Church of England to have women bishops
14th July 2014
The General Synod of the Church of England has today given its final approval for women to become bishops in the Church of England.
The vote in the General Synod on the measure was carried by the required two-thirds majority in the three constituent parts of the Synod: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.
The voting results were as follows:
House of Bishops: Yes 37 No 2 Abstentions 1
House of Clergy: Yes 162 No 25 Abstentions 4
House of Laity: Yes 152 No 45 Abstentions 5
This means the first woman bishop could potentially be appointed by the end of the year.
Today’s vote comes 18 months after the proposal was last voted upon in November 2012 when the proposal failed to achieve the required two thirds majority in the House of Laity.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:
“Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today’s result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing.
The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.
My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.“
The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, said:
“This is a momentous day. Generations of women have served the Lord faithfully in the Church of England for centuries. It is a moment of joy today: the office of Bishop is open to them.
To those who ask “what took you so long?” my answer is that every decision has a cost and there will be those within our body who will be hurting as a result of this decision. Our answer to the hurting should not be “get over it” but rather “we will not let go until you have blessed us.”
We move slowly because we move together. But in moving together we achieve not only what is just but also model what is right. As the African Proverb says: “Whoever walks fast, travels alone. Whoever walks far, walks in the company of others.”
The legislation approved today includes a House of Bishops declaration, underpinned by five guiding principles and a disputes resolution procedure. Following the vote on the measure which enables women to become Bishops, the Synod voted on enabling legislation (Canon) and also rescinded existing legislation (Act of Synod) as part of a package of measures being proposed.
Following today’s vote the measure moves to the Legislative Committee of General Synod and then to the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Houses of Parliament where the legislation will be considered. Subject to Parliamentary approval the measure will return to the General Synod in November of this year where it will come into force after its promulgation (legal formal announcement).
Today’s vote follows a process which began at the 2013 July Synod which created a steering committee on women bishops, chaired by the Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff, with a mandate to draw up a package of new proposals. Bishop James opened the debate on behalf of the steering committee and responded to the debate urging synod members to vote for the proposals.6 Comments
All portions of the legislative package to allow women to be bishops in the Church of England were approved by General Synod this afternoon.
1) Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1925B)
On the motion
That the Measure entitled “Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure” be finally approved
Bishops 37 in favour, 2 against, 1 recorded abstention
Clergy 162 in favour, 25 against, 4 recorded abstentions
Laity 152 in favour, 45 against, 5 recorded abstentions
and the motion was carried with the necessary two-thirds majorities in all three houses.
2) Draft Amending Canon No. 33 (GS 1926B)
On the motion
That the Canon entitled “Amending Canon No 33” be finally approved
Bishops 37 in favour, 2 against, 1 recorded abstention
Clergy 164 in favour, 24 against, 3 recorded abstentions
Laity 153 in favour, 40 against, 8 recorded abstentions
and the motion was carried with the necessary two-thirds majorities in all three houses.
3) The motion
That the petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence (GS 1926C) be adopted
was carried on a show of hands.
4) Draft Act of Synod Rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 (GS 1934A)
That the draft Act of Synod rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 be approved
was carried on a show of hands.
5) The motion
That the Act of Synod rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 be solemnly affirmed and proclaimed an Act of Synod
was carried on a show of hands14 Comments
to be updated during the day
The day’s business started with a debate on the Armed Forces Covenant. The following motion was cared by 393 votes in favour to two against, with three recorded abstentions.
That this Synod, believing that the commitment of those that serve in the Armed Forces demands a reciprocal obligation from the Nation to ensure that they and their families are not disadvantaged:
(a) ask dioceses to reflection the Armed Forces Covenant and to consider signing Community Covenants, where not already signed, and Corporate Covenants setting out how they can both meet the pastoral and spiritual needs of the Armed Forces Community including serving personnel, regulars and reservists, veterans and military families located in their own diocesan area;
(b) invite the Archbishops’ Council to sign a Corporate Armed Forces Covenant setting out how it will provide pastoral and spiritual support for the Armed Forces Community including serving personnel, regulars and reservists, veterans and military families; and
(c) ask the Archbishops’ Council to report to Synod in the next Quinquennium on the implementation of the recommendations set out in The Church and the Armed Forces Covenant (GS 1960).
The debates on the legislation to allow women to be bishops started at 11.15 am. There is a package of four items, which are being separately debated.
1) Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1925B) – Draft Measure for Final Approval
2) Draft Amending Canon No. 33 (GS 1926B) – Draft Amending Canon for Final Approval
3) Draft Petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence (GS 1926C) – Draft Petition for Adoption
4) Draft Act of Synod Rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 (GS 1934A) – Draft Act of Synod for Final Approval and Affirmation and Proclamation as an Act of Synod
The first two of these (the measure and the canon) require two-thirds majorities in all three houses (bishops, clergy and laity) to receive final approval. Motions for the closure of these first two debates are not allowed, so they will continue for as long as there are members wanting to speak. However the chair of the debate (today it will be the Archbishop of York) may at his discretion reduce the speech limit, and chairs have been know to reduce it to almost nothing to encourage people to stop talking.
The other items require no special majority.
At the beginning of the first debate the Archbishop reminded members of this standing order.
17. Breach of Order
The Chairman shall call a member to order for failure to address the Chair, irrelevance, tedious repetition either of his own arguments or of arguments already well rehearsed by other members, unbecoming language, disregard of the authority of the Chairman, or any other breach of order, and may direct him to stop speaking.
Claire Phipps of The Guardian is reporting live on the debate: Church of England General Synod votes on female bishops.
The Synod adjourned for lunch and reconvened at 2.30 pm.
This business was concluded shortly before 5.00 pm with all items passed with the necessary majorities. Details of the votes here.
Synod was then adjourned until 5.15 pm.
The remainder of the day’s business is included in the official summaries above.1 Comment
Andrew Brown and Nicholas Watt The Guardian Church of England General Synod expected to approve female bishops
Andrew Brown The Guardian Liberalism increases as power shifts to the laity in the Church of England
The Guardian editorial The Guardian view on the female bishops’ vote: One more heave
John Bingham The Telegraph Welby ‘can’t force’ women bishops on Church
Dan Grimmer Norfolk Eastern Daily Press No vote on women bishops will destroy church’s credibility, says Archdeacon of Norwich
The Telegraph editorial Time to settle the vexed issue of women bishops
Dan Clough Burnley and Pendle Citizen I’ll oppose ordination of female bishops, says John Goddard
Madeleine Davies Church Times Welby expects the women-bishops legislation to pass1 Comment
Press Association (in the Mail Online) Baptism Services May Omit ‘Devil’
Peter Stanford The Telegraph Will Jane Hedges be the C of E’s first woman bishop?2 Comments
to be updated during the day
Much of the morning’s business was taken up with the composition of and electorate for the universities constituency in General Synod. A proposal to abolish it was defeated in a vote by houses. The voting figures, which are not given in the summary, were
House of Bishops voted: 5 for, 17 against
House of Clergy voted: 53 for, 69 against
House of Laity voted: 67 for, 65 against
The numbers of abstentions were not stated.
A substantial change was made when Synod voted to extend the constituency to include theological education institutions as well as universities. Again there was a vote by houses.
House of Bishops voted: 12 for, 10 against, 0 abstentions
House of Clergy voted: 71 for, 64 against, 3 abstentions
House of Laity voted: 76 for, 61 against, 2 abstentions
The theological education institutes to be included are those “recognised by the House of Bishops as an institution for training candidates for ordination as ministers of the Church of England”.
These, and other non-contentious changes to the universities constituency, are subject to final approval, which is scheduled for debate on Tuesday.0 Comments
The New Statesman has a series of articles by Rowan Williams, Melvyn Bragg, Lucy Winkett, Robin Ince, Vicky Beeching and Julian Baggini under the heading After God: how to fill the faith-shaped hole in modern life.
Michael Binyon writes for Diplomat Magazine about Church Diplomacy.
The Guardian has a video: A vicar’s wedding: ‘He loves God and he loves Stephen’.7 Comments
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written for The Times on why he believes the Assisted Dying Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords next week, is “both mistaken and dangerous”. His article can be read here: Archbishop Justin writes for The Times on the Assisted Dying Bill.
Meanwhile, former archbishop George Carey has said that he supports a change in the law on assisted suicide. He has explained his views in this article written for the Daily Mail: Why I’ve changed my mind on assisted dying says a former Archbishop of Canterbury.
Press reports include:
James Chapman Mail Online Carey: I’ve changed my mind on right to die: On eve of Lords debate, ex-Archbishop dramatically backs assisted death law
John Bingham The Telegraph Lord Carey: I support assisted dying
Nicholas Watt The Guardian Former archbishop lends his support to campaign to legalise right to die
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Former Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘Why I support assisted suicide’
The Telegraph Archbishop Welby: Assisted dying is ‘sword of Damocles’ over vulnerable
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England calls for review on assisted dying
Nicholas Watt, Shane Hickey and agencies The Guardian Church of England seeks inquiry over bill to legalise assisted dying
to be updated during the day
The first day’s business is listed in Order paper 1.
