Comments: women bishops: drafting group named

Interesting. With the exception of +Manchester and the ubiquitous Viv Faull, I've not come across the others (although Mrs Swinson rings a bell for some reason). I don't think I've ever said this of a CofE committee but it almost seems under-represented on the male front.

Before I get shot down as a misogynist, please don't get me wrong! I think it's great to see a 5-4 split and all in favour of women bishops but I am thinking of the people and the churches for whom this is a tricky issue and what they will make of the group? Added to which is it necessary to have two of the four guys on the group from amongst the Bishops... very representative of us blokes!

Mind you I suspect those with an axe to grind on this issue wouldn't be happy however it was constituted so maybe it doesn't matter.

Posted by David at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 4:04pm GMT

Swinson - have sat on a committee with her in the past. Evangelical, but reasonable although we have diametrically opposite views on most things!

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 6:22pm GMT

Well, it is a drafting group-- not a jousting tournament or hairsplitting exercise !

I don't imagine that a Cardinal, or a flying-bishop would have helped the process much.

Posted by laurence at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 7:25pm GMT

Surely the presence of Jonathan Baker, author of Consecrating Women?' ought to be more than enough for FiF and their fellow-travellers?

Posted by JBE at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 7:30pm GMT

David: I'm not sure I agree with you. For e.g. Jonathan Baker is a leading light in FiF and Donald Allister is a conservative evangelical. (Of the others, I know that Paula Gooder is an expert in feminist readings of Scripture but I have no idea how much of a feminist that makes her.)

They seem to be rather lacking in evangelicals who are in favour of women bishops which is quite a major oversight but that may simply be my ignorance of the other members of the group...?

Posted by Sean Doherty at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 8:47pm GMT

Though I've always though of Don Allister as being pretty close to an opponent - straight down the line evangelical - at least that's the impression he gives locally, and I remember him from CICCU days.

Posted by robert marshall at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 9:13pm GMT

Do not assume that all those on this committee are in favour of women bishops. For example one member is the Vice-Chairman of Forward in Faith UK and another is also on the Council of FinF. Not even all the women members are in favour of women bishops.

Here's a bit of further information (all drawn from public sources) about the members.

The Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, Bishop of Manchester (chair)
on Synod since 1990

The Ven Donald Allister, Archdeacon of Chester
on Synod since 2005

The Revd Jonathan Baker SSC
Principal of Pusey House Oxford
co-opted member of Council of Forward in Faith UK
on Synod since 2000

The Rt Worshipful Dr Sheila Cameron, Dean of the Arches
Senior Church Judge, QC
on Synod since 1983

The Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of Leicester
on Synod 1987-1990 and since 2004

Dr Paula Gooder
Tutor in NT Studies, Queen's Foundation Birmingham
on Synod since 2005

Mrs Margaret Swinson
Synod member since 1985
member of the revision committee for the legislation to ordain women to the priesthood

Sister Anne Williams
Church Army Sister
Vice-Chairman of Forward in Faith
on Synod since 1990

The Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Basingstoke
on Synod since 2000

Posted by Peter Owen at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 9:33pm GMT

Not only are two of the males bishops but the other two are presbyters. So there are no male laypersons at all. This is a bit unusual, I think.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 10:30pm GMT

I can see just three actually in favour of the Measure, with three against and three floaters. No room for lay men in such a small group.

Its small size is cause for real concern but has been imposed by the Archbishops' Council.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 5 December 2006 at 11:56pm GMT

It is encouraging that this motley crew wish to DRAFT legislation to enact / enable the consecaration of women as bishops.

I had no idea anyone in SCC or Fif would countenance it. A pleasant surprise for me.

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 2:25am GMT

Where have you been??

Forward in Faith has been saying for at least the last five years that we will back legislation that provides for our needs. It's really quite simple. You give us what we need and you can have female bishops tomorrow.

Posted by Huw at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 11:10am GMT

I have read the FiF papers which seems to amount to being in a hermetically-sealed bubble free from contamination. With wonderful proposals for Tabernacles with 'His' & 'Hers' ciboria, in hospitals and other institutions -- which goes one 'better' than the ecumenically-inclined Tabernacles, with a glass partition, bearing the legend :

'In case of unity -- break glass !'.

