Thinking Anglicans

More about the Crown Nominations Commission

Updated yet again Sunday 4.50 pm

The Church Times has republished its earlier article with a new headline: No agreement at the CNC.

THE Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), which met last week to choose a new Archbishop of Canterbury, has been unable to agree on the two names it submits to the Prime Minister. A short statement put out by the C of E communications department on Friday does not admit this as such, but this is the only reasonable interpretation of the phrase: “The work of the Commission continues.”

All meetings of the CNC are confidential, and it was a new departure this time to let it be known that a meeting was taking place. Church House staff were careful beforehand not to be drawn on whether this was the CNC’s final meeting, with good reason as it now appears…

…The rules for the CNC state that its 16 voting members must be two-thirds in favour of each of the two candidates submitted to the Prime Minister, i.e. the favoured man must secure 11 votes.

The reference in the statement to an autumn announcement indicates that another meeting will be scheduled soon.

Further press speculation can be found in several places:

Sunday Telegraph Cole Moreton and Edward Malnick Critics attack ‘secrecy’ of Archbishop selection

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Hunt for next Archbishop reaches deadlock after ‘snubbing’ frontrunner Sentamu and
A N Wilson Our C of E is a cracked old antique – and if we chose the wrong Archbishop it might fall apart in his hands

Guardian Caroline Davies Archbishop of Canterbury succession talks ‘deadlocked’

Sunday Times Jonathan Wynne-Jones Church split over Sentamu

The above link is not to the complete article, however the following one tells us what is in it.

Reuters Anglican church deadlocked over new leader: report

…According to the Sunday Times, the panel has a three name shortlist:

  • Bishop of Norwich Graham James, 61, a keen amateur actor and cricketer who said last week he would “hope and pray” someone else gets the job.
  • Archbishop of York John Sentamu, 63, a Ugandan-born traditionalist who holds the second most senior post in the Church of England and writes a column for the Sun newspaper.
  • Bishop of Durham Justin Welby, 56, a former oil industry executive who has been a bishop for less than a year…

BBC Sunday programme podcast dated today can be downloaded here. Item starts 29.5 minutes in and runs for about 7 minutes.

BBC New Archbishop of Canterbury decision ‘may take months’

The choice of a successor to Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury may not take place for several months, the Church of England has said.

It comes after speculation that the latest meeting of the panel given the task of nominating a new Church leader had not chosen a candidate.

Officials reiterated that the work of choosing a successor could go on throughout the autumn.

Dr Williams will step down in December after 10 years in the post.

The most recent meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission set up to choose Dr Williams’ successor ended on Friday evening and it has not ruled out holding further meetings.

No announcement was expected this weekend as any successful candidate would have to be endorsed by the prime minister and the Queen.

However, in response to intense speculation that the commission had failed to agree a candidate the Church confirmed that the decision could take several weeks or even months to emerge.

Officials stressed that the group had all of autumn to decide, conceding only that it would want to avoid having no-one to replace Dr Williams when he steps down at the end of the year.


Dioceses Commission latest

We reported yesterday that the Dioceses Commission is to proceed with its plans to amalgamate the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield.

All three diocesan bishops have now commented on this announcement.

The Diocese of Ripon and Leeds has reproduced the CofE press release, and added this note at the end:

Bishop John Packer says he welcomes the announcement: “I am pleased that the Dioceses Commission have decided to proceed with their proposals for a new diocese based on the three dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds and Wakefield after taking into account the large number of submissions they have received. I look forward to the publication of the revised scheme at the end of October, and to exploring the mission opportunities it offers for the Synods to consider in March.”

Nick Baines, the Bishop of Bradford has written on his blog, West Yorkshire diocese proposals, and says:

I welcome the decision by the Dioceses Commission to go ahead with their proposals for a new diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales. The publication of the revised scheme next month will provide greater detail which all three dioceses will consider before they vote on the scheme next March. I look forward to this further opportunity to explore how a new, bigger diocese could enhance the work of the church in this part of the country. As we explore the potential, and the pros and cons, it will test our creative vision, prophetic courage and commitment, and will ensure that our eventual decisions are fully informed and made for the right reasons.

