Following on from here,
…During our meeting last week in Dar es Salaam we took time to pray for you and the clergy and people of the Diocese of South Carolina. We are encouraged by your faithfulness to the Bible and rejoice in your clear stand for the Gospel.
We are grieved, however, by the attitude and actions of the leadership of The Episcopal Church and their efforts to demand canonical obedience through unjust means to their ungodly agenda. As we have made clear in the Jerusalem Declaration we reject their authority and call on them to repent and return to the Lord.
Please know that we continue to recognize you as a faithful Anglican bishop and the Diocese of South Carolina as part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church….
and in this October Pastoral Letter there was an express mention of South Carolina:
…As a result of the increased aggressiveness of the revisionists there are now those in every province and beyond who wish to stand with us and who need our help to stand for Christ: in Recife (Brazil), in South Carolina, in the Church of Scotland, in Ireland, in England, in Australia and many more. We received reports from various FCA affiliates and rejoice in their faithful witness in the face of tremendous pressure and were delighted to receive an application for the establishment of an FCA affiliate in Australia.
We were also reminded of the need for prayer for those who will gather in Auckland, New Zealand, for the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. In particular we prayed that they will avoid compromise and have the courage to declare boldly the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is good news for all people at all times and in all cultures…
And there was this letter from the UK.
The Living Church has just published this article by Mark McCall titled Dumbing Abandonment Down. This needs to be read in full, but here’s an excerpt:
…To step back from the canonical fine print, the larger question is whether South Carolina intended to leave the Episcopal Church by these acts. The answer quite obviously is no. It is obvious for three reasons. First, even the disciplinary board never claims that the diocese either withdrew or attempted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church by these actions. It claims only that the modification of the accession clause violated the Episcopal Church’s Constitution. But South Carolina’s legal counsel correctly advised the convention before it voted on these resolutions that seven dioceses have no accession clause at all and another 15, like South Carolina after the 2010 vote, accede only to the Constitution.
Second, the advocates of the resolutions, including Bishop Lawrence, said explicitly on the floor of the convention that “we are not deciding to leave the national church by passing these; in no way are we deciding that” (the Very Rev. John B. Burwell) and “we are called to resist what many of us believe is a self-destructive trajectory within the Episcopal Church; and to resist until it is no longer possible” (Bishop Lawrence).
Third, South Carolina has continued to participate in the life of the Episcopal Church since these resolutions were passed two years ago, including participating in the House of Bishops and General Convention. It is puzzling how bishops who sat next to Bishop Lawrence at General Convention in July could then vote in September that he had abandoned the church back in 2010…
The Right Reverend Jonathan Baker the current Bishop of Ebbsfleet (one of the two provincial episcopal visitors in the Canterbury province) is to become the Bishop of Fulham, a suffragan see in the Diocese of London, and which has customarily had a similar role to that of a PEV.
10 Downing Street: Suffragan See of Fulham
Diocese of London: New Bishop of Fulham announced
Lambeth Palace has published: Archbishop welcomes appointment of new Bishop of Fulham
…A process of consultation to identify Bishop Baker’s successor as Bishop of Ebbsfleet will begin within the next few weeks, which will be completed by the next Archbishop.
Forward in Faith has this announcement.
Earlier this month it was announced that the new Bishop of Whitby (a suffragan see in the Diocese of York, which also in recent years has been held by someone opposed to the ordination of women) will be The Reverend Philip North.
10 Downing Street: Suffragan See of Whitby
Diocese of York: New Bishop of Whitby27 Comments
We reported last month that the Dioceses Commission was to proceed with its plans to amalgamate the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield.
The Dioceses Commission has today released details of its draft scheme and these are summarised in the press release which is copied below. The full dream scheme and supporting documents are available here.
Towards a new diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales
29 October 2012
Dioceses Commission announces details of draft scheme
The Dioceses Commission has today released details of its draft scheme to reorganise Church of England structures in West Yorkshire and the Dales. The overall proposal, approved last month, is to replace the existing three dioceses and create a new single one. Today’s report explains in more detail how, if approved, that would work.
The draft scheme was drawn up after consultation across the three dioceses; Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield. The Commission concluded from this that a new single diocese would be the best way to meet the challenges and opportunities of the region.
