Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops: electronic voting results

Electronic voting results for last week’s General Synod on the women bishops legislation have now been published. These take the form of a pdf file, arranged by house, by vote (for/against/abstain) and then alphabetically.

Arun Arora, the Church of England Director of Communications, in announcing the publication of these results has reminded us all that Matthew 5:43-48 applies.

For convenience I have put the results into a spreadsheet arranged by synod number (which brings members together by diocese) for each house and added absentees and vacancies.

For this purpose an “absentee” is someone who did not record an electronic vote (for/against/abstention). There are various reasons for being an absentee; examples known to me include illness and being on sabbatical in New Zealand. In addition some at least of the three ecclesiastical judges consider it inappropriate to vote on church legislation which they may later have to enforce.

Update I have now added a webpage version of my spreadsheet.

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Alastair Newman
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Alastair Newman

I am genuinely delighted that Fr Alan Moses, vicar of All Saints Margaret Street (Resolution AB parish) voted in favour of the motion.

Gerry Lynch
Guest

No-one has ever explained to ordinary lay people what they’re actually doing when they elect their Deanery Synod delegates at the Parish AGM every five years. Time to start.

Targets for the next lay General Synod elections in England? Well, let’s start with Winchester 7 out of 8 lay delegates voted against. Chichester, London and Oxford also seem ripe for a bit of change – not all those people who attend Resolution C parishes agree with the FiF party line on women.

Loving your enemies does not mean one can’t make strenuous efforts to get them voted off General Synod.

Neil
Guest
Neil

I wonder how many TA commentators will object because the majority of London clergy reps failed to represent the wishes of their Diocesan Synod?!!!

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

OK so from a preliminary review of the No votes in the Laity, it does not appear that the legislation failed due to No votes cast by people who support women bishops in principle. Apart from Tom Sutcliffe, who else can be identified as belonging to that group?

Will Adam
Guest
Will Adam

Can anyone be bothered to do an analysis of how representative representatives were in terms of: a) The proportions who voted one way or the other in comparison to Diocesan Synod votes (eg, as has been pointed out, London diocesan synod voted against it but in the General Syndo the bishops were 100% in favour, clergy 60% in favour and laity 60% against); b) The proportions who voted one way or the other in comparison to the number of female clergy in the diocese (this is a difficult one to make work statistically but I’m sure there’s someone clever who… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

In Chichester the clergy vote was divided, as perhaps you might expect. The Laity vote was two for and six against. This exposes just how blatantly the GS representatives in this Diocese fail to reflect in any way the opinions of the person in the pew. The system has to change and has to change fast.

Josh L.
Guest
Josh L.

It appears that quite a lot of the laity who voted against the woman bishops were women themselves. I’m a little surprised to see this.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Simon, if you’re right, then perhaps Synod’s next item of business will be to ask Parliament to dissolve it.

Neil
Guest
Neil

I wonder how many TA commentators will object because the majority of London clergy reps failed to represent the wishes of their Diocesan Synod?!!!

badman
Guest
badman

Guildford is a liberal diocese but 3 out of 4 of its House of Laity members voted against.

RUK
Guest
RUK

Also Adrian Vincent apparently: “I voted against the draft legislation, not as a vote against the ordination of women to the episcopate, but as a vote against the provisions for anglo-catholics and conservative evangelicals in the legislation.”

Jonathan Jennings
Guest
Jonathan Jennings

Simon – that was my real fear; it means that there is seemingly no hope of a quick fix to this; & that it was the legislation itself that did not have the support it needed to pass the two-thirds hurdle.

That’s a bigger challenge and takes everything to 2015 and beyond. Only further concessions will see it through this synod; and no-one seems minded to explore that route; only hard-fought elections in 2015 will see it come back unchanged, or even harder-line and I even wonder about the feasibilty of success that way.

Hilary Cotton
Guest
Hilary Cotton

Keith Malcouronne in Guildford is one.

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

So the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, one time contender for Canterbury didn’t vote for, didn’t vote against, didn’t abstain but was ‘absent’!

