoon’s proceedings the Archbishop of York said that the presidents would be consulting overnight in the light of Synod’s decision not to give final approval to the proposed legislation about women in the episcopate. We met last night, and we also this morning had the opportunity of an informal discussion with members of the House of Bishops. And what I say is in the light of those meetings.

I have already said something in public about my personal reaction to yesterday’s vote and I don’t want to repeat now what I said then, or offer a commentary on other people’s comments. But there are a few things that perhaps it would be helpful to say today, from the chair, before we move on, as we must, to the rest of today’s business.

Whatever decision had been made yesterday, today was always going to be a difficult day. There would have been, whatever decision was made, people feeling that their presence and their significance in the Church was in some sense put into question. There would be people feeling profoundly vulnerable, unwanted and unsure. And that means that the priority today, for all of us, is to attend to one another in the light of that recognition. That is to give to one another the care that we need, and whatever else we do today and think today and say today, I hope that that is what we shall be able to offer one another.

But today is also an opportunity to express appreciation which I’m sure Synod will share for all those staff members and others in the Synod who have worked so devotedly in the course of this legislative process over the past few years. And while it is invidious to single out any individual, a great deal of the burden of steering this process through has fallen on the steering committee in general and the Bishop of Manchester in particular. Bishop Nigel will be retiring in the New Year, there will be a formal farewell to him later today by the Archbishop of York. But I can’t miss this opportunity of recording my personal gratitude to Nigel for the unfailing graciousness and skill that he has shown through this process.

Recognising the work that has been done prompts the reflection that it won’t really do to speak as if talking had never started between parties and presences in the Church of England or in this Synod. Nonetheless, in the light of much that was said yesterday, I believe it is very important that we hold one another to account for the promises made of a willingness to undertake and engage urgently in further conversation. I believe that yesterday there was both realism and unrealism in much of what was said, and the realism was largely in the recognition that there is now that urgent demand for close, properly mediated conversation. The offers that were made need to be taken up, the Presidents of Synod and the House of Bishops are very eager that that should happen, and in their meeting in December will be discussing further how that might most constructively be taken forward.

But I have to say, and I hope you will bear with me in my saying this, that there was an unrealism around yesterday as well. The idea that there is a readily available formula just around the corner is, in my view, an illusion. There is no short cut here, there is no simple, God-given (dare I say) solution, to a problem which brings people’s deepest convictions into conflict in the way in which they have come into conflict in this Synod and previously. Realism requires us to recognise that; to recognise the depth and seriousness of the work still to be done. The map is clear enough. The decisions we have to make are about the route, and those decisions, given the nature of the terrain, are not going to be simple and straightforward.

So as we enter into further conversation, and as we reflect on the urgency of moving our situation forward, please don’t let us be under any misapprehensions about what it is going to demand of all of us, intellectually, spiritually and imaginatively. Part of recognising that also, I think, involves us recognising the greatest risk of all that faces us as a Synod and I suspect as a Church in our internal life. Yesterday did nothing to make polarisation in our Church less likely and the risk of treating further polarisation of views and identity is a very great one. It will feel like the default setting.

If I can be frivolous for a moment, there is a Matt Groening cartoon set in outer space, an appropriate location you might think at the moment, where crisis is impending for the staff of an inter-galactic rocket and they run around saying, ‘What do we do, who do we blame?’ Well, the temptation to run round saying what do we do, who do we blame today is going to be strong. I hope that we will try and hold back from simple recrimination in all this. So the work to do internally is considerable, but it is tempting to say that is as nothing compared to the work we have to do externally.

We have, to put it very bluntly, a lot of explaining to do. Whatever the motivations for voting yesterday, whatever the theological principle on which people acted, spoke; the fact remains that a great deal of this discussion is not intelligible to our wider society. Worse than that, it seems as if we are wilfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of that wider society. We have some explaining to do. We have, as the result of yesterday, undoubtedly lost a measure of credibility in our society, and I make that as an observation as objectively as I can; because it’s perfectly true, as was said yesterday, that the ultimate credibility of the Church does not depend on the good will of the wider public. We would not be Christians and believers in divine revelation if we held that; but the fact is as it is.

We also have a lot of explaining to do within the Church because I think a great many people will be wondering why it is that Diocesan Synods can express a view in one direction and the General Syod in another. That means that Synod itself is under scrutiny and under question; and I shouldn’t be at all surprised if many members of Synod and groups within Synod were not feeling today confused and uncertain about how Synod itself works – and whether there are issues we have to attend to there. We rightly insist in the Church of England on a high level of consent for certain kinds of change and the failure to secure a two-thirds majority in the House of Laity doesn’t mean that those high levels of consent are necessarily wrong. They do mean that there is a great deal of further work to be done, as I have said. But that sense of a Synod which, for admirable, praiseworthy reasons gives a very strong voice to the minority – that sense of Synod needs some explaining and some exploring if it is not simply to be seen as a holding to hostage of Synod by certain groups. That is part of the explaining we have to do, and we are all, I guess, feeling those uncomfortable questions.

How exactly we structure the conversations which lie ahead, as I have said, will take some time to work out. The House of Bishops will need to be thinking very hard in a couple of weeks’ time about how that goes forward, and the Archbishops’ Council also meets next week. Bishops of course will meanwhile be taking soundings and pursuing conversations in their own dioceses, and that does bear a little bit on a question later today about the pattern of Synodical meetings next year. We have a proposal that we should meet in July and November next year rather than in February. There is clearly a case for not loosing momentum in our discussion. There is also clearly a case for thinking twice about pursuing after a very, very short interval a set of issues that are still raw and undigested. I think the difficult question that Synod will have to address in that context is how we best use the next six months or so. It may be, for example, that if we do not have the Synod in February, that reserved time should be set aside to some brokered conversations in groups rather smaller than 470. But you may well feel, and I think the House of Bishops as a whole feels, that the full Synod in February is a little close for comfort given all the business, all the emotion, all the consequence we have to explore. The best way of keeping up pressure for a solution may not be to meet in February; but that is of course for further discussion and is in no sense meant to minimise the sense of urgency that we all face. Within that timeframe is when initial conversations have to begin.

After all the effort that has gone into this process over the last few years, after the intense frustration that has been experienced in recent years – and I don’t just speak of yesterday – about getting to the right point to make a decision, it would be tempting to conclude that it is too difficult, that perhaps the issue should be parked for a while. I don’t believe that is possible because of what I said earlier about the sense of our credibility in the wider society. Every day in which we fail to resolve this to our satisfaction, and the Church of England’s satisfaction, is a day when our credibility in the public eye is likely to diminish, and we have to take that seriously: however uncomfortable that message may be. There is a matter of mission here and we can’t afford to hang about. We can’t, as I said yesterday in my remarks, indefinitely go on living simply theologically with the anomaly of women priests who cannot be considered for bishops.

I mentioned earlier the duty of care that we have which does not lessen with the pressure and complexity of matters we face. But I do also want to repeat something that I said last night, having said that I wouldn’t repeat what I said last night, let me say something that I did say I as believe that it is probably worth saying, and that is that in spite of headlines in the press, the Church of England did not vote for its dissolution yesterday. The Church of England in a very important sense cannot vote for its dissolution, because the Church does not exist by the decision of Synod, by the will or personality of bishops or archbishops, by the decision of any pressure group, but by the call of Almighty God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will not regard it as disrespectful to Synod if I say that Synod cannot vote to abolish God the Holy Trinity. Therefore, what God asks of the Church and what God equips the Church to do are as true this morning as they were yesterday morning and to paraphrase something I said in another context, God does not wait for us to respond to his call for mission and service until we have solved all our internal problems. We are going to be faced with a great deal of very uncomfortable and very unpleasant accusation and recrimination about yesterday and there is no easy way of getting through that except to endure it. But we can at least say God remains God, our call remains our call, our Church remains our Church and it is in that confidence that, with a good deal of deep breathing and as they say heart-swearing, we prepare ourselves to do our business today in the hope that the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit is what is always is, and always was and always will be.

Thank you.

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more responses to the vote part 2

Church of England Evangelical Council:

“The church failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way” – Michael Lawson, CEEC Chairman

The Venerable Michael Lawson, CEEC Chairman, comments on the No vote for Women Bishops “Is the church out of touch? No! It simply failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way.”

“The General Synod’s no vote for women bishops will undoubtedly cause both pain and even incredulity to some, yet to others a relief that biblical and catholic orthodoxy has been upheld. The reality is that the out come brings no victory to either side. It is true that broadly speaking the church as a whole has grappled responsibly with this issue. What will be extremely sad is if the result of this vote leads some women to feel they are marginalised in the church, for the reality is that the New Testament encourages the ministry of both men and women, yet in complementary ways. There are of course many places where the rich ministerial gifts of women already have a chance to flourish. But as a result of the vote, this complementarity needs an even greater encouragement by word and action in our churches.

As CEEC has warned on many occasions, one of the reasons for the outcome of the vote will have been the weak and inadequate approach to provision for those who could not accept the possibility of the ordination of women to the Episcopate. At any return to this issue, this matter will require far more thoughtful attention than it attracted hitherto. There was an easy dismissal by some – of those who disagreed with women bishops. This sadly was perceived as ungenerous to say the least, and the whole church needs to learn and learn again that generosity towards those of different opinions is a true sign of the gospel of Christ.

As an outcome to this vote the church may well be criticized that it is out of touch with the times. The truer criticism could well be that we failed to attend to God’s work in God’s way. The CEEC which represents a range of views on this matter, will happily sit down and pray and discuss possible ways forward with any individuals and groups who seek to know the mind of God and build unity throughout his Church.