The scheme, to be voted on by each diocesan synod in March, provides a legal framework which would enable the following to happen:
Creating one new diocese of Leeds, also to be known as the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.
Appointing the Bishop of Leeds in overall charge of the new diocese (the bishop will also be area bishop for Leeds)
Having bishops in each of the five areas (Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield), dedicated to the parishes in their area and therefore more closely in touch.
Retaining the cathedrals on a co-equal basis. Any possible future changes in staffing at the discretion of the diocesan bishop.
Ensuring that the new Bishop of Leeds has permission if needed, to designate Leeds Parish Church (now known as Leeds Minster) as a pro-cathedral
Providing a framework for the new diocese to decide its own organisational structure and ways of working. The Commission anticipates that this will allow the new diocese to make savings that it can reinvest in mission
If approved the Commission recognises the importance of having a Bishop of Leeds in place as soon as possible (which is a matter for the Crown Nominations Commission chaired by the Archbishop of York), to provide the necessary leadership for the new diocese. Once overall timings are approved by Archbishop of York, detailed matters will be for the new diocese itself to resolve
A few parishes will come under neighbouring dioceses and therefore be outside the new diocese: but the day to day life and worship of those churches will not be affected (see Annex C of report).
Professor Michael Clarke chair of the Commission, said “The main concern of the Commission has always been about how to best resource mission in the area and our consultation has shown that a single scheme is the best way forward. We hope that the Diocesan Synods will approve the scheme and take up the challenge of developing their vision for the new diocese. This is a once in a generation opportunity which we believe must not be lost.”
The Bishop of Bradford, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, said: “I welcome this scheme for a new diocese for West Yorkshire and the Dales. A single, larger diocese would help the Church of England thrive and meet the challenges of the 21st century in this part of Yorkshire. The smaller episcopal areas would bring a greater sense of belonging and local identity, and the day-to-day life of the parishes would be strengthened by increased strategic resourcing; for example, we’d all have access to a greater range of expertise and experience. I am convinced we would be more than the sum of our parts.
“This is an unprecedented and imaginative move on the part of the Church of England and we have the opportunity locally to create and shape the detail in order that the church can serve the region in the best way possible.”
The Bishop of Ripon & Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, said: “”I very much welcome the way the Commission has emphasised the mission opportunities which the new diocese will present. I am particularly pleased that the parishes of the city of Leeds will come together in a single episcopal area as this will enhance our ministry to the whole city. I also believe that the new northern archdeaconry will have a great opportunity to concentrate on the opportunities and challenges with which the rural church now engages. I look forward to the discussions leading up to the Synod vote in March and to a wide debate on the mission opportunities with which we are presented.”
The Bishop of Wakefield the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, said: “The publication of this report ends the uncertainty about the precise recommendations of the Commission and we are very grateful for that. We now look forward to a lively and informed debate within all three dioceses as we prepare for the final vote on these proposals.”
There are notes to the press release below the fold.11 Comments
There is an article for Episcopal News Service which reports a development for which there is as yet no official statement at all from The Episcopal Church: Reference panel recommends conciliation with 9 bishops.
An Episcopal Church reference panel has apparently recommended seeking “conciliation” with nine bishops (five active and four retired) after two complaints were filed earlier this year about their involvement in property litigation in two dioceses.
According to information circulating on some blogs, the reference panel unanimously decided that the complaints would proceed with conciliation pursuant to Canon IV.10 of the Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Canons.
Conciliation, according to the canon, calls for seeking a resolution “which promotes healing, repentance, forgiveness, restitution, justice, amendment of life and reconciliation among the complainant, respondent, affected community, other persons and the church.”
An earlier ENS report in July by Mary Frances Schjonberg was headlined Disciplinary process set to begin on complaints against nine bishops.
The more recent article summarises the complaints thus:
In one instance, the complaint concerns the fact that seven bishops endorsed an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief prepared by the Anglican Communion Institute, Inc. in the pending appeal of a court ruling involving the Diocese of Fort Worth and the bishop, clergy and laity who broke away from that diocese in November 2008.
The brief objects to the trial court’s ruling that told the dissidents to return “all property, as well as control of the diocesan corporation” to the Episcopal leaders of the diocese.
