Thinking Anglicans

Church responses to the EU Referendum

Updated Friday evening, Saturday morning, Sunday morning

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a joint statement.

On Thursday, millions of people from across the United Kingdom voted in the referendum, and a majority expressed a desire that Britain’s future is to be outside the European Union

The outcome of this referendum has been determined by the people of this country. It is now the responsibility of the Government, with the support of Parliament, to take full account of the outcome of the referendum, and, in the light of this, decide upon the next steps. This morning, the Prime Minister David Cameron has offered a framework for when this process might formally begin.

The vote to withdraw from the European Union means that now we must all reimagine both what it means to be the United Kingdom in an interdependent world and what values and virtues should shape and guide our relationships with others.

As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.

The referendum campaign has been vigorous and at times has caused hurt to those on one side or the other. We must therefore act with humility and courage – being true to the principles that make the very best of our nation. Unity, hope and generosity will enable us to overcome the period of transition that will now happen, and to emerge confident and successful. The opportunities and challenges that face us as a nation and as global citizens are too significant for us to settle for less.

As those who hope and trust in the living God, let us pray for all our leaders, especially for Prime Minister David Cameron in his remaining months in office. We also pray for leaders across Europe, and around the world, as they face this dramatic change. Let us pray especially that we may go forward to build a good United Kingdom that, though relating to the rest of Europe in a new way will play its part amongst the nations in the pursuit of the common good throughout the world.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe has written a message to the diocese, copied below, and has also published this further reflection.

“The UK referendum campaign has been a bruising one, and I hope very much that there will now be a period of reconciliation and healing between those on different sides of the debate.

“The news that a majority of those in the UK wishes to leave the UK does not lessen the fervent desire of the Church of England Diocese in Europe to work co-operatively with our brother and sister Christians in Europe.

“The vote will, however, have particular implications for some members of our diocese. Of course, the vote itself only signals the intent to launch a long process of negotiations with the European Council. It is only as that process gets underway that we will know exactly how UK citizens living in Europe will be affected. Meanwhile, I want to assure our ecumenical partners in Europe of our heartfelt and continuing commitment to them.”

The Suffragan Bishop in Europe has written: We remain a European Church which serves all people. Let us resolve to be even more faithful to this calling.

Updates

Scottish Primus

Archbishop of Dublin and Archbishop of Armagh

Church in Wales bishops

Bishop of Blackburn

Bishop of Coventry

Bishop of Leeds

Bishop of Liverpool

Bishop of London

Bishop of Newcastle

Bishop of Norwich

Bishop of St Albans

Bishop of Sheffield

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Church in Wales publishes pastoral letter, authorises prayers for same sex couples

The Bishops of the Church in Wales have today issued a pastoral letter and the text of some prayers, all of which is copied below. There is also a press release: Same-sex marriage statement.

A Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of the Church in Wales to all the faithful concerning gay and lesbian Christians.

One of the most contentious issues for Christians in our day has been the question of how the Church responds to those attracted to the same gender who seek the blessing of the Church upon the committed partnerships they form.

Over the last eighteen months, we have conducted a wide consultation in Governing Body and with the dioceses to explore whether the faithful of the Church in Wales felt it would be appropriate to acknowledge same sex unions in Church, by offering a Blessing, or even permitting the marriage of same sex couples in Church. Given that the civil law of the realm has now been changed to permit marriage of same sex couples, many see this as a natural next step.

The results of the consultation have been very varied: in some dioceses there was a strong voice for the status quo, in others a majority who wanted to see change. In the subsequent debate in Governing Body, it became clear that although a majority of members supported change, there was certainly no consensus, and any move to introduce changes in canon law would not meet the required two thirds majority of Governing Body, voting in houses, to enable such changes. Furthermore, any change to the teaching of the Church on Marriage, or the authorisation of any blessing of these unions in the life of the Church, would depend on legislation by bill procedure, which requires such enhanced majorities to take effect.

