Thinking Anglicans

Equality Bill: what others are saying

There has been relatively little coverage of the religion aspects of this in the media until recently. A few items:

Telegraph Martin Beckford today has Bishop of Winchester warns Christians may have to give up public sector jobs because of secular agenda and last week had Equality Bill ‘dangerously’ trying to force religious belief behind closed doors, bishops warn.

The Sunday Telegraph also had a report by Patrick Hennessy headlined Catholic ban on women priests ‘illegal under Harriet Harman equality bill’ which earned a mention in the Church Times press column by Andrew Brown thus:

Full marks to CARE, the Evangelical pressure group, for getting the most completely bogus story of the week into The Sunday Telegraph, via its political editor, who solemnly informed the readers that Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill would force the Roman Catholic Church to abandon an all-male priesthood.

The Church of England Newspaper last week had UK promises amendments to controversial Equality Bill. I had a report in the Church Times last week which is subscriber-only until tomorrow, Move to erase doubts over Equality Bill and which takes a rather different view.

Today, the Daily Mail has Video urging protest against Equality Bill that ‘infringes Christian freedom’ to be screened in churches.

Press releases from conservative organisations:

On the other hand:


Anglican Communion Covenant – CofE consideration

General Synod members have been sent the following paper outlining how the proposed Anglican Communion Covenant will be considered for adoption by the Church of England.



1. I received on 18 December from the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion the final text of the Anglican Communion Covenant, approved for distribution that day by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, for formal consideration for adoption. The full copy of the text is available at

2. The approval of the text by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion comes at the end of a long process flowing from the publication of the report of the Lambeth Commission – The Windsor Report – in October 2004. Synod has subsequently discussed governance issues in the Anglican Communion and the possibility of the draft Covenant in February 2005, July 2007, February 2008, July 2008 and February 2009.

3. GS 1716, which was prepared for last February’s debate, gave some indication of the synodical process which would need to be undertaken to adopt the Covenant, though it made clear that certain matters could not be resolved until the final text of the Covenant was available.

4. What happens now is that the Faith and Order Advisory Group, which has led the work on earlier Church of England responses to drafts of the Covenant, will consider the text and offer an assessment which will be available to the House of Bishops when it next meets in May. In addition the Legal Office will consider whether the text means that the Synod’s process of adoption will need to follow the Article 7 and or 8 procedures.

5. Once the House of Bishops is satisfied that the Covenant should be commended to the Synod for adoption it will be for the Business Committee to decide when to schedule the initial debate. As noted in GS 1716 it is likely that, from receiving the final text the Church of England will need “at least 18 months to 2 years to come to a final decision.”

12 January 2010


Equality Bill: Lords revision day 3

The Hansard record of day three can be found here as a PDF, or starts here in html.
The official news report of the day is here.

There was an interesting debate on an amendment proposed by Lord Alton of Liverpool. This starts here.

What the Bishop of Winchester had to say can be found here.

The article in The Times yesterday by Shami Chakrabarti referred to in the debate, can be found here.

The Bishop of Winchester’s amendment dealing with Gender Reassignment and the Marriage Act was accepted without any difficulty by the Government. The debate about that starts here (the Bishop of Southwark stood in as the Bishop of Winchester had to leave before this was reached).

A further exchange of religious interest occurred starting here. The topic being discussed was the content of television programmes. The Archbishop of York participated in this debate.

The amendments to Schedule 9 will now certainly be discussed on Monday afternoon. There has been a change to the texts of Amendments 98 and 99. New wording is here. The old wording was in both cases simply: leave out “proportionate”. The wording was not in the 2003 SO Regulations, but was put into the Equality Bill in order to make plain on the face of the bill the proportionality requirement of the underlying European Employment Equality Directive 2000.


Women Bishops Delay – WATCH Press Statement

WATCH (Women and the Church) issued this statement this evening.

Tuesday, 19th January 2010 – for immediate release

Following the publication this week of General Synod’s February agenda, WATCH notes with deep regret that there will be no debate on the draft legislation for women bishops. The Revision Committee set up to prepare the legislation which will open the Episcopate to women has failed to complete its task in time for February’s synod, as requested in a synod motion one year ago. Although not explicitly asked to do so, the Revision Committee considered a range of options for the legislation, including models already rejected by General Synod.

