Thinking Anglicans

Women in the Episcopate – proposed amendments – what do they mean?

Updated Tuesday afternoon to include comment on the effect of deleting certain clauses
Note: “clause” and “section” are used interchangeably.

The text of all the proposed amendments to the draft Women in the Episcopate legislation was published in a notice paper yesterday.

Here is a simplified explanation of what I think is the intended effect of the various amendments.

The first three make provision for transfer of episcopal functions by right and not by delegation from the diocesan bishop.

512 This set of amendments will create additional dioceses for parishes unable on grounds of conviction to accept the episcopal ministry of women. There will be no women bishops or priests operating in these dioceses. The additional dioceses will exist in parallel with the current geographical dioceses. A PCC will be able to vote for its parish to join or leave one of these additional dioceses.

513 This set of amendments will set up complementary (or transferred) episcopal arrangements (sometimes abbreviated to TEA). There will be suffragan bishops acceptable to those who cannot accept the episcopal ministry of women. Parishes will be able to require that the episcopal functions of their diocesan bishop be transferred to one of these complementary bishops.

514 and 531 These are the Archbishops’ amendments to set up Co-ordinate Jurisdiction.

The remaining amendments leave intact the principle of delegation from the diocesan bishop.

515 This will restrict delegation of episcopal functions to sacraments and other divine services by removing the reference to “the provision of pastoral care to the clergy and parishioners”.

516 This provides that schemes of delegation to a male bishop will also include support for parishes not seeking such delegation.

517 This will set up a Review Commission to regularly review the arrangements for male bishops.

519 This will require PCCs to consult with electoral roll members before requesting episcopal ministry from a male bishop.

520 This will require every PCC to consider requesting episcopal ministry from a male bishop every 5 years.

521 This will require those involved in appointing incumbents and priests in charge to take account the fact that a parish has not requested episcopal ministry from a male bishop as well as the fact that it has.

522 to 527 These will relax in various ways the voting requirements when PCCs vote on requesting episcopal ministry from a male bishop.

530 This will give the House of Bishops complete discretion about what to include (or not include) in the Code of Practice.

531 See 514 above.

535 and 536 These relate to guild churches and are consequential on 523 and 524.

540 This will cause the provisions of the measure (except for allowing women bishops) to expire after 40 years.

541 This will require two-thirds majorities in each house of General Synod to subsequently amend or repeal this legislation.

542 This will require compensation to be made available to those who resign from ecclesiastical service before the measure comes into effect.

Synod procedures require a vote to be taken on the inclusion of each clause in the draft measure, and the relevant motions are also included in the notice paper. Notice has already been given that speeches will be made against the inclusion of clauses 2, 3, 4 and 7. The effect of deleting these clauses (in particular 2 and 3) would be to give the “simplest possible solution” with no provision for those opposed to women bishops and priests other than a code of practice.

There are no proposed amendments to the accompanying amending canon.

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tommiaquinas
tommiaquinas
10 years ago

Nothing constructive to add until I’ve looked at this in more depth, but just wanted to say thank you Peter for helping us lesser mortals to understand this!

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

Help a poor Yank understand a few things:

I know the PCC is the functional equivalent of what we call a vestry. Our vestry is elected by the lay members of the parish at our annual meeting. How is the PCC chosen?

I ask because I’m trying to figure out how much this whole dilemma is being driven by the conservative clergy and how much by the conservative laity of the parishes.

riazat
riazat
10 years ago

I agree with @tommiaquinas – thanks for the translations

tommiaquinas
tommiaquinas
10 years ago

OK, had a little chance to digest this now. 512-514 – Amply covered previously and elsewhere, I have nothing to add. 515 – Why? This amendment seems pretty spiteful to traditionalists and undermines a bishop’s role as pastor. 516 – Unclear as to what this would achieve, help appreciated! 517 – Whole new can of worms. What’s the remit of the review body? Who sits on it? But largely a secondary issue. 519 – Well intentioned but difficult in practice. I would say go one way or the other – either make the decision at APCM or let the PCC… Read more »

rob
rob
10 years ago

This is becoming WAY too complicated and legalistic. If a woman can be called by God to be Queen and Sovereign, and reign for over 50 years, then God can most certainly call a woman to be a bishop in the church. Those attempting to thwart the ordination of women to the episcopate are simply trying to turn back the clock and live in denial.

Michael Hopwood
10 years ago

As a Catholic convert from Anglicanism (admittedly I didn’t stay Anglican very long) I agree with Rob.

“If a woman can be called by God to be Queen and Sovereign, and reign for over 50 years, then God can most certainly call a woman to be a bishop in the church.”