The Venerable Michael Lawson
Chairman, Church of England Evangelical Council

Statement from Chairman of Reform on Today’s Synod Vote

We thank God that the Church of England has avoided making a big mistake which would have led to real division and a less inclusive Church. The synod’s decision shows respect for the issues of conscience involved. It has avoided putting significant minorities who, as faithful Anglicans, seek to follow the Bible’s teaching, into an impossible position.

We now have a real opportunity to build on the Church’s solid biblical foundations, reflecting together on the right way forward. The good news is that we are still together and able to witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ, which is the heart of our gospel, the basis of our unity, and the only hope for the future of church and nation.

We stand ready for any discussions that our future archbishop may wish to initiate and happily commit ourselves to approaching these positively. Our hearts go out to those who will now be disappointed and confused about the difficult position in which the Church of England now finds itself. We assure them of our prayers. We recognise there is now a need for everyone to take stock while working together to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God as Advent approaches.
Rev Rod Thomas
Chair of Reform

Forward in Faith reacts to the defeat of the draft Measure

Forward in Faith recognises that the outcome of today’s vote in the General Synod will bring disappointment and pain to many. However, we are not surprised that the legislation failed to command the necessary majorities, as it has been apparent for some time that it lacked any consensus across the whole of the Church of England.

As we have done for the last decade and more, Forward in Faith stands ready to offer a better way ahead, which might indeed command that wider consensus which this draft Measure so clearly lacked.

We ask now for a period of prayer and reflection on the part of the whole church, following today’s events.

Catholic Group on General Synod
from the Guardian

We regret the Synod was put in the position whereby draft legislation failed at final approval because it was unclear and unfair in its provision for those who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops or priests.

The Catholic Group calls on the House of Bishops to reconvene the talks started in the summer between representatives of different groups, chaired by Bishop Justin Welby.

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Press coverage and comment

Updated Wednesday morning

Today’s General Synod news is extensively covered in the Press, and leads many of Wednesday’s front pages.

The Guardian has

The Telegraph’s main story is

In the Independent the coverage is headlined:

Update
Channel 4 News has a report which includes video from Church House and also an interview with Tony Baldry: Church of England votes against women bishops.

For many more links, see the CofE Media Briefing for today.

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

More responses to the vote part 1

Updated overnight

Affirming Catholicism has issued this statement.

The failure of the Women Bishops’ Measure to achieve the necessary majority in the House of Laity today is a huge disappointment and sadness. Many men as well as many women will experience this as a real blow, but our hearts particularly go out this evening to our women clergy who have ministered so effectively in the Church and had hoped today would be an affirmation of their ministry.

The full text is copied below the fold.

WATCH has issed a press release (only on Facebook at the moment)

Today’s vote is a devastating blow for the Church of England and the people of this country.

This vote is a missed opportunity for a whole generation to see women and men sharing fully in the mission, ministry and leadership of the Church of England.

The full text is copied below the fold.

Inclusive Church has issued a press release which can be read here.

Inclusive Church deeply regrets that General Synod did not approve the Measure that would have allowed women to become bishops in the Church of England.

We hope that church leaders will take urgent action to bring forward new legislation and to restore public confidence in the Church.

Dianna Gwilliams, Chair of Inclusive Church said:

“I’m personally disappointed that this legislation did not receive the necessary majority in the House of Laity of General Synod. It is clear that the Houses of Clergy and Bishops, along with 42 out of 44 Diocesan Synods believed that the legislation was the best fit.

This debate is not about women. It is about the nature of our church and her leadership. I pray that as we continue to listen prayerfully to each other God will grant courage to all women and men who, together, are providing courageous leadership in our church.”

GRAS has issued this statement:

We are deeply disappointed that the General Synod has made a decision so out of step with the will of the Church of England as a whole. The Synod’s decision to reject the Measure cuts right across what the vast majority of men and women in the Church of England long for and shows that our attempts at compromise have been ignored. It undermines the validity of the ministry of every ordained woman and sends out a negative message to all women everywhere. A single clause measure is now what GRAS will press for at every level.

Affirming Catholicism’s statement reads:

The Board of Affirming Catholicism issues the following statement following the General Synod Vote on the Women Bishops’ Measure
20th November, 2012:

The failure of the Women Bishops’ Measure to achieve the necessary majority in the House of Laity today is a huge disappointment and sadness. Many men as well as many women will experience this as a real blow, but our hearts particularly go out this evening to our women clergy who have ministered so effectively in the Church and had hoped today would be an affirmation of their ministry.

President of Affirming Catholicism, Bishop Michael Perham, said this evening their “priesthood is honoured and valued.” Thinking particularly of those who have “worked hard for a positive vote”, Bishop Michael adds “we all need now a little time to work through our initial sadness and frustration, but then we must go to work.”

After the cross of disappointment will however come new life; the pain shared on all sides must be the “birth pangs of a new way of being church”, says Revd Dr Rosemarie Mallett, Chair of Affirming Catholicism.

The Church in England is synodically governed but episcopally led: and our prayers must in the first instance be for the House of Bishops, meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) in emergency session to find a way forward. Bishop Michael says this must not mean “five more years of waiting for a development that will surely come. There will be women bishops in the Church of England. I have no doubt about that. Our response to the Holy Spirit and the effectiveness of our mission require it”.

Affirming Catholicism will continue to strive and work with all those dedicated to making sure this future becomes an early reality.

WATCH’s press release reads

Women Bishops: House of Laity says no – by 5 votes

Today’s vote is a devastating blow for the Church of England and the people of this country.

This vote is a missed opportunity for a whole generation to see women and men sharing fully in the mission, ministry and leadership of the Church of England.

There is overwhelming support for women bishops in both in the church and in the country at large. We have been discussing this issue for a generation and working on the details of this compromise legislation for over ten years. 42 out of 44 dioceses supported the draft Measure: 75% of all votes were cast in favour.

Today, 74% of General Synod members voted in favour of women bishops. Both the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy voted overwhelmingly in support, but the Measure was narrowly defeated in the House of Laity where it failed to reach the required 2/3 majority: by 5 votes.

In the coming weeks, bishops will need to act promptly to offer pastoral support to women clergy and others who will feel devastated by this outcome.

The General Synod clearly needs to look again at how it represents the will of the people in the pews.

Our Christianity calls us to the future and not the past. WATCH will continue to work towards a future for the Church of England where the gifts and callings of women and men are equally recognised and valued.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said,

“This is a tragic day for the Church of England after so many years of debate and after all our attempts at compromise. Despite this disappointing setback, WATCH will continue to campaign for the full acceptance of women’s gifts of leadership in the Church’s life.”

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Women Bishops: Church of England press release

Following the defeat by General Synod of the women bishops legislation this afternoon the Church of England issued this press release.

General Synod Rejects Draft Legislation on Women Bishops
20 November 2012

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to reject the draft legislation to allow women to become bishops.

Under the requirements of the Synod the legislation required a two-thirds majority in each of the three voting houses for final draft approval. Whilst more than two thirds voted for the legislation in both the House of Bishops (44-03) and the House of Clergy (148-45), the vote in favour of the legislation in the House of Laity was less than two-thirds (132-74). The vote in the House of Laity fell short of approval by six votes.

In total 324 members of the General Synod voted to approve the legislation and 122 voted to reject it.

The consequence of the “no” vote of terminating any further consideration of the draft legislation means that it will not be possible to introduce draft legislation in the same terms until a new General Synod comes into being in 2015, unless the ‘Group of Six’ (the Archbishops, the Prolocutors and the Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity) give permission and report to the Synod why they have done so.

Speaking after the vote the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said: “A clear majority of the General Synod today voted in favour of the legislation to consecrate women as Bishops. But the bar of approval is set very high in this Synod. Two-thirds of each house has to approve the legislation for it to pass. This ensures the majority is overwhelming. The majority in the house of laity was not quite enough. This leaves us with a problem. 42 out of 44 dioceses approved the legislation and more than three quarters of members of diocesan synods voted in favour. There will be many who wonder why the General Synod expressed its mind so differently.

“The House of Bishops recognises that the Church of England has expressed its mind that women should be consecrated as bishops. There is now an urgent task to find a fresh way forward to which so many of those who were opposed have pledged themselves.”

The House of Bishops of the Church of England will meet at 08.30am on Wednesday morning in emergency session to consider the consequences of the vote.

Exact voting figures will be found here.

To clarify the statement “The vote in the House of Laity fell short of approval by six votes.”, if six members of the House of Laity had voted in favour instead of against, the vote would in that house would have reached the necessary two-thirds majority.

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Women Bishops draft measure rejected by General Synod

Final approval of the legislation to allow women to become bishops in the Church of England was defeated by the General Synod today, because the vote in the House of Laity was less than the necessary two-thirds majority.

The main motion before Synod was

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

and this required a two-thirds majority of those present and voting in each of the three houses. [Abstentions are counted but not included in the calculation.] The votes were:

  For Against Abstention
Bishops
44
3
2
Clergy
148
45
0
Laity
132
74
0
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Women Bishops debate: online speeches

James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool

summary of speeches by Bishop of Manchester and Canon Simon Killwick

summary of speech by the Bishop of Durham

summary of speech by the Archbishop of Canterbury

If I find any more I will add them.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 20 November 2012 at 12:23pm GMT | Comments (1) | TrackBack
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General Synod Questions about ACNA and South Carolina

Two questions were asked at General Synod on Monday which were answered by the Bishop of Guildford. The full list of all Questions is available here (PDF).

53. Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

Q. Has consideration been given to whether the Church of England is in full and unimpaired communion with Bishop Mark Lawrence and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina?