Despite this disappointing setback, WATCH would like to thank those members of the Revision Committee who have worked hard and with dedication in their attempt to achieve the aims of the General Synod to create something that offers a moment of transformation of historic proportions in the life of the Church.

“At least no one can say that any stone has been left unturned” said Christina Rees, chair of WATCH. “We now expect the very best legislation to be presented well in advance of the July meeting of General Synod. We hope to see a clear, workable and straightforward set of proposals, which are closely aligned to what Synod requested in July 2008, namely legislation making it possible for women to be bishops within the existing structures of the Church. Perhaps all the extra time this is taking will help the Revision Committee to reach the simplicity that lies beyond complexity.”

WATCH is pleased to see that the Bishop of Manchester, as Chair of the Steering Committee, is to give February’s Synod a report on the process so far and hopes that he will provide a full explanation of the reasons for the delay. WATCH also hopes that he would agree that it would be unthinkable if their report is not brought to the July 2010 meeting of General Synod. This matter is of such ecclesial and public importance that should the Church fail to honour its decisions to allow women to be bishops, especially as women account for nearly 40% of the Church’s active clergy, it risks becoming an object of ridicule. WATCH therefore hopes that the Bishop of Manchester will provide assurances that the report will indeed be brought to the July 2010 meeting of General Synod without suffering further prevarication and delay.

Further, WATCH believes it is now incumbent upon the Revision Committee to produce a comprehensive report that will obviate the need for past models and options to be considered yet again in July 2010. Along with doubtless many members of General Synod, WATCH would also expect the Revision Committee’s report to be available well in advance of the July meeting, so that proper consideration and consultation may take place.

WATCH also hopes that the Business Committee will make every effort to ensure sufficient time and flexibility is scheduled at the July Synod to complete all the stages necessary for the draft legislation to be sent to the dioceses.


Christina Rees

Revd Hugh Lee
(General Synod member)

Revd Rachel Weir

Revd Dr Charles Read


General Synod motion – Parity of pension provision for surviving civil partners

Next month’s meeting of General Synod will be debating this private member’s motion, proposed by The Revd Mark Bratton, on Thursday 11 February:

“That this Synod request the Archbishops’ Council and the Church of England Pensions Board to bring forward changes to the rules governing the clergy pension scheme in order to go beyond the requirements of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and provide for pension benefits to be paid to the surviving civil partners of deceased clergy on the same basis as they are currently paid to surviving spouses.‟.

Here are the papers for this debate.

GS 1770A Background paper by Mark Bratton available here as a PDF, and also here as a web page

GS 1770B Background note from the Rt Reverend John Packer available here as a PDF, and also here as a web page


General Synod – ACNA motion

Next month’s meeting of General Synod will be debating this private member’s motion, proposed by Lorna Ashworth, on Wednesday 10 February:

“That this Synod express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with
the Anglican Church in North America”.

Here are the papers for this debate.

GS 1764A Background paper by Lorna Ashworth available here as a PDF, and also here as a web page

GS 1764B Background note from the Secretary General available here as a PDF, and also here as a web page


General Synod agenda – press reports

Some early reports on next month’s Synod business.

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph BBC’s ‘marginalisation’ of religion to be criticised by Church of England’s governing body

Riazat Butt in The Guardian Religion on TV either marginalised or freak show, clergy complain

Jonathan Wynne-Jones in the Telegraph Church to vote on greater rights for partners of gay clergy

Riazat Butt in The Guardian Delay hits ordination of women bishops

Martha Linden (Press Association) in the Independent Key debate on women bishops delayed


General Synod – February 2010 – full agenda published

The General Synod of the Church of England will meet in London from 8 to 12 February 2010. The following press release was issued a short time ago.

See our adjoining item for links to online Synod papers.

Full agenda published for February’s General Synod
18 January 2010

Debates on children and young people, mission, TV coverage of religion, science and religious belief, church buildings, relations with the Anglican Church in North America, clergy pensions and legislation feature in sessions of the Church of England’s ‘parliament,’ the General Synod, to be held in London from February 8th to 12th.

Children and young people

Synod will debate the report Going for Growth, on the Board of Education’s new strategy for children and young people. This offers both a theological framework and practical proposals, and is a sequel to the debate at the July 2009 Synod on the major inquiry into childhood commissioned by The Children’s Society, A Good Childhood.