Those named in the Fort Worth complaint are retired Diocese of Texas Bishop Maurice M. Benitez, retired Diocese of Central Florida Bishop John W. Howe, Diocese of Dallas Bishop Suffragan Paul E. Lambert, Diocese of Albany Bishop William H. Love, Diocese of Western Louisiana Bishop D. Bruce MacPherson, Diocese of Springfield Bishop Daniel H. Martins, and Diocese of Dallas Bishop James M. Stanton.
MacPherson is also named in the other complaint, along with retired Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Edward L. Salmon, Jr. and retired Diocese of Springfield Bishop Peter H. Beckwith. Matthews e-mailed them to say that a complaint has been received against them because they signed affidavits opposing to a motion for summary judgment made by representatives of the Diocese of Quincy and the Episcopal Church in the fall of 2011 to secure diocesan financial assets from a group that broke from the diocese in November 2008.
USPG reports Zimbabwe court has good news for Anglicans.
Anglicans in Zimbabwe are celebrating a favourable court ruling that will give back the legal ownership of church properties.
Ex-communicated bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga and his colleagues have taken control of Anglican properties in the Dioceses of Harare and Manicaland, forcing Anglican congregations to worship in the open air or in borrowed or rented buildings.
But, today, Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court ruled that properties in Manicaland should be returned to the Anglican Church. And a decision on Harare will be made in three months…
And Bishop Chad Gandiya sent the following message:
Warm greetings from very hot Harare! I want to thank you all very much for your prayers.
Our Supreme Court hearing took place this morning (from 9.30am to close to 13pm), and finished all the matters.
Most of the Kunonga appeals including that of Manicaland [claims on Anglican property in the Diocese of Manicaland], were thrown out. So, for Manicaland, we go back to Justice Bhunu’s judgement, which was in our favour (congratulations to Bishop Julius Makoni of Manicaland!).
The Harare matter was heard and the judges reserved judgement. They will notify us in due course (within three months I am told).
I am very pleased that it’s over so quickly. It went very well and we are happy the way it went.
This does not mean for you stop praying. Please continue to pray as the judges write down their judgement.
The end is in sight now. Praise God!’
Other news reports:
SW Radio Africa via AllAfrica Zimbabwe: Court Rejects Kunonga Appeals in Anglican Property Row7 Comments
In the past week, there have been these developments:
The diocese has published this FAQs About the Assault on the Diocese of South Carolina, also available as a PDF.
GlobalSouthAnglican published a Letter from the Global South Primates Steering Committeee to Bishop Mark Lawrence.
This is also reported by ENS as Two primates write letter in support of South Carolina bishop.15 Comments
Updated 30 October
The Anglican Consultative Council is currently meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. That link leads to all the official press releases, podcasts, videos, and photographs from the Anglican Communion News Service.
More material is available here.
Episcopal News Service also has extensive coverage: for example Consultative Council gets challenging welcome from New Zealanders.
Earlier the Standing Committee met, and issued this bulletin.
The agenda for the meeting can be found as a PDF here.
Audio of the press conference held on 29 October is here.5 Comments
Graham Kings writes for Fulcrum about Jewel’s Gem: Reflections on the 450th Anniversary of Bishop John Jewel’s Apologia.
Miranda Threlfall-Holmes asks What is Christian Feminism?
Nelson Jones in the New Statesman about What the church owes to secular feminism.
Giles Fraser writes in The guardian that Confusion may cause us anxiety, but it is a rational reaction to life’s mysteries.
Savi Hensman has written a paper on the Journey towards acceptance: theologians and same-sex love for Ekklesia.6 Comments
One of the General Synod papers issued today is GS 1708-09ZZZ which describes how the House of Bishops reconsidered clause 5(1)(c) in the women bishops legislation. It also includes the following legal advice on the meaning of the amendment to clause 5(1)(c) (which was the fourth one they considered) actually adopted by the House.
Legal advice given to the House of Bishops on the fourth of the proposed amendments to clause 5(1)(c)
1. The amendment would substitute the following for the present clause 5(1)(c):
“(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,”.