Despite some initial confusion during the debate on the report of the reference to the dioceses of the women bishops legislation, Sue Booys, the chair of the Business Committee, confirmed that two-thirds majorities in each house will be required for final approval of both the draft measure and the amending canon when they are debated on Monday.
It was also made clear that abstentions (whether recorded or not) do not count in the calculation of the size of any majority.
The final drafting of the draft measure and amending canon were agreed; the only drafting amendments were to some of the numbering in the canon.1 Comment
The Church Urban Fund and Theos yesterday published a report Good Neighbours: How Churches Help Communities Flourish. From the press release:
10 million rely on church community, new research shows
New research conducted for Church Urban Fund, shows that 10 million adults a year use community services provided by churches and church-run organisations. This is more than half of all those who access these services. The wide range of support includes food banks, luncheon clubs and night shelters along with relationship courses, financial advice and access to computers and the internet.
In a foreword to the Church Urban Fund/Theos report Good Neighbours: How Churches Help Communities Flourish, launched yesterday in the House of Lords, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “This report demonstrates the scale and nature of that love for neighbour in practical action. It shows that relationships are at the heart of every community, and that churches are at the heart of local communities. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the Church is part of the solution for building community blessing at every level.”
The full report and an executive summary can be downloaded from the Church Urban Fund website here.
In this new piece of research, Church Urban Fund and Theos set out to understand the impact of local churches in deprived communities in England. We sought to explore what churches do to support people in their communities, and also how and why they do it.
This research project is a ‘critical appreciation’ of what churches offer their communities – it argues that church-based activities offer both breadth of national reach and depth. It shows that:
Updated Friday afternoon, Saturday morning
The Church of England General Synod meets in York from this afternoon until Tuesday.
Some pre-synod press:
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England General Synod: women bishops campaigners praying for a breakthrough
The Church of England General Synod – a rough guide
Women bishops: what are the issues?
Press Association General Synod Vote on Women Bishops [on the Mail Online website]
Ruth Gledhill Chrisitian Today General Synod: Will women bishops happen this time?
Savi Hensman Ekklesia Church, worldly values, the ‘common good’ and war
You can follow the proceedings at this Live video stream.
The Agenda and papers are here.
Church Times leader The vote on Monday
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England edges towards historic breakthrough on women bishops0 Comments
Updated Friday afternoon
The Church Commissioners issued this press release this evening.
Church Commissioners confirm Wonga exit
10 July 2014
The Church Commissioners for England are pleased to announce that their indirect investment exposure to Wonga in their venture capital portfolio has been removed. The Church Commissioners no longer have any financial or any other interest in Wonga.
The terms ensure that the Church Commissioners have not made any profit from their investment exposure to Wonga.
At no time have the Commissioners invested directly in Wonga or in other pay day lenders. The indirect exposure of the Commissioners through pooled funds represented considerably less than 0.01% of the value of Wonga.
The Church Commissioners estimate that if they had had to sell their entire venture capital holdings they might have lost £3-9m to remove the exposure to Wonga, which was worth less than £100,000. The Commissioners are pleased that another way forward has been agreed given their fiduciary duties to clergy pensioners and to all the parts of the Church they support financially.
The Commissioners believe venture capital to be a good and useful instrument with significant potential to serve the common good. It gets new businesses up and running and supports the economy and jobs.
The Commissioners have made a number of ethical investment changes. They have tightened their investment restrictions for direct investments, will announce new controls on indirect investments later in the year and have created a new responsible investment position in their investment team to lead the implementation of the Commissioners’ ethical investment policies and responsible investment commitments, supporting the work of the Ethical Investment Advisory Group.
The Commissioners’ focus remains the mission they share with the Archbishop of Canterbury – supporting the ministry and growth of the Church of England.
The Commissioners will also continue to seek ways, consistent with their fiduciary duties, to support the Church’s priority of promoting responsible credit and savings. In 2013 they provided £200,000 of start-up capital to the credit union the Church itself is establishing, the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union. As active stewards of their investments the Commissioners will continue to engage with financial services companies to encourage responsible credit and savings practice.
