Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops – diocesan debates

Updated late Saturday [see note at the end]
Updated Monday morning to insert Durham abstentions

Two English diocesan synods held their debates on the women bishops legislation today.

1) At Manchester the main motion

That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and ordination of women) measure and in the draft Amending Canon No30.

was carried in all three houses with these voting figures:

  For Against Abstentions
Bishops 3 0 0
Clergy 41 13 2
Laity 38 26 4

But this following motion was also carried in all three houses.

That this synod [ie the diocesan synod] request the general synod to debate a motion in the following form:
That this synod [ie the general synod] call upon the House of Bishops, in exercise of its powers under standing order 60(b), to amend the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and ordination of women) measure in the manner proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York at the revision stage for the draft measure.

These are the voting figures:

  For Against Abstentions
Bishops 2 0 0
Clergy 31 21 3
Laity 47 20 1

2) At Durham the main motion was passed in all three houses.

  For Against Abstentions
Bishops 1 0 0
Clergy 34 5 1
Laity 55 6 0

I don’t have any figures for abstentions.

A following motion, seeking greater provision for opponents, was defeated with 16 votes for, 77 against, and 7 abstentions.

3) Note

The procedure for these diocesan synod debates is given in GS Misc 964. In particular I draw attention to this extract from paragraph 6.

Attention is drawn to Rule 34(1)(h) of the Church Representation Rules which provides that if the votes of the houses of clergy and laity are in favour of a matter referred under Article 8, then that matter shall be deemed to have been approved for the purposes of that Article.

48
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
48 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
21 Comment authors
Father Ron SmithDavid ShepherdErika BakerJohnGeonokes Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

Simon, could you clarify something for me / us on the other side of the pond? This was probably stated somewhere upstream, but I find the English process of batting things back and forth from General to Diocesan Synods a bit like watching tennis from the front row. My question is on the fate of the “following motion” — the call to amend the provisions. Can this now be brought before General Synod because some dioceses have asked for it, or does it require a majority of dioceses to act in favor for the matter to be, as I understand… Read more »

Meg Gilley
Guest
Meg Gilley

In Durham, there was one clergy abstention for the principal motion.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

It was good to see that the Durham Synod voted for Women Bishops – without burdening the decision with a caveat to provide ‘further’ accommodation to the nay-sayers. Clarity on this issue cannot be at all a bad thing. Pity Manchester could not be as clear.

Robert ian wiulliams
Guest
Robert ian wiulliams

What politicians would give for majorities like these…an absolute landslide.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Thank you, Peter. It was the language of the Manchester motion that piqued my curiosity, as we have a similar possibility in the US — an individual diocese can propose a resolution to the General Convention (on anything!) but it goes into the mix with the Legislative Committee to which it is assigned — who then hold hearings and may urge the merger of similar resolutions or recommend dismissal of all but one of a similar nature, and then the Dispatch of Business Committee can place the recommended dismissals on a Consent Calendar that doesn’t permit of significant debate (other… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

It is both good and heartening to see that both Manchester and Sheffield have each passed a following resolution, and with other dioceses yet to vote, there may be more. I would thus be surprised if the Archbishops’ original amendment were not revisited in one form or another. Robert Ian Williams’ comment on landslides is hardly applicable in a General Synod where over half of the membership voted in favour of that amendment, which fell only because of a few abstentions in the House of Clergy. And Father Smith’s comment about “burdening the decision”, as ever, and in his usual… Read more »

John
Guest
John

I would be pleased if (a) the Archbishops’ amendment went through at Synod and (b) if that were enough for traditionalists. And then we could all live happily ever after and get on with other things.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
Guest

Ah, thanks, Peter. By George, I think I’ve got it. “In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly happen.” Manchester is entirely another matter… 😉 This must be what Archbishop Rowan meant when he asked the bishops of TEC to take more leadership. This side of the pond our Bishops get first “whack” at all legislation concerning ministry and liturgy, but the Deputies can overrule, reject, or amend anything the Bishops approve. If Deputies amend, the Bishops can then live with the amendment, or reject it — or amend again, in which case it still has to go to the Deputies.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I’m amazed, Tobias, that TEC could be as obfuscating and the dear old C.of E. in its deliberations that require legislation. Sounds more like bi-cameral government in the U.K. Parliament, where the House of Commons and the House of Lords fight for supremacy.