2. The effect of the amendment would not merely be to require that guidance be given on the issue of the selection of male bishops and male priests: like some of the other possible amendments, it would impose a requirement as to the end to which that guidance is directed – in this case, that the selection of male bishops and male priests be such as to respect the grounds on which PCCs issue Letters of Request under the Measure.
3. The effect of the use of the word ‘respect’ in that context is to require the Code of Practice to give guidance to the effect that, in selecting a male bishop or male priest, the person(s) making the selection would need to seek to address, or accommodate, the grounds on which a PCC has issued its Letter of Request. They could not simply fail to give effect to those grounds at all, even if they considered that there were cogent grounds for doing so.
4. The effect of the use of the word ‘respect’ in that regard can be helpfully contrasted with the effect of other expressions which have been canvassed in discussion of possible amendments:
5. The analysis set out above is reflected in the illustrative draft wording that has been produced to show what the Code of Practice might say about the selection of male bishops were this amendment to be made to the Measure: it states that “In making the selection of the bishop who is to exercise episcopal ministry by delegation the diocesan bishop should seek to accommodate [my emphasis] the parish’s concerns relating to holy orders and the exercise of ordained ministry of women so far as those matters are relevant to the grounds of theological conviction as to the consecration and ordination of women on which the PCC issued its Letter of Request.”
6. It would be open to the House, if it wished to do so, to include more detailed guidance in the Code as to what would be involved in order to ‘respect’ the grounds on which a PCC had issued its Letter of Request.
7. As to the use in the amendment of the word ‘grounds’, the grounds in question are those on which PCCs issue Letters of Request under clause 3 of the Measure – ie ‘grounds of theological conviction’. By necessary implication those grounds are limited to grounds as to the consecration or ordination of women. (It is implicit in clause 3 that, by allowing a parish to ask for a male bishop or priest, a PCC is allowed – and only allowed – to issue a Letter of Request on grounds of theological conviction as to the consecration or ordination of women.)
8. Thus the guidance required to be given by the amendment would have to be limited accordingly – that is, it would have to make it clear that the grounds which the selection of male bishops are to ‘respect’ were limited to grounds of theological conviction as to the consecration or ordination of women. The illustrative draft wording that has been produced to show what the Code of Practice might say about the selection of male bishops were this amendment to be made to the Measure reflects that position.
11th September 2012
Chief Legal Adviser
The Legal Office
The papers sent to General Synod members today include GS Misc 1034: Consecration of Women to the Episcopate: Future Process. In it the Secretary General outlines what will happen after the debates next month on the legislation to allow women to be bishops; he considers both the cases of the Measure receiving final approval and being defeated. I have copied this below the fold.
The paper also includes a note, written by the Legal Office, of the stages required to bring the legislation into effect once it has received final approval from General Synod.7 Comments
Online copies of the papers for the November 2012 meeting of General Synod are now available online; they are listed below, with links and a note of the day they are scheduled for debate.
In addition a zip file of all papers is available; this also includes the first six notice papers and a list of recent appointments.
The Report of the Business Committee (GS 1878) includes a forecast of future business, and I have copied this below the fold.
The Church of England’s own list of papers is presented in agenda order.
GS 1708D – Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure [Tuesday]
GS 1709C – Draft Amending Canon No.30 [Tuesday]
GS 1709E – Draft Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence [Tuesday]
GS 1708-09ZZZ – Reconsideration of Clause 5(1)(c) by the House of Bishops
GS 1878 – Report by the Business Committee on the Article 8 Reference [Monday]
GS 1879 Agenda
GS 1880 – Report by the Business Committee [Monday]
GS 1881A – Diocesan Synod Motion: Amendment to Canon B12 and Regulations Note (from the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham) [Wednesday]
GS 1881B – Diocesan Synod Motion: Amendment to Canon B12 and Regulations Note (from the Secretary General [Wednesday]
GS 1882A – Private Member’s Motion: Living Wage (from Mr John Freeman) [Wednesday]
GS 1882B – Private Member’s Motion: Living Wage (from the Chair of the Mission and Public Affairs Council [Wednesday]
GS 1883 – Youth Unemployment plus I Am One in a Million leaflet [Wednesday]
GS 1884 – 47th Report of the Standing Orders Committee [Contingency Business]
GS Misc 1034 – Consecration of Women to the Episcopate: Future Process
GS Misc 1036 – Archbishops’ Council Report since July 2012 Group of Sessions0 Comments
The usual pre-synod press release has been issued by the Church of England today, and is copied below. It provides a summary of the business to be transacted.