Update – press reports
Chris Johnston The Guardian Church of England finally severs financial links with Wonga
Paul Handley Church Times The Church of England pulls its cash out of Wonga
Ian Johnston Independent Church of England severs its links with payday lender Wonga
Sharlene Goff Financial Times Church of England sells indirect stake in Wonga
John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England finally casts out Wonga5 Comments
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced on Monday that there will be an inquiry into allegations of child sex abuse in Establishment circles in the 1970s and 80s.
Patrick Wintour The Guardian Theresa May promises child abuse inquiry with ‘maximum transparency’
David Barrett, James Kirkup and Georgia Graham The Telegraph Theresa May launches major new inquiry into child sex abuse allegations
It was later announced that the inquiry was to be headed by Baroness Butler-Sloss, the former president of the Family Division of the High Court. There has been criticism of this choice.
BBC Ex-senior judge Butler-Sloss to head child sex abuse inquiry
Nicholas Watt The Guardian Lady Butler-Sloss to lead child abuse inquiry
Nicholas Watt The Guardian ‘Conflict of interest’ raised over Butler-Sloss role in child abuse inquiry
David Barrett and Matthew Holehouse The Telegraph Baroness Butler-Sloss criticised over previous ‘flawed’ paedophile report
Andrew Brown reports in The Guardian: Church of England women bishops: archbishops will overrule synod.
The archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is preparing to drive through legislation to allow women bishops even if it is rejected by the church’s governing body, the General Synod.
The synod is poised to vote again on the vexed plan next week but senior sources have told the Guardian that should the move be blocked again, there are now options being considered to force the change on the church.
Options under consideration include an immediate dissolution of the synod so that fresh elections could produce a sufficient majority by November, or even a move by the bishops in the House of Lords to introduce the legislation without synodical approval…
Updated Thursday morning
Guardian Chaplain accuses Church of England of homophobia
The first British clergyman to enter a gay marriage has accused the Church of England of homophobia and said that he is considering legal action after it blocked his attempt to take up a new post in a move he says is intended to stop others following in his footsteps…
…You will all, no doubt, be aware from recent press and internet coverage that Jeremy Pemberton has had his ‘Permission to Officiate’ (PTO) in Southwell & Nottingham Diocese removed by the acting Bishop, following consultation with the Archbishop of York. Distressing as this was, there has now been a further significant and much more serious development.
Jeremy currently works as a Chaplain in an NHS Trust in Lincolnshire and retains his general licence from the Bishop of Lincoln. Jeremy received a written rebuke from this Bishop for contracting his marriage with me but this had no impact on his employment.
However, he has recently been successful in his application for a promotion within the NHS to become the Head of Chaplaincy & Bereavement Services in a large hospital closer to home. This hospital is located within the geographical area covered by the Church’s Southwell & Nottingham Diocese. For those of you who are unaware, NHS chaplains are funded in full by the NHS and not by the Church of England.
The NHS has requested the acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham to issue Jeremy with a licence in order that he may take up his new job. This is standard procedure. The Bishop has refused to issue any form of licence to Jeremy as, by his marriage to me, and for no other reason, he does not, according to the Bishop ‘model the Church’s teaching’ in his life. Leaving aside the insulting nature of this phrase, the effect of this refusal is that Jeremy will be denied the opportunity to take up his new position and develop his ministry further. There was no disciplinary process, no hearing and there is no right of appeal against this decision.
I realise that, as Jeremy’s husband, I am far from impartial but those of you who know him well will recognise my description of him as a fine man of integrity and exceptional abilities and whose ministry in this Diocese would be a tremendous asset to those he serves. I am appalled, to put it mildly, that he is to be denied this opportunity solely because of his marital status. It is worth pointing out that Paul Butler (now Bishop of Durham) and the current Bishop of Lincoln issued Jeremy with his PTO and licence respectively in the past in the full knowledge that he is gay and living in a relationship with me. All that has changed is that we have got married. Nearly 100 of you were there on that day and will recall the commitment we made to each other with our vows. For this to result in the ruining of Jeremy’s employment prospects is outrageous and is, in my opinion, homophobic bullying.
What I am asking
Some of you may think what Jeremy has done is wrong and that he is paying the penalty for that. You are entitled to your opinion and I ask you to do nothing. Those of you who agree with me, I would ask that you consider doing one or more of the following in order to show support and perhaps result in the acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham changing his mind and issuing Jeremy with some form of a licence. When writing, it may carry more weight if you mention that you are a Christian/member of the Church of England if you are.
