Thinking Anglicans

Early Day Motion on Women Bishops

An Early Day Motion has been filed in the House of Commons by Frank Field, MP.

Early day motion 2688

That this House welcomes the moves by the General Synod of the Church of England to pass legislation permitting women to be bishops; notes that the Synod has now concluded its consultation with the dioceses on the Women in the Episcopate: draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure; further welcomes the result of those consultations, with 42 out of 44 dioceses voting in favour; is encouraged by the overwhelming support shown by 85 per cent. of bishops, 76 per cent. of clergy and 77 per cent. of the laity voting in favour; encourages the House of Bishops to commend the Measure for final approval as currently drafted; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to work with the governing authorities of the Church of England including the Archbishops’ Council, the House of Bishops and the General Synod to ensure that the express wishes of the overwhelming majority of those consulted across the Provinces of Canterbury and York are met by expeditiously tabling the Measure in Parliament for its approval.

A press release from Frank Field gives background information:

MPs call on the Church of England to “get on with it” and pass the necessary legislation to allow for the ordination of women as Bishops.

A group of MPs today begin a campaign to seek support for the consecration of women bishops. The MPs have tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons to coincide with the meeting of the General Synod which starts on Monday.

The EDM aims to prevent members of the General Synod employing delaying tactics to prevent the decision coming to Parliament for approval. Any such move will have little if any support from MPs who wish for the consecrations to proceed as quickly as possible.

The Synod has now concluded its consultation with the Dioceses on the “Women in the Episcopate: draft bishops and priests (consecration and ordination of women) Measure”. The MPs believe the results of this Diocesan consultation are overwhelming: there is firm support for the ordination of women as Bishops. The EDM makes clear that no delay by Synod is necessary or appropriate.

In November 1992 the Synod voted in favour of the Women Priests Measure, and the initial discussions of the ordination of women as Bishops began twenty years ago. In 2005 the Synod voted to remove the ‘legal barriers’ to allow for the ordination of women as Bishops. The signatories of the EDM believe that any further delay will look exactly like what it is: an attempt to thwart the repeatedly expressed will of General Synod on the issue of opening the Episcopate to women.

The EDM’s primary sponsor, Frank Field MP said: “The Bishops and General Synod need to simply “get on with it”. 20 years is too long for debate. The consultation exercise showed that there is a substantial support for the Measure and I hope the Synod will see sense when voting.”

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Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
12 years ago

Voice of common sense and common humanity – at last.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
12 years ago

There are going to be more of these warning shots across the bows of General Synod. The consequences of a ‘no’ vote in July (assuming the sheenanigans this week pass off uneventfully) will be seismic in the CofE, probaby pressaging the end of Establishment and marginalising the Church for ever.

Father Ron Smith
Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

Unless the two Archbishops have unseen forces ready to block proceedings, it would seem, democratically, that the Measure should pass on the Code of Practice that allows a Woman Bishop jurisdiction in her own diocese. Let’s hope that this happens – for the lasting credibility of the Church of England.

12 years ago

I hope Synod will do the right thing this week and in July–but this is a new Synod.

One fears that the Archbishops’ mistakes of principle and strategy will haunt the CofE for years.

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