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

The only figures I’ve come across show the percentage of Resolution B parishes and the proportion of Laity voting against the Measure Bath & Wells (C) 2.6% 1/5 Birmingham (C) 8.7% 0/3 Blackburn (Y) 28.1% 2/3 Bradford (Y) 7.2% 0/3 Bristol (C) 4.3% 1/3 Canterbury (C) 9.2% 0/3 Carlisle (Y) 5.7% 1/2 Chelmsford (C) 12.4% 4/7 Chester (Y) 11.8% 1/4 Chichester (C) 12.1% 5/8 Coventry (C) 6.6% 1/3 Derby (C) 5.5% 1/3 Durham (Y) 14.5% 1/4 Ely (C) 3.6% 0/3 Exeter (C) 9.0% 2/5 Gloucester (C) 2.3% 1/3 Guildford (C) 2.4% 3/4 Hereford (C) 0.6% 0/3 Leicester (C) 4.7% 1/3… Read more »

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

My understanding is that if the matter is to return to GS during the current quinquennium, it can only do so with the concurrence of the two presidents of the synod (+Cantuar & +Ebor), the Prolocutors of the two convocations, (Ven Christine Hardman and Revd Canon Glyn Webster) and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the House of Laity of the synod (Philip Giddings and Tim Hind) – the so-called “Group of Six”. How likely are they to concur given that two of them, Glyn Webster (soon to be Bishop of Beverley, the PEV in the Province of York) and Philip… Read more »

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

Gerry — Re your post at 3.17 pm: 1. Deanery synod members are not delegates, required to represent the views of their parishioners. In any event, unless there was a resolution at the APCM on a particular issue, it would be difficult, under the present CRR, to determine what the parochial view on any issue was. 2. By the same token, a diocese’s General Synod representatives are not delegates of the diocese. Therein lies the root of the problem in the vote last week. It’s not a case of ‘winner takes all’ as it is in the US presidential election,… Read more »

Clive Sweeting
Guest
Clive Sweeting

at least both of three?

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

Josh L wrote: “It appears that quite a lot of the laity who voted against the woman bishops were women themselves. I’m a little surprised to see this.” I’m not surprised, Josh. I’m a woman in orders and I know that there are women who do not support women’s ordinations. Heck, even when women were finally allowed behind the altar rail to assist in administering communion, in my church there was a woman who, every time a woman was there to administer the chalice, she would get up and walk out. As to the reasons, you will have to ask… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Chelmsford is another “interesting” case.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

RP Newark

You might find a majority in favour – I don’t think unanimity is required.

Tony
Guest
Tony

I’ve just crunched the laity numbers and a higher percentage of women laity voted against the measure than men – 36.67% vs 35.34%.

Peter Owen
Guest

Concerned Anglican – The Bishop of London was absent because he was ill.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

There will be lots of ways of analysing these figures. However, the dioceses where more than 50% of the laity representatives voted against will be regarded as the election battlegrounds for 2015. These are Blackburn, Chelmsford, Chichester, Guildford, London, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Rochester and Winchester, together making up 34 of the 74 votes against. On any measure these will be regarded as the ‘unrepresentative’ dioceses. Of these Blackburn and London had the largest no vote in the laity in absolute terms. The dioceses where there was 100% support in both the clergy and laity were Bradford, Ely, Hereford, Norwich, St Albans,… Read more »

Alan Wilson
Guest
Alan Wilson

I believe Mary Judkins has also said she voted against legislation but not principle.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

I guess that quite a few people who support WBs in principle will have voted against because they did not think there was sufficient provision for dissenters. A number of speeches followed that line. What I would like to know however is did any supporter of WBs vote against because they thought the measure already contained too many concessions to dissenters, and undermines the authority of WBs. WATCH had been suggesting that a number of their members held that view.

Confused sussex
Guest
Confused sussex

As predicted the Chichester Lay reps proved to be self serving rather reflecting the views of laity in the diocese – even as represented by their own (all be it highly selective) electorate of Deanery synod members

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Thank you for this very illuminating thread.