Since the conclusion of our consultation, the Primates of the Anglican Communion have also met in Canterbury in January of this year. The issue of the Church’s ministry to gay and lesbian persons was at the centre of their agenda, especially since The Episcopal Church (of the United States) has taken steps to amend their marriage canon to remove references to the gender of the couple.

The Primates condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and affirmed their commitment again to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation. They also rejected criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people. They recognised that the Christian Church, including Anglicans, has often acted in a way towards people on the basis of their sexual orientation that has caused deep hurt. They expressed their profound sorrow and affirmed again that God’s love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the Church should never by its actions give any other impression.

Nevertheless, they also reasserted the understanding within the Anglican Communion as a whole that marriage is between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. They indicated that they believed that any move away from this understanding is considered by many of them as a departure from the mutual accountability and interdependence implied through being in relationship with each other in the Anglican Communion.

What this all means is that we, as Bishops of the Anglican Communion, mindful of the results of our consultation and the Statement of the Primates of the Anglican Communion, and of all our members, including those who are gay and lesbian, do not feel that we can support at this time a move to change the discipline of the Church in Wales with respect to the teaching on marriage, nor can we permit the celebration of public liturgies of blessing for same sex unions.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge the gay and lesbian members of our Church as part of our family, and we wish to address them directly:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We recognise that you have often been persecuted and ostracized by the Church for your sexuality, that you have been mistreated by the Church, and forced into secrecy and dissimulation by the attitudes of prejudice which you have faced. We deplore such hostility, and welcome and affirm the words of the Primates that condemn homophobic prejudice and violence. We too commit ourselves to offering you the same loving service and pastoral care to which all humanity is entitled, and we commit ourselves to acting to provide a safe space within the Church and within our communities in which you can be honest and open, respected and affirmed.

While as a Church we remain unable to bless the committed partnerships you form in marriage or in civil partnership, yet we commit ourselves as bishops to work for a Church in which you can be fully affirmed as equal disciples of Jesus Christ or seekers after truth. We will pray with you and for you, that together we may seek God’s blessing on our lives, and for faithful discipleship.”

Since 2005, the Bench of Bishops has acknowledged that there are a range of views with respect to homosexuality, which have to be recognized as “honest and legitimate differences” within the diversity of opinion in the Church in Wales.

Given that diversity in the Church in Wales, and our commitment to affirm the place of gay and lesbian disciples within the Church, we believe that it is appropriate to offer prayers in response to the pastoral need of those gay and lesbian persons who are making profound commitments to friendship or partnership. With this pastoral letter, we offer prayers which we believe are suitable for those who are marking a committed relationship. Whilst we do not prescribe their use, where they are found suitable or helpful, we are happy to commend them.

The issues around human sexuality that are being debated in the Church will not go away, and the pain and tensions experienced in the debate are not over. We do believe however that we are called to live in love and charity with one another, whatever our experience or convictions on this issue, and we call upon all followers of Jesus Christ to respond with grace and as much accommodation as possible to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, including those who are gay or lesbian.

May the Lord bless his Church with such love and understanding that we may always walk in his ways of mercy.

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Church in Wales votes narrowly in favour of same sex marriage

Updated

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales met this week and voted on the subject of same sex marriages. As the Church Times reports:

Archbishop Morgan cautious after majority vote in favour of same-sex marriage

THE Governing Body of the Church in Wales has voted narrowly in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry in the Church. But it appears that the non-binding, advisory-only secret ballot has not produced enough votes in favour to persuade the Bishops to frame new legislation.

The vote on Thursday does not constitute a decision of the Governing Body. Instead, the results — and the two-and-a-half-hour debate that preceded the vote — will be used to guide the Province’s Bench of Bishops when it meets to discuss the issue in October.

Three options were under consideration: the first would mean no change to the Church’s current teaching and practice on marriage and partnerships; the second would allow same-sex unions to be blessed in the Church in Wales; the third would enable same-sex couples to be married in church…

Other news reports:

BBC ‘Foolish’ to bring forward gay marriage now, Archbishop says

Christian Today Church in Wales shows support for same sex marriage

Wales Online Church in Wales votes YES for gay marriage but we’re still a long way from real change

A more official report is now available from this page.

