Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop of York has surgery for prostate cancer

The Archbishop of York announced yesterday that he had undergone surgery for prostate surgery.

Statement From The Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
Thursday 30th May 2013

Following an operation today, the Archbishop has released the following statement…

I am thankful and grateful for Mr Bill Cross, and his surgical team at St James’ Hospital Leeds, who today operated on me for a locally advanced cancer of the prostate. I am also grateful to the nursing staff who are caring for me.

I am thankful, too, for all of you who regularly pray for me and support me, especially my staff at Bishopthorpe Palace.

I will be out of action for some time, and will continue to value your prayers. I look forward to resuming my ministry as soon as possible.

As I have often said, during the most trying times, I have derived great comfort from the words of the Taizé chant, ‘Aber du weißt den Weg für mich’, adapted from a passage in Letters and Papers from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (a German Pastor and Theologian executed by the Nazis in 1945):

“God, gather and turn my thoughts to you. With you there is light, you do not forget me. With you there is hope and patience. I don’t understand your ways, but you know the way for me.”

I wish you all joy in the Lord.

+Sentamu Eboracensis
on the Feast of Corpus Christi

The many press reports include these:

Ed Thornton in the Church Times Dr Sentamu treated for prostate cancer

Press Association (in The Guardian) John Sentamu, archbishop of York, has surgery for prostate cancer

Tim Ross in The Telegraph Archbishop of York has prostate cancer surgery

BBC News Archbishop of York treated for prostate cancer

Kevin Rawlinson in The Independent Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, treated for prostate cancer


Bishop of Buckingham writes Letter to a Saloon Bar Moralist

Dr Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, has written this Letter to a Saloon Bar Moralist.

Thank you for your letter. The more people apply their first principles to this question, the closer we will come to a way forward so thank you for trying. I am sure many people, especially those of a certain age will share it instinctively, driven by a primal feeling of disgust about gay sex.

What I am finding also, however, is that your views appear anything but natural to vast numbers of people who simply see gay people as people, not defined by their sexual practices. The opposite answer is as clear to them, as yours is to you and the minority of my correspondents your letter represents…


Church Times and the the new proposals for women bishops

Updated Friday morning and evening and Friday 7 June

Today’s issue of the Church Times has several articles about the latest proposals from the House of Bishops. Ed Thornton and Glyn Paflin report on them in Next step proposed on women bishops.

In Bleak outlook, says opponent Madeleine Davies reports on several responses to the proposals, in particular this one:

WHILE it might be “difficult for anyone to claim outright victory”, the way forward to women bishops mapped out by the House of Bishops, looked like “outright defeat”, the chairman of Reform, the conservative Evangelical network, Prebendary Rod Thomas, said on Tuesday…

And there is this Leader comment: No cheap trust.


Yes2WomenBishops has issued several tweets including the following:

Church Times Leader gets a couple of important facts wrong. (1) senior women clergy were not at the last House of Bishops meeting and …
(2) proposal is NOT to pass the measure then develop the provisions for opponents – will all be done at the same time
So essentially the whole basis for the article is wrong!

Here’s an excellent legal briefing on the oath of canonical obedience and why it is essentially meaningless

Subsequently the Church Times has published a correction to its leader in response to point (1).

The paper copy of the Church Times dated 7 June 2013 carries this correction on page 8: ” The official women observers were not present at the last House of Bishops’ meeting, as we stated in last week’s leader comment. Also, “option one” allows for the provision for those who object to women bishops to be decided before final approval of the main Measure.”


News of the Marriage bill in the House of Lords

Updated again Sunday afternoon

The Second Reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples Bill) in the House of Lords will now be scheduled over two days, Monday and Tuesday, 3 and 4 June.

Updated The list of those who have asked to speak in the debate now stands at 90, about two-thirds of whom will speak on Monday, see list here. Only three active bishops (Leicester, Chester, Exeter) are listed, along with two retired bishops (Carey, Harries). There are however reports elsewhere that the Archbishop of Canterbury intends to speak.

The BBC has this news report: Late night votes on gay marriage could be a headache for Cameron which was written before the announcement relating to continuation on Tuesday. In his more recent post, Mark D’Arcy writes:

…Then the main business is the Marriage (Same Sex Couple[s]) Bill – with 86 peers now listed to speak. The Coalition business managers have responded to pressure from all sides (see earlier post) to rejig the debate to avoid sitting beyond midnight – and the vote will now be taken on Tuesday. Some peers may not like that, so watch out for complaints that this isn’t quite cricket…..Overshadowing proceedings is the rarity of a motion to decline to give the bill a second reading, from the Crossbencher, Lord Dear…

See this earlier article for links to the bill text and explanatory notes as it left the House of Commons.

