Madeleine Davies reports in today’s Church Times Women bishops: a lot of ground for the Synod to make up.
…Today is the deadline for responses to a consultation document about the options, which was circulated to Synod members by the secretary-general, William Fittall.
By Wednesday, only about one member in ten had responded. The General Synod Office reported “more than 50” submissions, the “great majority” from Synod members, but also some “from individuals and others from groups”. There are 477 Synod members.
Such a low response will make it difficult for the House of Bishops to ascertain the mind of the Synod when it meets to discuss the Measure on 12 September, although several dioceses are planning their own consultations later.
This week, Synod members expressed preferences for four of the seven options…
The press release from GRAS referred to in this news report is copied below the fold.
Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod
Press briefing for immediate release 14th August 2012
Amendment to the Draft Bishops and Priests [Consecration and Ordination of Women] Measure
On 9 July the General Synod voted to adjourn the Final Approval debate on the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to enable the House of Bishops to reconsider the new clause 5(1)(c) which it had inserted in May during the Article 7 Reference. Subsequently a discussion document (GS Misc 1033) was commissioned by the House of Bishops Standing Committee so that diocesan bishops can take soundings before they meet on 12 September to reconsider that provision.
The document offers for consultation in para 2 three alternative avenues.
- Retain clause 5(1)(c)
- Amend the draft Measure by removing clause 5(1)(c)
- Amend the draft Measure by replacing clause 5(1)(c) with a different provision.
GRAS favours the second possibility – ‘Amend the draft Measure by removing clause 5(1)(c)’
The reasons for this view are that:
- the unamended Measure (prior to the Bishops’ amendments) was carefully negotiated and agreed in detail over a considerable time, and was accepted by a huge majority of dioceses (42/44)
- the unamended Measure already reflects enormous compromise. The outcry against the Bishops’ amendments that led to the current adjournment of the debate suggests that any further compromise goes too far. The Church of England risks finding itself in a position where people who long to see women and men as bishops together will vote against the Measure, because the compromises it makes would be too damaging to the church and to our theology of the place of men and women in creation.