The report and motion from the Mission and Public Affairs Council will follow up the 2004 Synod debate on ‘Mission-shaped Church’ and will encourage action in training and deployment; the making of Bishops’ Mission Orders, and research on the growth of the ‘mixed-economy Church.’ Bishop Graham Cray (Archbishops’ Missioner and Fresh Expressions Team Leader) will give a presentation on the current programme and future plans for Fresh Expressions.

TV coverage of religion and ethics

A Private Member’s Motion from Mr. Nigel Holmes (Carlisle) invites the Synod to ask the BBC and Ofcom to explain why British television marginalises TV coverage of religious and ethical issues.


Synod will be asked to complete several items of legislative business – chiefly the Ecclesiastical Fees (Amendment) Measure, which will put in place a new framework for the making of orders for parochial fees. Synod will also be asked to approve two codes of practice issued by the Archbishops’ Council, which set out the capability and grievance procedures that will apply to the clergy under the new common tenure arrangements.

Clergy pensions

An Archbishops’ Council report sets out the reasons for the proposed changes to the Clergy Pensions Scheme. These include increasing the pension age for future service to 68 and increasing the accrual period for future service to 43 years. There is a separate report on changes being proposed in relation to ill-health retirement.

There is also a Private Member’s Motion from the Revd Mark Bratton (Coventry) which asks the Archbishops’ Council and the Pensions Board to bring forward changes to the pension scheme’s rules, to provide pension benefits for surviving civil partners.

Science and religious belief

Synod will debate a Diocesan Synod Motion from Manchester, expressing concern at the perceived need to choose between the claims of science and belief in God; and urging the House of Bishops to promote a better public understanding of the compatibility of science and Christian belief.

Church buildings

The Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division will give a short presentation on what the Division has achieved since the publication five years ago of Building Faith in our Future, and the challenges that cathedrals and church buildings face today. This will preface a debate on the Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synod Motion, which seeks to increase substantially the amount of money available for the repair of listed church buildings.

Relations with the Anglican Church in North America

A Private Member’s Motion from Mrs. Lorna Ashworth (Chichester) asks the Synod to express the desire that the Church of England be in communion with the Anglican Church in North America (which includes churches which have separated from The Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Anglican Church of Canada).

Other Private Members Motions and Diocesan Synod Motions

There will be a debate on a Private Members’ Motion from Mr. Tom Benyon (Oxford) which expresses concern about the potentially desensitising and damaging effects on children and young people of computer games containing violent and sexual content; and seeks changes to the classification system for video games and a review of the regulatory system for advertising video games.

There are two other Diocesan Synod Motions. One from Chelmsford asks Synod to request dioceses, deaneries and parishes to adopt some symbol of the Church’s confidence in the Bible for the nation, bearing in mind that 2011 is the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version of the Bible. The other is from Coventry diocese, which asks for the case for legislation conferring incorporated status on deanery synods to be considered.

Women bishops

The Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate has reluctantly concluded that it still has too much to undertake in order to conclude its work in time for the February Synod. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd. Nigel McCulloch, as Chair of the Steering Committee, will make a statement.

Other business

Synod will be addressed by the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference (the Reverend David Gamble, and Dr. Richard Vautrey) as an expression of the Covenant relationship between the Church of England and the Methodist Church. There will be an opportunity for questions and contributions from the floor.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will give a Presidential Address. There will also be a presentation on the role of armed forces chaplains in the current military operations overseas.

There is also one item of liturgical business: the Revision Stage of the Additional Weekday Lectionary; and some business relating to Synod’s Standing Orders, and the forthcoming Synod elections.

Communicating Synod

Parishioners can keep in touch with the General Synod while it meets. Background papers and other information will be posted on the Church of England website ahead of the General Synod sessions. A live feed will be available courtesy of Premier Radio (accessible from front page of, and audio files of debates, along with updates on the days’ proceedings will be posted during the sessions.


General Synod – February 2010 – online papers

Many papers for next month’s meeting of General Synod are now online. The list below will be updated as the remainder become available. Papers are also listed when they are known to exist but are not yet online.

Updated 20, 25, 26, 29 January


GS 1756 Full Agenda
Outline Agenda

Papers for Debate

The scheduled day for debate is appended.