There is a House of Lords Library Note about the bill, see here.

Read the transcript in Today’s Lords debates three hours after the debate.


Church Society calls on House of Lords to put the brakes on

Church Society has issued a press release: Church Society calls on House of Lords to put the brakes on Same Sex Marriage Bill. The full text is copied below the fold.

more about Church Society here.



Bishop of Salisbury writes to Lord Alli

Diocese of Salisbury press release: Bishop restates gay marriage is an endorsement of the institution of marriage and “a matter of justice” which begins thus:

The Bishop of Salisbury writes today that “The possibility of ‘gay marriage’ does not detract from heterosexual marriage unless we think that homosexuality is a choice rather than the given identity of a minority of people. Indeed the development of marriage for same sex couples is a very strong endorsement of the institution of marriage.”

In a letter delivered to Lord Alli at the House of Lords, Bishop Holtam believes that civil partnerships have been a natural precursor of gay marriage being recognised in law: “Open recognition and public support have increased in civil partnerships those very qualities of life for which marriage itself is so highly celebrated. It is not surprising this now needs recognition in law.”

Replying to a letter from Lord Alli of Norbury who requested that Bishop Holtam clarify his position on the issue as a member of the House of Bishops for members of the Upper House, Bishop Holtam stresses that this issue is about justice: “In the current debates it is striking that within the Anglican Communion one of the strongest supporters of same sex marriage is Archbishop Desmond Tutu. From his experience of the racism of Apartheid he sees same sex marriage as primarily a matter of justice.”

Bishop Holtam states: “there are a variety of views within the Church of England where we are experiencing rapid change similar to that in the wider society. This is complex to express, partly because there are those who see this issue as fundamental to the structure of Christian faith.”

In his letter the Bishop of Salisbury also observes that the church has adapted its approach to marriage in light of social change including the widespread availability of contraceptives so that couples may choose to have children; the acceptance of divorce and possibility of marriage in church after divorce so that not all marriages are lifelong, and the acceptance of couples living together before marriage by a Church that still teaches sexual relationships are properly confined to marriage…

The full text of the letter from the Bishop of Salisbury to Lord Alli is available below the fold. It is also on the Diocese of Salisbury website (link in press release), and on the Daily Telegraph website.

Press reports:

Telegraph Edward Malnick Opponents of gay marriage like supporters of apartheid, says senior bishop

Daily Mail People who oppose gay marriage are like Christians who used the Bible to support apartheid and slavery, says senior bishop



Bishop of Guildford to retire

The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, announced today that he will retire in September.


European Court rejects request for appeal in case of Eweida &c.

The European Court of Human Rights has today announced that it has rejected the applicants’ request in Eweida and Others v the United Kingdom for referral to the Grand Chamber. This means that the Chamber judgement is now final.


Two articles on the Establishment of the CofE

Lord Mackay of Clashfern who was Lord Chancellor, 1987-1997, delivered the Richard O’Sullivan Memorial Lecture, on behalf of Theos and Law and Justice: the Christian Law Review, on 9 May.

The text of the lecture has been published by Theos, and can be found here: Does Establishment have a Future?

The same page has links to recordings of the lecture itself, and the following Q&A session.

Last week, The Tablet carried an (unsigned) editorial comment about the impact of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill on the establishment of the Church of England. The full text of this article is, with the express permission of the Editor of The Tablet, reproduced below the fold.



news of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) bill

While we await the House of Lords second reading a week tomorrow, on 3 June, here are some articles that have recently appeared.

Channel 4 News had two items:

Adam Wagner wrote in the New Statesman on Myths and realities about Equal Marriage

Robert Watts wrote in the Telegraph about the forthcoming debate: Peers plot gay marriage revolt

…Peers expect the Upper’s House [sic] debate over same sex weddings will go through the night or even into a second day, with a key vote that could scupper the policy regarded as “too close to call”.

The former head of the British army Lord Dannatt and Lord Lothian, a former Conservative Party chairman better known as Michael Ancram, are amongst those set to criticise the draft legislation in next Monday’s session.