54. Mrs Lorna Ashworth (Chichester) to ask the Chairman of the Council for Christian Unity:

Q. Following the recent issue of a Certificate of Abandonment of the Episcopal Church in relation to the Rt Revd Mark J Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, and recognising that Bishop Lawrence has been one of the declining number of theologically conservative bishops who has sought to remain and to keep his people within TEC, in the light of paragraph 6 in the statement offered to the Synod in GS Misc 2011 by the Archbishops, are there any plans to consider proposing to the Synod fuller recognition of the Anglican Church in North America than has been considered to be appropriate up to this point.

The Bishop of Guildford’s answer (transcribed from audio recording available here)

With your permission sir, I will answer this and Mrs Ashworth’s question together.

The withdrawal from The Episcopal Church of most of the clergy and people of several dioceses, led by their bishops, after diocesan convention decisions, is a development novel in kind as well as in scale. Our North American sisters and brothers have been often involved in a litigious and sometimes acrimonious debate. We should try to remain on good terms with all parties and avoid inflaming matters further. Our response should be deliberate, and not hasty.

As the Archbishops noted in GS Misc 1011, the creation of the Anglican Church in North America raises questions of recognition of orders – ministry – as well as a relationship of communion. The former question is in some respects simpler, because the considerations are more objective, and it is also the more pressing, by reason of requests for transfer. Nevertheless there are some matters that require clarification before any decisions can be taken.

Clergy ordained in several churches with which we are not, or not yet, in communion are seeking permission to minister in the Church of England. The Council for Christian Unity has therefore established a small group to offer advice to the Archbishops through the Faith and Order Commission on the relevant issues. The question about the Anglican Church in North America’s orders (whether it is a church and whether its orders are such, whether they such that we can recognize) will be addressed in that context. This will necessarily involve direct ‘engagement with the Anglican Church in North America’ which was envisaged in the Archbishops General Synod miscellaneous paper that I have referred to, GS Misc 1011, and that will be the context for subsequent exploration of relationships between our churches.

On Saturday, a Special Diocesan Convention endorsed the South Carolina withdrawal from The Episcopal Church. The Bishop has stated that their position would be to remain within the Anglican Communion as an extra-provincial Diocese. The Episcopal Church on the other hand maintains that General Convention consent is necessary for any withdrawal. So the legal and indeed theological and ecclesiological position is extremely complicated. And it is absolutely not certain.

It has therefore not been possible to consider the consequences for our relationships at this immediate stage. And, in my view, any statement just at this point would be premature.

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Monday, 19 November 2012

General Synod day one

Here’s a brief, official summary of today’s opening day of Synod: General Synod: Summary of business on Monday 19 November 2012.

Audio files of the session are available here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has published a speech he made today: Archbishop heralds “another model of Church life coming to birth”.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 19 November 2012 at 10:30pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Women Bishops: open letter in favour

Over a thousand clergy of the Church of England have signed an open letter to The Independent urging the General Synod to vote in favour of women bishops in Tuesday’s ballot. The letter, with a complete list of signatories, is here: Open Letter: The Biblical case for women bishops.

Daniel Goddard, Gerard Brand, Jonathan Brown and Kunal Dutta write about the letter in the Independent: Clergy demand women bishops ahead of General Synod.

The Telegraph also reports on the letter: Church of England General Synod: women bishop vote in balance as row looms.

There are other news items previewing the debate.

Telegraph John Bingham Top female cleric urges backing for ‘imperfect’ women bishops deal

BBC Michael Buchanan Church of England to vote on women bishops

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Weekend Welby

Mail Online Adrian Hilton Archbishop Justin Welby will try to be all things to all men

Daniel Deng, the Archbishop of Sudan, was interviewed about Bishop Welby’s appointment to Canterbury on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme this morning. The three minute interview starts 15 min 42 sec in from the start.

This article by Lucy Bannerman was originally published behind the paywall at The Times on 9 November and is now available for all to read at the Ottawa Citizen: New Archbishop of Canterbury is no bumbling academic

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Women Bishops

Updated Sunday night

There are several items this weekend about Tuesday’s debate and vote on women bishops.

Independent Emily Dugan Church of England poised to vote for women bishops

Telegraph John Bingham All eyes on ‘game-changer’ Welby as Church faces final showdown on women bishops

Telegraph Cole Moreton Ladies in waiting at the Church of England

Ruth Gledhill was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme this morning. The five minute interview starts 20 min 15 sec in from the start.

Update

Guardian Lizzy Davies Female bishops: history awaits at CofE General Synod vote

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 18 November 2012 at 4:08pm GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Anglican Covenant: report made to ACC-15

On Monday the General Synod is due to hear a presentation on the Anglican Consultative Council meeting held recently in New Zealand. A great many documents from that meeting are now available online here.

Of particular interest for the other agenda item tomorrow, concerning the Anglican Covenant, is this report on Provincial Reception of the Anglican Covenant (PDF).

This paper contains three kinds of information.

The first (Category A) is from member churches which have taken action in their governing body with respect to the Covenant, and which have communicated their decision to the Anglican Communion Office. The second (Category B) is from member churches which have taken action along the way to a decision, but which have not yet made a formal decision. The third (Category C) is from member churches whose actions have not been communicated to the ACO, but about which there is information through the media or on their own websites.

Wherever possible the exact wording of resolutions as adopted or defeated is given…

At the time this document was discussed at the ACC, Mary Frances Schjonberg of ENS filed this report: Council considers status of Anglican Covenant in small groups.

The Anglican Consultative Council spent an hour in private conversation on Oct. 31 (local time) considering the status of the Anglican Covenant but took no action.

Those reflection group conversations, preceded by a short plenary session open to the public, has been the pattern of this 15th meeting of the ACC.

Before the Oct. 31 reflection conversations began, New Zealand Diocese of Christchurch Bishop Victoria Matthews asked the members to consider “why [the covenant] is a cause of fear and why is it a sign of hope for others?”

The results of the reflection conversations were to be given to the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) and the Anglican Communion Standing Committee “as they discern the ways to take the matter forward,” according to a handout on the process…

And the previous day, in this digest report (scroll down for item) she had reported that Members get covenant status update.

While the ACC is not due to discuss the current status of the Anglican Covenant until Oct. 31, a document handed out today shows that nine provinces have made a final decision on the covenant with one rejecting the covenant, six accepting it as is and two making modifications as part of their acceptance.

Those in the so-called Category A that have approved the convent are Ireland, Mexico, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Southern Cone of America, and the West Indies. In addition, according to the document, South East Asia adopted the covenant with an added preamble of its own and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has subscribed to the covenant’s first three sections but said it cannot adopt section 4, which outlines a process for resolving disputes.

And, also in Category A, is the Scottish Episcopal Church, which has refused to adopt the covenant.

The U.S.-based Episcopal Church is one of eight provinces sorted into Category B, which is described as including provinces that have made “partial decisions” about the covenant…

The Church of Ireland Gazette also reported on all this, and interviewed Malcolm French of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition. The full text of the Gazette report is available below the fold.

Church of Ireland Gazette report, 9 November
A tale of two Anglican Covenants - one in the mind, another on paper, Bishop Victoria Matthews tells ACC-15

The Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand, the Rt Revd Victoria Matthews, last week told delegates at the 15th Anglican Consultative Council meeting (ACC -15), being held in Auckland, that she thought there were two Anglican Communion Covenants: “One is the document that people have in their mind and the other is the Anglican Communion Covenant on paper.”

For that reason, she said, she wanted people “to read the Covenant and be focused on that” because often, when people start talking about the Covenant “ what they describe in their mind as the Covenant is unrecognisable”.

Bishop Matthews, as a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCU FO), was introducing an ACC -15 session on the history and progress of the Covenant.

She observed that the questions behind the Covenant were: ‘What is the best way?’, ‘Is there a way that will keep us together safely?’, ‘What is our deepest fear when we consider decision-making processes?’.

“I believe that in the original idea of the Anglican Covenant, there was a desire to allow the Anglican Communion to be a safe place for conversation and the sharing of new ideas,” she said. “The actual document of the Anglican Covenant does not achieve that for all the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and that is why some Churches have declined to adopt it.”

Bishop Matthews added: “There are those who say [the Covenant] is punitive, and those who say it has no teeth. Both [these comments] tell me that it is not yet perceived, let alone received, as a truly safe way in which to encounter one another.”

While stressing that it was not the work of IASCU FO to promote the Covenant, but rather to monitor its reception, she asked delegates - in advance of a video shown to them on the history and detail of the Covenant - to reflect on “what there is in the Covenant that offers a possible way for us to talk to each other”.

“Remember most of the Covenant reminds us who we are in Christ,” she added.

NO ANGLICAN COVENANT COALITION RESPONSE

The Moderator of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, the Revd Malcolm French, of the Anglican Church of Canada, has told the Gazette that he agrees with Bishop Matthews that there is a ‘disconnect’ between the Anglican Covenant that is on paper and the Anglican Covenant that some people are discussing.

However, he added that, when the body of literature on the Covenant, on both sides of the debate about it, is examined, “it is far more often the Covenant’s critics who examine the text of the document itself”.

Mr French added that “most of the material written in support of the Anglican Covenant avoids any serious engagement with the text, reducing the Covenant to a notional construct, an empty vessel into which its advocates may pour whatever pretty rhetoric they believe will appeal to whichever audience is being addressed”.

The NACC Moderator told us that he also agreed with Bishop Matthews that IASCUFO’s mandate is not to promote the Covenant, but rather to monitor the process of its reception, but asked why a body mandated to monitor reception of the Covenant felt it was appropriate “to produce a series of videos clearly designed to promote its adoption”.

