Comments: Women in the Episcopate: The Next Steps

Am I the only one who finds "the exercise of ministry by whom" to be a very odd way of speaking? What's wrong with "whose exercise of ministry"?

Though I lean towards Option 2 in any case as the clearest choice of all.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Wednesday, 5 September 2012 at 3:41pm BST

AS I read these options and think of one of the main criticisms of amendment 5.1.c (that it risked bishops being appointed to suit a parish, and with this the potential risk of creating "mini-dioceses" within a diocese with unclear lines of authority between the diocesan and the bishops appointed under these schemes), I hope there are enough bishops who are thinking in a "joined-up" way. Cf these quotes from the recent report on Safeguarding in Chichester Diocese (pp 7 -10):
"It is fundamental to safeguarding in any organisation that the leadership team works as a united body focusing entirely on the welfare of those who are to be protected by safeguarding policies...
Moreover, although the view is not shared throughout the diocese, at least in the eyes of the diocesan bishop the diocesan area scheme had been allowed to work as if the areas were mini dioceses: that was especially true of the Lewes area on the eastern end of Sussex and at the greatest distance from Chichester. Indeed, the diocesan bishop felt his authority over the clergy, all of whom held his licence, was undermined by the scheme. However, although a review of the area scheme was mooted, this suggestion was never taken forward,......
If final responsibility for safeguarding rests finally on the diocesan bishop _ involving as it does appointments, the conduct of clergy and the policies in the parishes _ it is essential that the bishop‟s authority is both recognised and effective throughout the whole of the diocese.
Although delegation is essential in practice for the exercise of episcopal ministry, this should never be allowed to undermine the overarching position of the diocesan........"

This last sentence says it all.....

Posted by Rosalind R at Wednesday, 5 September 2012 at 11:55pm BST

As retention of Clause 5(1)(c) in its current form is the default position, it seems to me unlikely that a majority would form around any one other option as each member of the House would presumably have one vote that could be used only once. A more sophisticated voting system (of the kind beloved by certain politicians) could well produce a more nuanced outcome however.

So it may well be time to see whether the supporters or women bishops are indeed prepared to vote down their own legislation.

Posted by Original Observer at Friday, 7 September 2012 at 10:09am BST

The order in which these options are voted on will be crucial. If the process that was used previously, in May, and before that in the Revision Committee, is used, then there is a clear possibility that the decision as to which option is presented to General Synod will be taken without comparing properly the different options and their possible consequences. Remember what happened in the Revision Committee, when they voted in favour of transfer and then found there was no basis for agreement on what should actually be transferred? So we could end up with legislation that demands a Code of Practice that no-one supports.
I hope the bishops will have a say in the voting process: we are in new procedural territory so the officers should not necessarily determine it alone. It would make sense to vote
on the options bar option 2 first, so that if none of the options
satisfies a majority then there is finally a straight vote
between leaving in and omitting clause 5.1 (c). But others may have other ideas?

Posted by Hilary Cotton at Friday, 7 September 2012 at 1:24pm BST

They could use the STV method used for GS elections - which they are, presumably, familiar with.

Posted by John Roch at Friday, 7 September 2012 at 1:31pm BST

Hilary Cotton's suggestion implies that the option to delete 5.1(c) should be thought more important than any other option as each voter would have two votes: one to use on any of the options to rewrite 5.1(c), and a second one to decide whether to delete 5.1(c).

The question is whether to amend again the already amended legislation; but the starting point is the legislation in the form it was referred back to the House by the Synod (i.e. containing 5.1(c)).

Option 2 should logically be taken first. If it is established that the House will not delete the clause, only then should possible ways to rewrite it be tested.

The statement from the Standing Committee seems to imply this, although is wording is a touch vague.

Posted by Original Observer at Saturday, 8 September 2012 at 9:13pm BST
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