Thinking Anglicans

GRAS writes to General Synod members

GRAS (Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod) have sent the letter below to the members of General Synod to express their opposition to the bishops’ amendment to Clause 5 of the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure, and urging Synod members to adjourn their debate to allow the bishops to think again.

GRAS
Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod

27th June 2012

Dear Member of General Synod,

The Act of Synod all over again

It’s the Act of Synod all over again – but worse this time: more divisive, and proposed to be written into law.

Amendment 5(1)(c) in the latest draft of the women bishops legislation (the Draft Bishops and Priests [Consecration and Ordination of Women] Measure) goes beyond the previously agreed form of the Measure in that it invites congregations to judge the theological convictions of the bishops they consider acceptable. This is unprecedented in privileging in law undefined theological positions, and in allowing congregations to sit in judgment over the characteristics of their bishop.

We have worked and prayed for many years for Women Bishops and would find it deeply painful to say No to this Measure. However, many people, who long for the Church of England to have women bishops, cannot support it in its present form.

We urge you to support an adjournment to allow time for the Bishops to reconsider Amendment 5(1)(c). If this does not happen, we ask you to prayerfully consider voting the amended measure down.

With our concern and prayers,
Yours sincerely,
Ruth McCurry
GRAS Chair

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Father David
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Father David

So, after offering firm leadership (which we are often told is the function of the episcopate) in fine tuning the Measure and voting in favour of the amended Measure by a large majority – their Lordships are now being requested by GRAS and “Senior women clergy” to go away and reflect further. I hope that our overseers are made of sterner stuff than to accept being treated like a naughty dog being sent to a corner with its tail between its legs. If the bishops accede to this request one would begin to wonder what is the point of the… Read more »

robert Ian williams
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robert Ian williams

A shrewd move as I felt the the motion
( unamended or amended) was going to be defeated any way.

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
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Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

Quite so, David. It’s the 42 dioceses who, after presenting a remarkably unified front on this matter, should accept being treated like naughty dogs being sent to a corner with their tails between their legs.

Pam Smith
Guest

‘Firm leadership’ … hmmmmmm. If a vicar tried to exercise ‘firm leadership’ by overruling a decision that had been thought through so thoroughly, and voted for overwhelmingly, I think s/he might rightly expect letters to be written to the Bishop, and senior staff to enquire what was going wrong. We aren’t conscripts, with no choice but to do what we are told – we are all of us volunteers, even those who are currently employed by the C of E have a choice about whether they continue, and those who participate in churches without the benefit of a stipend even… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

A shrewd observation Ian – in that the runes do indeed suggest defeat (unamended or amended). I note that the senior women clergy (it’s that “two-tier” concept creeping in again – if some are “senior” then presumably others are junior? Personally I’ve never warmed, being one myself, to the title “inferior clergy”!)similarly seeing the writing on the wall – have now requested that the amemded Measure be referred back to the House of Bishops for further reflection – “to be returned to General Synod for approval LATER IN THE YEAR”. I see that the last item on the July Synod’s… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Perhaps, I should capitulate to the liberal view on this from the very start.

It might mean that, on this thread, I’ll preserve my right to a final rebuttal.

Perhaps, I’ll just wait to see what the leading lights have to say before I choose to think submissively.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

Williams time as Archbishop has been a tragedy, in the classic sense and I feel terribly sorry for him. But however personally sad this is for him, the C of E must do the right thing as soon as it can. Protecting its Archbishop from himself cannot be be its priority.

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

“Leadership is not always about knowing you are right and ploughing on regardless. It is also about gauging what is possible by listening and responding to those you lead.” – Pam Smith. That is precisely what the Bishops have done, gauged what is possible, listened and responded, cf. following motions by Diocese, and the mind of the General Synod in February, as well as countless occasions on which the two thirds support has not materialised after translating voting patterns. There is a clear majority, for example, in the House of Laity who, although desirous of women bishops, wish to see… Read more »

Jean Mary Mayland
Guest
Jean Mary Mayland

The Archbishop brought the problems upon himself by putting the desires of a vociferous minority before the expressed will of the Church.He is also influenced by a desire to ‘cosy up ‘ to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“If the bishops accede to this request one would begin to wonder what is the point of the House of Bishops? ” – Father David –

Well, as you yourself have observed on another threead, David, the Bishops are meant to lead – but not to govern! General Synod, and the Draft Measure, looks like being the Authority here, and needs to be respected by the House of Bishops.

Father David
Guest
Father David

What desperately sad things people do write about a truly great man – Rowan our chief pastor and Archbishop. “a tragedy”? I think not – just go to Archbishop Rowan’s web site and read some of his profoundly deeply spiritual sermons and speeches to see there the depth of intellect and spirituality contained therein. “‘cosy up’ to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches” – a far from worthy comment on the Ecumenical Movement – Unity is, after all, in accordance with Our Blessed Lord’s will. “That they should all be one” – as He said in His Gethsemane prayer. In… Read more »

Pam Smith
Guest

@ Benedict – it has been flagged up more than once that Parliament will not pass any discriminatory legislation.

By adding those amendments, regardless of how General Synod reacted, the eventual passing of the legislation was therefore made far less possible.