The Diocese of Wakefield has published Dioceses Commission: Latest with this comment:

The Bishop of Wakefield is looking forward to an open and honest debate in the parishes after the news that the Dioceses Commission has decided to proceed with its proposal to merge the three dioceses of Wakefield, Bradford and Ripon and Leeds into one super diocese.

Bishop Platten said: Now that the Dioceses’ Commission has decided to proceed with its proposal we look forward to an open and honest debate within the Diocese of Wakefield. It will be important that people holding a range of views on the proposal have an opportunity to contribute to a wide-ranging and fruitful discussion before the Diocesan Synod votes next March.’

Earlier Stephen Platten wrote Bigger is not Beautiful and Jonathan Greener, Dean of Wakefield wrote We must not sacrifice the vital heritage of our great cathedrals



David Lose writes for The Huffington Post about What the Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Women.

ABC Religion and Ethics has these two articles.
John Milbank After Rowan: Priorities for the Anglican Communion
Stanley Hauerwas The place of the church and the agony of Anglicanism

Today’s Guardian has this editorial: Unthinkable? elect the archbishop of Canterbury.

Matthew Grayshon writes for Fulcrum about Gay Partnership: Marriage or Union.

Ian Stubbs writes for The Independent about Homophobia in the Church: Why I would break the law in support of LGBT people.

Alan Weston interviews the new Dean of Liverpool for the Liverpool Daily Post: Big Interview: Dr Pete Wilcox, the Dean of Liverpool.


Update on Crown Nominations Commission

Updated yet again Saturday morning

The CofE Communications Office issued this Update on CNC this evening.

Update on CNC
28 September 2012

This week’s meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC) has been accompanied by much speculation about possible candidates and the likely timing of an announcement of the name of who will succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury when he steps down to become Master of Magdalene College.

The CNC is an elected, prayerful body. Its meetings are necessarily confidential to enable members to fulfil their important responsibilities for discerning who should undertake this major national and international role. Previous official briefings have indicated that an announcement is expected during the autumn and that remains the case; the work of the Commission continues. There will be no comment on any speculation about candidates or about the CNC’s deliberations. Dr Williams remains in office until the end of December.



CNC background Q&As can be found here:

Membership of the CNC can be found here:’-election-for-cnc.aspx

Tomorrow’s edition of The Times carries a story by Ruth Gledhill headlined Church of England fails to agree successor for Archbishop of Canterbury and which begins:

The body responsible for choosing the next Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to agree who should be the successor to Dr Rowan Williams.

Despite a three day session, aided by prayers invoked on Twitter with the hashtage #prayforthecnc, the 16-member committee has been unable to decide on who should take on the job that the present incumbent today implied was “impossible”.

A source told The Times that a decision on who should succeed Dr Rowan Williams was not expected soon. “A decision is not imminent,” he said…

John Bingham at the Telegraph has Secretive committee still ‘discerning’ next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lizzy Davies at the Guardian has Church of England end three days of talks with no new archbishop.

Andrew Goddard has written at Fulcrum a very clear account of the procedures which apply. See On (not) choosing a new Archbishop.

…The vote takes place by successive secret ballots with the bottom candidate being eliminated. Crucially, however, a candidate needs to get 2/3 of the vote to be able to be nominated. As a result, it is quite possible to reduce the list to two candidates and face an impasse. A simple majority (9-7 in this case) is not sufficient. A candidate to be agreed and forwarded to the Prime Minister requires 2/3 of the members to vote for them. Normally that means they need 10 votes but with 16 voting members it means they need the support of 11 candidates. In other words, if 6 members are unwilling to vote for a candidate, members will keep voting until a candidate has 11 votes. If that does not happen then deadlock has been reached and the CNC composition means there are fewer experienced mediators who have worked through such difficult situations in the past and may recognise the need to shift their vote to assist the process.

This 2/3 requirement means that candidates with strong support but also determined opposition may be unable to reach the requisite number of votes. That scenario is quite possible in relation to some of the names likely being considered given the composition of the CNC. With six candidates from the diocese of Canterbury, if they are united or almost united in their opposition to a particular candidate then they may be able to block him.