Other opponents will include Lord Waddington, a former Home Secretary, Lord Luce, who served as a minister in Baroness Thatcher’s government, and Lord Singh of Wimbledon, a respected figure in the Sikh community.

The Sunday Telegraph has also established that the senior Tory Baroness Warsi, a practising Muslim, refused to lead the bill through the House of Lords when asked to do so by David Cameron, the Prime Minister.

Some peers believe dozens Lords who rarely attend Parliament will flock to Westminster to make their position on homosexual marriage clear…

And in today’s Observer there is an interview with Margot James MP, who has this to say about the Church of England:

“I do feel very strongly that public life should be conducted with far greater respect than it often is in the chamber. Opinions do get heated but I didn’t behave like that in business and I don’t believe that going hammer and tongs at an argument solves much.” Her anger is kept for the church: “I think the churches conducted a very disreputable campaign where they really distorted what the government intended with this bill. I think it was truly shameful, both the Church of England and the Coalition for Marriage misled people. Not impressive.”

And the Guardian published this Gay marriage: news and teaching resources round up (hat tip Anglican Mainstream who presumably disapprove of all this).


reports on the new proposals for women bishops

Revised Tuesday lunchtime

Andrew Brown has analysed the proposals for the Guardian in Church of England leaders propose female bishops by 2015.

The bishops of the Church of England have published a plan to consecrate female bishops by 2015, after the defeat of legislation last autumn. It would end 20 years of bitter struggle with a clear decision in favour of progress.

The proposals, published on Friday and backed by both archbishops, offer a nearly complete victory for the female clergy and their supporters outraged by the failure of the earlier legislation…

Tom Heneghan Reuters Church of England unveils plan for women bishops in 2015

Jonathan Petre in the Mail on Sunday reports that Church leaders may ask Queen to dissolve Synod if it continues to oppose creation of women bishops.

Senior bishops have raised the prospect of asking the Queen to dissolve the Church of England’s ‘Parliament’, the General Synod, if it continues to oppose the creation of women bishops.

The unprecedented proposal was made in a confidential meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury last week and reflects Church leaders’ frustration with the Synod for narrowly defeating legislation in November to allow women priests to become bishops…

Ed Thornton and Glyn Paflin wrote in the Church Times House of Bishops sets out next steps on women in the episcopate.

…Speaking on Friday, Bishop Stock said that “we have a choice of proceeding by grace or by law. As you go down the options, more law goes into it. It seems wise to start with maximum grace and see where that gets us; that’s where the House of Bishops would like to start.”

Bishop Stock said that small-group facilitated discussions among Synod members would take place on the Saturday of the Synod’s meeting, and warned of the danger of returning to “a zero-sum game”. “We’re hoping people will not start to take positions and sides too soon. . . This is a real attempt to see how we can begin to honour each other rather than be suspicious of each other.”

He went on: “People now really do want to look at a more positive way of being together rather than being in separate silos where you have no real contact with each other. There are various signals about that, and a new way of working.”

It would be “entirely open to anybody to produce an amendment” in the Monday debate, but “the Bishops thought this is where we ought to start.”

The first response from the Conservative Evangelical wing was published by Cranmer’s Curate on Sunday and then, after one modification, taken down. It has now appeared here: CofE Hierarchy terrified of political backlash over women bishops and part of the article is copied below the fold.



opinion on Saturday

Michael Bourdeaux wrote for Fulcrum The Iron Lady and the Dissident.

Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief Why the Church of England is in decline.
The church has failed to capitalise on its tally of advantages, and people are now cynical about the organisation.

And he has also written Why we’ll never have total religious freedom.
The US State Department report on religious freedom highlights much that is bad, but to dream of tolerant rationality is unrealistic.

Hadley Freeman wrote in the Guardian about From ‘swivel-eyed loons’ to lesbian queens: what fresh hell for the Tories?

And Tom Chivers wrote in the Telegraph A response to Lord Tebbit, on the subject of gay marriage and lesbian queens.

Savi Hensman wrote at Ekklesia Responding rationally to the Woolwich murder.

Simon Barrow wrote there too: Church ‘issues’ are about people, not abstract ideas.

The Economist has an article about the Church of Scotland: A gay Rubicon.

And finally, Archdruid Eileen wrote Contemporary Christianity Exam.


New proposals to enable women to become bishops

The Church of England has published this press release: New legislative proposals to enable women to become bishops published. The full text is copied below.