In this sense it is hard to argue that proper leadership has been exercised, unless the intention was to end up with no legislation. In which case they should say so.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“rather than pursuing an innovation that so obviously brings with it disunity and disharmony? As ever, Benedict is highly perceptive in his comments – “be careful what you wish for”.” Posted by: Father David This sounds a wee bit like the arguments made by the Scribes and Pharisees – about the significant changes that Jesus was about to bring to the ethos of Jewish contemporary religion. In his arguments about tradition, Jesus said, in one notable instance: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”. In other words, tradition is not the only consideration in pursuit of… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Father Ron, the oft quoted mantra is that we are “episcopally led and synodically governed”. However, recent events have shewn that to impose two systems – one of leadership and the other of governance – upon one body is not the wisest or the best system of organisation and leads to great difficulties – as we have seen to our cost. Once again – the age old question must be asked – within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion where does true Authority lie?

peterpi - Peter Gross
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peterpi - Peter Gross

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” But! I suspect that Jesus would also agree with the Jewish saying, “More than Israel has kept Shabbat [the Sabbath], Shabbat has kept Israel.” At first glance, these two statements seem to oppose each other. However, Shabbat represents the notion that there is more to life than mindless drudgery. There is more to life than just working for your existence or creating wealth. Life is also about beauty and reflection and enjoyment, and it is okay to occasionally take a break. I believe “the Pharisees” of the Gospels, as… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

“..within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion where does true Authority lie? “

It remains – as designed – dispersed …….

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

Fr David, I reflected on the differences between leadership and g9overnance in my essay contribution to “Shared Governance” that focuses on structures of the Episcopal Church. But the general principle applies: leadership is intended to motivate, and governance to regulate. In a properly functioning polity, they work together. When they are not working as they should — witness much of the difficulty in the AC, the CoE and TEC — it is often due to one element or another of the system attempting a play at “authority” — which is the power to impose. The most effective leaders are those… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

“@ Benedict – it has been flagged up more than once that Parliament will not pass any discriminatory legislation.” – Pam Smith. Say no more. Pam Smith has given great weight to the argument I posited earlier, namely that of the secular mentality which is currently driving proponents of the current innovation, hence the recourse to the secular arguments and claims of MPs.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

A tragedy is not played out where trivial things happen to venially-minded people. It happens when a really great person is destroyed, or is lured into terrible behaviour, by circumstances revealing the fatal flaw in their personality which then plays out with terrible results.

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Getting back to the remonstrations of GRAS, Watch (isn’t this the same group as Senior Women?), Affirming Catholics et al.. If they had bothered to listen and think, rather than reacting in “knee-jerk” fashion to increased affirmation of traditionalists, they might have noticed that their arguments were rebutted in advance by the Archbishops’ statement on 25th May! http://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2012/05/women-bishops-statement-from-the-archbishops-of-canterbury-and-york-about-the-amendments-to-clause-5-and-clause-8-of-the-draft-measure.aspx

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

ps “..within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion where does true Authority lie? ”

I think GRAS, WATCH, Affirming Catholics et al firmly believe it should now lie solely in their hands! Witness the apparent power grab in Southwark…. presumably because the rest of us aren’t liberal enough. And the rumoured attempt to replace ++Rowan with another Affirming Catholic – +Norwich – as a “compromise candidate”(!!!) rather than rotate to an evangelical.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Tobias makes a helpful contribution to the discussion when he writes:- “leadership is intended to motivate, and governance to regulate” – although personally I’d have thought that “governance” was there to rule. Unless, of course, the governance referred to is that which is currently exercised by the present House of Lords which is indeed at present a regulatory body for House of Commons legislation. However, this whole discussion and disagreement over the issue of women and the episcopate is rather like Cameron and Clegg fiddling with House of Lords reform while the country goes to Hell in a handcart.

Pam Smith
Guest

Surely the answer to the question ‘who holds authority’ is the monarch as Supreme Governor of the Church of England? The role of Parliament flows from that. Even if the Anglican Covenant had been accepted by a majority of Diocesan Synods, giving the Archbishop quasi-Papal authority across the whole Anglican Communion, without disestablishment this position would have been unchanged within the Church of England. I think not only the Bishops, but a lot of other people, have forgotten that Parliament has no obligation to rubber stamp legislation put forward by the Church of England. That may be uncomfortable to different… Read more »

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

RevDave – actually WATCH waited, consulted and deliberated long and hard before issuing a very lenthy discussion document – we deliberately are not telling GS members how to vote as opinion is divided amongst supporters of women bishops on that one. What we agree on is tht the Bishops’ amendment to clause 5 is very unhelpful and better removed. If it is not, then there is a hard decision about how to vote. And Graham James – my bishop – is hard to label. He is an excellent bishop, liked by parishes and people of all shades here. If he… Read more »

bob
Guest
bob

Jean Mayland says ++ Rowan “is also influenced by a desire to ‘cosy up ‘ to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Would that be the 2 denominations who make up the overwhelming bulk of Christendom, West and East then, Jean? Well who gives a toss what they think; we’re little englanders and we know better!

Lindsay Southern
Guest
Lindsay Southern

Bob, perhaps Jean is aware that the remit of anglican ecumenical relationships encompasses, but is wider than, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Equally important are those whom we work alongside for the Kingdom of God. Some of whom we already have a covenant ie Methodists & Porvoo. If we fail to admit women to the episcopate in a way that enables their ministry to flourish or admit them in a way that compromises their humanity and identity in Christ, then we jeopardise those ecumenical relationships too. We care greatly about ALL our ecumenical relationships, but we also need to… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Numbers make right?! Well, shouldn’t we all be Muslim, then?

Still, it’s baffling that conservatives say “The Truth isn’t decided by what’s popular” then turn around and say, “But Rome and the EO have more people, so we have to listen!”

There’s a word for that, though it is feared by moderators.