The further complication is that if this hurdle is overcome then there is another one still to be faced because the CNC is required to submit two names to the Prime Minister (even though he now will simply forward the first name). This means that voting starts again with the original shortlist (minus the elected candidate) in order to get a second name. This nomination also needs the support of 2/3 of voting members.

In summary, to reach a decision there must be two candidates able to secure the support of 11 or more members. Six members determined to block a particular candidate favoured by the other 10 can therefore bring the whole process to a halt…


Dioceses Commission announces draft scheme

The Dioceses Commission has announced this morning that it is to proceed with its plans to amalgamate the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield.

Dioceses Commission announces draft scheme
28 September 2012

At its meeting on 26 September the Commission was able to complete its consideration of all the submissions made to it on the draft Reorganisation Scheme for the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield. It carefully considered the representations made to it, both at this stage and earlier, and has unanimously decided to proceed with a draft scheme bringing all three dioceses together.

The Commission firmly believes that the scheme represents a once-in-a generation opportunity for reinvigorating mission which should be grasped. It intends to issue a revised scheme embracing all three dioceses by the end of October, together with a fresh report which will both address concerns that have been put to the Commission, and set out the benefits to mission that it believes will come from a new single diocese.

The current diocesan map in the region owes more to history than the way these communities are now shaped. The Commission received overwhelming evidence that the Church’s structures no longer reflect current social, economic and demographic realities on the ground, and that the Church needs a single diocese to engage effectively in mission with the people and communities of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

The Commission believes that the benefits to the Church’s mission and ministry in West Yorkshire and the Dales will only be fully realised by a scheme embracing all three dioceses. They each have their own distinctive contribution to make, and have a part to play in creating something new, rather than recreating an older model.

Chair of the Commission, Professor Michael Clarke, said: “On behalf of the Commission I would like personally to thank everyone who has made representations to us. A revised scheme will be published next month, and all three dioceses will then have a chance to decide whether they share our vision, which has been drawn from our discussions in Yorkshire over the past two years, that the proposals will better enable them to advance their mission to the communities which they serve. The Commission is clear that this represents a remarkable and unique opportunity for the Church of England.”

There are notes to the press release below the fold.



General Synod – November timetable

The Church of England has issued the outline timetable for the November meeting of General Synod. This is copied below.



Monday 19 November

2.15pm – 7 pm

Worship and formal business
Report by the Business Committee
Anglican Consultative Council meeting: presentation and questions
Anglican Communion Covenant: Report on the Reference to Dioceses
[brief evening worship]

Tuesday 20 November

9.15 am – 1 pm

9.15 am Holy Communion
10.30 am Legislative Business:
Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and Draft Amending Canon No.30

2.30 pm – 7 pm

Legislative Business:
Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of women) Measure and Draft Amending Canon No.30 – continued
[brief evening worship]

Wednesday 21 November

9.30 am – 1 pm

Diocesan Synod Motion: Southwell and Nottingham: Amendment to Canon B 12 and Regulations
Private Member’s Motion: John Freeman: Living Wage
Dates of groups of sessions in 2013

2.30 – 5.30pm

Youth unemployment
Farewell to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Contingency business:
Report of the Standing Orders Committee

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CNC speculation

The Crown Nominations Commission started its final meeting to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury earlier today.

The Church of England has published a Prayer for the Crown Nominations Commission.

There is much in the press today about the meeting, not all of it serious.

Church of England Newspaper The candidates for Canterbury

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Group choosing new archbishop of Canterbury meets at secret location

The Guardian’s interactive guide: pick your own Archbishop

Ben Quinn in the Christian Science Monitor As Anglican Church picks new leader, gay marriage weighs heavily

Adrian Hilton in the Mail Online The 105th Archbishop of Canterbury is about to be revealed

Channel 4 News Who will be the new archbishop of Canterbury?

The BBC has several stories.
New Archbishop of Canterbury to be chosen
Mick Robson and Megan Lane Archbishop of Canterbury: Runners and riders
Alex Strangwayes-Booth Dr Rowan Williams: Poll finds 53% consider him ‘good leader’
Bishop ‘prays not to be Archbishop of Canterbury’

Reuters Anglican church chooses new leader to weather storms

Nelson Jones in the New Statesman The secret search for the next Archbishop of Canterbury

The Daily Mash Bishops fighting to the death

Finally the Plumstead Letters blog has Elect to Leave [very rude but very funny].