I will list in a separate article the available online papers.
Agenda for November 2012 General Synod
The General Synod of the Church of England meets in November for a three day meeting to discuss final stages of women bishops’ legislation, with an agenda that also includes the Anglican Communion, the Living Wage and youth unemployment.
The Synod will meet at Church House from 2.15 p.m. on Monday 19 November until 5.30 pm on Wednesday 21 November.
The Agenda provides for the Synod to deal with the final stages of the major legislative process designed to make it possible for women to be bishops in the Church of England while also making some provision for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive their ministry. The Final Approval debates will take place on Tuesday 20 November, after a celebration of Holy Communion at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside and preach. The debates are expected to fill the rest of the morning and most, if not all, of the afternoon.
On Monday 19 November there will be a presentation about the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council, which is meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, from 27 October until 7 November, and developments in the life of the Anglican Communion generally. It will also include reflections on the process in other churches of the Communion with regard to the Anglican Communion Covenant. That presentation will be followed by a debate on the reference to the dioceses of the draft Act of Synod adopting the Anglican Communion Covenant. As a majority of diocese voted against adopting the draft legislation it cannot be presented for final approval.
On Wednesday 21 November the Synod will debate a motion from Southwell and Nottingham Diocese which calls for changes in the law to allow children who have been admitted to communion but are not yet confirmed to distribute the consecrated bread and wine at celebrations of Holy Communion.
A Private Member’s Motion from Mr John Freeman (Chester) will be proposed to affirm the Christian values inherent in the concept of the ‘Living Wage’ and strongly encourage all Church of England institutions to pay it.
The Synod will also be invited to decide to meet in November 2013 but not in February.
On the afternoon of Wednesday 21 November the Synod will consider recent research by the Church Urban Fund and the Frontier Youth Trust on youth unemployment and its long-term effects on those concerned. The Synod will be invited to commend church and community initiatives that provide training and other support.
This will be final occasion at which the Archbishop of Canterbury will preside, with the Archbishop of York, at a meeting of the General Synod. The final business for the group of sessions will be a motion, to be moved by the Archbishop of York, expressing the Synod’s gratitude to Dr Williams and offering him and Mrs Williams its best wishes for the future.
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 (www.churchofengland.org) ahead of the sessions.
A live feed will be available (accessible from front page www.churchofengland.org), and audio files of debates, along with updates on each day’s proceedings, will be posted during the sessions.
The following exchange took place at Questions today in the House of Commons.
Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): What assessment the Church Commissioners have made of the likelihood of the Church of England making a decision on women bishops in 2012.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): What recent discussions the Church Commissioners have had with Church of England bishops on the Women Bishops Measure.
Sir Tony Baldry: The General Synod will resume on 20 November the final approval debate on the legislation to enable women to become bishops. I will be voting for the Measure, and I hope and pray that at least two thirds of the members of every house of the General Synod will vote to ensure that, at last, we can have women bishops in the Church of England.
Simon Hughes: The message I hope this House will send via my hon Friend to the Synod is that not only do we want the Synod to make a final decision this month that clearly says women can be bishops in the Church of England, as a legacy of the outgoing archbishop and as a tribute to his work, but we need the Church of England to catch up into the 21st century if it is to do a good job for everybody. I hope that there is no more shilly-shallying, that the Synod gets on with it and that we get a clear decision so that we can move to having women bishops.
Sir Tony Baldry: I entirely agree with my right hon Friend. May I commend to his attention, and to that of other right hon and hon Members, an article written by the Archbishop of Canterbury in last week’s Church Times, which is available in the Library? He stated that
“a Church that ordains women as priests, but not as bishops, is stuck with a real anomaly, one that introduces an unclarity into what we are saying about baptism and about the absorption of the Church in the priestly self-giving of Jesus Christ.”
We have been waiting far too long to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England-now is the time to take action and resolve this issue, once and for all.