GS 1639B Draft Amending Canon No 29 [Tuesday]
GS 1639C Petition to the Crown
GS 1639Z Report of the Steering Committee

GS 1715B Ecclesiastical Fees (Amendment) Measure [Tuesday]
GS 1715Z Report of the Steering Committee

GS 1724A Additional Weekday Lectionary and Amendments to Calendar, Lectionary and Collects [Wednesday]
GS 1724Y Report of the Revision Committee

GS 1727A Care of Cathedrals Measure [Tuesday and Thursday]

GS 1740A Mission and Pastoral Measure [Tuesday and Thursday]
GS 1740Y Revision Committee Report

GS 1757 Report by the Business Committee [Monday]

GS 1758 Clergy Pensions: Task Group Report [Tuesday]
GS 1759 Clergy Pensions: Ill-health retirement [Tuesday]

GS 1760 General Synod Elections 2010 [Tuesday]

GS 1761 Mission Shaped Church: Follow-up [Tuesday]

GS 1763 44th Report of the Standing Orders Committee [Wednesday]

GS 1766 Fresh Expressions [Thursday]

GS 1767 Realising the missionary potential of Church buildings [Thursday]

GS 1769 Going for Growth (covering note only) [Thursday]
Going for Growth report

GS 1774 and GS 1775 Codes of Practice under Section 8 of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure 2009 [Tuesday]
GS 1774-5X Explanatory Memorandum

Private Member’s Motions

GS 1762A and GS 1762B (Mr Nigel Holmes): TV Coverage of Religious and Ethical Issues [Wednesday]
GS 1764A and GS 1764B (Mrs Lorna Ashworth): Anglican Church in North America [Wednesday]
GS 1770A and GS 1770B (The Revd Mark Bratton): Parity of pension provision for surviving civil partners [Thursday]
GS 1771A and GS 1771B (Mr Thomas Benyon): Violent computer games [Thursday]

Diocesan Synod Motions

GS 1765A and GS 1765B (Chelmsford): Confidence in the Bible [Wednesday]
GS 1768 (Ripon and Leeds): Repair of Church buildings [Thursday]
GS 1772A and GS 1772B (Manchester): Compatibility of Science and Christian Belief [Friday]
GS 1773A and GS 1773B (Coventry): Deanery Synods [Friday]


Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway

Updated Sunday morning

The Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway has announced that the Very Rev Dr Gregor Duncan has been elected to be its next bishop.

The Very Rev Dr Gregor Duncan elected as Bishop

The BBC and the Press Association in reporting this concentrate on one of the unsuccessful candidates.

BBC Priest fails in female bishop bid
PA Priest not elected as female bishop


Bishop David Chillingworth comments on media coverage, in Welcome to Bishop Gregor.


mid-January opinions

Andreas Whittam Smith writes in the Independent about POWER2010. See Here’s one way to reconnect voters and see what he is talking about at the POWER2010 website.

Roderick Strange writes in The Times that Water into wine teaches us about transformation.

And Rosemary Lain-Priestley writes there about Being a mother, wife and priest.

In the Guardian Riaz Ravat writes in the Face to Faith column that amid a slew of negative coverage, we must all work at challenging how Muslims are seen.

The Brookings Institution has published a paper by Alex Evans and David Steven titled Hitting Reboot: Where Next For Climate After Copenhagen? (The paper itself is a PDF download from that page.) (Hat tip: Richard Chartres.)

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times that Science is not neutral.

And his Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 on Friday, about Theodicy is available here to listen to, or here as a podcast. The text will also be on the BBC website later, but is available now below the fold.



women bishops delay

Pat Ashworth reports in the Church Times today, Women face another delay as committee misses deadline.

THE draft legislation on women bishops will not be coming before the General Synod for debate next month as scheduled. Instead, the revision committee is expected still to be working on it after Easter. It will not now be debated till July…

This became public knowledge by the issue of the draft agenda, a little over a week ago.

Also, Jane Hedges writes about women in senior clergy posts, A little encouragement is all it will take.

This contains the results of a survey which showed that women clergy were less likely to respond to open competitive advertising than they were to respond to a personal approach. But what we don’t learn is whether this is the same or different for male clergy.