Anglican Mainstream carries this report: The Church in Wales steps back from Same-Sex Marriage.

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Churches Mutual Credit Union formally launched

The Archbishop of Canterbury and representatives of other member churches press the button to launch the Churches Mutual Credit Union

The Archbishop of Canterbury and representatives of other member churches press the button to launch the Churches Mutual Credit Union. (photograph by Peter Owen)

The Churches Mutual Credit Union was formally launched at Church House today.

Church House issued this press release to mark the occasion.

Churches Mutual Credit Union formally launched
11 February 2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s drive to promote access to responsible credit and savings receives a major boost today with the launch of the Churches Mutual Credit Union Ltd. (CMCU).

The Most Rev Justin Welby joined the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev John Chalmers and the President of the Methodist Conference, The Rev Ken Howcroft, at Church House, central London, to celebrate their respective churches’ collaboration in forming the flagship credit union.

The CMCU, which also includes the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Church in Wales, will offer a range of savings and loan products. Fairness will be at the heart of the CMCU’s values. Initially members will be able to invest in the ‘Founder Member’s Bond’ with ordinary savers accounts and loans becoming available in March. In due course CMCU will offer ISA savings accounts.

At least 60,000 individuals, notably ordained ministers, licensed lay ministers, elders, employees and trustees of churches (e.g. Parochial Church Council members) and church charities are eligible to join, along with churches and Anglican and Church of Scotland charities as corporate members.

Individuals can join CMCU from tomorrow (Thursday February 12).

Archbishop Justin said: “My congratulations go to all involved in establishing the Churches Mutual Credit Union as it is launched today.

“Credit unions have the potential to make a transformative contribution to our financial system and I am delighted that it will be possible for clergy, church employees and church trustees to belong to a credit union focused on supporting their particular financial needs.

“As the first supporter to sign CMCU’s application to the regulator in 2013 I am looking forward to being one of the first to sign up as a member when registration opens tomorrow.

“It is a notable strength of CMCU that it brings together churches from England, Scotland and Wales in this shared venture.

“I hope and expect that the experience of belonging to CMCU will encourage clergy and church workers to become increasingly effective advocates for credit unions in their communities.”

Canon Antony MacRow-Wood, CMCU President, and a former President of ABCUL (the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd) said: “After several years of development this is a great day for our churches and a great day for the British credit union sector.

“We recognise the strength of the credit union model and wish to offer that to our ministers and employees. Of immediate interest to many, especially ordained ministers, will be our plans to provide a competitive car loan scheme.

“The Church forms an obvious community with many shared interests and as such it has a natural fit with the idea of a credit union. The recycling of capital within the community, not least for mission, will be of benefit to all.”

Notes:

The CMCU project began in 2008 and is supported by the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church and the Church in Wales.

The CMCU was given formal authorisation by the regulatory authorities in December, after a rigorous process undertaken by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme covers deposits up to £85,000.

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Welsh Code for Women Bishops published

The Church in Wales has published its Code of Practice in relation to the Ministry of Bishops following the Canon to enable the Ordination of Women as Bishops. Drawn up by the Church’s seven bishops, it was presented to the Governing Body, which is meeting in Lampeter, this afternoon. The Church issued this press release.

Code for Women Bishops aims to keep all included – Archbishop

Guidelines for new legislation to ordain women as bishops aim to make everyone feel valued in the Church, regardless of their views on the issue, the Archbishop of Wales said today (September 17).

Drawn up by the Church’s seven bishops at the request of its Governing Body, the “Code of Practice” accompanies the women bishops’ legislation which came into effect on September 12, exactly a year after the Church’s historic vote.

Publishing the Code at the Church’s Governing Body meeting today, the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, said it was designed to be as inclusive as possible as the bishops saw God’s call in people on both sides of the debate.. He urged the Church to unite in proclaiming the Gospel.