Mr Bradshaw: In his conversations with the bishops, will the hon Gentleman tell them that just because House of Lords reform has been abandoned they should not feel any less pressure to do this and that a failure to agree a Measure that gives women bishops equal status with male bishops would still lead to a severe constitutional crisis between Church and state?
Sir Tony Baldry: In fairness, I think that the House of Bishops recognises that, and when it met last it amended the Measure in a way that should commend support. Indeed, the bishops took a lead on that from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, in the same article, made it clear that he thought the ordination or consecration of women as bishops was good for the whole world. He said:
“It is good news for the world we live in, which needs the unequivocal affirmation of a dignity given equally to all by God in creation and redemption-and can now, we hope, see more clearly that the Church is not speaking a language completely remote from its own most generous and just instincts.”
There is clear leadership from the House of Bishops and from the archbishops that we now need to consecrate women bishops.
Miss Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton) (Con): I hope that a strong message will go out from this House that we support women bishops and that the next Archbishop of Canterbury will be drawn from the widest possible church in this regard.
Sir Tony Baldry: I am sure that that message will be heard by the General Synod.
John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead) (Lab): The Church has spent many years avoiding this issue, so if the Synod fails to do the right thing, what does the hon Gentleman think the consequences will be for the future of the Church of England?
Sir Tony Baldry: I think that the consequences for the Church of England will be very grim indeed. I hope that the General Synod, and those who might be tempted to vote against this Measure in it, will reflect on that point.40 Comments
A new website has been launched. It describes itself thus:
Fair Measure 2012
Welcome to the Fair Measure 2012 blog.
On this website we will be posting a number of papers, links and comments about the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure which is due to be debated by the General Synod of the Church of England on 20 November 2012.
We will show that the Measure as it stands is not fit for purpose, because of its unjust treatment of significant minorities within the Church of England. It must be stopped before it damages the Church irreparably, and replaced with a new, fairer Measure which enables us all to go forward together.
The website can be found here: Replace the Measure where the following paragraph has been added:
Contributors to this site include members of General Synod, and Anglicans from around the Church of England, who are united in their desire to hold together both those in favour and those opposed to the ordination and consecration of women.
Fulcrum has issued this: Fulcrum Statement on Women Bishops (ahead of the vote at the November, 2012 General Synod)
Fulcrum fully supports women bishops and hopes that the Measure passes through the General Synod in November. We believe that this is the view of most evangelicals in the Church of England. We agree with CEEC that all members of General Synod must prayerfully consider the good of the whole church and vote with a clear conscience. We hope that all those who want women bishops will vote for the Measure. We further hope that those who are against will be able in good conscience to abstain, recognising that it is clearly the will of the Church to proceed, and then work with the provision, which is unlikely to be strengthened should the legislation fall this time.
Updated several times: latest 19 November
As part of his campaign to persuade General Synod members to back the new women bishops legislation when it returns to General Synod next month, the Archbishop of Canterbury has released video messages by Rebecca Swinson (the youngest member of the Archbishops’ Council) and Bishop of Chelmsford. The links include transcripts of the videos.
Update Another video – this time from the Bishop of Willesden
another video: Bishop of Sheffield
and an audio recording from Janet Appleby
and another video: Jan McFarlane
and yet another video: Sam Follett14 Comments
PRESS RELEASE from The Catholic Group in General Synod
Women Bishops’ Legislation Not Fit for Purpose
The legislation is unfair, unstable and incoherent; it does not command consensus; there is a better way forward.
1. There is no legally-binding provision for minorities; instead a Code of Practice is proposed, to which bishops would “have regard”. The only form of appeal against a bishop’s decision would be judicial review, which few parishes could afford.
2. Bishops provided for traditionalists would not have proper oversight as bishops; they would just be allowed to conduct services. There would be no guaranteed future supply of bishops for traditionalists.
3. There is no legal prohibition on discrimination against traditionalist candidates for ordination.
4. Traditionalists would become 2nd. class Anglicans served by 2nd. class bishops.
5. The Code of Practice cannot be decided until the legislation has become law. Supporters of the legislation have already stated that they will oppose any further provision being made for traditionalists in the Code of Practice. There would be more years of in-fighting before the Code was agreed.
