Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops – diocesan debates

Updated Sunday morning to add voting figures.
Updated Monday morning to enter correct total of abstentions on the main motion.

Since we last reported on diocesan debates on the women bishops legislation Hereford, Bristol, Worcester and Leicester have all voted in favour. The voting figures are all on the WATCH website.

Sheffield had its debate today. It too voted in favour, although in the house of clergy the majority was only one vote, with five abstentions.

The Sheffield synod also passed a motion “to ensure that those unable on theological grounds to accept the ministry of women bishops are able to receive Episcopal oversight from a bishop with authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred under the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop”.

Once we have confirmed voting figures I will add them here.

Update

The voting figures are now available on the Sheffield diocesan website and are copied below.

On the main motion

That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No30.”

the voting figures were:

  For Against Abstentions
Total 37 28 6
Clergy 13 12 5
Laity 23 16 1
Bishops 1 0 0

And on the following motion “to ensure that those unable on theological grounds to accept the ministry of women bishops are able to receive Episcopal oversight from a bishop with authority (i.e. ordinary jurisdiction) conferred under the Measure rather than by delegation from a Diocesan Bishop” they were:

  For Against Abstentions
Total 42 23 4
Clergy 22 8 0
Laity 20 15 3
Bishops 0 0 1

27
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
27 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
Father Ron SmithSimon KershawJohnRobert ian WilliamsBenedict Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I imagine someone in Sheffield will enlighten us further. I know Sheffield i quite a polarised diocese in many ways.. a good number of very definite anglo-catholic parishes and some very large and wealthy conservative evangelical parishes. Is the Diocesan Synod representative of opinion in the diocese at large or have the “extremes” managed to have disproportionate influence. I know the last Bishop, Jack Nicholls had a difficult time trying to hold everyone together; I imagine the present bishop is doing his best as well!!. Chichester /Blackburn and Exeter may vote in a similar fashion… I am not sure how… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

An interesting result from the Sheffield Diocese. One wonders how long the duplicity of having both affirmers and deniers of women’s ministry in the Church of England House of Bishops can be sustained. We are told in the scriptures that “A House divided against itself will fall”.

I can quite understand now why Archbishop Rowan feels it’s time he stepped down from Canterbury. It must be really dis-spiriting for a Primus Inter Pares to continue to maintain his theological balance, in the light of so many discrepancies.

Jean MAYLAND
Guest
Jean MAYLAND

This is certainly depressing. We lived in Sheffield Diocese for 13 years and although there was a strong ‘biretta belt’ in mining parishes the general attitude was much more in favour.

As it is so far only one Diocese I hope General Synod will ignore the plea to leave a woman bishop out of delegation. This would make nonsense of her position.

It also breaks the commitment of the opposition to regard women as well as men as lawfully and canonically ordained.

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“It also breaks the commitment of the opposition to regard women as well as men as lawfully and canonically ordained.” Since the essence of the Anglo-Catholic “opposition” is to regard the pretended ordination of women as an impossibility and, hence, a nullity, I have no idea of what this statement can mean, except as a kind of acknowledgement that the “outward legal forms” have been followed in such ordinations — as might be said, e.g., of the ordination of an unbaptized male. Perhaps, though, the statement refers primarily to the “Evangelical opposition” — cf. Archbishop Jensen of Sydney’s strange comment… Read more »

William
Guest
William

Doesn’t the existence of “affimers” and “deniers” regarding women’s ordination and other issues, simply echo the variety of doctrinal positions that seems to be the hallmark of Anglicanism? If a uniformity of belief on these issues is what people want then surely a more widespread theological uniformity needs to be developed as well.

