Thinking Anglicans

Women bishops: more responses to GS Misc 1033

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes has published her response to GS Misc 1033 on her own blog and you can read it in full here. She makes her own alternative proposal for replacement wording:

‘To promote the flourishing of, and foster co-operation between, parishes whose PCCs have, and have not, signed Letters of Request under clause 3 of this Measure’.

But you will need to read her full response in order to understand why she makes this proposal.

WATCH has issued the following statement:

Petition to remove Clause 5(1)(c) from the Women Bishops Measure

You may be aware that legislation to allow women to be bishops in the Church of England has been going through General Synod and the Diocesan Synods for several years. Final approval was to have been in General Synod in July this year. However, the Archbishop of Canterbury was concerned that it did not do enough for those people who are opposed to women priests and, in May this year, the House of Bishops decided to insert an amendment that fundamentally changed the draft legislation.

In the Archbishop of Canterbury’s own words, this amendment to the legislation that had been agreed by 42 of the 44 dioceses “de-stabilised” the steady progress towards final approval.

The draft legislation already allowed parishes effectively to “opt out” by requesting a male priest or bishop. However, the clause that the House of Bishops inserted into it [Clause 5(1)(c)] would have further allowed them, in effect, to choose their own bishop and to insist that the male bishop selected for them had never ordained a woman or been ordained by a woman. This angered so many people that WATCH started a petition to enable their voices to be heard.

An initial avalanche of signatures – 5,000 in just one week – showed the strength of feeling on this issue, and when General Synod met in July it decided to adjourn the final approval debate as it had become clear that it was unlikely that the amended version of the Measure would have enough support to be passed.

Since then the number of people signing has fallen away, probably because people feel that the battle has been won. However, the amendment has not yet been withdrawn, and when the House of Bishops meets in September it could still decide to keep the same amendment, or – more likely – try to come up with another version of it. WATCH believes that it is time to stop tinkering with the legislation and allow General Synod finally to vote on the Measure as it was agreed by the dioceses.

If you have not already signed WATCH’s petition please do so, in time for the meeting on 10 September and, even if you have, please try to encourage everyone you know who wishes to see women made bishops on the same basis as men to sign. There is a link to the petition on the WATCH website:

You can still make a difference, and help to ensure that when General Synod meets again in November it is able to vote to approve the legislation that has carried the support of 95% of the Dioceses of the Church of England.

Here is a link to the petition.

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Father Ron Smith
11 years ago

If the Women Bishops Measure fails, I, for one, would put it down to the interference of the House of Bishops’ Amendment 5.1.c.

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