Mr French concluded: “Whatever the intent of its authors, it is clear the Anglican Covenant has become a cause of division rather than a means of unity. Scotland has said no. New Zealand has said no. The Philippines has said no. Despite the spin, England has said no.

“Despite the growing chorus of noes, the Communion continues to muddle along, showing once and for all that we are bound together by grace, not by law.”

  • Member-Churches of the Anglican Communion were invited to adopt the Anglican Covenant. However, at the General Synod of 2011, the Church of Ireland used a different term, agreeing to ‘subscribe’ the document.
    Proposing the motion, the Bishop of Cashel and Ossory made it clear that the term ‘subscribe’ was being used because it was understood to be less binding than ‘adoption’.
    The Bishop of Down and Dromore, seconding, concurred with Bishop Burrows’ understanding of the wording.
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Saturday, 17 November 2012

South Carolina: withdrawal from Episcopal Church confirmed

Updated Sunday morning

Episcopal News Service reports: South Carolina convention affirms decision to leave Episcopal Church

The majority of South Carolina Episcopalians who attended a special convention at St. Philip’s Church here Nov. 17 affirmed actions by Bishop Mark Lawrence and the diocesan Standing Committee a month ago to disaffiliate the diocese from the Episcopal Church.

Those actions took place after Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori restricted Lawrence’s ministry on Oct. 17 after the church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops certified to her that he had abandoned the Episcopal Church “by an open renunciation of the discipline of the church.”

On that same day, the Standing Committee announced that the action of the Disciplinary Board “triggered two pre-existing corporate resolutions of the diocese, which simultaneously disaffiliated the diocese from the Episcopal Church and called a special convention.”

The bishop referred to the special convention as “the Valley of Decision” during his address and asserted, “It is time to turn the page.” He referred to attempts to prevent separation of the diocese, and his oft-mentioned issues of theology, morality and disagreement with church canons…

The full text of Bishop Lawrence’s address to the convention can be found here. It is worth reading in full.

The ENS report notes that:

..While the bishop referred to numerous letters of support from church leaders, he did not announce any open offers of affiliation with the Anglican Communion, and he confirmed that for now the separatist diocese will affiliate with no one. In a conference call following the convention, he confirmed that alignment is not on the table at present.

However, during his address, he claimed that “for now and the foreseeable future, having withdrawn from our association with TEC, we remain an extra-provincial diocese within the larger Anglican Communion.”

Such a designation requires action by the Anglican Consultative Council, which concluded a 12-day meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, on Nov. 7. No action on South Carolina was taken during that meeting and the council will not meet again until May 2016…

Updates

Diocese of South Carolina Turns the Page; Looks Forward

Special Convention Approves Canonical and Constitutional Amendments Regarding Disassociation

Today, Saturday, November 17, 2012, the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina met in Special Convention at the “mother church of the Diocese,” historic St. Philip’s Church in Charleston. There, an overwhelming majority passed three resolutions…

Full details of the three resolutions can be found here (PDF).

Video of Bishop Lawrence’s address here.

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opinion

Andrew Brown in The Guardian The dictionary is wrong – science can be a religion too

Susan Russell in the Huffington Post And Here’s to You, Bishop Robinson

Matthew Groves for ResPublica The New Archbishop: A counter-cultural first among equals

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Friday, 16 November 2012

Visiting General Synod

The Church of England has issued the following advice about visiting General Synod. It will be particularly relevant for the debate on the women bishops legislation which is timetabled for both the morning and afternoon sessions next Tuesday.

Visiting General Synod

Arrangements have been announced for those wishing to visit general synod and observe its proceedings.

112 tickets will be available each day for the public gallery.

Tickets will be valid for either the morning session (9am-1pm) or afternoon session (2pm-7pm).

Those wishing to view for the whole day will need to obtain tickets for both sessions.

Tickets for the morning session will be available from 8.45 from the Deans Yard entrance to Church House.

Tickets for the afternoon session will be available from 1.45 from the same place.

Tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis. Those leaving the premises will be asked to return their tickets to allow others to enter.

In addition to tickets for the public gallery there will be a further 40 tickets available for the Abbey Room where a live feed of proceedings will be broadcast.

There will also be an opportunity to follow synod proceedings via twitter where the CofE comms account - amongst others - will be live tweeting proceedings. The hashtag being used for the whole session will be “#synod”

The proceedings will also be broadcast on a live audio feed available from the Church of England website.

The agenda for the synod is available here: http://bit.ly/WaeYTV

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Church Times articles on the new Archbishop

Today’s Church Times has several articles about the appointment of Justin Welby as the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Some are only available to subscribers, but these two can be read by all

Reconciler Welby to take over in Canterbury

Bishop Welby’s statement

as can this editorial.

Momentous month

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Women Bishops latest

Updated latest Friday afternoon

As next Tuesday’s debate and vote at General Synod approaches here are a few recent press articles.

Church Times Madeleine Davies As Synod vote nears, both sides slug it out online

Guardian Vicky Beeching How social media could swing the vote for women bishops

Ekklesia Simon Barrow Saying ‘yes’ to women bishops

Telegraph Riazat Butt Women bishops will have to accept discrimination to exist

Update The Church Mouse reports that Evangelical Women’s Group AWESOME back Women Bishops.

Church of England Newspaper Jody Stowell Yes2WomenBishops?

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African challenges for the new archbishop

The Voice of America published this article about the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Tough Path Ahead for New Anglican Leader.

…The archbishop also comes from the church’s evangelical wing, which analysts say should stand him well in Africa. Pityana said that building a bridge between the two sides, however, will not be easy.

“Clearly any archbishop has got to be a master diplomat, has got to be somebody who can really balance out a variety of interests and pushes and pulls in the Anglican community. In this time, I would imagine there is a schism in all but name,” said Pityana.

Pityana said what is needed is an archbishop who can open dialogue, and he thinks Welby may have what it takes.

The incoming archbishop has worked as a crisis negotiator in Africa, working with separatists in the Niger Delta and negotiating with Islamists in northern Nigeria. His experience in Africa is important, Pityana said, especially in Nigeria, host to the world’s largest Anglican community.

“Bishop Justin has worked in Nigeria and one assumes that he has got fraternal relations with the leadership or the emerging leadership of the church in Nigeria. And so he would be able, at the very least, to be persuasive enough to open real genuine dialogue, which clearly under Archbishop Rowan Williams just did not happen,” said Pityana…

But speaking on the BBC, Nigerian Anglican leader Nicholas Okoh made it clear how he views the road ahead.

“The homosexual agenda that is being promoted here and there in the church, and by different governments here and there, if that is the agenda he is coming to promote, of course we will not be part of it,” said Okoh.

Leeds University African-religious studies expert Kevin Ward also is an Anglican priest. He said he thinks Welby has the qualities needed to make better headway toward dialogue within the Communion.

“I think that Justin Welby is going to work hard. He has this strong background of reconciliation, of working with divided people, bringing people together. And I think he will use those skills very well, not least in working with African church leaders,” said Ward.

Agence France-Presse reports: Nigerian lawmakers move ahead on anti-gay bill.
Also published by the Kenyan Daily Nation .

ABUJA — Nigerian lawmakers moved a step closer Tuesday to approving a bill that would harshly crack down on gay rights, including banning same-sex marriage and public displays of affection between homosexual couples.

The bill which has already been approved by the Senate passed a second reading in the House of Representatives with an unanimous vote and will now see a clause-by-clause review in the chamber at an undetermined date.

“It is alien to our society and culture and it must not be imported,” House majority leader Mulikat Adeola-Akande said during debate, referring to same-sex marriage. “Religion abhors it and our culture has no place for it,” she added.

House minority leader Femi Gbajabiamila said the bill represents “convergence of both law and morality.” He said that same-sex marriage “is both illegal and immoral.”

Nigeria’s senate in November 2011 approved the bill that would make same-sex marriages punishable by up to 14 years for the couple and 10 for anyone abetting such unions.

It also set out a 10-year sentence for “any person who … directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationships”.

Gay organisations would also be made illegal, leading some to raise concerns over whether funding channeled through non-governmental organisations in Nigeria for AIDS treatment would be put in jeopardy…

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Next Archbishop of Canterbury: yet more news and reactions

The press is still interested in the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Telegraph John Bingham Blessed are the Rock Badgers as Justin Welby heads for Canterbury
John Bingham Pope welcomes new Archbishop of Canterbury
Katy Brand Justin Welby’s ‘real world’ outlook bodes well for women bishops
Rachel Cooper New Archbishop of Canterbury takes RBS chief Stephen Hester to task
Damian Reece What the banker should have said to the bishop
John Bingham and Daniel Johnson Christians ‘should not be afraid’ to refer to their faith, says new Archbishop

Time Megan Gibson As The Next Archbishop of Canterbury, Can Justin Welby Save The Anglican Communion?

Mail Online Anna Edwards Hats off to you! New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is already a hit as he swaps headgear with a policeman

Economist Alpha male

There are also more reactions to the appointment.

Colin Coward of Changing Attitude Archbishop-elect Justin Welby has the potential to be very good news

Russian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk congratulates newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury

Finally, the Guardian has this article by Andy Beckett about Bishop Welby’s old school: Eton: why the old boys’ network still flourishes

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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Diocese of South Carolina: confusing developments

Updated twice Thursday evening

Earlier reports were here, and also here.

Updates
Bishop Mark Lawrence has issued
A Message from Bishop Lawrence to the People of the Diocese of South Carolina which is also available as a PDF here.

