Comments: Working group on new legislative proposals on women bishops announced

Fascinating. An interesting mix of those who have been involved in some way in the process to date (both in the legislative drafting group for the previous measure and the group working on the indicative code of practice) and people new to the table. An interesting spread of opinion and representatives of the different schools of thought on the issue too.

What is most encouraging, though, is the high calibre, intellect and experience of the group. Only one or two difficult characters too - it's looking hopeful.

Posted by Wilf at Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 12:21pm GMT

What's disappointing, though, is that the only representative of the part of the Church for whom "provision" is to be made is Bishop Martin. No "conservative" clergy or laity, whether female or make, at all.

Posted by Richard at Wednesday, 19 December 2012 at 9:11pm GMT

At last the Church of England achieves equality in that this Working Group comprises 5 members of each gender. Although there is no male representative from the House of Clergy and only 1 male member from the House of Laity.
If the House of Laity is successful in its bid to annihilate Dr. Giddings at its gathering on January 18th does he still remain a member of the Working Group? I do hope so for the way he is being subjected to this trial and public humiliation is sub-Christian.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 4:36am GMT

Is the appointment of Philip Giddings to this working group intended to pre-judge the outcome of the house of laity meeting?

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 7:15am GMT

I suspect Dr Giddings has been appointed to the group, since he is a decent, thoughtful and intelligent representative, which I am afraid cannot be said of Stephen Barney and his entourage, who are behaving like spoilt children, in this instance. Their effors to thwart Dr Giddings may well result in public humiliation for them.

Posted by Benedict at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 11:26am GMT

I assume that Philip Giddings is there as a well known and strong proponent of conservative evangelical views. He will remain that whatever happens in the House of Laity meeting. He, of course, will put a strong 'lay' conservative view. I don't think, whatever happens at the meeting of the House of Laity, he can now be considered as having a lot of credibility in speaking for the whole of the House of Laity. The majority of the House of Laity is well represented by Paula Gooder and Margaret Swinson. I am very pleased that Paula and Margaret are prepared to give more onerous service to the church given the way in which their previous service was so easily dismissed. I think it is a strong group of people representing a wide range of views.

Posted by Susan Cooper at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 1:59pm GMT

What is most interesting to me about this list is that it contains no member who espouses the so-called "complementarist" agenda, i.e. the Reform-type Conservative Evangelicals who believe in headship. While Philip Giddings will, I'm sure, speak to their concerns, it looks as if they've been snubbed.
I'm not disappointed with this group though - no way it's going to concede more provision to opponents. It underlines my view that the traditionalists have missed their best opportunity to get what they wanted. Roll on 2015 General Synod elections!

Posted by Simon Butler at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 4:10pm GMT

Reading the description of Dr Giddings that is provided above surprises me. Perhaps I should devote time to re-reading his sermons and, in particular, his contributions to the fiasco over the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading. I have obviously misunderstood all of it. This decent, intelligent, and thoughtful man should be redeemed in my estimation as I'd always thought the very opposite. My apologies!

Posted by Commentator at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 5:54pm GMT

It is indeed excellent news that Paula and Margaret have been willing to say yes to this and give yet more times up to find a way through this. They deserve our heartfelt thanks.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 6:15pm GMT

'the so-called "complementarist" agenda' is hardly a Church of England doctrine.

Philip Giddings could hardly be more Evangelical or more conservative. His hard-line view of lgbt he makes known at every opportunity, either alone, or with Canon Sugden.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 9:57pm GMT

Commentator's sarcastic response to my earlier input holds no water. I am not a conservative evangelical and thus also disagree with many of Dr Giddings' views. However, just because I disagree with them does not mean I am unable to recognise his personal qualities. Failure to do so would amount to the kind of liberal intolerance we are currently witnessing in the Church cf. Motion for Giddings removal as Chair.

Posted by Benedict at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 10:22pm GMT

REFORM has issued a press statement complaining that nobody on this group holds its views on male headship.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 10:46pm GMT

The Catholic Group in General Synod has also issued a statement:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 20 December 2012 at 11:03pm GMT

That it should come to this - The New Orthodoxy - not whether you believe in the the Virgin Borth and the Incarnation - not whether you believe in the Empty Tomb and the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus - but are you "with the programme" and believe in and approve of the priestly and episcopal ministry of women.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 21 December 2012 at 6:45am GMT

'the so-called "complementarist" agenda' is hardly a Church of England doctrine.

I have wondered for some time what status this "doctrine" has within the C of E. It is clearly held by a minority within the Cof E but in what sense is it a doctrine "OF" the C of E? My concern has increased since reading Angus McLeay's speech during the debate. To say, more or less, that the ordination of women undermines the doctrine of the Holy Trinity ( a view held by many in Sydney I gather)is something that deserves investigation by our Doctrine Commission at the very least.With the Incarnation the doctrine of the Trinity is, after all the foundation of Christian belief!

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 21 December 2012 at 8:50am GMT

What do the 'catholic group in synod' (misleading name if ever there was one) actually think that the framers of the legislation have been doing for the last few years if not trying to build a big consensus? The things that they repeatedly asked for are not going to work for those in favour of the ordination of women to the episcopate. That has been tested over and over during the course of debate.
Of course, a code of practice ought to do. The whole basis of the catholic group rejecting that idea is that they don't trust bishops - and not trusting bishops is a mark of a group who are not really catholic at all.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Friday, 21 December 2012 at 9:55am GMT

Andrew, if not trusting a bishop is a sign of those who aren't catholic, what of those who opposed North becoming bishop? They aren't catholic either? I guess I'm not catholic. My previous bishop was caught in an affair and my current bishop won't hire anyone but liberal clergy. He's probably got a list on his hiring sheet that if you do believe in the virgin birth or literal resurrection you are automatically disqualified. So no, I don't trust bishops.

Posted by Chris H at Friday, 21 December 2012 at 2:33pm GMT

Chris H, that wasn't a CofE bishop surely?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 21 December 2012 at 3:39pm GMT

REFORM has issued a set of links to videos that relate to this subject
Four short videos on women bishops, sex equality and Church unity:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 21 December 2012 at 3:45pm GMT

Chris H I am sure that is not in the Church of England.
One of the 'catholic' marks of the church is of a bishop gathered with their priests and deacons to form the local church. The Act of Synod in the Church of England (by which we have 'flying bishops') is the most un-catholic invention, as Robert Runcie pointed out at the time. Not trusting your bishop is similarly a mark that you are not really a member of your local church.
As to those who raised questions about Philip North - they simply pointed out that he would not have that mark of catholicity didn't they? As I understand it, he then made a choice didn't he?

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Friday, 21 December 2012 at 6:15pm GMT

Angus Macleay is even more far out than his synod contribution suggests. This is the reported text of a leaflet he handed out to parishioners 2 years ago.
“Wives are to submit to their husbands in everything in recognition of the fact that husbands are head of the family as Christ is head of the church.

“This is the way God has ordered their relationships with each other and Christian marriage cannot function well without it."

In a section called `More difficult passages to consider', it continues:

"It would seem that women should remain silent....if their questions could legitimately be answered by their husbands at home."

His curate then publicly blamed women for the high divorce rate and urged them to submit to their husbands.

It is also reported that a number of women have withdrawn financial support from the church in protest.

Posted by Helen at Monday, 4 February 2013 at 10:16pm GMT
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