And there is a Church Times leader, Women bishops delay (scroll down).

THERE are two sorts of waiting. One is the wait while a family comes to a decision about whether it wants to journey to a par­­ticular place. Time can pass during consultations and preparation, but it is generally considered well spent in order to reach a proper agreement. The second sort of wait is when, having decided on its journey, the family stands on a snowy platform awaiting a scheduled train that the rail company has just taken out of service.

Churchpeople are entitled to feel irritated that the revision com­mittee charged with taking forward the draft women-bishops legislation has missed its February deadline. The next stage of the process must therefore be delayed till the General Synod meets again in July. It is, though, important that the Synod comes up with the best possible legislation to introduce women to the episcopate without reservation while, at the same time, seeking not to un­church those who object. This was the Synod’s express wish, and it cannot be any surprise that the revision committee has struggled to fulfil both sides of this task. Returning to the analogy above, there is no point in the train’s arriving in the station if the whole family is not on the platform. The committee now needs to be more open about its deliberations in order to curb the Synod’s impatience.


Equality Bill – new definition proposed


The Government has proposed a new definition of when “Employment is for the purposes of an organised religion”.

Here it is:

Employment is for the purposes of an organised religion only if—

(a) the employment is as a minister of religion, or

(b) the employment is in another post that exists (or, where the post has not previously been filled, that would exist) to promote or represent the religion or to explain the doctrines of the religion (whether to followers of the religion or to others).

This would replace the current wording found in Schedule 9, Paragraph 2(8).


In order to evaluate this, it may be helpful to recall that this clause is designed to cover a variety of issues, not only sexual orientation.

(a) a requirement to be of a particular sex;

(b) a requirement not to be a transsexual person;

(c) a requirement not to be married or a civil partner;

(d) a requirement not to be married to, or the civil partner of, a person who has a living former spouse or civil partner;

(e) a requirement relating to circumstances in which a marriage or civil partnership came to an end;

(f) a requirement related to sexual orientation.


Equality Bill – Lords revision day 2

The House of Lords continued its examination of the Equality Bill yesterday. Amendments discussed covered clauses 10 to 29. Here is the news page with links.

The Hansard record can be found starting here, or the PDF file is over here.

Two of the amendments I had previously listed as interesting were debated.

Amendment 20 (Baroness Varsi and Baroness Morris) which would remove the word “philosophical” from the definition of “belief”, was debated, follow that from here.

At the end of the evening, Lord MacKay of Clashfern proposed Amendment 57A:

“Conscientious objection
Nothing in this Act shall have the effect of requiring a person (A) to provide a good or service to a person (B) when doing so has the effect of making A complicit with an action to which A has a genuine conscientious objection.”

Read the debate on that from here.

Also, yesterday there was a change in the list of peers sponsoring the amendment to delete Sch 9 Clause 2 Para 8. Baroness Varsi’s name was removed, and was replaced by Baroness Butler-Sloss. Lady Butler-Sloss also added her name to those sponsoring the amendment to delete the word “proportionate” in in paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 9 clause 2.


Traditional Anglican Communion statistics

This week in the Church Times there is a report on this topic. The original is subscriber-only until Friday but meanwhile is copied below.

TAC members mostly in India by Simon Sarmiento

NINETY per cent of the membership of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) resides in India and Africa, information received by the Church Times shows.

The TAC was formed in 1990, and now in­cludes former Anglicans in six continents. Its current Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, is based in South Australia. Dialogue be­tween the TAC and the Vatican, after a formal petition made by the TAC in October 2007, was cited as a significant factor in the decision by the Congre­ga­tion for the Doctrine of the Faith to issue the Apostolic Constitution Anglican­orum Coetibus (News, 13 November).

The secretary to the College of Bishops of the TAC, Cheryl Wood­man, supplied the figures shown on the left. She said that they were “based on about 60 per cent of our communicant membership attend­ing every Sunday”, and that “this would easily bring the [membership] figure to around the 400,000 that is regularly quoted.”

In India, the TAC is represented by the Anglican Church of India (ACI). The ACI was formed in 1964 by Anglicans who withdrew from the Churches of North and South India. It now has 15 dioceses. The Traditional Anglican Church in Britain lists about 20 parishes on its website.