The proposals are contained in this document (PDF): Women In the Episcopate – New Legislative Proposals (GS 1886).
The report of the Working Group established by the House of Bishops is at the Annex of the document.

New legislative proposals to enable women to become bishops published

24 May 2013

The Church of England has published, today, new legislative proposals to enable women to become bishops which will be debated by the General Synod in July.

This will be the first occasion that Synod members have met since November 2012, when the previous legislation narrowly failed to secure the requisite majority in all three Houses, despite a 73% majority overall.

The proposals from the House of Bishops accompany the publication of a report of a Working Group which it had established in December. The Working Group’s report sets out four possible options for the shape of the new legislation. Of these the House of Bishops has recommended “the simplest possible legislation” (option one) which reads:

“A measure and amending canon that made it lawful for women to become bishops; and

“The repeal of the statutory rights to pass Resolutions A and B under the 1993 Measure, plus the rescinding of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod.”

In addition, option one involves arrangements for those who, as a matter of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests being set out either in a declaration from the House of Bishops or in a new Act of Synod.

The short report from the Archbishops on behalf of the House sets out the text of a motion which invites the Synod to reaffirm its commitment to admitting women to the episcopate as a matter of urgency, require the legislative process to begin in November so that it can be concluded in 2015 and specify that the legislation should be in the simplest possible form.

The Business Committee of the General Synod met earlier this week and has scheduled the debate for the morning of Monday, 8 July in York. In addition, Synod members will spend a substantial amount of time in York on the Saturday in facilitated conversations, in which the various options can be explored further.

The Chair of the Working Group, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said on behalf of the Group:

“The mandate given to the Working Group in December reflected the House of Bishops’ view that new proposals would need both greater simplicity and a clear embodiment of the principle articulated by the 1998 Lambeth Conference that ‘those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to, the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans’.

“This mandate did not simply reflect the House of Bishops’ assessment of what was achievable, it also reflected its view of what was desirable – namely that the Church of England should retain its defining characteristic of being a broad Church, capable of accommodating a wide range of theological conviction.”

Bishop Nigel continued:

“Given this range of views it is essential to be clear on whether the Church of England is still willing to leave space for those who dissent from its decision. We have approached our task on the basis that the Church of England is so willing.

“To expect unanimity on where the limits of diversity should be drawn may be unrealistic, given the variety of strongly held views which exist and are maintained with integrity. Nevertheless it is necessary to see whether there might be an approach which could command a sufficiently wide measure of assent to enable progress to be made.

“We are perhaps at a moment when the only way forward is one which makes it difficult for anyone to claim outright victory.”

Concluding his statement, Bishop Nigel said:

“The Synod, guided by the recommendation that the House of Bishops has now made, needs in July to come to a clear decision about the proposals and options laid before it and give a mandate for the introduction of a draft measure and amending canon in November.

“That decision-making process will be greatly assisted by all Synod members having first the opportunity in York for facilitated listening and engagement of the kind that the group has found so helpful in producing this report. To that end, we are grateful to the Business Committee for making space for this to take place on the Saturday of our July meeting.”


Bishop of Leicester will seek amendments to marriage bill

The Church Times has this news article: Gay-marriage Bill passes from the Commons despite rebels which reports on what may happen in the House of Lords:

…Lord Dear, a crossbencher who is expected to lead the opposition to the Bill in the House of Lords, told The Times that he might table a “fatal motion” to kill it off.

On Wednesday, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, who has led the bishops in the House of Lords on the issue, said: ”We clearly cannot support the Bill because it is contrary to the Church’s historic teaching on the nature of marriage.”

He said, however, that he would want to recognise “that the Government has done a great deal to accommodate some of the Church’s concerns, and to make it clear that individual clergy cannot be proceeded against by anybody”. “Hard work” had been done “to ensure that the Canons of the Church of England will not contravene the civil law of England”.

Bishop Stevens said that he intended to seek more concessions from the Government: further guarantees for teachers in church schools “to teach a traditional view of marriage”, and a “freedom-of-speech amendment to ensure those who argue for a traditional view of marriage are not treated as if they are in contempt of the law or behaving prejudicially”.

The Bill will receive its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 3 June. Bishop Stevens said that the House did not traditionally take a vote at this stage, but that this might happen. Individual bishops would then have to decide how to vote…


General Synod July timetable published

The timetable  for the July group of General Synod sessions at York has been published.  The business items are listed below. * against a time means “not later than”.