…On Thursday, November 15, 2012, the following message to the people of the Diocese of South Carolina from Bishop Mark Lawrence was placed in the Charleston Post and Courier. The Bishop’s message reminds us that we are still here, where we always have been: a historic diocese remaining faithful to the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ and recognized as such by the vast majority of the Anglican Communion in spite of recent attempts to assume our identity by the new TEC Steering Committee…

ENS has published Presiding bishop’s pastoral letter to Episcopalians in South Carolina

Katharine, a servant of Christ, to the saints in South Carolina.
May the grace, mercy, and peace of Christ Jesus our Savior be with you all.
You and the challenges you are facing in South Carolina remain in my own prayers and in those of many, many Episcopalians. As the confusion increases, I would like to clarify a number of issues which I understand are being discussed…

——

The Episcopal Church has issued this Fact sheet: The Diocese of South Carolina dated 9 November.

The Diocese of South Carolina (i.e. the body headed by Bishop Mark Lawrence) has issued

And a rival diocesan website has appeared here. Its contents include:

The group South Carolina Episcopalians has issued numerous further documents, including

There are even more documents from other sources available here.

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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Uganda anti-gay bill requested by Christians

The Associated Press reports: Official: Uganda’s anti-gay bill to be passed by end of year despite criticism abroad.
Also published in the Washington Post.

Uganda’s anti-gay bill will be passed before the end of 2012 despite international criticism of the draft legislation, the speaker of the country’s parliament said Monday, insisting it is what most Ugandans want.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told The Associated Press that the bill, which originally mandated death for some gay acts, will become law this year.

Ugandans “are demanding it,” she said, reiterating a promise she made before a meeting on Friday of anti-gay activists who spoke of “the serious threat” posed by homosexuals to Uganda’s children. Some Christian clerics at the meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, asked the speaker to pass the law as “a Christmas gift.”

See this video from NTV Uganda via Allafrica.com: Anti-Gay Bill: Speaker Kadaga Promises to Speed Up Law in Uganda.

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Chichester sexual abuse: two arrests

Updated again on Friday

A retired bishop and a 67 year old retired priest were arrested by Sussex Police today in relation to allegations of sexual abuse. The Church of England issued this statement this morning.

Statement from the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Chair of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee
13 November 2012

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Chair of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee said:

“We can confirm that police today arrested a retired Bishop and a 67 year old retired priest in relation to allegations of sexual abuse. The church has been working closely with Sussex police throughout this investigation and the full statement can be read here.

The Church of England takes any allegations of abuse very seriously and is committed to being a safe place for all. To this end we have robust procedures and policies in place. But we can never be complacent. We would like to urge any victims or those with information to feel free to come forward knowing that they will be listened to in confidence.

We have also put support systems in place for all those involved with today’s arrests. Should anyone have further information or need to discuss the personal impact of this news the Church has worked with the NSPCC to set up a confidential helpline no. 0800 389 5344. Although we cannot comment on this case any further at the moment, lessons must be learnt and it is our mission that all our churches are places of safety and joy, of righteousness and justice.”

Although neither the Church nor the police gave the names of those arrested, the media have not been so reticent.

Guardian Robert Booth Retired bishop Peter Ball arrested on suspicion of child sex offences

Independent Tom Pugh Retired bishop Peter Ball held in child sex abuse investigation

Telegraph John Bingham Former Church of England bishop held over sex abuse claims

BBC Former bishop and retired priest arrested over abuse claims

Mail Online Steve Nolan Retired Church of England bishop, 80, arrested by police over historic child sex abuse allegations at scandal-hit Diocese

Update Sussex Police have issued this update.

Guardian Robert Booth Bishop’s arrest part of broad inquiry into Chichester diocese child abuse

Friday update Guardian Robert Booth Police receive further abuse complaints against retired bishop

Comments are closed for this article.

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WATCH says "Time to Move On!"

WATCH (Women and the Church) has today issued this Synod Briefing Statement.

TIME TO MOVE ON!

Where we are now – Anglican women in ordained ministry

The Church of England depends on its women priests. Twenty years ago (11.11.92) General Synod voted to ordain women as priests. Today we have over three thousand women ministering in parishes and others in chaplaincies in hospitals, prisons, schools and universities. One in three priests is female and almost 50% of new ordinands. Four of our cathedrals have female Deans and there are 26 female archdeacons active in the leadership teams of dioceses.

There have been women bishops in the Anglican Communion since Barbara Harris was ordained in 1989. Since then 34 women have been consecrated in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Cuba, South Africa and the USA. In all these provinces of the Anglican Communion, no legal provision was made for those who oppose women in ordained ministry. Other provinces as varied as Scotland and the Sudan have opened the way for women bishops but not yet made a first appointment.

The discussion so far…

GS voted on a motion to ordain women as deacon, priest and bishop in 1978 – it lost. We have been discussing this issue ever since – for a whole generation.

The present legislative process began in 2000. Since then there have been 3 major church reports, regular debates in Synod and fifteen months of detailed drafting work. All the dioceses in the country have been consulted and at every step of the way support for this legislation to enable women to be bishops has been overwhelming: 42 of 44 dioceses voted ‘yes’ – with more than 75% of all votes cast in favour.

The provision for those opposed in the draft legislation

One reason for the overwhelming support for this legislation is the generous support offered to those who are opposed.

Under the draft Measure any parish can request a male priest or bishop on the grounds of their theological conviction and these convictions must be respected. This will be backed up by a Statutory Code of Practice with legal force. Some people say that this is not enough, but it is as much as can be given without seriously damaging the Church - and 29 dioceses voted against further provision being made.

This is a compromise for everyone

The draft ‘Measure’ is a considerable compromise for those in favour of women bishops. There will be parishes where women will be barred from serving as priests, and women bishops will have to delegate to a male bishop where the parish requests it. Nowhere else in the Anglican Communion has provision been spelled out in law at all – things have been worked out through building relationships ‘on the ground’. Most of WATCH’s supporters would much prefer to have seen this sort of arrangement in the Church of England too. But we have compromised so as to make space for those who are finding this change difficult.

Voting ‘yes’ for this would also be a compromise for those opposed because the legislation does not give them as much reassurance as they would like.

The 20th November

On Tuesday 20th November, General Synod will have to consider “The Measure” as it stands. Nothing can be done to amend it now without starting all over again.

Some, from both sides, want to wait in the hope of getting something better, but to do so would be incredibly destructive. Another 10 years going over and over the same arguments would cripple the Church’s credibility and mission. It would also deprive the Church of the skills and wisdom of women bishops. To waste our time and talents in this way would be quite wrong.

Despite our concerns that this Measure does not do enough to eradicate discrimination from the Church, WATCH is praying that Synod will vote ‘yes’ on 20th November. This is far from the perfect Measure for women, but it is what has been negotiated after years of consultation amongst those of all perspectives. A ‘yes’ will enable women bishops to be appointed whilst allowing that those who disagree to have a respected place within the Church of England.

Time to Decide!

‘To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven’ Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a time for discussion and a time for decision. Twenty years after the vote for women’s ordination to the priesthood, and twelve years after we started exploring this issue in detail, it’s time to decide - time to move on.

The Reverend Rachel Weir Chair of WATCH said “This week we have been celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the vote for women priests. We pray that next week, Synod will complete the work that was started in November 1992 and vote for women bishops.

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Sunday, 11 November 2012

women bishops: lobbying against the Measure continues

updated again Thursday morning

The Chairs of Reform and the Catholic Group in General Synod have jointly published a printed booklet which has been sent to all synod members. It is available online as a PDF: Women Bishops Legislation Not Fit for Purpose.

Update and here is part 2: Yes 2 Women Bishops Part 2: The Right Measure at the Right Time

Church Society has published a video urging a vote against the Measure. See the associated press release here.

New articles continue to be posted at the website Replace the Measure.

Further material in the Church Times is mentioned in this news article: Synod women-bishops vote appears too close to call by Madeleine Davies.

Andrew Brown asked at Cif belief Female bishops vote: heading for a full dress fiasco?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 11 November 2012 at 11:45pm GMT | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Archbishop of Canterbury: even more reactions

More reactions since our article on Friday.

News items

Observer Peter Stanford The evangelical HQ that claims the new primate as one of its own
[originally published under the headline “New archbishop started his journey to Lambeth Palace at a radical church”]

Telegraph Charles Moore Justin Welby is the Alpha male to save the Church of England
Cole Moreton Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘You have no future in the Church’

BBC John McManus Justin Welby: Those who bet on me should donate winnings
Welby calls for winnings to be donated to church
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: World reaction

Huffington Post Jaweed Kaleem Justin Welby, New Archbishop Of Canterbury, Watched By Pro-Gay Rights Episcopalians As Church Tensions Continue

The Diocese of Durham has published a video of Bishop Justin’s Message To The Diocese.

Living Church John Martin +Welby’s Self-effacing Debut

Episcopal News Service Matthew Davies Hopes and gratitude for incoming, outgoing archbishops of Canterbury

Independent Joan Smith Our zombie church has a new leader. So what?

AllAfrica Nigeria: Who Will Close the Gulf Between Nigerian, UK Anglican Churches?

Mail Online George Arbuthnott and Adam Luck Revealed: Archbishop blindfolded by rebels with Kalashnikovs on jungle mercy mission

Bloggers

The Dean of Durham has written An Open Letter to the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Leonard Clark has written Shall we stay or fall away?

Alan Wilson And a (Blindfolded) Child shall lead them?

Krishnan Guru-Murthy An untroublesome priest?

(+)+Welby - post-Protestant evangelical?

Colin Coward of Changing Attitude Justin Welby – is he good news for LGB&T Anglicans?