Southern Africa (including Zimbabwe, Mozambique,
Zambia and the Eastern Cape)



Central Africa (including Kenya, Cameroon, Eastern
Congo and Tanzania)



UK and Europe









Central America



Australia (inc Torres Straights), New Zealand, and





Equality Bill – Lords revision starts

See earlier article here which includes a list of some of the amendments of interest.

Yesterday’s committee hearings dealt with Clauses 1 to 9. No amendments were agreed. The Hansard record begins here. The Parliament website has this news report with links.

Amendments considered included one from the Bishop of Chester on gender reassignment. (The Bishop of Chichester spoke on his behalf.)

The latest (Tuesday morning) list of the remaining marshalled amendments (excludes those considered yesterday) can be found here. Committee hearings resume on Wednesday.

The Bishop of Winchester’s amendment relating to marriages and gender reassignment discrimination has now reappeared in much shorter form then before:

58A* Page 143, line 2, at end insert—

A person does not contravene section 29, so far as relating to gender reassignment discrimination, only because of anything done in reliance on section 5B of the Marriage Act 1949 (solemnisation of marriages involving person of acquired gender).”

Baroness Noakes and Baroness Neuberger have added their names to Lord Alli’s amendment relating to the venues for civil partnerships.

Meanwhile in the House of Commons, two questions were asked relating to the EU “reasoned opinion”.



a bridge too far?

Episcopal Café has drawn attention in ABC’s visitors to Canada on “aberrations south of the border” to a report in the Anglican Journal on the recent visit to Canada of “two pastoral visitors from the U.K. who were deputized by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams”. They were Bishop Chad Gandiya of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Bishop Colin Bennetts, the retired bishop of Coventry.

Rather surprisingly, the visitors appear to have included remarks in their report about a country they were not visiting, the USA. According to the Journal:

The visitors said they were also reminded frequently by bishops that “Canada is not the USA.” While the United States is seen as a melting pot culture where religious and ethnic groups are synthesized into “Americans,” Canadians “genuinely value and seek to live with diversity.” Differences between the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church were underscored, including the area of Christology. “We sensed that in Canada there was a general consensus on the nature of orthodoxy, with fewer extreme views of the kind that have led to some of the aberrations south of the border,” the report said. “Even the bishops who were strongly progressive in the matter of same-sex blessings insisted that they stood firmly within the creedal mainstream.” This, the report said, is “an encouraging sign that it allows for a more obviously Christ-centred approach to issues that currently divide the Communion, to say nothing of the wider church.”

Now read this article about the skills of Bishop Bennetts as a “bridge-builder”, Conflict resolution expert sent to observe at HOB.


opinions in the snow

Although he is now Hunkering down in the snow? Alan Wilson wrote last Sunday about the Rule of St Benedict, see It’s not what you say….

Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times about Football in the wilds of Yemen.

John Cottingham writes in The Times that Our restless quest for God is a search for home.

David Bryant writes in the Guardian that A religion that is based on a code of moral injunctions should be approached warily.

Cif belief asked What are you frightened of this year? to which David Walker replied Spiders and authoritarianism and Mark Dowd replied The Pope’s visit.

Fulcrum published a sermon by Graham Kings on The Holy Spirit and the Magi.


General Synod – February 2010 – outline agenda

The outline agenda for next month’s meeting of General Synod is now available online and is copied below.

Note: In the agenda DSM stands for Diocesan Synod Motion, and PMM for Private Member’s Motion. The texts of the private members’ motions are online.


Outline Agenda

Monday 8 February


[ 2-4pm: Meetings of the House of Clergy and House of Laity ]

  • Prayers, introductions, progress of Measures
  • Presentation under SO 97: Statement concerning the Revision Committee on the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure
  • Business Committee report
  • Questions

Tuesday 9 February


  • Prayers
  • Legislative business
    • Amending Canon No 29 (Clergy Terms of Service) – Final Drafting and Final Approval
    • Ecclesiastical Fees (Amendment) Measure – Final Drafting and Final Approval
    • Pastoral and Mission Measure – Revision Stage
    • Care of Cathedrals Measure – Revision Stage
    • Codes of Practice under Section 8 of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure 2009 – Approval


  • Presidential Address
  • Clergy Pensions: Proposed scheme changes
  • Clergy Pensions: Ill-health retirement
  • General Synod elections: distribution of places
  • Mission-shaped Church: follow-up

