Reform has issued a press release:
The decision of the General Synod’s Revision Committee to back away from proposals to give opponents of women bishops a way of staying in the Church of England has “overturned the will of Synod, created the spectre of confrontation, and risks extending the controversy for another five years,” according to the chairman of Reform, the Rev’d Rod Thomas.
Responding to the announcement made on Saturday 14th November that the Revision Committee had failed to approve the transfer of jurisdiction from female to male bishops where parishes could not accept their oversight, Rod Thomas said:
“At last February’s General Synod there was a clear desire to provide legislative safeguards for those who could not, in conscience, accept the oversight of women bishops. This has now been overturned by the Revision Committee. Whereas there was a prospect of agreement, the Revision Committee has now set the General Synod on a course of confrontation. It has served the Church badly.
“There has been much speculation about Anglo-Catholics leaving the Church of England for Rome. What has been overlooked is the number of large evangelical churches which the Church of England now risks losing – not to Rome, but to independence or alternative Anglican affiliations.
“Within the General Synod there will be many who will be deeply unhappy at the bullying tactics being used to dismiss opponents of the proposed new legislation. Some evangelicals who do support the introduction of women bishops will nevertheless vote against proposals which have the effect of excluding other evangelicals. This means that by the time the proposals have finished their tortuous progress through the General Synod, they will be likely to fail, since they will be unable to garner the two thirds majority support needed.
“It may be that in the providence of God, the result of the Revision Committee’s decision may be the reverse of what they intend: that this unbiblical move to put women in positions of headship in the church will fail. Reform will now renew its commitment to work towards this outcome.”