Andy Walton at Fulcrum Beginning Well: A Reflection on Justin Welby’s first press conference at Lambeth Palace

Reactions to the appointment

Statements on 105th Archbishop of Canterbury from across the Anglican Communion

Reform

Church of England Evangelical Council

Church of Uganda

Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans

Anglican Church in North America

Some earlier items

Living Church Justin Welby: A TLC Interview

Justin Welby speaking to the American House of Bishops

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 11 November 2012 at 3:52pm GMT | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 10 November 2012

opinion

Martin Wainwright writes in The Guardian about Durham’s loss but not London’s gain: “Praise be for a national institution whose greatest names - Canterbury and York - are outside the M25.

The Guardian has a video of Richard Coles who says that The saints’ lives will always resonate.

Christopher Howse writes in his Sacred Mysteries column in The Telegraph about A life above the brook Cedron.

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Justin Welby: Video of press conference Q and A

In addition to the recordings published here, you can watch a complete, unedited, video recording of the Questions and Answers portion of the press conference here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 10 November 2012 at 9:06am GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Friday, 9 November 2012

Initial Reactions to new Archbishop of Canterbury

This page will be updated during the day

The Church of England gives us this Prayer for the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Following the press conference to announce the new Archbishop this morning the following press reports have already appeared.

Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Welby confirmed as Williams’s successor
and Welby optimistic about Church: ‘The tide of events is turning’

Paul Handley in the Church Times On handling the press

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Justin Welby confirmed as archbishop of Canterbury
and Justin Welby urges General Synod to vote to ordain women
and Clerical duties: what does the archbishop of Canterbury do?

Andrew Brown in The Guardian Justin Welby introduces himself with self-deprecation and a hint of steel

BBC Justin Welby named as next Archbishop of Canterbury
The new Archbishop of Canterbury: 10 lesser-known things

John Bingham in the Telegraph Justin Welby confirmed as next Archbishop of Canterbury
and New Archbishop Justin Welby pledges re-think on gay marriage relationships
and African leaders warn Welby: Anglican Church is ‘fractured’

Steve Doughty and Amanda Williams in the Mail Online Former oil industry executive the Rt Rev Justin Welby confirmed as next Archbishop of Canterbury quips ‘This is the best-kept secret since the last Cabinet reshuffle’

Channel 4 news Justin Welby named Archbishop of Canterbury

Liverpool Echo Justin Welby announced as new Archbishop of Canterbury
Liverpool Daily Post New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Wilby upbeat over future of church

New York Times Alan Cowell and John F Burns Former Oil Executive Appointed Archbishop of Canterbury

Christian Today Conservative Anglicans welcome new Archbishop of Canterbury
and What Christians are saying about the next Archbishop of Canterbury

Interview with the Archbishop-designate on BBC Radio Four’s World at One.

Robert Barr for Associated Press Ex-oilman Welby named archbishop of Canterbury

Trevor Grundy in the Washington Post New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby inherits a divided Anglican Communion

A number of English dioceses have already responded to the announcement.

Bristol Canterbury Derby Ely Lincoln Liverpool Norwich Portsmouth Sheffield Winchester York

There are these other responses.

Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Right Reverend James Tengatenga, Bishop of Malawi
Kenneth Kearon Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
Scottish Episcopal Church
Inclusive Church
Baptist Times
Chief Rabbi
UK Ambassador to the Holy See
Church Army
Affirming Catholicism
WATCH (Women and the Church)
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori
Archbishop Vincent Nichols
Church in Wales
Integrity USA

David Pocklington at Law & Religion UK has Ten further questions for the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Andrew Brown in The Guardian The new archbishop of Canterbury: money, sex and other headaches

Savi Hensman for Ekklesia Justin Welby: archbishop amidst fallen idols

Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia For Canterbury, Rerum Novarum

Paul Bickley at politics.co.uk Welby is well suited to walk a difficult path ahead

Ekklesia No place for homophobia in church, says Archbishop-elect
and Welby speaks in favour of the Living Wage and tax reform

Giles Fraser in The Guardian As the CofE’s top man, Justin Welby must cope with our infantile projections

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 9 November 2012 at 12:20pm GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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Justin Welby appointed 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

Updated at 12.30 pm

At last, it is official. Number 10 just issued this press notice.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Friday 9 November 2012

Justin Welby appointed 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

The Queen has nominated the Right Reverend Justin Welby, MA, Hon FCT, the Lord Bishop of Durham, for election by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury in the place of the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Douglas Williams, MA DPhil DD FBA, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan.

Notes for Editors

Justin Welby (aged 56) was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After a career in the oil industry in Paris and London, he trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall and St John’s College Durham. He served his title at Chilvers Coton with Astley, Coventry diocese from 1992 to 1995. From 1995 to 2002 he was Rector of Southam and also Vicar of Ufton, Coventry diocese from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2007 he was Canon Residentiary at Coventry Cathedral; and was Co-Director for International Ministry from 2002 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007 he was Sub-Dean at Coventry Cathedral and also Canon for Reconciliation Ministry and in 2007 was also Priest-in-Charge at Coventry Holy Trinity. From 2007 to 2011 he was Dean of Liverpool. Since 2011 he has been the Bishop of Durham.

From 2000 to 2002 he was Chairman of an NHS Hospital Trust, and he currently also serves on the Committee of Reference for the ethical funds of a large investment company in the City of London. He is also a member of the Banking Standards Commission.

Justin Welby is married to Caroline and they have had six children (one of whom died in infancy).

And Lambeth Palace has this Announcement of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury.

Update The Lambeth Palace announcement now includes the opening statement made by Bishop Welby at the press conference this morning. There is also a biography of the Archbishop-designate.

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Archbishop of Canterbury: more on Justin Welby

The official announcement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury is not expected until later this morning. But that hasn’t stopped a deluge of media articles about Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham. We published a few earlier; here are more.

Ekklesia Welby expected to be announced as new Archbishop of Canterbury

Guardian
Lizzy Davies Justin Welby to be next archbishop of Canterbury
Stephen Bates Justin Welby: a real world archbishop of Canterbury
Andrew Brown Justin Welby went to Eton – of course he understands misery
editorial Justin Welby: a pragmatic priest in turbulent times

Telegraph
John Bingham New Archbishop of Canterbury: Justin Welby, the meteoric rise of an ‘astonished’ former oil trader
Fraser Nelson Justin Welby : The worldly capitalist looking to spread the Word of the Lord
New Archbishop of Canterbury: Justin Welby, the oil executive who heard God calling
Peter Mullen A new Archbishop but no change at Canterbury: Justin Welby is just another Left-wing establishment bureaucrat
Damian Thompson ‘HTB’ lands its first Archbishop of Canterbury
John Bingham Archbishop of Canterbury: Claims of ‘insider dealing’ after run of bets on Justin Welby

Independent
Cahal Milmo Profile: Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham
Cahal Milmo Priority one for the next Archbishop of Canterbury: Get the books in holy order
George Pitcher Brace position, Mr Cameron. Justin Welby, the next Archbishop, is not the kind of Etonian you’re used to

Northern Echo Mark Tallentire Who is Justin Welby?

BBC
Mick Ord Profile: Anglican Bishop of Durham Justin Welby
Robert Pigott Analysis: new Archbishop’s challenge
Viewpoints: What should new archbishop’s priorities be?
Why Justin Welby left the oil industry for a life in the Church
Justin Welby: Profile of the man set to be Archbishop of Canterbury

Financial Times Brooke Masters Welby’s financial knowledge welcomed

ITV Challenging times ahead as New Archbishop prepares to take leadership

Mail Online Stephen Glover Praise be! A man of steel and principle who could (with God’s help) rescue our bickering Church

Liverpool Echo Paddy Shennan New Archbishop of Canterbury in waiting Justin Welby says he learned so much in Liverpool

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 9 November 2012 at 9:33am GMT | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury: media rumours grow strongly

Updated Thursday morning

Newspapers are now reporting Justin Welby’s appointment as a fact.

The Times is behind a paywall, but the article by Ruth Gledhill for tomorrow’s paper is headlined: Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, to become Archbishop of Canterbury, and opens with

The Bishop of Durham will be announced as the new Archbishop of Canterbury tomorrow.

The Telegraph has Bishop of Durham Justin Welby to be Archbishop of Canterbury by John Bingham and Jonathan Wynne-Jones.

… Last night a spokesman refused to confirm his appointment. But it came a few hours after he pulled out at short notice from a planned appearance on the BBC Radio 4 discussion programme Any Questions due to take place in County Durham on Friday.
He also cut short a retreat with diocesan staff and returned to the capital where it is understood his wife is travelling down to join him tomorrow…

Lizzy Davies at the Guardian has Justin Welby set to be named as new Archbishop of Canterbury

Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, is expected to be unveiled as the next Archbishop of Canterbury within days as Lambeth Palace prepares to break weeks of silence on the identity of Rowan Williams’s successor…

Updates

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Former oil boss who opposes same sex marriage emerges as favourite to become next Archbishop of Canterbury

Martha Linden Press Association via Independent Bishop of Durham ‘to become Archbishop of Canterbury’

BBC Justin Welby ‘to be named as new Archbishop of Canterbury’

Guardian Andrew Brown and Lizzy Davies Justin Welby: an archbishop who could do the business

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 at 10:27pm GMT | Comments (20) | TrackBack
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women bishops: Affirming Catholicism supports the Measure

Affirming Catholicism has published this Statement on the Measure to admit Women to the Episcopate to be debated at General Synod November 2012. It concludes:

…Affirming Catholicism recognises that this Measure represents a compromise by people on all sides of this debate. Many of those who support the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate would have preferred a Measure with fewer provisions for those who do not accept the sacramental ministry of women. Many of those who do not accept the sacramental ministry of women would have preferred more robust structures. Affirming Catholicism welcomes the fact, that unlike suggestions for a separate province or society for those who cannot in conscience accept the sacramental ministry of women, the Draft Measure preserves the parochial and diocesan structures of the Church of England, preventing the creation of parallel Church of England jurisdictions in the same place. And the voting in Diocesan Synods would suggest that the vast majority of their members also support this way forward.

Affirming Catholicism strongly affirms the basic assumptions upon which the Draft Measure is based and hopes that General Synod will now vote for the Measure, recognising that in doing so it is enacting the will of the Church of England.

The full text of the statement is reproduced below the fold.

Statement on the Measure to admit Women to the Episcopate to be debated at General Synod November 2012

From the beginning of the debate on the admission of women to the episcopate, Affirming Catholicism has argued that the key structural principle that must remain unimpaired, if the ministry of women in the episcopate is to be accepted within the Church of England, is that also enunciated in the first clause of the Act of Synod: “The bishop of each diocese continues as the ordinary of his [sic] diocese.”

Moreover, we recognise that a degree of diversity is core to Anglican ecclesiology; we believe that the Church as a body is enriched by including people with different views, even on key issues of Christian faith. Affirming Catholicism has therefore consistently argued that in moving towards opening the episcopate of the Church of England to women, it is also necessary to make provision for the minority within the Church of England who continue to have private reservations about women’s ministry, provided that these provisions do not compromise the recognition of diocesan bishop as ordinary in that diocese.

Consequently, and despite some continuing reservations about the provision for on bishop’s declarations (§§2.4 and 2.5) and the issuing of letters of request (§3), in July 2010 Affirming Catholicism welcomed the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to admit women to the episcopate as “a good and balanced means by which the Church of England can legislate to allow women to take their full place within the Church of England’s ministry”.

That Measure was referred to the Dioceses of the Church of England, and accepted by 42 of 44, being narrowly defeated in Chichester and London. Moreover, 33 Dioceses voted explicitly against adding additional provisions for those who do not feel able to recognise the ministry of women as priests and bishops, and only nine in favour of doing so. In February 2012, General Synod voted resoundingly in favour of a motion that asked that the House of Bishops should not amend the draft Measure “substantially”.

When in May 2012, the House of Bishops agreed two amendments to clauses 5 and 8 of the draft Measure, Affirming Catholicism welcomed the latter, and particularly its confirmation that the delegation of authority by the diocesan to another bishop “shall not be taken as divesting the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her authority or functions.”
However, Affirming Catholicism argued strongly against accepting the second amendment, the addition of clause 5(1)©, requiring that the Code of Practice to be drawn up and promulgated by the House of Bishops should offer guidance as to:

“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.”

Affirming Catholicism was very pleased that the July General Synod referred this amendment back to the House of bishops for further consideration.
In September 2012, the House of Bishops suggested a further amendment of clause 5(1)© to require that the Code of Practice should offer guidance as to:

“the selection of male bishops and male priests in a manner which respects the grounds on which parochial church councils issue Letters of Request under section 3 (3).”

This is the wording of the Measure that General Synod will be asked to vote on in November. No further amendment can be made to the Measure.

Affirming Catholicism believes that the revised clause 5(1)© is in accordance with the Measure as it was agreed by the General Synod in July 2010 and affirmed by a substantial majority of Diocesan Synods. The legislation as proposed, as the Report accompanying it maintained, “will, for the first time, enable women to be admitted to all orders of ministry. By preserving intact the authority of the diocesan bishop it will avoid any changes in the historic understanding of that office and of the episcopate more generally. And by making statutory arrangements for those with theological difficulties it will endeavour to preserve that broad and comprehensive character of the Church of England that is one of its defining and most attractive features” (GS 1708-09Y, paragraph 459).

Affirming Catholicism recognises that this Measure represents a compromise by people on all sides of this debate. Many of those who support the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate would have preferred a Measure with fewer provisions for those who do not accept the sacramental ministry of women. Many of those who do not accept the sacramental ministry of women would have preferred more robust structures. Affirming Catholicism welcomes the fact, that unlike suggestions for a separate province or society for those who cannot in conscience accept the sacramental ministry of women, the Draft Measure preserves the parochial and diocesan structures of the Church of England, preventing the creation of parallel Church of England jurisdictions in the same place. And the voting in Diocesan Synods would suggest that the vast majority of their members also support this way forward.

Affirming Catholicism strongly affirms the basic assumptions upon which the Draft Measure is based and hopes that General Synod will now vote for the Measure, recognising that in doing so it is enacting the will of the Church of England.

Affirming Catholicism, November 2012

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 7 November 2012 at 6:54pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Monday, 5 November 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury's Final Presidential Address to ACC-15

ACNS has published this press release: Archbishop of Canterbury: “Beware the danger of becoming less than we aspire to be as a Communion”.

The full audio recording is available to download here.

The full text of the address is now also available here.

In his final Presidential address, the Archbishop of Canterbury this evening told the Anglican Communion not to accept second best, but to seek a balance between corrective authority and enabling authority while still doing God’s work.

Speaking in St Mary’s Church, Archbishop Williams said the fellowship of Anglican churches worldwide needed to “be aware of the danger of becoming less than we aspire to be as a Communion.”

“I think that we do aspire to be a consensual catholic and orthodox family,” he told the members of the Anglican Consultative Council gathered for evening prayer. “I believe we do aspire to be a family that lives in mutual respect and recognition. And to step back from that simply into a federal model…doesn’t seem to me to be the best and the greatest that God is asking from us as an Anglican family.”

Archbishop Rowan said he believed Anglicans have a message to give the Christian world about how they can be “both catholic and orthodox and consensual, working in freedom, mutual respect and mutual restraint; without jeopardising the important local autonomy of our churches.”

He stressed that the Anglican Communion needed to work on the convergence of the different schemes and systems present across the Member Churches, and find “a legal spirit, an ethos that they share by consent and exploration and discovery rather than by kicking the whole issue upstairs to some higher legal authority.”

Authority was a theme to which he returned time and again. He suggested that the Instruments of Communion should not only have reactive or corrective authority, but also enabling authority…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 November 2012 at 10:52pm GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Women Bishops: WATCH update "Majority of WATCH supporters want this Measure passed"

Update text corrected on Monday at noon

Following consultation with its members WATCH (Women and the Church) issued the following press release this morning.

WATCH (WOMEN AND THE CHURCH)

PRESS RELEASE: November 5th 2012
For immediate release


Majority of WATCH supporters want this Measure passed

WATCH (Women and the Church) has been consulting with members and supporters over the past few weeks to get a better sense of whether the draft legislation to allow women in the episcopate has the support of our constituency.

Immediately after the September meeting of the House of Bishops, our conversations revealed a very deep and passionate division between those who would continue to support the Measure and those who could not. It appears that over the past few weeks that position has changed.

Our recent consultation with members and others indicates three things:

1. That our supporters continue to have a number of reservations about the legislation: many expressed concern that by providing such generous provision for those opposed, we are storing up trouble for future years and risk entrenching a discriminatory culture that is deeply damaging to men, women and the health of the Church of England.

2. Despite these concerns, a significant majority of those who responded to our consultation would like to see this legislation pass Final Approval on 20th November: they think that the benefits of having women as bishops outweigh any risks inherent in the Measure.

3. There remains a strong minority view that this legislation is discriminatory and should therefore be opposed.

WATCH acknowledges that those with both views are sincere in their desire to see the full flourishing of women in the Church of England. We understand that individuals may feel compelled to vote in either direction on 20th November. However, the balance of opinion in our constituency is now firmly in favour of this legislation passing and we hope Synod members will take that into consideration in deciding which way to vote.

WATCH therefore welcomes the positive contributions of the Archbishop of Canterbury and others in seeking to persuade Synod members to support the legislation. We hope that other bishops will follow his strong lead. For details of Archbishop Rowan’s ‘Enough Waiting’ campaign please follow this link http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/.

We also commend the yes2womenbishops campaign initiated by the independent blogger Church Mouse to those who wish to see this legislation pass Final Approval on 20th November http://yes2womenbishops.blogspot.co.uk.

WATCH has worked tirelessly to ensure that the best possible legislation is presented to General Synod for Final Approval and will continue to engage with the legislative process beyond November whatever the result of the vote - especially in monitoring the development of the Code of Practice.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said “What is on the table is the product of many years of consultation and detailed drafting work. Now is the time for Synod members to decide whether this legislation is a workable basis for going forward together. It is clear that the majority of WATCH supporters feel that, although not ideal, this package is ‘good enough’ – an acceptable next step on a continuing road towards a Church that fully values and celebrates the gifts of women.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 5 November 2012 at 10:14am GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 3 November 2012

yes2women bishops: another new website

Another new website has been launched: YES 2 women bishops

An unofficial website promoting a YES vote in favour of women bishops in the November 2012 meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England

It describes itself thus:

This site was created by The Church Mouse. It is completely independent of the Church of England, and all organisations within it. Whilst it is supportive of Rowan Williams’s “Enough Waiting” campaign, it is entirely separate.

Yes 2 Women Bishops is not an organisation, and has no leadership or members. It is simply a place for Church members to make their voice heard on this crucial issue.

The principal contributors to this website are The Church Mouse, Rebecca Swinson, Jody Stowell, and Vicky Beeching.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has initiated a campaign to this end, called Enough Waiting.
This provides many of the arguments in favour of a YES vote on November 20th. We do not intend replay the arguments for and against on this site, but merely to provide a place for supporters of women bishops to voice that support in the run up to the November meeting of General Synod and to urge them to vote YES to women bishops.