It’s not clear from the reports whether the meeting will finish on Thursday or Friday, but in any case do not expect an immediate announcement. After the meeting the chair (Lord Luce) has to write to the Prime Minister with two nominations for archbishop (the first choice and a reserve). The Prime Minister will send the first name to the Queen. This person also has to be asked if he will accept nomination and given time to reply. Before any public announcement the person chosen has to have a criminal record check and a medical. Finally a convenient day for the announcement had to be found. Typically for diocesan bishops this takes two months, although in one case last year it was only a month.


George Pitcher on the next Archbishop of Canterbury

In a major article in the New Statesman, George Pitcher, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s secretary for public affairs from 2010-2011, ponders the challenges confronting the Archbishop’s successor: Between church and state.

Politicians are accustomed to the media distorting whatever they have to say for dramatic effect – every discussion is a row, every initiative a push for power. So it is with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anglican apparatchiks have been busy playing down the suggestion that their Church is planning to appoint a “global president” to relieve the next archbishop of some of the workload. The line is that Dr Rowan Williams, in a valedictory interview in the Daily Telegraph, merely said that the job was too big for one person. The Telegraph thought otherwise.

But the story stirred some emotions, not least relief that Tony Blair had converted to Roman Catholicism and so would not be available for the job. And it drew attention to just how political is the role of archbishop of Canterbury. Not only is Williams presented as a more virulent opposition to the present government than the Labour Party, but what he has to say is presented in the media about as sympathetically as Boris Johnson’s denials that he wants to be prime minister…

John Martin writes for The Living Church about the Horse Race for Lambeth Palace and concludes with

Odds are strong that the commission will name Richard Chartres as a short-term “caretaker” to give Justin Welby time to gain more experience as a bishop before taking the reins at Lambeth Palace.


opinion at the equinox

Updated Sunday author of third item corrected

Excuses for Not Going to Church are examined on The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley blog.

Derek Flood asks in The Huffington Post Did Jesus Die to Save Us From God?

Theo Hobson Mark Vernon writes for The Guardian that Christianity must admit to the bad news before it can spread the good.

Stephen Kuhrt writes for Fulcrum that Cricket reaches the parts that Theology never can.

Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Charlie Richardson’s priest was flawed, but embodied Jesus’s love of the fallen.

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Equal civil marriage: further developments

In late July, we reported that Prime Minister criticises Church on same-sex relationships, and that this had prompted Anglican Mainstream to write a response. Today, Anglican Mainstream has published the response it received from David Cameron and you can see the correspondence at The Prime Minister writes to Anglican Mainstream.

The government ministers responsible for equalities changed in the recent reshuffle, and the new Secretary of State with responsibility for this (replacing Teresa May) is Maria Miller. She recently wrote this article: The state shouldn’t stop people marrying unless there is a good reason. Being gay is not one of them and recorded this video for Out4Marriage.

Two earlier articles on the topic that appeared on Law and Religion UK in June are:

The Campaign for Marriage has published a summary of the legal opinion provided by Aidan O’Neill (PDF) on a variety of scenarios that could arise if the legislation is enacted. This is well worth reading.


Andrew Brown reviews the candidates for Canterbury

Andrew Brown has written an article for today’s Guardian headlined Archbishop of Canterbury succession race begins in earnest.

Next Wednesday, four women and 15 men on the Crown Nominations Commission will gather for two days of prayer and horsetrading to replace Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury. We know who they are, and when they will meet – but not where, so they can’t be doorstepped.

Only three members of the commission, chaired by the former Conservative arts minister Lord Luce, are bishops. One of the women and two of the men have no vote, but are there to advise. Five, including one of the women, are priests. The rest are lay people. Almost all the parties of the church are represented and there is even Dr Barry Morgan, a Welshman, to represent the rest of the world for the first time in this process. They will pick two names to present to the prime minister, who is bound to choose the first, unless he proves unable to take the job…

Update Now Charles Moore at the Telegraph has written The last thing the Church of England needs is a pleasant middle manager.