He said, “The Code of Practice we have produced has not been produced for the benefit of one side or the other in the debate but for the whole church. That is what you asked us to do. The Bill explicitly says that the Code should be drawn up in such a way that every member of the Church in Wales might feel secure. In other words, this Code is not just for those who in conscience dissent but is a code for every member of the Church in Wales.”

He added, “Bishops have a particular responsibility for matters of faith and order and we want to be as inclusive as possible which is why we are able to affirm wholeheartedly the ordination of women to the episcopate and can also accept that provision should be made for those who cannot accept their sacramental ministry. By making such a provision, our hope is that no-one will feel the need to leave the Church in Wales…

“In the Church in Wales, we, as your bishops, quite frankly see Christ at work in our members, married or single, gay or straight, we perceive the call of God in women to all three orders, and we are respectful of the faith of those who cannot in conscience receive such ministry. In these issues, as in others, we invite the Church to unite in the greater task of proclaiming the Gospel.”

The bishops wrote the Code after consulting widely across the Province. Its guiding principles were:

  • Any woman Diocesan Bishop becomes such on exactly the same terms, and with the same jurisdiction, as any other Diocesan Bishop in the Province;
  • Provision for those who object to the ministry of women bishops has to be pastoral, not structural;
  • Those who in conscience cannot receive the sacramental ministry of women should not be excluded from being considered for ordination;
  • No specific alternative bishop should be provided for those who are unable in conscience to accept the ministry of a woman bishop, but there should be a means to request and receive alternative sacramental provision.

The Code of Practice itself, and the Archbishop’s address to the Governing Body are also online.

The Code of Practice and explanatory note.

The bishops’ full explanation of the Code of Practice, as outlined by the Archbishop in his Presidential Address to the Governing Body.

The Code is short, and is copied in full below the fold.

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Church in Wales Governing Body meets in Llandudno

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales met this week in Llandudno.

The full agenda can be found here.

Earlier we published an article linking to the various documents issued for this meeting, relating to Same Sex Marriages.

The Archbishop’s Presidential Address is the subject of a press release: Quoting Bible texts does not settle moral disputes – Archbishop.

The full text of the address is available here.

This was reported by Wales Online as Church risks being seen as ‘homophobic’ if it doesn’t evolve, says Archbishop and by the BBC as Gay marriage ‘patience’ urged by Archbishop of Wales.

Another press release reports Church launches mediation service.

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Church in Wales – Same Sex Marriages

updated Thursday and Saturday

The Church in Wales has published some of the papers for next month’s meeting of its Governing Body, including three under the heading Same Sex Marriages.

The main paper is a report by the Standing Doctrinal Commission entitled The Church in Wales & Same Sex Partnerships. There is also an Executive Summary of the report. The executive summary is reproduced below the fold.

Finally there is a Procedural Note explaining how the Governing Body will have an initial discussion of the report at its meeting in April.

update 1

The procedural note referred to a number of background papers from the Standing Doctrinal Commission. These are now available.

Marriage as a Sacrament
Sexuality and the Image of God
The concept of Flourishing in Relation to Marriage as a Good, and the Question of Gay Partnerships
Same Sex Marriage – Biblical Considerations
Fundamental Scriptural Approaches

update 2

David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has published this useful article: Same-sex partnerships and the Church in Wales.

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First Same Sex weddings to happen from 29 March 2014

Yesterday, the Government made this announcement: First Same Sex weddings to happen from 29 March 2014.

Women and Equalities Minister Maria Miller has announced that the first same sex weddings in England and Wales will be able to take place from Saturday 29 March 2014.

Following the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 successfully completing its journey through Parliament in July 2013, the government has been working hard to ensure that all the arrangements are in place to enable same sex couples to marry as soon as possible.

As a result of this work, the first same sex weddings can now happen several months earlier than anticipated, subject to Parliament’s approval of various statutory instruments, to be laid in the new year.

David Pocklington reports today on the details of this, and notes the various further steps required, in Same-Sex Marriage from 29th March 2014?

