Updated again Friday evening
Forward in Faith has published this statement:
Members of Forward in Faith can take some comfort from the House of Bishops’ recent decision to resist calls to delete clause 5(1)(c) of the Women Bishops’ draft Measure, added by the House in May. The revised clause, with the welcome language of ‘respect’ at its heart, indicates that the theological convictions held by traditional catholics and orthodox evangelicals on this disputed question continue to occupy an authentic and honourable place in Anglican teaching and practice.
Should this draft legislation receive Final Approval in November, the proposed Code of Practice will assume huge significance in setting out the manner in which the new clause 5(1)(c) will be interpreted and implemented. There is, therefore, a good deal more work to be done on the legislative package as a whole before its full implications for traditionalists can be properly assessed.
In the meantime, attention returns to the text of the draft Measure as a whole, in advance of the debate on Final Approval. The question for members of General Synod remains the same: is this legislation fit for purpose in meeting the needs of all members of the Church of England, both those who welcome, and those unable to receive, the development of ordaining women as bishops?
WATCH has also issued a statement:
Today the House of Bishops announced that it had voted by a large majority to substitute a new set of wording in place of the controversial Clause 5(1)c.
WATCH is pleased that the House of Bishops listened to the anxieties voiced concerning their amendment to the legislation in May, and is encouraged by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recognition of the enrichment that the ordained ministry of women has brought to the Church of England and her mission.
WATCH is, however, disappointed that the House of Bishops did not feel able to withdraw Clause 5(1)c completely.
It will take time to explore the implications of the new wording fully and WATCH will now begin a process of consultation with members and others before issuing any further comment.
The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said
“The House of Bishops has today confirmed its commitment to having women as bishops and has attempted to find a new way forward that will ensure the draft legislation is passed by General Synod in November. Time will tell whether the new Clause 5(1)c will produce the desired outcome.”
Update REFORM has now made a further comment which you can see here.
No new statement has yet appeared from REFORM but a spokesman is quoted in this report from the BBC Women bishops: Anglicans still unsure over new wording.
…The Reverend Paul Dawson, spokesman for the conservative evangelical group Reform, said the new clause was “not going to win any more votes from our constituency.”
Of the previous House of Bishops amendment, he said: “Although we weren’t entirely happy with that, there was a sense in which we could probably have lived with it.”
Reform is holding a conference later this month which he said would discuss “Assuming this goes through as it is, what do we do then?”
Already young men from evangelical parishes who were considering entering the clergy were unsure whether there would be a welcome for them in the Church, said Mr Dawson…
A letter has been sent to the House of Bishops by a group of senior women clergy. The full text is published below the fold.
The Church Times reports in an article Amended women-bishops clause speaks of ‘respect’ what the Catholic Group in the General Synod said:
…On Monday, the Catholic Group in the General Synod said that it was grateful to the House of Bishops for “retaining the lifebelts in Clause 5(1)(c)” but “concerned that they have let some of the air out of them by reducing ‘is consistent with’ to ‘respects’”. The Group “continues to have grave doubts about the seaworthiness of this ship [the Measure] and the reduction in the effectiveness of the lifebelts gives it less confidence in the proposed voyage”.
Church Society reports that:
…This month, the Society’s council will be writing to the House of Bishops expressing our guarded support for the suggested rewording of clause 5(1)c. We shall express that while finding a form of words we can agree on is important, ultimately our primary concern is protecting the place of biblical ministry consistent with 2,000 years of Christian tradition.
Text of Letter from Senior Women Clergy
To: Members of the House of Bishops
We are writing in response to the announcement of the amended wording of 5.1.c.
We would have preferred the deletion of the clause. However, in the light of the process that has brought us to this point the new wording addresses enough of our concerns to enable us to encourage General Synod to vote for the final approval of the Measure.
An important part of the process will be ensuring together that the Code of Practice provides sufficient clarity and guidance.
We continue to hope that grace and generosity will characterise the Church within which women are consecrated as bishops and where all will have the potential to flourish.
We are committed to continuing our engagement with those whose views differ from our own.
With thanks and prayers for the coming months
The Reverend Canon Sarah Bullock, Bishop’s Advisor for Women’s Ministry, Diocese of Manchester
The Venerable Dr Anne Dawtry, Archdeacon of Halifax
The Venerable Penny Driver, Archdeacon of Westmorland and Furness
The Venerable Christine Froude, Archdeacon of Malmesbury
The Venerable Karen Gorham, Archdeacon of Buckingham
The Reverend Canon Jane Hedges, Canon Steward & Archdeacon of Westminster
The Venerable Canon Janet Henderson, Archdeacon of Richmond
The Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons
The Reverend Rosemary Lain-Priestley, Dean of Women’s Ministry, Diocese of London
The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham
The Very Reverend June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury
The Venerable Jane Sinclair, Archdeacon of Stow and Lindsey
The Reverend Canon Celia Thomson, Canon Pastor, Gloucester Cathedral
The Venerable Rachel Treweek, Archdeacon of Hackney
The Very Reverend Dr Frances Ward, Dean of St Edmundsbury
The Venerable Christine Wilson, Archdeacon of Chesterfield
The Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector, St James’s Piccadilly