JCF
Guest
JCF

[We can always rely on Wm. Tighe for scare-quotes, can’t we? :-X]

“diocesan debates on the women bishops legislation … Sheffield had its debate today. It too voted in favour”

Did it really? I read their amended motion as voting in favor of “Women: Bishops, 2nd Class”. Just to placate the unplacatable scare-quote crowd! :-/ “Isn’t it a pity and a shame”

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Perry Butler, Father Smith et al. why will you not accept that there can be a diversity of opinion on this issue? I am astonished that Perry Butler should suggest that the reason for the vote going the way it has in Sheffield is that Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals somehow have a disproportionate influence in that Diocese. Furthermore, the members of Synod were elected in free and fair Synodical elections. If the vote had gone the other way, I wonder whether Butler’s suggestion would be the same. I suspect not. It would no doubt be down to the work of God’s… Read more »

Jean Mary Mayland
Guest
Jean Mary Mayland

In July 2006 the Synod resolved ‘That this Synod welcome and affirm the view of the majority of the House of Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate in the Church of England is consonant with the faith of the Church as the Church of England has received it and would be a proper development in proclaiming afresh in this generation the grace and truth of Christ.’ The Manchester Group was asked to draw up a scheme which “(a) had ecclesiological integrity; (b) left space within the Church of England for those who in conscience could not accept the priestly… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Let’s be clear, JCF. There is no “amended motion”.

There is the fixed-wording main motion, which was passed, albeit by the narrowest of margins in the Clergy.

And then there is a separate, standalone “following motion”.

john
Guest
john

Dear Jean Mayland,

The Sheffield resolution doesn’t destroy it: it reactivates ‘the Archbishops’ amendment’. Nor did General Synod ‘agree’. There was a vote, which by the rules of the game prevailed (although actually, as I remember it, a numerical majority wanted ‘the Archbishops’ amendment’). I write as one completely in favour of women priests and women bishops and women archbishops and women popes. But these people (people who in good conscience cannot accept WO or WBs) exist, they are good Anglicans, and they should be given whatever space they require. Look to the broad picture.

Tobias Haller
Guest

The problem with this divide centers on the one thing that unites the sides: the moderated decision to vitiate a woman bishop’s authority modifies the concept of what a bishop is just as much as the “impossibilist” position holds that woman in the episcopate also vitiates the episcopate itself. Or at least her “episcopate” as Wm Tighe might put it. The effort at Laodicean lukewarmth endorsed at Sheffield is not likely to succeed except as a dilatory. The “imposibilist” position will have to be addressed more directly, at least for a church with bishops. That is the reason this is… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

I stand corrected re the process, Simon. (Ignorant Yank here: My Bad!)

I think my point about their *sentiment* stands. Dio Sheffield would see women appointed bishops, but in an (untenable, IMO) 2nd class status, not having legal jurisdiction over her entire diocese. I believe this is an insult to the (divinely called to orders!) Imago-Dei-made-female.

John
Guest
John

‘Just as much.’ Surely not.

John Bowles
Guest
John Bowles

‘Imago-Dei-made-female’! That’s a good one for the book! I wonder how many females will seize upon it to obfuscate debate.

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

This is all reminiscent of what happened in Sweden some 30 years ago. When WO was accepted by the Church Assembly in 1958, a “conscience clause” was formulated and officially endorsed as “policy” by the Minister of Religious Affairs, and most bishops conducted separate ordination services for men opposed to the ordination of women (a big sticking point for whom was that Scandinavian ordination services contain at the end a “giving of the right hand of fellowship” among the newly-ordained by which they all recognize one another as “ministers of the Word and Sacraments,” which those men opposed to WO… Read more »

tommiaquinas
Guest
tommiaquinas

Can somebody please explain to me the logic of voting in favour of the main motion (I want the legislation to proceed exactly as it is) and also voting in favour of the following motion (I want the legislation to be amended)?

Several people must have done so in Sheffield.