He then adds the following Comment in relation to the Church of England:

On 9-10 December, the House of Bishops met for two days in York to discuss a wide range of business, including the Pilling Report. The Minister’s announcement that the first same-sex weddings are likely to happen several months earlier than anticipated brings a new urgency to their deliberations on the approach of the Church of England to human sexuality. As noted in the Report, [at paras. 382, 383],

382 […] Moreover, some form of celebration of civil partnerships in a church context is widely seen as a practice that would give a clear signal that gay and lesbian people are welcome in church.

383. This is a question on which our group is not of one mind – not least since a willingness to offer public recognition and prayer for a committed same-sex relationship in an act of public worship would, in practice, be hard to implement now for civil partnerships without also doing so for same-sex marriage (which, like civil partnerships, makes no assumption, in law, about sexual activity).

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Bishop of Rochester to be next Bishop to Prisons

The Archbishop of Canterbury has announced that the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, is to be the next Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, the senior church advocate for Christian values in the criminal justice system in England and Wales

Bishop of Rochester to be next Bishop to Prisons
Monday 18th November 2013

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, is to be the next Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, the senior church advocate for Christian values in the criminal justice system in England and Wales. He will succeed the Rt Revd James Jones, who retired as Bishop of Liverpool in August.

The church makes a major contribution to public debate on criminal justice and the Bishop to Prisons speaks on criminal justice issues in the House of Lords.

As Bishop to Prisons, Bishop James will support the practical work of the Chaplain- General to the Prison Service, Canon Michael Kavanagh and the network of 300 Prison Service Chaplains who share in the front-line care of prisoners. The Bishop to Prisons also develops church links with other agencies concerned with the reform and improvement of prisons. In addition the churches provide the largest single pool of voluntary support and assistance to the criminal justice system.

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Women bishops and the recognition of Orders

The recent decision of the Church in Wales to allow women to be consecrated as bishops, and the election of a woman bishop in the Church of Ireland have prompted an article, Women bishops and the recognition of Orders, by Will Adam, editor of the Ecclesiastical Law Journal, in Law and Religion UK about the implications for the Church of England.

… This is bound to bring up again the question of the recognition in a Church which does not permit the ordination of women as bishop of episcopal acts performed by a bishop who is a woman …

However, the consecration of a woman as a bishop in the Church of Ireland changes the situation. Deacons, priests and bishops of the Church of Ireland, Church in Wales and Scottish Episcopal Church are not considered as “overseas” clergy by the law applying to the Church of England. This is significant, because the permission of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York is not required for such ministers to be invited to exercise the ministry of their orders in England …

The article refers to this 2004 opinion from the Legal Advisory Commission of the Church of England: The Effect of Acts by women Bishops of Churches in Communion with the Church of England.

Kelvin Holdswoth writes about the same topic in Taint. He concludes with

What I’m interested in is that with respect of our current bishops in Scotland, all of them have either had a female co-consecrator present at their consecration, joined in consecrating someone with a female co-consecrator present or have been consecrated by someone who has had a female co-consecrator present at their own consecration.

What I wonder is whether those who apply the theology of taint believe that anyone at all (bishops, priests or deacons) now ordained in Scotland is legit.

Oh, and by the way an English bishop was present and joining in when this situation began. I was there – I saw it with my own eyes.

Where does this leave the Scottish Episcopal Church in relation to those who would deny the legitimacy of women to act as bishops? …

Do we, or do we not, remain in full communion with [all of] the Church of England?

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Church in Wales – Statement by Forward in Faith

THE CHURCH IN WALESDECISION ON WOMEN BISHOPS: STATEMENT BY FORWARD IN FAITH

Forward in Faith regrets the decision of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to authorize the ordination of women as bishops without first agreeing arrangements for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive episcopal ministry from them.

We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese. This vote therefore makes the question of the provision of episcopal ministry for those who continue to uphold catholic faith and order in the Church in Wales even more pressing.