Who would you like to be your next Archbishop of Canterbury? You may think this an odd way to put it. You may be Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic, atheist, or just vague. How can the Archbishop of Canterbury belong to you?

Yet if you live in England, he does. The Church of England is “by law established”, and so it is there for any citizen who wants it. The Queen is the Church’s Supreme Governor, and her people, regardless of what they believe, are its people. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who stands at the Church’s head, must serve them. He belongs to them.

But we shall not choose him. This process is nowadays controlled by something referred to, with varying degrees of affection, as the Wash House. The Wash House is the old laundry of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop’s London residence, and it is now inhabited by the Crown Nominations Committee (CNC). If it has dirty linen, it does not wash it in public: next week, the CNC will meet at a secret location to consider its shortlist and try to come up with two names – the first being its choice, the second being its “appointable candidate” if things go wrong – for who, at the end of this year, should succeed Rowan Williams and become the 105th man (the law still requires it be a man) to sit on the throne of St Augustine…


women bishops: some responses to the revised clause

Updated again Friday evening

Forward in Faith has published this statement:

Members of Forward in Faith can take some comfort from the House of Bishops’ recent decision to resist calls to delete clause 5(1)(c) of the Women Bishops’ draft Measure, added by the House in May. The revised clause, with the welcome language of ‘respect’ at its heart, indicates that the theological convictions held by traditional catholics and orthodox evangelicals on this disputed question continue to occupy an authentic and honourable place in Anglican teaching and practice.

Should this draft legislation receive Final Approval in November, the proposed Code of Practice will assume huge significance in setting out the manner in which the new clause 5(1)(c) will be interpreted and implemented. There is, therefore, a good deal more work to be done on the legislative package as a whole before its full implications for traditionalists can be properly assessed.

In the meantime, attention returns to the text of the draft Measure as a whole, in advance of the debate on Final Approval. The question for members of General Synod remains the same: is this legislation fit for purpose in meeting the needs of all members of the Church of England, both those who welcome, and those unable to receive, the development of ordaining women as bishops?

WATCH has also issued a statement:

Today the House of Bishops announced that it had voted by a large majority to substitute a new set of wording in place of the controversial Clause 5(1)c.

WATCH is pleased that the House of Bishops listened to the anxieties voiced concerning their amendment to the legislation in May, and is encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recognition of the enrichment that the ordained ministry of women has brought to the Church of England and her mission.

WATCH is, however, disappointed that the House of Bishops did not feel able to withdraw Clause 5(1)c completely.

It will take time to explore the implications of the new wording fully and WATCH will now begin a process of consultation with members and others before issuing any further comment.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said

“The House of Bishops has today confirmed its commitment to having women as bishops and has attempted to find a new way forward that will ensure the draft legislation is passed by General Synod in November. Time will tell whether the new Clause 5(1)c will produce the desired outcome.”

Update REFORM has now made a further comment which you can see here.

No new statement has yet appeared from REFORM but a spokesman is quoted in this report from the BBC Women bishops: Anglicans still unsure over new wording.

…The Reverend Paul Dawson, spokesman for the conservative evangelical group Reform, said the new clause was “not going to win any more votes from our constituency.”

Of the previous House of Bishops amendment, he said: “Although we weren’t entirely happy with that, there was a sense in which we could probably have lived with it.”

Reform is holding a conference later this month which he said would discuss “Assuming this goes through as it is, what do we do then?”

Already young men from evangelical parishes who were considering entering the clergy were unsure whether there would be a welcome for them in the Church, said Mr Dawson…

A letter has been sent to the House of Bishops by a group of senior women clergy. The full text is published below the fold.

The Church Times reports in an article Amended women-bishops clause speaks of ‘respect’ what the Catholic Group in the General Synod said:

…On Monday, the Ca­tholic Group in the General Synod said that it was grateful to the House of Bishops for “retaining the life­belts in Clause 5(1)(c)” but “con­cerned that they have let some of the air out of them by reducing ‘is consistent with’ to ‘respects’”. The Group “continues to have grave doubts about the sea­worthiness of this ship [the Measure] and the reduction in the effect­ive­ness of the lifebelts gives it less confidence in the proposed voyage”.