Tobias Haller
Guest

John @9:55 am, my point is that both positions basically result in a bishop who is a bishop in name only — effectively in scare quotes: on one side, as to action, on the other, being. I did not mean to imply they are the same thing, but that both positions undercut the actual work of the episcopate. And, or course, I think it fair to say that mos of those who reject being ministered to by a woman bishop do so because they do not believe she is a bishop, so the two positions are joined at the hip.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“I expect that matters will play out analogously in the Church of England over the next decade or two. – William Tighe – Perhaps you are hoping, William, not to still be around when that occurs in the Church of England? However, this does not negate the fact that, with the continuation of the ‘Two Integrities’ on the matter of acceptance, or not, of women as ‘valid’ bishops’ in the C.of E. (as Tobias correctly points out) indicates a falling short of the reality: that a bishop is a bishop – whether male or female – and needing to be… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Great post, DS. Tobias, I knew what you meant. It still seems to me exaggerated and disproportionate. In my view, principle sometimes needs to be tempered by pragmatism – or, more precisely, other principles are also in play and correct decisions involve weighing up a whole range of factors. In the C of E, there are women priests and there will be women bishops (only a small minority within those who reject WO are trying to prevent the latter happening at all). Advocates of women bishops don’t seem to realise that their ‘winner takes all’ mentality is actually delaying the… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

John, I take your point from a pragmatic perspective. And I quite agree than in a “Fabian” sense incremental change is likely the best practical way forward. I was speaking more in the theological sense of the nature of the episcopate itself. It seems to me that having a bishop whose _episkope_ is limited is a bit like a kind of constitutional monarchy. It isn’t really “monarchy” because it has been robbed of its “_arche_”. I suppose this may be a bit like the fabled tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it. But it seems to… Read more »

Fr Jed
Guest
Fr Jed

Well said John. Our Deanery Synod has just voted against the draft Measure. The main speech against was by a General Synod member whose wife is an ordinand. No clergy, not even the women voted in favour and only 7 laity. The Following Motion was passed with only 1 vote against.
I attribute the voting to precisely the sentiments you express.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Dear John, it seems that you still haven’t ‘got’ the reason for clarification of what is involved in the two-tier episcopate. Surely you do understand that first and second class bishops just won’t do! What is involved here is the very nature of episcopacy. In the catholic tradition (which the Church of England would certainly claim to uphold) the diocesan bishop is the consecrated authority to ordain within her/his diocese. Nobody can usurp that traditional right – certainly not a puppet bishop. While the parent Church of England (when it does, eventually) affirms the place of women in the episcopate,… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

“While the parent Church of England affirms the place of women in the episcopate, then all members of the Church of England will need to accede to the authority of the local diocesan bishop. Simple as that.” Father Ron Smith. Who says so Father Smith? So simple it is certainly not. As members of the Church of England, I and others will be neither coerced nor forced to accept such an innovation. And therein lies the problem. That there will indeed be both clergy and laity who remain within the fold of the Church and yet who will be unable,… Read more »

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

The Church of England ( as opposed to a party of thought)has never had an understanding of episcopacy as Ron articulates. To begin with the episcopal jusrisdiction of the bishop is a gift from the monarch, whether that monarch be a woman or a man.The monarch is the ordinary of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. As regards the office of bishop, the Church of England does not see episcopacy as the esse of ordained Christian ministrty. That is why for 400 years there has been a French Pressbyterian church in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. The Church of England… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Dear Tobias and Father Ron, I assure you I do understand the arguments. There is even some overlap between the present forum and the day job: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/histos/documents/2011104MolesJesustheHealer11782.pdf. All I would add is that Steve Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, exemplifies the C of E at its best: although pretty Evangelical (at least by formation), he adapts himself most graciously to Anglo-Catholic settings, he is the best preacher (bar none) I have ever heard, and he hasn’t an anti-gay bone in his body. He exudes benevolence and in his presence one feels oneself become benevolent. And his RC wife takes communion in… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

RIW suggests that the jurisdiction of English bishops is a gift of the Crown, and that the Crown is the ordinary of the two Abps. I think you may have got your facts wrong, Robert. The CofE is quite clear that a diocesan bishop receives the spiritualities of his see (including jurisdiction) at the confirmation of his election; this confirmation is made by te provincial court at which the Archbishop presides — or in an archiepiscopal vacancy the appointed senior bishops of the Province, led by London (in the southern province) or Durham (in the northern province). What is received… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I think Robert’s understanding (or, rather, misunderstanding) of the situation vis a vis control of the Church by the Sovereign, relates to the tradition of his own Church, where all bishops owe their episcope to the Pope – with no intermediary.

Fortunately, Anglican Bishops are not so derived of their Orders – they are derived in a direct line from the Apostles – all of ’em, not just Peter!