Wednesday 10 February


  • Holy Communion
  • PMM: Nigel Holmes: TV Coverage of Religious and Ethical Issues
  • Standing Orders Committee report


  • PMM: Lorna Ashworth: Anglican Church in North America
  • Military Chaplaincy: Presentation
  • Liturgical Business: Additional Weekday Lectionary: Report of the Revision Committee
  • Chelmsford DSM: Confidence in the Bible

Thursday 11 February


  • Prayers
  • Address by the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, followed by contributions from the floor
  • Fresh Expressions: Presentation
  • Bread out of Millstones: Realising the Potential of Church Buildings: Presentation by the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division
  • Ripon and Leeds DSM: Repair of Church Buildings


  • Going for Growth: Children’s and Youth Strategy: Report from the Education Division
  • PMM: The Revd Mark Bratton: Parity of Pension Provision for Surviving Civil Partners
  • Legislative Business: Final Drafting and Final Approval: Pastoral and Mission Measure and Care of Cathedrals Measure
  • PMM: Tom Benyon: Violent computer Games

Friday 12 February


  • Prayers
  • Manchester DSM: Compatibility of Science and Christian Belief
  • Coventry DSM: Deanery Synods
  • Farewells
  • Prorogation

Equality Bill in the Lords

Amended again Monday afternoon

My report in last week’s Church Times on the December debate in the House of Lords, can be now be read at Religion is more than this, say peers.

The consideration of the Equality Bill will resume next week, when the House of Lords considers the bill in Committee. The following five dates have been allocated: Monday 11 Jan, Wednesday 13 Jan, Tuesday 19 Jan, Monday 25 Jan, Wednesday 27 January.

Numerous amendments have been proposed, see the new marshalled list of amendments to be moved in committee, starting here.
Monday And now this revised marshalled list starting here.

The Conservative party spokesperson, Baroness Varsi, together with Baroness O’Cathain, Lord Anderson of Swansea, and the Bishop of Winchester have put down an amendment to strike out the whole of the new definition of the purposes of organised religion. Amendment 100. The latter three have also put down an amendment to remove the word “proportionate” in paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 9 clause 2. Amendments 98, 99

Baroness Varsi and Baroness Morris have also put down an amendment which would remove the word “philosophical” from the definition of “belief”. Amendment 20

The Bishop of Winchester had put down an amendment dealing with religious marriages and gender reassignment discrimination. This is not in the current list because it has been withdrawn for redrafting.I am told it will be resubmitted shortly.

The Bishop of Chester has put down an amendment to insert the words “under medical supervision” into the definition of gender reassignment. Amendment 10

Baroness Turner of Camden has put down amendments to ensure that the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 will have to be read in light of Schedule 9 (3). Amendments 124, 125 and 137

She has also put down amendments:

– to modify paragraph 8 so that it reads (addition in bold):

Employment is for the purposes of an organised religion only if the purpose of the employment wholly or mainly involves—

Amendment 100

– to qualify Clause 3 of Schedule 9 (Other requirements relating to religion or belief) to add:

(d) A is not operating as a public authority, on behalf of a public authority or operating in relation to a contract with public authorities.”

Amendment 101A

Lord Alli has put down amendments:

– to allow civil partnerships to take place on religious premises Amendment 119A

– to delete the clause in Schedule 9 paragraph 2(4) which reads “(f) a requirement related to sexual orientation.” i.e. the transposition of the 2003 SO Regulations paragraph 7(3). Amendment 97E

Lord MacKay of Clashfern has put down this amendment:

“Conscientious objection
Nothing in this Act shall have the effect of requiring a person (A) to provide a good or service to a person (B) when doing so has the effect of making A complicit with an action to which A has a genuine conscientious objection.”

Amendment 57A

Michael Foster MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities has today announced that the Government will propose an amendment:

Contrary to some reports over the weekend, the Equality Bill will still allow churches to hire only male clergy and will let faith-based charities continue to recruit people of the same faith where this is a requirement of the job, such as care staff who may also be asked to pray with the people they look after. We have been absolutely clear on this throughout the Bill’s passage, but as there has been some misunderstanding around our intentions we will amend the Bill to make this clear beyond doubt.