Instead of scolding the laity, perhaps people will pray and take stock. I’d be encouraged to have this genuinely democratic process in the US, but then, TEC is very stern in what counts for its ‘mission.’

Adrian Beney
Guest
Adrian Beney

I’ve now done an extensive analysis of this. Happy to upload the files if someone tells me where to put them. There’s some discussion and a supporting spreadsheet. Headline is that some dioceses’ GS reps voted considerably out of line with their own diocesan synods (albeit on a slightly different motion.) The most extreme were one where 88% of the House of Laity in Diocesan Synod voted in favour, but 2 of 3 GS reps voted against, and another where 70% of the diocesan synod laity voted in favour, and 3 of the 4 GS reps voted against. Conservatively speaking… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

David Lamming: I agree especially with your point 4. (“In most, if not all, dioceses, the candidates for election to General Synod produce election addresses, so their views on key issues, such as women bishops, should be stated.”) In addition it would be good if candidates’s election papers were available online. As a member of the clergy here in Rochester Diocese (and I guess this is standard) I didn’t even know who was standing for the House of Laity, and knew that at least some of my Deanery Synod reps might not know where the candidates stood on the issue… Read more »

Graeme Buttery
Guest
Graeme Buttery

My only comment on this si that we should all be careful about who is voting in line with whoever else. We make assumptions about how representative our various Synods etc are. I can think of several diocesan synods where the make up and voting isn’t necessarily in line with the parishes in my opinion. And that is the problem – my opinion. No legislature is ever totally representative of the electorate – see Parliament and the death penalty for example. And one final observation – the only way to find out how representative we are at every level is… Read more »

Leon Clarke
Guest
Leon Clarke

Have any of the people who ‘voted against the legislation but not the principle’ made clear what kind of legislation they would have been happy with?

Pam Smith
Guest

I take the point that General Synod members are delegates and don’t have to vote according to the wishes of the majority of Diocesan Synod lay members or laity in their Diocese. However the results seem to show that lay representatives in some areas are way out of line with the thinking of those who have been elected to Diocesan Synod – I think from the same pool of potential members – so the question that arises for me really is whether this system is actually giving proper representation to the views of lay people on any issue, and if… Read more »

Simon
Guest
Simon

Who says Diocesan Synods are representative of the people in the pews?

tommiaquinas
Guest
tommiaquinas

There seems to be an underlying assumption that our Diocesan Synods are more representative than our General Synod. Why? The Deanery Synod is the electoral college for both bodies.

primroseleague
Guest
primroseleague

And that, Simon, is a key point here. I know my own views on OoW are the minority here, but I would like to think I’d get a hearing as a “thinking” Anglican who is at least prepared to discuss it, and try and work together, rather than someone happy to be in a ghetto. Looking back at how the “debates” were conducted across the diocesan synods, it is pretty clear that some were vastly better run than others – I followed the reports at the time on this very site! I don’t know what the answer is at all,… Read more »

Jenny Petersen
Guest
Jenny Petersen

Re the balance of the debate: I wonder if it might have also helped if the discussion had been restricted to the measure and the provision rather than women’s ordination which had been debated/decided upon a while ago.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“[P]eople whose views were ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ seemed to be called more or less alternately.”

This concern has been raised several times now. It is not a valid concern.

Alternating speakers is normal procedure in large assemblies. Whatever the question is, alternate the pros and the cons.

How else could it be done, without vesting in the chair an inordinate power to influence the flow of the debate?

After all, until the vote is taken, no one knows what a “fair” proportion of speakers would be.

Gerry Lynch
Guest

@David Lamming – it’s possible to do this with a pledge system. It would probably get significant – very significant coverage in the secular media (look at the saturation coverage of last week’s vote) and therefore would reach the laity in a way the usual round of ecclesiastical politicking did not. Make people aware the Deanery Synod reps are the electorate for General Synod. Ask people to only vote for Deanery Synod members who agree to sign a pledge a long the lines of “I will only vote for candidates committed to the consecration of women to the episcopate at… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The editors of this blog would be grateful if those of you whose Christian names are either Simon or Peter would sign your comments with more than just your Christian name, so as to make it clear to visitors that you are not one of us, so to speak! Thanks.