FrozenChristian
Guest
FrozenChristian

If the Bishops amend the legislation it will have to be returned to the dioceses again for a further round of discussion.

On Manchester – that diocese has, in recent years, given the Flying Bishop more scope in the diocese and allowed parishes to distance themselves from the diocesan. I wonder if that is reflected in the following motion votes?

Fr James
Guest
Fr James

That’s not quite right Fr Ron. The House of Commons and the House of Lords don’t fight for supremacy. The House of Lords is a revising house, and provides a system of checks and balances. Of course, when the reformers have their way and the House becomes mostly elected, then the fight for supremacy will begin…

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

Results can interpreted in a number of ways, but it is very striking, as one steps back from the hot-house of General Synod, how well the defeat of the Abps’ amendment in July 2010 actually reflects the view of Anglicans at the grass-roots, at least based on diocesan synod results so far.

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Frozen Christian’s comments on Manchester are right to the extent that the Bishop, Nigel McCullough, much respected by Anglo-Catholics, understands the traditionalist position, and though he himself does not hold to it, he is prepared to see that some equitable provision ought to be made, hence his support of the Archbishops’ amendment and the following motion. However, it cannot be argued that just because he is so supportive, that need necessarily be true of the Diocese as a whole. What we saw in the votes in both Sheffield and Manchester is that, thankfully, there are some inclusive liberals out there… Read more »

Jean Mary Mayland
Guest
Jean Mary Mayland

The passing of the following mortion by the Manchester Diocese shows again an unwillingness to recognise that women bishops will be truly bishops and should have the right to delegate within their own diocese. It would also create a special line of ‘ ecclesistiastically pure Cruft’s Bishops’ whose pedigree has never been tainted by their hands touching a woman’s head. In this way it also rejects lawfully ordained male bishops.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

My understanding is that Rule 34(1)(h) refers to the questions referred under Article 8, and not to additional matters which Diocesan Synods might raise of their own volition, as indeed is confirmed by GSMisc 964 para 9.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I’m sorry if I sound parsimonious to you, Benedict – on the subject of provision for those who cannot (will not?) accept the while idea of women’s ordination – whether as priest or bishop. However, I can assure you that I do so – not as an enemy of the catholic cause within the Church, but rather as an advocate of the complementarity of our humanity – as both male and female – in the Image and Likeness of our Creator God. If a ‘mere’ woman, Mary, was chosen to bring into being in her own body the perfect Image… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Father Smith, on the subject of provision,and your theological reasoning against it, you seem to be confusing the theology of the Incarnation with Eucharistic theology and orders, combining the two in a way that denies the particular gift of each. The theology of priesthood derives from the Eucharistic sacrifice and not the Incarnation. Also,in your point about complementarity, you are absolutely right to refer to the complementary of our humanity, but that comes about because of the distinctive natures of the two sexes. They are not the same, but complement each other. No superiority of either, but just different lines… Read more »

FrozenChristian
Guest
FrozenChristian

@ Benedict:

Since +Manchester abstained, how can you say he supported the following motion? His own Revision Committee rejected the Archbishops’ amendment in GS and was then ticked off by ++York for doing so!

And please stop saying that those in favour are trying to drive those opposed from the CofE – We’d like you all to stay but we also want women to be real bishops not pretend ones.

John
Guest
John

Since when was the notion of bishops’ ‘jurisdiction’ Holy Writ? That rather sounds (forgive the crudity) like Popery to me. It’s also completely unhistorical – if the first century is taken as normative, as, for Reformed Catholics, it should be. It’s also, for ‘liberals’, intensely hypocritical, for in many other contexts we disobey our bishops – rightly, in my opinion – because many of them are ignorant, stupid, uncharitable, and bullying. It would be grossly sexist to suppose that women bishops would be significantly different from the present male lot. There is plenty of difficult but benevolent ‘co-existence’ between pro-… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“No superiority of either, but just different lines of development.” – Posted by Benedict

Except for the superiority of one to DICTATE the “different lines of development” of the other!

Give me a break.