GENERAL SYNOD: JULY 2013  Timetable

Friday 5 July
[1-2.30 pm House of Laity]

4.15 pm – 6.15 pm
4.15 pm Opening worship
Formal business
Brief response on behalf of ecumenical guests
Business Committee Report
*5.25 pm Approval of appointments
*5.45 pm Presidential Address

8.30 pm – 10 pm
8.30 pm Questions

Saturday 6 July
9.30-1pm Reflection, discussion and worship in small groups

2.30 pm Further group discussion followed by private plenary session

8.30 pm – 10 pm
8.30 pm Progress on meeting the Challenges for the Quinquennium

Sunday 7 July
10.00 am Holy Communion in York Minster

2.30 pm – 6.15 pm
Legislative Business
2.30 pm Faculty Jurisdiction Rules
Miscellaneous Provisions Measure/Amending Canon No. 31 – Revision Stage
*5.00pm Safeguarding: Follow-up to the Chichester Commissaries’ Reports

8.30 pm – 10 pm
8.30 pm Welfare Reform and the Church

Monday 8 July
9.30 am – 1 pm
9.30 am Morning Worship
Women in the Episcopate: Report from the House of Bishops
Legislative Business Any items of legislative business from Special Agenda I proposed to be dealt with under the Procedure for Deeming will be debated at this point if a debate is required. If debate is not required on any of these items, the First Report by the Business Committee on the Work of the Elections Review Group will be taken.

2.30 pm – 6.15 pm
2.30 pm Legislative Business Yorkshire Diocesan Reorganisation
Financial Business Archbishops’ Council budget

8.30 pm – 10 pm
8.30 pm Farewell to the Bishop of Exeter
Church Commissioners Annual Report
Archbishops’ Council Annual Report

Tuesday 9 July
9.30 am – 1 pm
9.30 am Morning Worship
Legislative Business: Any unfinished business
The Work of the Elections Review Group: First Report by the Business Committee (if not taken on Monday)
Legislative Business Amending Canon and Amending Rules giving effect to the proposals contained in the First Report by the Business Committee on the Work of the Elections Review Group
The Work of the Elections Review Group: Possible changes to electorate for House of Laity and online voting: Second Report by the Business Committee
*12.30pm Farewell to the Bishops of Gibraltar in Europe, Hereford and Liverpool


Church of Ireland General Synod establishes sexuality committee

The Church of Ireland General Synod met from 9 to 11 May, but we failed to report anything about it at that time.

There were several reports of the synod in the Church Times issue dated 17 May, but these are only available to subscribers.

The Church of Ireland official site has news reports linked from here. There is a detailed report titled Resolution Establishing Select Committee On Human Sexuality In The Context Of Christian Belief Passed.

Archbishop Michael Jackson said that there had been developments in the debate on Human Sexuality in the year since Synod 2012. “I sense now in 2013 more of a mood of sober carefulness than I have sensed before in relation to this most private of subjects and most invasive of areas. I also sense a proper fearfulness of insult and diminishment of others whom we are only now beginning to understand. If the passage of time has taught us any of this, then it is indeed good that time passes. There is no attractiveness or advantage in ripping ourselves or indeed our polity apart by the abstracted certainties which, all too readily, make it impossible for us to see the face of Jesus Christ in our neighbour and, I would have to add, in our enemy. This cannot continue to be a game of: cat and cat,” he said.

He said that the bishops and the Standing Committee had worked on drawing together the names of people who represent a broad range of human sympathy, life experience and geographical belonging in the complex organism that is the Church of Ireland of today to form the Select Committee. He said it was important to ensure that all points of view were included on the committee and said there must be room for co–options at later stages.

The Belfast Telegraph reported this under the headline Church denies ‘stalling’ on same-sex relationships.

The Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Richard Clarke has denied that the creation of a Select Committee to consider same-sex relationships and human sexuality is an attempt by the Church to “stall” on handling this contentious issue.
At a General Synod press conference in Armagh he told reporters: “The subject of same-sex relationships is desperately divisive but we are trying to approach it in a systematic way.
“The creation of a Select Committee is not an attempt to kick anything into the long grass. If we rush things, people will want to think of ‘winning or losing’ but that is not the way the spirit of God works.
“ This is a time for people to listen generously to one another. It is no a stalling process, and I would not want to a party to anything which is evolved in this way.”
The Archbishop, who holds a traditional view of marriage, also said: “I have to be prepared to listen intently to the views of others. I have to be ready to the possibility of my mind and spirit being changed, and others will have to do likewise.”