There are many ‘special interest groups’ who have been around for many years loudly voicing their positions. Groups representing particular wings and factions within the Church have made their views known and the arguments have been played out in agonising detail.

Yet there has been no attempt to let ordinary church members voice their opinions. Surveys have been clear that the vast majority (around 75-80%) of the Church, and the public at large, want women bishops. We now have a formula for allowing that to happen, whilst providing statutory and legally binding provision for alternative oversight for those who cannot accept women bishops.

This site does not intend to replay the arguments for and against. It is simply a place for those who have decided that they would like to General Synod to pass the legislation to allow women bishops in November to urge them to do so.

A press release has now been issued which is copied below the fold.

For immediate release: Sunday 4th November 2012

Church members mobilise on social media to support a decisive vote in favour of women bishops

Ahead of the crucial vote on women bishops at the upcoming meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England, church members are mobilising on social media sites Facebook and Twitter to encourage Synod members to vote YES.

The Yes 2 Women Bishops initiative was launched by the popular blogger The Church Mouse. It is already attracting huge support from ordinary church members who have so far had no say in the lengthy process of drafting and introducing the legislation.

Yes 2 Women Bishops was born out of discussions on the social media site Twitter, and now has a website which lets church members email their General Synod representatives and urge them to vote YES to women bishops in November.

The Church Mouse said, “Rowan Williams launched a campaign called ‘Enough Waiting’ to encourage a YES vote in November, as it is believed the vote will be close. Chatting about the issues on Twitter, it was clear that many people wanted to get involved. A few tweets later, and we had a campaign mobilised. I was inundated with offers of support to help get the word out. A few days later and we had engaged hundreds of supporters to spread the word.”

General Synod member Rebecca Swinson has been helping the campaign and commented on the idea behind it, “We don’t want to re-hash the arguments for women bishops, or to debate the merits of the legislation as presented. Those debates have already been had. We want to provide an opportunity for those who have watched the debate and concluded that they want General Synod to pass the legislation to have their voice heard.”

Theologian and social media expert Vicky Beeching said, “This is an example of the social media ‘digital revolution’ in full flow; giving a voice to the people, a sense of standing together, and a direct channel to appeal to the decision makers. Our ‘Web 2.0’ world gives everyone the potential to have a voice. We need ‘Church 2.0’ where all those in the pews get to have a say on important matters. Hopefully, Synod members will listen to what these church members are saying.”

Other high profile supporters include Jody Stowell from the evangelical group Fulcrum and Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 3 November 2012 at 2:37pm GMT | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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opinion for All Saints tide

James Martin writes in The Huffington Post that The Saints Were, Yes, Funny.

Theo Hobson writes in The Guardian that Rowan Williams got it right about ritual.

Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian Stonewall’s ‘bigot of the year’: careful with overusing that word.

He has also written this: Wanted: new archbishop of Canterbury – must have plans to fill the pews.
[The Bishop of Lincoln has issued a message relating to this article; it is item 2 here.]

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 3 November 2012 at 11:00am GMT | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Friday, 2 November 2012

RC adoption agency loses fourth appeal

Updated again Sunday

The fourth appeal was heard in September, and reported here: Upper Tribunal hears fourth appeal by RC adoption agency.

Today the tribunal delivered its verdict, and unsurprisingly, the adoption agency lost again.

The full judgment can be found as a PDF file here.

Third Sector Adoption agency cannot change its objects to exclude gay couples, tribunal rules

The adoption agency Catholic Care cannot change its objects to exclude gay couples from using its adoption service, the Upper Tribunal ruled today.

The Leeds-based charity, which arranges around five adoptions a year, had appealed against a ruling in the charity tribunal that it could not restrict its service to heterosexual couples.

But the Hon Justice Sales, sitting alone, ruled that the lower tribunal’s decision was correct. He wrote in his judgment: “Notwithstanding some criticisms that can be made about the first tier tribunal’s reasoning, I am satisfied that the conclusion it came to is correct in law and that this appeal should be dismissed.”

The charity had argued that its desire to restrict its services was in line with section 193 of the Equality Act 2010. The section allows discrimination on the grounds of sexuality if this is “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

But the first-tier tribunal found that there must be “particularly weighty” reasons to justify discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The charity argued that donors would stop supporting it if it allowed same-sex couples to use its adoption service, but the tribunal ruled that the charity had not demonstrated that this would be the case.

The charity first appealed in 2008 against an initial decision by the commission that it could not change its objects…

Catholic Herald Catholic Care loses its 5 year legal battle

Mail Online Catholic adoption agency loses five year legal battle over its refusal to accept gay couples

Updates

An excellent summary of the judgment can now be found at UK Human Rights Blog written by Rosalind English Upper Tribunal confirms illegality of Catholic Charity’s ban on same-sex couple adoption.

A further analysis of the history of this case has been published by Frank Cranmer at Law & Religion UK Catholic Care: can an adoption agency restrict its services to heterosexual adoptive parents?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 2 November 2012 at 3:55pm GMT | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Children and the distribution of Holy Communion

Women Bishops and the Anglican Communion Covenant are not the only items of business at this month’s General Synod. There is also this diocesan synod motion from Southwell and Nottingham, which will be debated on the morning of Wednesday 21 November.

“That this Synod request that Canon B 12 and the Regulations taking effect under it be amended so that:

(a) the Holy Sacrament may be distributed by any authorized regular communicant (including children admitted to the Holy Communion under the Admission of Baptised Children to Holy Communion Regulations 2006);

(b) if the diocesan bishop agrees, the necessary authorization may be given in relation to any parish by the incumbent, priest in charge or (during a vacancy) rural dean; and

(c) no person shall be authorized to distribute the Holy Sacrament without the support of the parochial church council of the parish or, where the Holy Communion is celebrated in a school and the person concerned is a child, of the head teacher of the school.‟

There are background papers from the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham (GS 1881A) and the Secretary General (GS 1881B). It is clear from the first of these papers that the prime purpose of this motion is to allow (some) unconfirmed children to distribute holy communion.

David Pocklington of the Law & Religion UK blog has summarised these papers and added his own comments in this article: Children, Confirmation and Communion?

The full texts of the 2006 regulations and Canons B 12 and B 15A referred to above are available online.

Admission of Baptised Children to Holy Communion Regulations 2006 are available here (Word document) and here (web page).

Canon B 12 Of the ministry of the Holy Communion

Canon B 15A Of the admission to Holy Communion

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 1 November 2012 at 3:36pm GMT | Comments (11) | TrackBack
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A Christian case for Equal Marriage

Ekklesia has published a research paper by Savi Hensman titled Should equal marriage be rejected or celebrated by Christians?

The full paper can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

The paper is a response to Gay marriage and the future of human sexuality by John Milbank published last March.

The possibility of opening up marriage in Britain by law to same-sex couples has been criticised by some Christians but welcomed by others. One of the more thoughtful critics is theologian John Milbank, who has eloquently expressed some common arguments against change. This response by Savi Hensman suggests that, while he raises important issues, his analysis is ultimately flawed. Taking into account such topics as tradition, sexual ‘complementarity’, childbearing and sacrament, there is a strong case for equal marriage.

Two other papers by Savi Hensman have been published at the same time:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 1 November 2012 at 10:14am GMT | Comments (36) | TrackBack
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Bishop of Leicester opposes religious homophobia

The Bishop of Leicester, The Right Reverend Tim Stevens, spoke in the House of Lords on 25 October in a debate on homosexuality in the developing world.

The full text of his speech can be found here in Hansard.

An edited version was published at Cif belief under the headline There is no place for homophobia in the church, anywhere in the world.

…Others in this debate have rehearsed the ways in which laws criminalising same-sex sexual activity between adults have been repeatedly found in international law to violate fundamental human rights, and this debate serves also to highlight effectively the way in which criminalisation gives rise to persecution. I want, however, to concentrate on the way in which discriminatory interference in the private sexual conduct of consenting adults is an affront to the fundamental Christian values of human dignity, tolerance and equality.

It is of course no secret, as others have made clear, that on the ethics of homosexual practice the churches in general and the Anglican communion bishops in particular are deeply divided, but that cannot and must not be any basis for equivocating on the central issue of equality before the law of all human beings whether heterosexual or homosexual. Further, many of us who are bishops in this country value and treasure our links with particular dioceses around the Anglican communion. We respect and appreciate the different, and often sharply divided, theological approaches which lead to different stances on the ethical issues. But, as the Lambeth conference of 1998 made clear, there is not and cannot be any place for homophobia in the church, and all are to be welcomed regardless of sexual orientation…

And he continued:

…Many people the world over are now asking the churches to put their position beyond all doubt, by saying simply and clearly that criminalisation is wrong. I will put my position beyond all doubt by stating it in as clear terms as I can. If criminalisation leads, as it evidently does, to gay people concealing their own identity, that must be wrong; if criminalisation leads to many living in fear, that must be wrong; if criminalisation leads to the prospect of persecution, arrest, detention and death, that must be wrong; and if criminalisation means that LGBT people dare not turn to the state when facing hate crimes and violence, that must be wrong too.

It is within the adult lifetime of most of us in this House that the law was changed in this country to decriminalise homosexual acts. However, for our children’s generation, such a state of affairs must feel like ancient history – as appropriate to the moral climate of today’s society in this country as the burning of witches. We must all urgently pursue this journey to a completely new climate in those many countries of the world where same-sex relations are criminal offences…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 1 November 2012 at 9:59am GMT | Comments (22) | TrackBack
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