Church Society reports that:

…This month, the Society’s council will be writing to the House of Bishops expressing our guarded support for the suggested rewording of clause 5(1)c. We shall express that while finding a form of words we can agree on is important, ultimately our primary concern is protecting the place of biblical ministry consistent with 2,000 years of Christian tradition.




Eric Pickles writes in The Telegraph that A Christian ethos strengthens our nation.

Mark Vernon writes in The Guardian that Rowan Williams, we’ll miss you.


Anglicans and Attitudes towards Gay Marriage

British Religion in Numbers has published statistics about Anglicans and Attitudes towards Gay Marriage.


Chichester safeguarding: no response from Lambeth Palace

Updated Saturday afternoon

Here’s a follow-up to our earlier article on the BBC news reports.

According to today’s Church Times in a news article Sussex children’s officials called for Benn’s suspension which is for subscribers only:

…A Chichester diocesan spokesman said on Wednesday: “East Sussex County Council have properly raised matters of concern with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office, whose responsibility it is to comment at this stage. We would refer to the interim report of the Archiepiscopal Visitors, which contains substantial recommendations regarding the Clergy Discipline Measure and the issue of neutral suspension.”

…Lambeth Palace declined to comment.

In the earlier BBC report, it had said:

…On 7 June, a letter from Lambeth Palace to Mr Dunkley said the Church understood their frustration at the apparent lack of progress or action, but had to follow the rule of law and be above any risk of legal challenge, which meant the work had to be careful and painstaking.

That letter said: “Any process of suspension involves us jumping through several hoops and we are by no means certain that the evidence for such a step will be sufficient.

“I would add that the Church is not like other organisations in terms of employment arrangements.”

The letter also highlighted that the diocese had been subject to “one of the heaviest sanctions the Church can impose” – the visitation process…

But Lambeth Palace had also declined to comment to the BBC.


The Eastbourne Herald has published an article titled Calls grow for Bishop Benn’s resignation.


Women Bishops: Draft Legislation

Updated Thursday morning

The final text of the controversial clause 5(1)(c) to be presented to General Synod in November has been agreed by the House of Bishops; it is given towards the end of the press release reproduced below.

NEWS from the Church of England
12/9/12 – For immediate release

Women Bishops: Draft Legislation

The House of Bishops has today by an overwhelming majority settled the text of the legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The House of Bishops made clear its desire for the draft legislation to be passed into law when it goes forward for final approval to the Church of England’s General Synod in November.

Speaking on behalf of the House at the conclusion of their meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams said:

“Before turning to the matters we have been discussing, I want to say, on behalf of the Bishops, that our thoughts and prayers are very much with the people of Liverpool and all affected by the Hillsborough tragedy on this day when the report is released. The Bishop of Liverpool has done a great service in steering this work to a conclusion and helping us as a nation to confront this deeply traumatic memory.”

Dr. Williams continued:

“Since women were first made priests in the Church of England in 1994, their ministry has hugely enriched both church and society. It has become increasingly clear to most of us that barring women from becoming bishops is an anomaly that should be removed, for the good of the Church’s mission and service.

“In July this year, the General Synod asked the House of Bishops to reconsider an alteration it had made to the proposed legislation on this subject. The Bishops have taken very seriously the anxieties expressed about the possible implications of their amendment and there has been widespread consultation since then. We are very grateful for all the points and suggestions offered by synod members and others.

“In light of this consultation, the Bishops have discussed the measure again and are now bringing forward a new text that expresses both our conviction of the need to see this legislation passed and our desire to honour the conscience and contribution of those in the Church of England whose reservations remain.

“It is particularly significant and welcome that the new text emerged not from the House of Bishops itself but rather from a serving woman priest.

“I hope all members of Synod will now reflect carefully on what the Bishops have decided and will continue to give thought and prayer to how they will vote in November.”

“I am convinced that the time has come for the Church of England to be blessed by the ministry of women as bishops and it is my deep hope that the legislation will pass in November.”