You could write, expressing your views to:
The Right Revd Richard Inwood
Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham
I am not clear whether this latest decision was as a result of consultation with the Archbishop of York but, in any event, I would ask that you copy your correspondence to him at:
The Most Revd & Right Hon Dr John Sentamu
Archbishop of York
The Acting Dean of Southwell Minster, Nigel Coates, is extremely supportive, for which Jeremy and I are most grateful. You may also wish to contact him to express your support at:
The Revd Canon Nigel Coates
Acting Dean of Southwell Minster
The Archbishop of York and the acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham will be attending the grand re-opening of the Archbishop’s Palace and Great Hall complex at Southwell Minster on 7th October. You might wish to consider attending this event and taking the opportunity to bring your opinion of their treatment of Jeremy to their attention…
Last week the Church Times reported that Swing voters say they will now back women bishops.
THE pivotal votes of a small number of members of the General Synod who helped to defeat the women-bishops Measure in November 2012 have swung to the Yes camp.
The earlier Measure was lost by six votes in the House of Laity. Instrumental to the defeat were a handful of members who, despite being in favour of the consecration of women as bishops, voted against the Measure, prompted by a concern that it did not offer enough provision for those who were opposed on principle.
Five of these members told the Church Times this week that they now planned to vote in favour…
Today, Forward in Faith has published this press release: The July 2014 Sessions of the General Synod
The Chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod, Canon Simon Killwick, has issued the following statement:
“Following the failure of the previous legislation in November 2012, the Catholic Group immediately called for round-table talks to agree on a new package which could be fast-tracked through the Synod. These talks have been amazingly fruitful in that they have generated a new package which provides a way forward for everyone in the Church of England and the package is being fast-tracked through the Synod with the added bonus in the creation of a much more positive atmosphere of trust, generosity and mutual respect. We look forward to this new atmosphere pervading the debates at the forthcoming Synod and beyond, so that we can all move forward as one.”
Please pray for the members of the General Synod, which meets in York from Friday 10 July to Tuesday 15 July:
The United Reformed Church has issued this statement concerning its deliberations on same-sex marriage:
General Assembly has just passed the following resolution by agreement:
A clear majority of members of Assembly expressed the view that local congregations should be permitted to offer same-sex marriage to those who seek that opportunity. However, because our decision-making process is based on the seeking of full consensus, Assembly was unable to reach agreement.
Assembly therefore resolves to pursue this discussion in the most constructive and consultative way that it can, as follows:
(1) to invite synods and local congregations (a) to reflect on the report of the Facilitation Group, (b) to discuss whether they would wish a future meeting of the Assembly to authorise local church meetings to offer same-sex marriage services, and (c) to report their views to the General Secretary by 31st March 2015.
(2) to authorise the officers of Assembly to furnish these discussions with appropriate resources, including an offer of the support of facilitators.
Media reports of this:
South Wales Evening Post No decision on gay weddings for United Reformed Church1 Comment
Updated Sunday afternoon
We reported previously on the Bishop of Norwich’s “blacklist” (note the quotation marks). This terminology was a direct quotation from a Guardian news report, originally linked in an earlier article. That Guardian report was subsequently amended.
David Pocklington has recently provided a very detailed account of the background to all this in an article at Law & Religion UK entitled Clergy blacklists, blue files and the Archbishops’ List. This explains in great detail exactly what the current procedures are, what lists do exist, and how a name can get onto a list.
And now Colin Coward has published Bishop of Norwich clarifies purpose of monitoring and reference group. The bishop wrote:
“It was a surprise to read that I was apparently keeping a blacklist of clergy who had entered same sex marriages or was charged with acting against them. Such assertions are a very long way from the truth.
“What I have agreed to do at the request of the Archbishops is to be available to other diocesan bishops for consultation as and when they have to decide what to do if clergy in their dioceses marry a same sex partner. There may well be courses of action or ways of responding which they have not considered, and I hope the reference group will ensure cases are not dealt with erratically.
“I am not charged with taking any initiative, nor would I do so (it is up to diocesan bishops to contact me) but I hope that in this matter, as in all things, there is still the possibility for some pastoral wisdom.”
Changing Attitude has also published this: Same sex marriage guidance for clergy.14 Comments
Andrew Goddard at Fulcrum asks Can we pray for the dead?
Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian that Assisted dying is the final triumph of market capitalism.
Jenny McCartney writes for The Spectator about The terminal confusion of Dignity in Dying.
Malcolm Brown (the Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England) asks Is the choice to be killed the same as choosing a car ?
Justin Welby preached this sermon last Sunday: ‘Thanksgiving and repentance’ – Archbishop on the first black Anglican bishop.3 Comments