The Anglican Church has a political principle of authority, and hence can and should embrace political expediency.

Pantycelyn
Pantycelyn
10 years ago

All that is needed is to add the words

‘and women’

to the Service of Consecration , for pete’s sake !

All this stuff about validity and tender consciences is just play-acting being RC. We aren’t RC. And the response to Jo Ratzinger’s offer (with the fancy sounding name), makes it clear that the high church members of our national protestant but diverse church –have NO intention of going over to Rome either.

So let’s just get on with it.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

Thanks for the info, Peter. One more question–who exactly is on the “electoral roll”? It sounds like it’s anyone who lives in the parish…or is it only the actual members of the CoE who live there? I suspect the consequences of establishment are making this tough for me to understand.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
10 years ago

On some of the queries, this is my take: 515 Retains as much of the role of the Diocesan Bishop as possible when some functions need to be transferred (eg sacramental roles) 516 Operates in those dioceses where the Bishop has said he will not ordain women to ensure that those who do support the ordination of women are fairly treated 517 Appendix III says who will be on this – a sort of standing Blackburn Review 519 Wide consultation is supported by Affirming Catholicism, and by others like me who see people bemused when they ask simple questions about… Read more »

Fr Mark
10 years ago

Pat: “I ask because I’m trying to figure out how much this whole dilemma is being driven by the conservative clergy and how much by the conservative laity of the parishes.” Although the Vestry in the Episcopal Church and PCC in the C of E fulfil much the same function, in practice, C of E parish priests, especially in both the extreme Anglo-Catholic and extreme Evangelical parishes, hold sway over their PCCs to an extent which, I understand, would not normally occur in Episcopal churches. I know of many C of E parishes in the Anglo-Catholic tradition where the anti-women… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

Fr. Mark: Thanks a bunch for the info. Yes, it is highly unlikely that any TEC rector could control his vestry to that extent, or threaten to resign confident that his congregation would back down. For one thing, of course, in TEC, the parish congregation hires the rector (he/she is not assigned by the diocese or the national church). Therefore, it is unlikely that any parish could have a rector who was that different in regard to theology and policy from his congregation. Although, once hired, a rector cannot be dismissed except for certain offenses (mostly regarding money, actually), the… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
10 years ago

Electoral Roll membership in the C of E is for those people who live in the geographical parish (or those who have worshipped at the church “regularly” [a matter of interpretation] for a period of six months or more. To be a member of the C of E you need to be a baptised member of the Church of England and over 16 (I think). Members of other Trinitarian churches can also apply to join. People filling out the application form will then have their names and addresses added to the Electoral Roll and they will then be eligible to… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

Jeremy:

Yes, that helps a lot…the idea that non-Christians–let alone non-CoE members–get to vote for parish officers is astonishing to me (and probably to many on this side of the pond).

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
10 years ago

Pat
I’d like to know how often it happens, though.
In practice, no-one who is not a member of a particular church has any interest in who is churchwarden there.

This strikes me as one of those quaint rules still on the statute book that are of no practical consequence.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
10 years ago

Er – not quite, Erica. I am sure non-Christians in towns never vote – but in rural parishes it is not unheard of – usually when there is a bit of a ruckus going on and a clique in the village want to embarrass the vicar by voting someone unsuitable in!

Hilary
Hilary
10 years ago

Just to clarify: 530, the amendment to Clause 5, will only be debated if Clause 2 is thrown out, in which case Clause 5 has to be amended to make no reference to the things in clause 2. No more than that.

pete
pete
10 years ago

Hilary wrote: “Just to clarify: 530, the amendment to Clause 5, will only be debated if Clause 2 is thrown out, in which case Clause 5 has to be amended to make no reference to the things in clause 2. No more than that.” I don’t mean to pick on Hilary, but I use her post as an example of the absurdity we’ve reached in the church. We are really witnessing the death of the model of church we’ve known. What will replace it remains to be seen, but clearly with legalism like this we’ve become so deeply mired in… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
10 years ago

Sorry Pete? Legalism … and law …

A Measure (like the one on women bishops) goes through a process to become a law with the same status as an Act of Parliament – and therefore has to be right, and not have hanging clauses etc.

That has been the same for every Measure, it is a law. The perjorative sense of ‘legalism’ is inappropriate. The process of making a law may be convoluted, but it is what it takes to make a law for the established church.

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
10 years ago

Actually, even in an unestablished church, like TEC, changes to diocesan or national canons are quite legalistic…and must be, since they operate much like the by-laws of a corporation (in fact, under US law, most churches are corporations). Ambiguity is not a good idea in these instances.

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