Experience in Wales and elsewhere does not give us confidence that the promised ‘code of practice’ could offer the level of assurance that would encourage growth and flourishing – so sorely needed in Wales – or the degree of certainty that would remove the possibility of damaging and distracting disputes.

Our brothers and sisters in Credo Cymru will seek to enter into dialogue with the Welsh bishops. We can only hope that their representations will be met with the generosity of spirit that ought to be the hallmark of Christian episcopacy. Meanwhile, we continue to pray for and with our Welsh sisters and brothers, encouraging them to follow St David in being joyful and keeping the faith.

+JONATHAN FULHAM
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham
Chairman
13 September 2013

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WATCH: Church in Wales says ‘Yes’ to women bishops

Women and the Church has issued this press release:

WATCH is delighted at the result of the vote on allowing women to become bishops passed by the Governing Body of the Church in Wales. In the end the vote was a straightforward one, either yes or no to allowing women to join the episcopate. The House of Laity voted For, 57, Against, 14, Abstentions, 2, in the House of Clergy For, 37, Against, 10 and Abstentions, 0 and in the House of Bishops For 6, Against, 0 and Abstentions, 0. The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan said before the vote that if it was a yes vote, the Bishops would consult widely on a code of practice and that there would be discussions about it at the Governing Body in April 2014.

The vote in Wales provides much encouragement to those praying and campaigning to see women take their rightful place alongside men at every level , including the episcopate, in the Church of England.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said “This is fantastic news and we are delighted that the Church in Wales has opted for simple legislation enabling women to become bishops. The vote will provide a welcome boost to the morale of female clergy well beyond the welsh borders and help to set a positive context for our own ongoing legislative process in the Church of England”

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Church in Wales votes in favour of women bishops

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales this afternoon voted in favour of the consecration of women as bishops. Here is the official press release.

Church votes to ordain women as bishops

A Bill to enable women to be consecrated as bishops was passed by members of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales meeting at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Lampeter today.

The Bill was amended, following a lengthy and passionate debate, to become a one-stage vote to enable the consecration of women as bishops, with a “code of practice” to be written by the Bishops for those who in conscience could not accept the authority of women bishops. The amendment had been tabled by the Archdeacon of Llandaff, Peggy Jackson, and Revd Canon Jenny Wigley.

The Bill was proposed by the Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, and seconded by the Bishop of Bangor, Andy John.

Addressing members, the Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “Thank you for the way in which the debate has been conducted and I hope you will trust us as Bishops to prepare a code of practice.”

Result:
House of Laity – 57 yes 14 no 2 absentions
House of Clergy – 37 yes, 10 no
House of Bishops – unanimous.

A two thirds majority was required in each house.

Update

ACNS reports Wales says ‘yes’ to women bishops.

One year from today, women priests can become bishops in the Church in Wales.

The historic decision to allow women bishops was made at today’s meeting of the Church’s Governing Body in Lampeter, Ceredigion.

The Bill that came before today’s meeting was a modified version of the one that was narrowly voted down in 2008.

The modification proposed that, were the Church to vote ‘yes’ to women bishops, a second Bill dealing with provision for those opposed to women bishops would be considered before any women were elected to the episcopate.

This would have delayed the election of women bishops in the Province for several years.

The Bill was amended, following a lengthy and passionate debate, to become a one-stage vote to enable the consecration of women as bishops, with a “code of practice” to be written by the bishops for those who in conscience could not accept the authority of women bishops. The amendment had been tabled by the Archdeacon of Llandaff, Peggy Jackson, and Revd Canon Jenny Wigley.

Wales now joins the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church of Ireland, both of which allow women bishops, though which have not appointed any to date.

The members of the Governing Body meeting spent several hours in debate. Around 3pm it looked as if they were going to vote on whether to pass the amended bill. However, the group voted instead to continue the debate.

People around the world were able to follow the highlights of the debate on the Social Media microblogging site Twitter using #govbody. Comments came from people inside and outside the meeting in English and also in Welsh.