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

Here is the situation as I see it. Rowan’s orders are acceptable to consecrate two new PEVs, although he ordains women (and if the report on the meeting at Lambeth is correct, is an enthusiast for women in the episcopate), in order so that they can minister and provide ‘sacramental assurance’ to people who won’t accept the sacramental ministry of, in the case of my diocese, the bishop of Oxford, who also, like Rowan, ordains women and wants to see women in the episcopate. Does this make any sense whatsoever?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Benedict, with all due respect to your argument here; might I suggest that all basic Christian theology comes from the undeniable fact of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The theology of the Eucharist is not separate from that basic premise, but rather deriving from it. After all, in catholic theology, we speak of the esse of the eucharistic Elements as being the Body and Blood of Christ – is that not, in its own degree, incarnational?

Also, Mary’s body was a crucial element in the incarnate Body of Christ – therefore participant.

David Shepherd
Guest

All this talk about motions makes me think the Church is trying to overcome constipation. We all know the cure. Ron/Benedict: ‘However, I can assure you that I do so – not as an enemy of the catholic cause within the Church, but rather as an advocate of the complementarity of our humanity – as both male and female – in the Image and Likeness of our Creator God.’ Complementarity? I wonder how that gnat of a word crept in without censure. Although I’m sure you both meant it in the ‘liberal’ sense and not with the precision that we’ve… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

@ Judith — No.

Geonokes
Guest
Geonokes

Judith, the provision of the PEVs deals with the impairment of communion that arises when a male bishop ordains women priests (Eames Commission refers).It is not a question of sacramental assurance.Sacramental assurance will only become an issue post-women bishops because some would argue that the sacramental actions of the woman bishop and those of the men whom she ordains are doubtful during the period of reception.

Tobias Haller
Guest

There is no separate “nature” to women that is not common to men. There is one human nature with various accidents of sex, size, hair color, and so on, all due to genetic and environmental variability. The human nature is complete in Mary, because it is solely from Mary that Christ obtained his humanity. This has been Orthodox doctrine from the beginning. The question of who can be ordained is not a matter of doctrine, but of discipline. This is why it is capable of change.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

The interesting thing about the Manchester following motion is that it asks for a General Synod debate to mandate the House of Bishops to produce an amendment to legislation. This requires General Synod time followed by House of Bishops time, followed by re-referral to Diocesan Synods. Is anybody in these debates conscious of the realistic timescales involved?

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

Geonokes: So the new PEVs are in ‘impaired communion’ with the ABC, because he ordains women and yet they have received their orders from him. My original question remains: if Rowan is okay why not other bishops who ordain women?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Good point, Judith! As Tobias reminds us, the question of whether women and men are both allowed to be ordained cannot be a matter of doctrine, but rather of ‘discipline’. So in this case, where the ABC is given immunity from discipline on account of his ordaining women, what on earth should stop other bishops from being immune to the same dissipline for exercising the very same function? Logic does seem to be missing from the ‘anti’ argument.

Neil
Guest
Neil

Judith Maltby. I think you have a point here. However, it might well be that there were other so-called ‘orthodox’ bishops present at the ordination of the 2 trad bishops, and in sufficient numbers (is it 3?) to ensure a degree of apostolic succession. Can it be that maybe they think the presence of the ABC despite his ‘heterodoxy’ would not invalidate their orders?

Geonokes
Guest
Geonokes

The ABC has only ordained women priests, he has not ordained women bishops. When he ordains the PEV as bishop there is no problem with impairment of communion.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

And just how many angels can one find dancing on the head of a pin? Happy Michaelmass!

john
Guest
john

I on the contrary do not think the ‘point’ discussed above is a good point. When things are fraught and people are under pressure, the very last thing they need to hear is Oxford-style (I myself am Oxford-style) nit-picking about ‘inconsistencies’ in their position. Of course there are inconsistencies in their position, but they’re fighting to preserve their broad position and are prepared to perpetrate, or tolerate, lesser inconsistencies to do so. We all do this. It might seem to be intrinsic to the Church of England – or indeed any form of Christianity or any form of religious system.… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