The Church of Ireland Gazette carries reports of the synod and editorial comment in its 17 May issue. It  had also carried a letter before the meeting, in its 3 May issue, which can be read in full here (scroll down) and starts this way:

It is almost beyond belief that there is not a single member of the proposed Select Committee on Human Sexuality who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (Gazette report, last week).
While there is space for two co-options, that these must come from General Synod – which (as far as I am aware) has only one openly gay member – makes it entirely possible that the committee will remain ‘straights only’.
Can we envisage the Church of Ireland setting up a committee with an all-white membership to examine the experiences of the growing number of ethnic minority people in our parishes?
Or could we imagine the State establishing a commission on gender equality with an all-male membership?


Consultation on diocesan church growth strategies

Updated Saturday afternoon

St John’s Nottingham organised an event recently titled Diocesan Church Growth Strategies – A consultation for Southern Dioceses.

David Keen has published a series of articles on his blog about this event, which you can read starting with this one.

This link will take you to all the posts in reverse date order.

But see the update below for a much easier way to navigate through all this.

There are case studies from several dioceses in Southern England, including: Exeter, London. Coventry, Birmingham, and St Albans.

The Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the conference too.

And there is a final post on the role of the national church.

There is now an overview post with links to all the others, at Diocesan Church Growth Strategies – Pulling it All Together.

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Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill moves to House of Lords

The First Reading of the bill occurred on Tuesday evening. The Second Reading is scheduled for Monday, 3 June. Subsequent committee hearings are scheduled for 17 and 19 June.

The revised text of the bill as it left the House of Commons is now here, as a PDF. And the revised explanatory notes are another PDF, here.

The Hansard record of the House of Commons Third Reading debate is here.


House of Bishops statement on Safeguarding

The following statement was released tonight (scroll down).

Statement on Safeguarding from the House of Bishops of the Church of England
21 May 2013

In its discussions on the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults during its meeting in York, the House of Bishops recognised the critical nature of safeguarding, discussed past failures and committed itself to a step-change in the way it is practised so as to enable the Church to fulfil its vocation as a place of safety for all. The House committed itself to creating a climate of transparency and trust with profound listening to survivors of past clerical and ecclesiastical abuse.

The House of Bishops considered the report and recommendations of the report of John Gladwin and Rupert Bursell QC to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Diocese of Chichester and repeated the continuing best practise of the Church – as contained in current guidelines from 2004 – that there remains a duty on all clergy to report to relevant authorities and the police any allegation of abuse from a child or vulnerable adult.

Whilst supporting the continuing good work of diocesan child protection officers and the best practise of safeguarding guidelines currently in operation in the Church, there was also a recognition that there was no room for complacency particularly at a time when cases from past decades were being brought to light.

These steps included the undertaking of an audit of safeguarding provision in every diocese, the review of risk assessment procedures and the review and development of national core materials for safeguarding training. These measures will be accompanied by further work on proposals for legislative change which will be brought to the Archbishops’ Council.


House of Bishops statement on Women in the Episcopate

The following statement has been released tonight.

Statement on Women in the Episcopate from the House of Bishops of the Church of England
21 May 2013

At its meeting in York the House of Bishops of the Church of England has committed itself to publishing new ways forward to enable women to become bishops.

In its discussion on the issue of women in the episcopate, the House received and approved for publication the report from the Working Group on Women in the Episcopate which was set up on 11 December to prepare new legislative proposals following the General Synod’s rejection of the last legislation on 20 November 2012.

The report of the Working Group presented four new options as a way forward and proposed that the General Synod should consider those options at its meeting in July. The Working Group also proposed a timetable which would involve the legislation starting its formal stages in the Synod in November and receiving Final Approval in 2015.

The House of Bishops has agreed that the report of the Working Group should be published with a separate report from the Archbishops on behalf of the House setting out the House’s recommendations to the General Synod. The House has also asked the Business Committee of the General Synod to arrange for a substantial amount of time to be available at the General Synod in July for facilitated conversations in small groups before the Synod comes to a decision on the way forward.

The House also approved the necessary changes in its standing orders to ensure the attendance of senior women clergy at its meetings. These changes were proposed following the House’s decision at its meeting in December to ensure the participation of senior female clergy in its meetings until such time as there are six female members of the house, following the admission of women to the episcopate.