Posted by laurence at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 11:36am GMT

It is a mistake to assume that most women are in favour of women priests/bishops. They are not. It is a very inconvenient fact for some that FiF has a higher female than male membership.

Posted by Flossie at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 11:51am GMT

Flossie observed
"They (=women) are not(sc. in favour of the ordination of women). It is a very inconvenient fact for some that FiF has a higher female than male membership."

I would not want to argue with the sentiments, but point out the methodological flaw: if a higher proportion of church members are female, then they, if proportionately represented in any pressure group, will inevitably outnumber men.

If there is evidence that a majority of anglican women in the UK oppose the development, that is, of course, a different matter - but that's not what F says!

Posted by mynsterpreost at Wednesday, 6 December 2006 at 7:23pm GMT

Surely it's not about representation, but about having people who know the arguments well, and are good at drafting legistlation, whatever position they come from? There's a debate to be had about whether democracy really is the best system for the church, since as soon as you start talking about representation, everyone is shouting for their slice of the pie. Perhaps division is the inevitable outcome, because democracy makes us all focus on what we want, rather than on what God wants, or what's best for the church.

Posted by David Keen at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 10:23am GMT

Badly worded, I agree, mynsterpreost. I am saying that in Forward in Faith there are more women than men who are opposed to women's ordination.

This is not because we don't like women, (I am one!) as many people seem to think, but because we don't believe they cannot be priests.

Posted by Flossie at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 12:00pm GMT

Oh no! Another bloomer. Last sentence should read 'we don't believe they can be priests!' (Really must try harder!)

Posted by Flossie at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 4:14pm GMT

Flossie, a genuine question — is the male-female ratio in FiF significantly different from the male-female ratio in the CofE as a whole? If (eg) CofE plc is 60/40 female/male, then a 60/40 FiF membership would simply connote that there is a gender balance in FiF similar to that in the rest of the CofE. It would be of great interest if there were more women in FiF (at a statistically significant level) than one would expect from the gender balance of the CofE generally.

Posted by mynsterpreost at Thursday, 7 December 2006 at 5:45pm GMT

Mynsterpreost, I'm sorry, I'm not privy to that kind of information. I agree it would be interesting to know. I have merely read it on several occasions in FiF's journal, when I think the terms 'significantly more' or similar were used.

My purpose in posting this was to dispel the myth that Forward in Faith comprises a bunch of grumpy old men huddling in corners muttering about 'wimmin'. This is far from the truth. I know of nobody who has not benefited from the ministry of women in some capacity or other - but not as priests!

I agree with Huw. The time for discussion over the rights and wrongs is past, the die is cast. The impetus now must be on finding a way forward without unchurching large numbers of faithful Christians.

I was pleased to see in the above list some names of people who will actually be affected by the arrival of women bishops. The last round of talks on how to accommodate dissenters omitted any of these, whereas it included representatives from women's groups!

Posted by Flossie at Friday, 8 December 2006 at 9:48am GMT

I'm sorry Flossie, but how and in what way could "they" be "affected"?

By the increased competition?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 9 December 2006 at 12:58pm GMT

Affected by persecution, Goran.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Saturday, 9 December 2006 at 3:27pm GMT

"The Monstrous Regiment of Women"?

(John Knox, preaching at the High Kirk, Queen Mary Stuart half a mile down the road in Holyrood House)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 9 December 2006 at 5:43pm GMT

Aye, Goran, and on this issue Queen Mary would have agreed with him.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Sunday, 10 December 2006 at 2:32pm GMT

Mind reading again...

But then Good old Bess most certainly didn't.

The next time Dr Knox went "over the border" he was given a lecture on what he was due the Lord's Anointed...

Would I had been there!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 10 December 2006 at 8:18pm GMT

Eliz I was no pussycat, that's for sure. But Knox was not the only one to find out for himself. She imposed church order in England where others had signally failed - an order which had at its heart the historic episcopate.

My friends at court tell me that Eliz II shares her view of such matters....

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 11 December 2006 at 9:24am GMT

Donald Allister - leading light in the ultra conservative Church Society, on record as saying that women should not be Readers. As a student (or just afterwards) wrote highly polemical tracts against Biblical ctiticism.

Posted by Frozenchristian at Friday, 12 October 2007 at 9:06am BST
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