Now to comment on what “Simon” said, I doubt that any synod, not even a Deanery level one is representative of the people in the pews.

Anne
Guest
Anne

Jenny Peterson wrote: “I wonder if it might have also helped if the discussion had been restricted to the measure and the provision rather than women’s ordination which had been debated/decided upon a while ago.” That’s an understandable point, but I think that the debate brought out the fact that actually, for some people at GS the issue of women’s ordination didn’t seem to have been decided upon not in their minds anyway. The vote to support it in principle had been passed, just as the decision to ordain women as priests had been passed 20 years ago, but that… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Not so much an analysis as some ramblings on synods and controversial decisions. Despite the major set back that the no vote has caused, pointing the finger at synod itself warrants some caution. There is, as far as I can tell, a great difference with regard to procedural issues in Canada by comparison with England. But, The Canadian Church has had a similar decision crisis, in the opposite direction, two General Synods ago. Here it was not the laity but the bishops who were the spoilers. They defeated by the slimiest of margins a measure passed by clergy and laity… Read more »

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

Anne (post at 8.10 am)—

In some dioceses the election addresses were placed on the diocesan website. Many can still be viewed online at http://gensyn.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/online-election-general-synod.html
However, not all who were opposed to women in the episcopate said so clearly. Hence my advice that, before deciding how to vote, an elector should challenge candidates to make their views clear on any important issue.

brackenrigg
Guest
brackenrigg

The people who ‘voted against the legislation but not the principle’ would like some legislation to cater for the needs of the traditionalist wing, not no legislation.

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

The way this matter was laid left anyone who had made a commitment to vote FOR women to back off. Take Glynn Harrison for example, in his Opening Statement found on YouTube he is for women bishops, his next statement on the place of catholic dissenters is not presented as qualifying that position nor is this evident in the hustings that followed here http://www.bristol.anglican.org/churches/gensynelections2010/audio/laity.mp3 , though you have to say that there is some wriggle room. But from my point of view it would be hard to argue that the bishops had failed to make the effort he said was… Read more »

Feria
Guest
Feria

Anne: ‘Does anyone know how the current position is squared with Canon A4?’

One obvious answer is that a Measure is primary legislation, whereas a Canon is subordinate legislation, so if there’s a direct contradiction between a Measure and a Canon [*], then the Measure stands.

[*] and I’m not necessarily saying there is any such direct contradiction

Beth
Guest
Beth

One of the 33 lay women who voted against is Vivienne Goddard from Blackburn Diocese who happens to be the wife of John Goddard the Bishop of Burnley – one of the 3 Bishops who voted against.

Christopher
Guest
Christopher

Feria, I think Anne’s point is that if Anglo-Catholics deny that women priests are priests, then they deny the religious doctrine described in the Canons of the Church of England.

The Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure provides a legal framework to accommodate dissenters, but it doesn’t endorse their views.

Church doctrine affirms that women priests ‘ought to be accounted, by themselves and others’, as priests. But the Church does not absolutely insist that this teaching be accepted. This is not considered an essential issue of faith like the ‘catholic creeds’ and ‘historic formularies’ to which new priests have to assent.

magistra
Guest

I think Anne’s point about a lack of acceptance of women’s ordination is key. The vast majority of the opponents of WB don’t see women priests as being valid either (or only in very clearly subordinated roles). So the practical problem is how do you give clergy an “honoured place” in an organisation when they don’t accept that 20% or more of their colleagues should be in their posts? Long term, the problem is only going to get worse, as a higher proportion of new ordinands are women. We can try and develop structures to keep opponents of WO in… Read more »

Dave Foster
Guest
Dave Foster

Please may I say that the majority of the lay people and clergy in Winchester Diocese are in favour of women Bishops and are very very sad and disappointed at the way that the majority of our lay members voted.