Thinking Anglicans

The London Plan

From the Diocese of London website:

THE LONDON PLAN

The ‘London Plan’ is a declaration made by the Bishop of London, all the Area Bishops and the Bishop of Fulham. It relates to the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993, the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and the Code of Practice 1994.

The London Plan sets out how certain parts of the Bishop of London’s authority – such as to ordain and license clergy – may be delegated to the other bishops of the Diocese of London.

Crucially it allows parochial church councils to petition the Bishop of London to allow pastoral care for that parish to be exercised by a bishop other than the Area Bishop, usually the Bishop of Fulham.

The plan is available for download: The London Plan.

This is a revised version of the Plan and is dated 1 July 2013.

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Laurence
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Laurence

What a wonderful plan.

This will give those who say, the Church of England is out of touch, or lacking in vision something about which to think.

I await its results with excitement.

(It gives “I have a Plan” a whole new meaning).

Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

This is hardly a good model for the wider Church. It is a scheme that has long given the Bishop of Fulham extensive access into three dioceses and their inner leadership sanctums. It is closely associated with Forward in Faith as if that pressure group were part of the formal legal structure of the Church. It has also created yet another ‘Flying Bishop’ and parishes under his charge, often tiny and priest dominated, have been able to escape reorganisational pressures. In practice such parishes are only loosely associated with the the Diocese of London. If the eventual advent of women… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

It would seem that H.E. The Bishop of London, is preempting whatever decision may be made by General Synod on the important matter of the division of those in the Church of England who will refuse to acknowledge the ministry of a woman bishop – by the implication that he himself, a bishop in the Church of England, himself, does not consider women fit to undertake such a ministry. What does this say about the sort of episcopal collegiality that will continue to be evidenced in that Church?

Jamie Wood
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Jamie Wood

Seems like a decent and respectful way to agree to disagree.

GR
Guest
GR

I don’t understand the meaning of Father Smith’s posting. In the circumstances of needing to find a workable compromise, the London Plan seems sensible to me, although it would be helpful to understand the numbers (parishes, priests and people) involved. Surely every diocese is going to have to make arrangements that best fit its profile. Why should London wait before getting on with it? I got the impression that Bishop Broadbent’s comments were well received at the General Synod in York. Anyway, the process will have to be dynamic; for one thing, the deed is going to have to be… Read more »

frdougal
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frdougal

I hate to point it out but within the diocese of London, Fulham is not a flying bishop. He is legally a suffragan of London as are the Area Bishops of Edmonton, Kensington, Willesden and Stepney. It actually makes far more ecclesiological sense than the PEV’s, as the diocesan retains the power and delegates all episcopal functions in designated areas to the suffragans under his jurisdiction.

Benedict
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Benedict

Father Ron Smith has finally got it! Episcopal collegiality is not possible if a traditionalist Bishop finds himself in a House of Bishops that counts female bishops among its members. How can it be, if the orders of his colleagues are somehow viewed as irregular. The London Plan has worked extremely well, so well done to the Bishops there for affirming that with this new proclamatiin.

Peter Sherlock
Guest
Peter Sherlock

I’m curious to know

a) what has changed in this iteration, and

b) what, if anything, Londoners have learned from the experience, in particular, how parishes reporting to the Bishop of Fulham participate fully in the mission and strategic direction of the wider diocese.

Is there anyone left in the Church of England who objects to the ordination of women as deacons? Or has this ministry been 100% ‘received’?

I note that the plan doesn’t place any restrictions on who could be appointed as Bishop of Fulham.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

This is not new. It has been in existence for a number of years and has, by and large, worked well. The reason for re-doing it now is that there is a new Bishop of Fulham who needs the backing of such an arrangement to do what he is there to do.

Laurence
Guest
Laurence

Forward in Faith have a hand in C of E and the Church of Rome (so many PEVs in Ordinariate) – very impressive !

Those in favour of women’s ministry we lag so far behind….

Observer
Guest
Observer

frdougal ‘Fulham is not a flying bishop’ – this is pure semantics, like if you’ll forgive the analogy, the difference between a civil partnership and a marriage.

peter kettle
Guest

If the Bishop of Fulham is a suffrgan of London,rather than a PEV, what happens if the next Bishop of London is a woman? And what happens to PEV’s if the next Archbishop of Canterbury and / or York is a woman?

As I think I have mentioned before, if Justin Welby could be promoted to the top so rapidly, there is no reason to discount these possibilities.

Pam Smith
Guest

I notice it mentions a ‘period of reception’, thereby acknowledging the possibility that the ordination of women may still not yet be ‘received’.

As far as I’m concerned, a policy which uses that concept as part if its rationale is doing nothing to support the ordained ministry of women. It may work well as a way of maintaining the status quo but it gets us no further.

Does the document explain what support is available for people and churches in Fulham and Edmonton who don’t want a Bishop who is against the ordination of women?

John
Guest
John

Peter Sherlock wrote “Is there anyone left in the Church of England who objects to the ordination of women as deacons? Or has this ministry been 100% ‘received’?” Crockford 2008-9 records some 4 dozen Decaonesses. The reasons they were not admitted to the diaconate will be varied, but I know of three who did not do so because they accepted the traditional restriction of Holy Orders to men. Laurence wrote: “Forward in Faith have a hand in C of E and the Church of Rome (so many PEVs in Ordinariate)” As far as I know, no members of F-in-F, let… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Granted that the Bishop of London – or, at least, the present one retains the right to delegate episcopal authority to whomever he chooses, but will that be the case for a Woman diocesan Bishop, in her own diocese? That, really, was the point of my posting.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

I never saw in writing the predecessor of this plan, but I had extensive experience of its working whilst I was a member of a Res C parish in Rochester diocese. I am surprised, but pleased, to find from a quick scan that this document makes no mention whatever of any diocese except London, and I wonder if its predecessor was the same in this respect. If so, I wonder why its provisions have been followed with such zeal for so long in Rochester and Southwark dioceses. I recall +London stating, after the shameful departure of the previous +Fulham, that… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“I notice it mentions a ‘period of reception’, thereby acknowledging the possibility that the ordination of women may still not yet be ‘received'” Did I misunderstand this? The CoE Women in the Episcopate document from May this year says: – Once legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England will be fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and will hold that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they… Read more »

ian
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ian

after the shameful departure of the the previous +Fulham. Why shameful? Surely we have a right to make decisions about our journey of faith? John Broadhurst may have been controversial. No doubt few TA contributers shed tears at his departure.Two ex bispops of Fulham and one ex bishop of London have gone over to Rome, and in the latter case there were letters to the newspapers demanding his knighthood be rescinded! Loosen up Malcolm and let the Spirit lead where it will. As for Southwark and Rochester, it was their respective Bishops who ‘bought in’ to the London plan, it… Read more »

Geo Nokes
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Geo Nokes

Surely it would still be possible to refer to the period of reception because the third of the five principles recently outlined in the General Synod is that the CofE understands it’s own clear decision in the context of the teaching of both the Western and Eastern Churches and some provinces of the Anglican Communion that only men shall be ordained bishop. This is an oblique reference to the on-going period of reception in the Universal Church.

Pam Smith
Guest

I’ve been told by some people that the ordination of women has now been received and by others that it hasn’t. However it is clearly stated in the London Plan that it is still in process. This document states on Page 4.2 that ‘the Bishops by this deed declare’: ‘In the continuing and dynamic process of Reception, which should be as open a process as possible, the integrity of different beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate will continue to be recognised and respected throughout the Diocese and the practical arrangements which follow give… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“Does the document explain what support is available for people and churches in Fulham and Edmonton who don’t want a Bishop who is against the ordination of women?”

What an excellent point.

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

A few quick responses: 1. The point about putting it out on the internet is so that people can see the working. The previous versions have never been made public before. I wanted our ways of working to be transparent. It also helps people understand what an agreement not based on legislation could look like (in that it could function without the Measure and Act of Synod). 2. When the WB legislation goes through, it will be amended (I wrote that into the Plan) and will I imagine reflect (for example)the 5 principles in the House of Bishops paper. And… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Ian asks ‘Why shameful?’ Not because Mgr Broadhurst followed his conscience and went back to the denomination of his birth – I have nothing but respect for individuals who find it necessary to follow their conscience. Shameful because, before doing so, he launched (at the annual meeting of FiF in 2010) into an intemperate public excoriation of the C of E which had nurtured and employed him for most of his life, comparing its leaders to Nazis! And then, displaying the monumental insensitivity for which he was notorious amongst supporters and opponents alike, continued to function as a bishop of… Read more »

David
Guest
David

‘At present, the Bishop of London ordains all deacons and the priests are done by the Area Bishops and the Suffragan. That works.’ Pete as someone that leads ordination retreats most years across a range of dioceses I can tell you how often I find myself listening to a woman deacon in tears of pain and anger that the next day her diocesan bishop will not be laying hands on her at that most holy moment – but to whom she is expected to pledge her loyalty and under whose oversight she is nevertheless expected to flourish and be fruitful.… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

@David – only because the CofE catholics have embraced this warped obsession with mono-episcopacy. If you share episcopacy, there’s no issue. Our clergy relate to their Area Bishop – not to the Diocesan. So there’s a symmetry in getting priested by the bishop you relate to. A bishop is a bishop is a bishop. And we need to get over the monarchical nonsense.

David
Guest
David

I agree with you Pete but it has not just been Catholic Bishops that have done this.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“CofE catholics have embraced this warped obsession with mono-episcopacy. If you share episcopacy, there’s no issue. Our clergy relate to their Area Bishop – not to the Diocesan. So there’s a symmetry in getting priested by the bishop you relate to. A bishop is a bishop is a bishop. And we need to get over the monarchical nonsense! – Bp. Pete Broadbent – From this outburst, it is clear that Bishop Pete Broadbent does not embrace catholic collegiality in the traditional sense. When he excoriates those catholic members of the Church of Enjgland who have been taught to give especial… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

This is all so strained. The simple solution is also the only one that says powerfully that women are created equally in the image of God, equally loved by God, and called to serve in all roles for healing and reconciliation in the world. If CoE is a private club, working out how to have women in the sandbox with the men, then I guess this strained process is reasonable. If the CoE wants to be a prophetic and healing voice in the world, then somehow this isn’t quite right. I appreciate that this is working out a pastoral approach… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Will a “Period of Reception” (which has never been formally rescinded with regard to the priesting of women) also pertain to women in the episcopate?

Helen
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Helen

Your last sentence hits the nail on the head, as so often, Cynthia.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Cynthia, I agree with you and I wish we could just welcome women at all levels of ministry. But I also see the other side of it. For me, when I first came to England, the CoE was an astonishing church. It was one that succeeded in keeping 3 completely different strands of churchmanship under one umbrella and that had found a way of making this work at a practical level. The best representation of the Body of Christ I had ever come across. A hint that unity without uniformity could be possible. It is precisely because it is not… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Father David,
if you scroll up to my previous post you will see the wording from the CoE Women in the Episcopate document from May this year.

The period of reception will be formally over.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

The Bishop of London is now 66 and +Edmonton will be soon. It will be interesting to see who their successors will be. +Londin’s successor is likely to be someone who has ordained women ( which might upset the relationship between him and the most traditional…he presumably wont be welcome to celebrate in some anglo-catholic churches as he is at present….and Maundy Thursday??)It would seem odd for a bishop who has been ordaining priests to stop doing so on his elevation to London surely….or will that be a condition of acceptance ( problematic in itself?)In Edmonton Area the women deacons… Read more »

David
Guest
David

If a ‘period of reception’ actually means what I have always assumed it meant when ++Carey first said it – ‘this will take some time to adjust too’ – then it naturally applies to women as bishops. (so where did the capital letter in ‘Reception’ come from? It gives an observation a quasi formal status that was surely never agreed or intended). But nor does it need any fixed time. It will take the time it takes. Perhaps the only measure will be when we cease to have women bishops and have bishops some of whom happen to be women.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Erika, you probably know that TEC incorporates a crazy wide range of stances and churchmanship. You hear about the schismatics of the most rigid of traditionalists (many coming back now), but our church is broad and diverse. I’m thinking how this happens and the big difference comes down to the fact that we elect our own bishops and call our own rectors. There is episcopal oversight, but it is rare to get a veto (thus +Gene Robinson passed muster). Thus parishes and dioceses tend to get clergy who more or less “fit” their profile, political leanings, etc. CoE is more… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cynthia, from a purely theological point of view our evangelicals have fewer insurmountable difficulties than our Anglo-Catholics. They believe that women can be priests they just believe that they ought not to be priests. So they could, if pushed, cope with the system you describe. They would end up with a Bishop they thoroughly disapproved of but it would not be impossible for them to cope with that. But how do your Anglo-Catholics who believe that female ordination is an intrinsic impossibility cope with having women bishops? How do they live with male priests ordained by women bishops? How do… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“But how do your Anglo-Catholics who believe that female ordination is an intrinsic impossibility cope with having women bishops? How do they live with male priests ordained by women bishops? How do they accept the sacraments from a bishop they do not believe to be ordained?” Unlike England, as far as I can tell, we have liberal AC churches. I’m AC and attend an AC parish that has had two female rectors for a combined 24 years or so. I’m not a scholar, but I live with one! In the Middle Ages the RC’s came up with a doctrine that… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cynthia, we also have liberal Anglo-Catholics, they’re not the ones who are causing us problems. And while it is true that the validity of the sacraments does not depend on the morals or actions etc. of a priest, it does rather depend on the priest BEING a priest. Traditional Anglo-Catholics have no problem with many of our current bishops whose theology they disagree with, precisely because of that. The whole system within the CoE where all groups of churchmanship are united under one Diocesan is precisely testament to that. You say that you had and have Anglo-Catholics like we do… Read more »

Clive
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Clive

Erika: Perhaps the best answer in terms of how it plays out in the US is here:

http://www.episcopalarchives.org/cgi-bin/the_living_church/TLCarticle.pl?volume=212&issue=19&article_id=7.

There were to begin with far fewer traditional Anglo-Catholics and most left to continuing Anglican denominations a long time ago, so the “problem” such as it is, is relatively insignificant in the US and Canada. Small as the number of Resolution C parishes might be, I think it’s a much greater proportion of traditional parishes than you’d find in either the US or Canada.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Could you, personally, accept a bishop who was not ordained? That is what we’re asking of our traditional Anglo-Catholics. If yours have found a theologically sound way of dealing with this problem I would really really like to hear about it.” In some situations, female bishops have graciously allowed male bishops to do the visitations at their AC churches. In other situations, especially early on, the female bishop insisted on making the visit, very confrontational. When they call their rectors, they likely know who ordained them. The AC parishes can keep their male line priests going for a long time,… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Clive cited the example of one of the less diplomatic visits. There are many examples of female bishops sending male bishops as a pastoral response. Hence, this is certainly an example, but not a “best example.” And it’s from 1996. I note that St. Paul’s K Street is still in TEC. I’ve worshipped there, I have friends who go there, and have sung in the choir, etc. They seem just fine today. Even though I see that visit as the “bull in the china shop” version, I note that there were 2 other Eucharists that morning where people could do… Read more »

Clive
Guest
Clive

I chose that example partly because it was readily found and also because it kind of encapsulates all the issues. Yes it was undiplomatic but also reflected the hard reality that the bishop was a woman and no amount of traditionalist wishing would change that. I also worshipped there for 6 months in 1992 – I was in Washington at the time my own church approved women priests so it was a foretaste of things to come. I liked that Fr. Martin was able to recognize and represent both views within his parish, but it does highlight that in the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I think the problem we have here is that examples like Clive’s are possible. They should not be. I think underlying our differences is a different view of those who do not share our theology. If they are seen as a problem to be appeased while secretly despised for being so misogynist then we believe our own view to be superior and see ourselves as bestowing favours to the minority view. But if we recognise that we are all equal members of the same church, all with the same right to being able to continue our worship there, then we… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“A set up whereby women bishops can but do not have to make provisions for traditionalists is not acceptable. Not to them but not to many mainstream people either.”

I see no problem with a pastoral solution. The problem with a statutory exclusion is that it a powerful message of inequality. There is a really big difference. How to be pastoral and supportive of all female clergy is the question.

Helen
Guest
Helen

There seems to be a general view that the bishop was wrong . Yet the church was crowded, and on the priest’s own admission, there was a substantial (nearly half?) minority who welcomed the bishop. The priest should surely have taken that into account. His greeting was ungracious to the point of rudeness, and while one might have hoped for a more emollient response, the bishop can hardly be blamed for just nodding back. Unfortunately some priests can demonstrate a rather autocratic attitude towards their own congregations, and it may be the bishop ‘s duty to challenge that.

Clive
Guest
Clive

Helen, I think, with respect, you are wrong. Fr. Richard C Martin actually did a phenomenal job in holding together an Anglo-Catholic congregation that was divided on WO and his greeting to the bishop reflected that. He recognized both groups within the congregation, welcomed her on behalf of the pro side but also noted that the visit, by its nature, inherently upset the balance he had worked so very hard to maintain. I frankly cannot see how he could have said anything better to accomodate both groups in his own congregation, his own integrity, and the bishop.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cynthia, the problem with a purely pastoral solution is that your version of it is completely dependent on the bishop wanting to be pastoral. Clive’s example shows that your pastoral provisions are not always successful. Helen’s comment shows that their success is very much open to individual interpretation – and therefore a recipe for continuous unrest. What we are hoping for for the CoE are pastoral provisions not enshrined in law, that are nevertheless stronger and more binding than what TEC has offered. That’s pragmatic – because otherwise the Measure will not succeed. And it is morally correct too, in… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Clive’s example was from 1996. A female bishop from California was recently in England talking about a very different experience. Nonetheless, even in the 1996 example, half the parishioners WANTED the visit. Why do the conservatives get all the sympathy? Seeing as CoE isn’t on the front-end of this moral issue, it is in the luxurious position of learning from those of us who were on the front end. Finally, the culture is different. And I don’t mean US vs. UK. A female bishop in the 90’s would have come of age in the 60’s and 70’s when justice was… Read more »

Helen
Guest
Helen

I really cannot agree with either Clive or Erika here. Holding a congregation together by , inter alia, not allowing the bishop to visit, even when her visit is supported by half the congregation, is not satisfactory. And because pastoral provisions are not always successful does not mean that they are not the best option available. Unrest may well happen: why should that be a bad thing? I don’t see that Jesus was a terribly restful person to have around, so why should members of the church expect to be wrapped in a permanent comfort blanket? I doubt whether most… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Helen, what I mind about Clive’s example is that it is arbitrary. That there is no process, shall we say, by which this question could have been sorted out before it upset a lot of people. And that is exactly what our traditionalists are worried about. By the same token, the developments in the CoE since the vote to ordain women has been one that no-one had really anticipated. Anglo-Catholic parishes have created virtual enclosures within the CoE, supported structurally by Flying Bishops who have virtually developed a Third Province in all but name. I would like to see a… Read more »