When the Church finally voted on the amended bill at 4.50pm, the following votes were cast:

Laity – For 57 Against 14 Abstentions 2.
Clergy – For 37 Against 10 Abstentions 0.
Bishops – Unanimously For.

To date there have been 33 women bishops in the Anglican Communion. Twenty-four are either in post or are bishop-elect.

The latest election of a woman to the episcopate is Helen-Ann Hartley, an English priest who will become a bishop the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia in early 2014.

With today’s decision, Wales joins Bangladesh, Brazil, Central America, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, North India, Philippines, Scotland, Sudan and Uganda as Provinces that permit women bishops but have not yet appointed any.

Those Provinces or ‘extra provincial’ churches or diocese with women bishops include Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia; Australia; Canada; Southern Africa; United States and Cuba (an extra-provincial diocese).

Press reports

BBC Church in Wales backs women bishops
Gavin Drake in the Church Times Church in Wales votes for women bishops
Wales Online Church in Wales votes to ordain women as bishops
Steven Morris in The Guardian Female bishops voted in by Church in Wales
John Bingham in The Telegraph Women bishops given go-ahead in Wales

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Church in Wales – Governing Body meeting

Updated Thursday morning

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales is meeting today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. The agenda, with links to the papers, is online here.

There are already two press releases

Be inspired by two great Welsh clerics, Archbishop tells Church
Archbishop calls on parishioners to invest in credit unions

with links to speeches by the Archbishop of Wales.

The main item of business tomorrow is the Bill to Enable Women to be Consecrated as Bishop. The meeting is scheduled to continue into Thursday afternoon.

Wales Online yesterday previewed the debate with Women bishops vote could be derailed again.

The chair of WATCH has sent this Message to the Church in Wales.

Update

BBC Church in Wales to vote on women bishops

4 Comments

Women Bishops in Wales

The Governing Body of the Church in Wales will be meeting next month. On the agenda is a bill to allow women to be bishops. The Church has issued this press release today.

Church to vote on women bishops

The Church in Wales will decide next month whether or not to allow women priests to be ordained as bishops.

A Bill, proposed by the six diocesan bishops of the Church, will be voted on by the 144 members of the Church’s legislative arm, the Governing Body, at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, at Lampeter, on Thursday, September 12.

The Bill will need a two-thirds majority in each of the three sections of the Governing Body in order to be passed – the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity. However, if it is passed, it will not come into effect until a second Bill, outlining a scheme of provision for those who cannot accept women bishops, is written and passed.

The process will start with a vote on three proposed amendments to the Bill.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, says, “Since we ordain women as deacons and priests it makes no theological sense not to ordain them as bishops since we believe in the three fold order of ministry. That is why I and my fellow bishops will be asking members of the Governing Body to vote in favour of the Bill. It would not be able to come into effect immediately but at least we would have established the principle to which I believe most people in the Church assent.”

This will be the Bishops’ second attempt to pass a Bill to ordain women as bishops. Their first Bill was defeated in April 2008 when it failed, by three votes, to secure a two-thirds majority in the House of Clergy.

The two-day Governing Body meeting begins on Wednesday at 1.30pm with an address by the President, the Archbishop of Wales. The Bill to enable the Consecration of Women as Bishops will be introduced on Thursday at 9.30am.

Also on the Agenda are:

  • Church in Wales Review – a progress report on the Review which will include a motion to support a framework for setting up “Ministry Areas” across Wales. A Ministry Area is a large group of churches led by a team of clergy and lay people. They are designed to replace the traditional parish system as a more effective structure for ministry for today’s society.
  • Schools – the launch of a bond to strengthen the relationship between church schools in Wales and the National Society for Promoting Religious Education. The Revd Janina Ainsworth, the General Secretary of the National Society, will address the Governing Body, before she joins the Archbishop to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the NS and the Church in Wales. The Memorandum marks a restatement of common purpose and shared commitment to the 25,000 pupils, staff and communities of the 165 Church in Wales schools.