At its meeting in July the General Synod asked the House of Bishops to reconsider a provision in the legislation – Clause 5(1)(c) of the draft measure.

The new amendment submitted by the Rev. Janet Appleby during the consultation process received overwhelming support from the House of Bishops in both their discussions and in the final vote.

In discussion the Bishops welcomed the simplicity of the new text, its emphasis on respect and the process of dialogue with parishes that it will promote.

The final text proposed by the House of Bishops is:

Substitute for the words in clause 5(1)(c): “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”

The House also agreed to establish a group to develop the illustrative draft Code of Practice published in January to give effect to the new provision.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a podcast about the new text proposed by the House of Bishops. It can be downloaded from the beginning of Archbishop speaks about women bishops draft legislation. A transcript is also available.


Upper Tribunal hears fourth appeal by RC adoption agency

Updated Saturday morning

In August 2011, we reported that the RC adoption agency, Catholic Care, had been given leave to appeal to the Upper Tribunal, after three earlier appeals had all failed.

Now, more than a year later, that appeal is being heard. Third Sector Online reports Upper Tribunal hears latest Catholic Care appeal today.

The Upper Tribunal will today hear the latest appeal by the charity Catholic Care against a ruling preventing it from excluding gay couples from using its adoption service.

It is the fourth in a series of appeals by Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) since the Charity Commission refused its request in November 2008 to change its charitable objects in order to restrict access to its adoption service to heterosexual couples.

The charity has argued that if it did not discriminate in this way it would lose its funding from the Catholic Church and would have to close the service.

Today’s appeal, which will be heard by Mr Justice Sales at the Rolls Building in London, is against the charity tribunal’s rejection of its request to change its objects in April 2011. The hearing is scheduled to last two days…

Frank Cranmer has some analysis at Law and Religion UK Catholic Care and adoption by same-sex couples – the story continues.


Third Sector has two reports from the hearing:

Charity tribunal ‘misdirected itself’ over Catholic Care, Upper Tribunal told

Overturning Catholic Care decision could set dangerous precedent, says Charity Commission


East Sussex County Council criticises Chichester Diocese

The BBC has two articles tonight reporting on this:

East Sussex council: Children ‘unsafe in Chichester diocese’

Social care chiefs do not believe children’s safety is assured within services provided by the Diocese of Chichester, letters have revealed.

BBC South East Today obtained copies of the letters from East Sussex County Council to the Archbishop of Canterbury under the Freedom of Information Act.

The correspondence called for the immediate suspension of the Bishop of Lewes, the Right Reverend Wallace Benn.

Neither the Church of England or Bishop Benn have commented…

And Letters to archbishop raise Chichester diocese child safety fears has a video report with considerably more detail about the extensive correspondence with Lambeth Palace staff.


more commentaries on the European Court hearing

Earlier TA articles here and then also here.

Rosalind English wrote at UK Human Rights Blog Are Christians really marginalised in this country?

Frank Cranmer has given a reply to her in his article at Law and Religion UK Marginalised Christians? Chaplin, Eweida, McFarlane and Ladele – again. He also links to some other relevant articles.

The weekly roundup article at UK Human Rights Blog by Sam Murrant Azelle Rodney, Gay Rights and the Cabinet Shuffle – The Human Rights Roundup discusses the cases at some length (scroll down to Christians in the margins) again with links to a number of other articles.


Reform responds to House of Bishops Standing Committee

REFORM has replied to GS Misc 1033 with the following letter:

Rod Thomas wrote to William Fittall, General Secretary of General Synod


Dear William,

In GS Misc 1033, you sought views on Clause 5(1)c of the draft Women Bishops Measure prior to the formulation of proposals for the September meeting of the House of Bishops. My purpose in writing is to let you know how members of the Reform network have responded to your request and to the situation in which the General Synod now finds itself.

As you will know, conservative evangelicals have always been assured that their theological outlook relating to male headship in both church and family life will have a respected position. We have argued that to achieve this, any legislation for women bishops should introduce appropriate safeguards – and these should be mainly on the face of the Measure, rather than in a Code of Practice. The latter should be seen as elucidating the basic provision of legislation.

To this end, we have sought over the years to put the case for legislative provision which would achieve four safeguards: