Thinking Anglicans

Women in the Episcopate

The new proposals to allow women to be consecrated as bishops in the Church of England were published this morning. They will be debated at General Synod on Wednesday 20 November, and comprise these four papers:

GS 1924 – Report of the Steering Committee for the Draft Legislation on Women in the Episcopate
GS 1925 – Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure
GS 1926 – Draft Amending Canon No.33
GS 1925-6x – Explanatory Memorandum

A guide to these papers [GS Misc 1061] has also been published and is copied below.

GS Misc 1061
Women in the episcopate- guide to the papers

1. In view of the significance of the material that it has produced and the fact that it is distributed across several documents the Steering Committee thought that Synod members might find it helpful to have a very short note on how they fit together.

2. The Steering Committee’s report is at GS 1924 and is the natural place to start. It gives an overview of the Committee’s work and of the package of proposals that it is recommending. It also explains the motion that the Steering Committee is bringing to the Synod in November and what the process would be thereafter.

3. Drafts of two elements of the package – the House of Bishops’ Declaration and the Regulations establishing a disputes resolution procedure – are set out at Annexes A and B of the report. In addition there is some background material on the disputes resolution procedure at Annex C. The drafts of the Declaration and the Regulations are, at this stage, proposals to the House of Bishops, which will consider them in more detail in December and then bring them, together with a motion for debate, to the Synod in February.

4. The other two elements of the package are the draft Measure and Amending Canon. These can be found at GS 1925 and 1926 respectively, together with an Explanatory Memorandum from the Legal Office at GS 1925-6X.

5. These two items of legislation are being brought for first consideration in November. The Steering Committee, with the consent of the Business Committee, is proposing that they be committed for revision in full Synod. This would enable all four elements of the package to be considered at the same group of sessions in February.

William Fittall 23 October 2013
Secretary General

There is also Women in the Episcopate: A Statement from the Archbishops which is copied below the fold.

Women in the Episcopate: Statement from the Archbishops

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have welcomed the progress made by the Steering Committee charged with the preparation of draft legislation to enable women to become bishops. The Committee has met several times during September and October to prepare proposals for consideration at the November meeting of the General Synod.

The proposals of the committee are published today. In response the Archbishop of Canterbury and York have today issued a joint statement:

“It is significant that the 15 members of the Steering Committee chaired by Bishop James Langstaff of Rochester, who represent the widest possible range of opinion on the matter, have been able to reach substantial agreement on a package of proposals to put to General Synod in November. For this we thank God, and we pray in hope that this will help General Synod debate and decide on the necessary next steps to enable women to become bishops.

“We are also profoundly grateful to all the members of the Committee who have engaged with each other and with their shared task in such depth and with such care and prayer throughout the intense deliberations of the past few weeks. Our particular thanks also go to David Porter, Sandra Cobbin and Bill Marsh for their work in facilitating these meetings. We are also grateful for the help and support offered to the Committee by William Fittall, The Secretary General, Stephen Slack, Chief Legal Adviser, Alexander McGregor, Deputy Legal Adviser and Sir Anthony Hammond, Standing Counsel.

“In the light of this we warmly commend the proposals of the Steering Committee to members of General Synod and to all members of the Church of England for prayer, study and reflection. “May we be guided by God, and ‘make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ (Ephesians 4.3)”

+Justin Cantuar +Sentamu Eboracensis


Notes to Editors:

The proposals of the steering committee can be found here.

The Steering Committee was established by the General Synod in July 2013 following its debate on recommendations from the House of Bishops. See here for further information.

The Report from the House of Bishops “Women In the Episcopate – New Legislative Proposals” (GS1886) can be found here.

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Alastair Newman
Alastair Newman
10 years ago

Hmm, male headship in the house of Bishops? Not for me, thanks.

Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

‘Male Headship? What? Another compromise towards a structured ethos of sexism in the House of Bishops?

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