Thinking Anglicans

Report from May House of Bishops

The English House of Bishops has issued this brief summary of their meeting held this week.

Report from May House of Bishops
24 May 2017

The House of Bishops met at Bishopthorpe Palace on 22-23 May; on the Tuesday morning prayers were said for all those affected by the Manchester bombing.

Bishops in the House of Lords (Lords Spiritual) met ahead of the full meeting to look at the parliamentary term ahead, particularly in light of the General Election.

A new approach to delegation, new outline proposals for selection for ministry and draft bishops’ guidelines on ordination training were all discussed and approved. The House also agreed that the Faith and Order Commission (FAOC) could publish a document from the Joint Working Group with the Methodist Church to allow both churches to discuss it further over the coming year.

The House discussed next steps on human sexuality. This included progress on work, announced by the Archbishops after February’s General Synod, to establish a group to produce a Teaching Document and to set up a Pastoral Advisory Group. The meeting also looked at safeguarding policy and a FAOC theology paper on this area, along with a discussion on the work of the National Safeguarding Steering Group.

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Tim NewnsInterested ObserverPeter OwenRPNewarkAnthony Archer Recent comment authors
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Susannah Clark
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I am confused. Why is there so little information? Why can’t the meeting be minuted and published transparently? Or am I missing something? Are the minutes published later?

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

We’re not allowed to know, mainly because they are stuck. I think the minutes are rather like Cabinet minutes. “The Home Secretary reported on …… Discussion followed.” (end of minute). While that might be fine for sensitive Government business it has no place in the House of Bishops.

RPNewark
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RPNewark

Because there is no transparency in the HoB. They have to maintain confidentiality (a.k.a. secrecy) in order that may try to give the appearance of unanimity. Unfortunately for them the wider church exploded that myth years ago.

Peter Owen
Guest

The timetable for the July General Synod published today includes this item: “Presentation from the House of Bishops on the Proposals for the Pastoral Advisory Group on Human Sexuality and the development of the Teaching Document” on the Saturday morning (8 July) (see my article above). So perhaps we will find out then where the HoB has got to.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

How do you produce a “Teaching Document” when you haven’t as yet decided on what it is you intend to teach? There are lots of undergraduate courses on relativity, but Albert had to do the hard work before anyone could start writing the teaching material.

Tim Newns
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Tim Newns

This is naughty, I know, but I just happened to be on the same train (and in the same carriage) from York to London as two bishops earlier in the week. What they had to say about the Methodist proposals was interesting. It sounded as if the HofBs were remarkably unanimous on this one. It’s seen as an unwelcome diversion from R & R – and a drain on time, energy and resources. They’re hoping the Methodists will call time on it before the C of E does!