6. The Code could be changed at any time, meaning that any provision it made for traditionalists could be campaigned against and whittled away over time.
7. The application of the Code would vary from one diocese to another – a postcode lottery.
8. The draft legislation would oblige male bishops to delegate certain functions to male bishops – a pointless exercise! It needs to be more specific and to provide for religious conviction.
9. The House of Bishops amendment stating that the Code of Practice shall give guidance as to the selection of delegated male bishops is not enough: (a) the details should be in the legislation itself; (b) the word ‘respects’ has no legal definition – meaning that the amendment is not prescriptive of the contents of the Code; the Code is therefore an unstable instrument.
LACK OF CONSENSUS
10. Major changes in Church order require a clear consensus; this is why legislation like this needs a two-thirds majority in each of the three Houses of the General Synod, in order to pass. At no stage in the process so far has this draft legislation achieved the required majorities in the Synod, meaning that there is no clear consensus. No real attempt has been made to reach consensus outside the formal synodical process.
11. Supporters of the legislation realise that there is not enough consensus, and are resorting to unprincipled attempts to pressurise those opposed to the legislation to abstain, rather than to vote against, as their consciences would dictate.
A BETTER WAY
12. A better way would be to follow the example of the Church in Wales, whose Governing Body rejected unsatisfactory legislation for women bishops, and is now looking at a new process with two linked pieces of legislation, one to provide for women to be made bishops, and the other to provide for traditionalists; the legislation for women bishops cannot come into force until the legislation providing for traditionalists has been passed. Such an approach would lead to the prayerful and reconciling dialogue the Church of England now needs in order to move forward.
29th September 2012
The Church of England Evangelical Council has issued a statement
following the meeting of the Council on 16th/17th October 2012:
The CEEC is composed of men and women, clergy, bishops and laity, those for and against the inclusion of women in the episcopate. These convictions are sincerely held, and include those who are satisfied with the present proposals for provision. However, a majority of the Council believes that the current measure does not make adequate provision for the substantial number of the Church of England who cannot support this development, and is concerned that there is a serious possibility the measure may result in their exclusion from the Church. It believes that all members of General Synod must prayerfully consider the good of the whole church and vote with a clear conscience which, for opponents, may mean voting against the Measure, rather than, as they are being asked, to abstain.
Notes to Editors
CEEC is constituted to represent and co-ordinate Anglican evangelicals across the country within the Church of England and its structures and has members both for and against the consecration of women bishops.
There is a substantial number in the dioceses against the present proposals:
a) The votes in the Dioceses on this legislation showed that:
23% clergy opposed the legislation and 2% abstained
22% laity opposed to the legislation and 3% abstained
http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1379450/gs%201847%20(women%20bishops%20-%20business%20committee%20report).pdf See page 4
b) A ComRes Poll in Oct 2012 showed 18% of Anglicans were against the idea of women bishops and 9% were unsure about the initiative.
http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/ComRes_Women_Bishops_Oct2012.pdf See page 8
CEEC Chairman: The Venerable Michael Lawson
Executive Officer: The Revd Canon Michael Walters
Communications Officer: The Revd Peter Breckwoldt
CEEC Chairman, the Venerable Michael Lawson has added a comment on the background to the Statement:-
‘Many evangelicals, both supporters and non-supporters of the ordination of women to the episcopate, are deeply concerned about provision for those who in good conscience cannot accept women bishops. We believe it is a matter not just of justice but of godliness to treat well this minority of those with whom God has joined us together in fellowship and mission. In all this we have to remember we are God’s people, and behave as such, and not slip into the ungodliness of warring political factions’.
In a case very similar to an earlier one, another Bed and Breakfast owner has lost a case in the county court for refusing to provide a room to a gay couple, and is claiming this constitutes discrimination against her Christian beliefs. This case has been widely reported in the media, partly because of the intervention of a fringe party politician.
The judgment can be read in full here.
The case is discussed in detail in two recent legal articles:
This case is supported by The Christian Institute whose position is expressed here: Christian B&B loses court case brought by gay couple and see also Christian B&B owners respond to Nick Griffin’s protest tweets.17 Comments
The Diocese of South Carolina has published several further statements on its website:29 Comments