The Bill and its proposed amendments, as well as the full Agenda of the Governing Body meeting, will be on the Church in Wales website after August 28 here.

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Welsh disestablishment

Although the Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920, disestablishment was not complete (for example in the area of marriage law). The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee of the National Assembly for Wales has been inquiring into Law-making and the Church in Wales and their report was published yesterday. It recommends “that the Church in Wales should be fully disestablished”.

There are links to the report of the inquiry and to the evidence given to it by Professor Norman Doe, Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin, and the Archbishop of Wales here.

Frank Cranmer of Law & Religion UK explains it all in Disestablishing the Church in Wales – at last?

The Church in Wales has responded with this: Church responds to National Assembly law report.

Press reports inlcude

BBC Calls to cut Church in Wales’ ties with Parliament
Wales Online The Church in Wales should be granted fully disestablished status to solve ‘legislative limbo’, says Assembly committee

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Church leaders call on Government ministers to apologise

Press release from Methodist Church House

07 June 2013

Bishops and Church leaders call on Government ministers to apologise

  • 1 Churches, 4 nations, 1 message

An alliance of Churches representing Christians from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland has written to the Prime Minister asking for an apology on behalf of the Government for misrepresenting the poor.

Church leaders, including the Right Revd Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, and the Right Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Bradford, pointed out that in recent weeks senior members of the Government have given out misleading and inaccurate information about people on benefits. Outlining the inaccuracies, they asked for them to be corrected and for an apology to be offered to those who were misrepresented.

“We are concerned that these inaccuracies paint some of the most vulnerable in our society in an unfavourable light, stigmatising those who need the support of the benefits system,” the letter states. “No political or financial imperative can be given to make this acceptable.”

April saw some of the most controversial and wide ranging changes to the benefit system in a generation. In their letter, Church leaders, including the leaders of the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the United Reformed Church, said that while they hold no common view on welfare reform, they all share the belief that that those in receipt of benefits are loved and valuable.

“What unites us is the belief that the debate around these reforms should be based on truthful information,” they write. “We ask you, as Prime Minister and as leader of the Conservative Party, to ensure that the record is put straight, and that statistics are no longer manipulated in a way which stigmatises the poorest in our society.”

ENDS

Notes:

The full text of the letter to the Prime Minister is available here.

Appendix one to the letter to the Prime Minister is available here.

Appendix two to the letter to the Prime Minister is available here.

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First female Dean of Llandaff Cathedral quits after two months

Wales Online reports tonight that First female Dean of Llandaff Cathedral quits after two months.

The first woman Dean of Llandaff Cathedral has resigned just two months after she was installed in the post.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said he had accepted Janet Henderson’s resignation “with enormous sadness”.

Church in Wales sources have told WalesOnline that Dean Henderson had had “a “difficult time” since her appointment, with some clergy resenting the appointment of a woman…

The press release from the Church in Wales has nothing to say about the reasons for the Dean’s resignation, and neither does this report from the BBC.

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Profile of Anglicans

Updated Saturday evening

Yesterday’s Church Times has an article by Linda Woodhead about a survey that “suggests that non-churchgoing Anglicans may be much more important to the Church and its future than the dismissive word “nominals” implies.”

The article is only available to Church Times subscribers, but British Religion in Numbers (BRIN) has a summary in Profile of Anglicans and Other News. The survey shows that self-identifying Anglicans divide into four categories.

Godfearing Churchgoers (5% of Anglicans)
Mainstream Churchgoers (12% of Anglicans)
Non-Churchgoing Believers (50% of Anglicans)
Non-Churchgoing Doubters (33% of Anglicans)

The BRIN article also reports on surveys on St George’s Day and Student faith.

Update
Jonathan Clatworthy has written about the survey of Anglicans for Modern Church: On not going to church.

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Church in Wales Governing Body: report of meeting

See our earlier report here.

There is now a “Highlights” report of the meeting available as a PDF file.

There is further detail about the church’s position in respect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in the (bi-lingual) report of the Standing Committee.

There are some interesting Ministry Statistics in this report.

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