At the consecration of one of the previous PEV’s didnt the newly consecrated bishop not receive communion from +George Carey, or is that a folk tale?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John, I do think that Judith Maltby’s point is an excellent one, because it highlights that this whole hermetic sealing off of a part of the church (and I would still like someone to talk about the theology of creating a church within a church and what kind of “innovation” that is) is nothing other than a postponing of the final conversation. Eventually, there will be enough female bishops and one of them might even be in line as Archbishop of Canterbury. What then? Is it really credible that we are now trying to cobble together a solution that isn’t… Read more »

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

I’m glad to know that ordaining women as priests does not impair communion. I have to admit that for years I understood that to be precisely one of the key arguments underpinning the PEV provision. So, I ask again, what’s wrong with the diocesan bishops who do so as well and why can’t they ordain all their ordination candidates? Why do some candidates need to be ordained in separate services at which there are no women ordinands if this act does not impair communion?

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I can no longer take this stuff seriously – there is a real world out there with real issues and genuine need and suffering.

If this is really religion, it is poor show.

Very poor show

Judith Maltby
Guest
Judith Maltby

On the Oxford ‘nit-picking’ point, I refer to this statement, which has long been an important influence in my thinking on these matters, made by Rowan Williams in 1984 in a book edited by the late Monica Furlong: ‘The theology of Christian ministry is an area in which we are too readily tempted to avoid discussion of first principles. It is too complicated, too generally unsettling and too distracting when we are hard pressed by practical urgencies …. “Pastoral” means more than “consolatory”, “prophetic” more than “unsettling”’. I think the ABC may have been at Cambridge, not Oxford, when he… Read more »

Geonokes
Guest
Geonokes

The impairment of communion is presently within the presbyteral college of which the diocesan bishop is head. Hence the provision by the CofE of the PEV ministry and ordinations. Impairment of communion in the episcopal college, of which the ABC is head, will only occur once women are ordained as bishop. Presumably, once that happens the ABC will arrange for a traditionalist bishop to preside over the ordination of traditionlist candidates for the episcopate. Let’s all hope that that characteristic generosity of the CofE will continue to prevail when the new circumstances arise. Anyway, I’m going to take Laurence’s advice… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Judith Maltby: Correct me if I am wrong, but this would be the same Rowan Williams who is now doing everything he possibly can to provide ‘provision’ for opponents of WO within the C of E? Laurence Roberts: I entirely agree with you (though perhaps you do not agree with me) – which is precisely why I strenuously argue for ‘parking’ these theological issues, given that – and it is an important ‘given’ – the case for women bishops is won and what is at issue is only provision for those who in good conscience cannot accept that case. Erika:… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

John, we’re asked to make watertight anti-contamination provisions for people who even today get ordained into a church that clearly has women priests, and you’re saying that *I* elevate doctrine over everything else? I’m even on your side, I do think there’s a case for provisions. But we all have to accept that this simply postpones the solution. And we also have to accept that it creates a very un-Anglican and un-British church within a church. It is that aspect that troubles me most. Any provisions we come up with now are only a pacifyer until the whole issue rears… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

As so many debate endlessly the viability of women holding high-visibility positions within the clerical hierarchies (oh, sorry, I meant ‘the embrace of true servanthood’), we should pause to remember the woes of Christ against the Pharisees, the experts of religious self-promotion: ‘Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’’ (Matt. 23:5 – 7) ‘“Woe to… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

David
“When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;’ (1 Cor. 4:11, 12) Who’s up for that sort of servanthood?”

I happen to know a number of priests I would put into that category – male and female ones.
Our public squabbling obscures it and they are rarely the kind of people to get involved in church political debates. So they tend to get lost in the fray.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Of course – there is an outlet for those in the catholic tradition who do not esteem women worthy of the charism of priesthood (or episcopacy) – at least for the time-being – and that is to become Roman Catholics. Although, how long the Roman bias against women in ministry will last is anyone’s guess. Those who have already escaped for the archaic and questionable ‘certainty’ of avoidance of this issue – to the Ordinariate – may have cause later on (after some rigorous theological reflection on the part of Rome) to repent of their decision. The world outside has… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Erika,

Perhaps, as you say, there is such a quiet minority who avoid these debates.

Give me a gracious self-supporting lay person like you, any day, over the whited sepulchres who tout their ‘converse accident’ exceptions to their converts and beyond like ‘clanging brass’.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

David shepherd; are you by any chance a student or a practitioner of the art of campanology?