Thinking Anglicans

LLF voting figures

Anglican Futures have published some comments on the voting on the LLF motion and amendments at General Synod this week: They Think It’s All Over…. Is It Now?. This includes a very helpful table showing the voting figures for each item. I have copied this below; click on the table for a larger version. The full text of the amendments and the original motion are in this notice paper.

LLF voting figures

There has been comment that the House of Bishops exercised some sort of veto by having votes by houses. But in nearly every case all three houses voted the same way. In four cases (53, 56, 60, 62) the House of Laity voted in favour whilst the other two houses voted against. But in all four the amendment would have been defeated even if the vote had been of the whole synod.

Voting lists, showing how each member of Synod voted, will be published in due course, and we will then publish an article linking to them.

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Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 year ago

A significant outlier (look at the number of recorded abstentions in the houses of clergy and laity) is number 60 listed as “not welcome response”. It also contained an explicit request that the further proposals would be brought back after reflecting on feedback from General Synod (which will certainly happen, but wasn’t actually mentioned in the motion as presented or as passed).

John T
John T
1 year ago

It should be noted that the House of Clergy voted in the same direction as the Bishops on every vote. Those conservatives claiming that the Bishops blocked everything (apart from amendment 67 which passed) overlook this. Even if the Bishops had abstained for every amendment, the result would have been the same.

And the final vote is 57% in favour, 41% opposed and 2% abstaining. That’s a pretty solid endorsement of the proposals, and needs to be accepted as such across the church.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

To get a better picture of general support it is probably better to leave out the Bishops’ “payroll vote”. If you take clergy and laity only, the vote is 53.5% in favour, 44% against and 2.5% abstaining. In the context of a long process aimed at building consensus, that is anything but “solid endorsement”. A clear result, of course, but indicative of a failure of a process intended to keep as near as possible to everyone on board.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 year ago

Thank you. Or to view things another way, in search of the ‘mind’ of church members: Over 96% of all church members are lay. Just over 3% of all church members are ordained. And about 0.03% are bishops. Looking at the overwhelming number of lay members of the Church: 51.5% voted FOR the bishops’ motion. 46% voted AGAINST the bishops’ motion. 2.5% Abstained. That suggests LLF has failed to achieve any kind of consensus among the main membership for the bishops’ proposed decisions. It reflects a Church deeply divided on grounds of conscience. Rather than try to push home ONE… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Could it be that the membership of the House of Laity in GS skews to the conservative, not really representing the mind of those in the pews? (Let alone the wider parish population who are not church-goers.)

It might be that those willing to give up their time and effort to participating in GS tend to be the older, more traditional, more conservative-minded.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Pat, the nature of the GS meetings precludes those with caring responsibilities and the working classes from participating. It is therefore very skewed towards the middle classes as they are more able to take time off from work to attend the residential meetings. It’s one of the many reasons why the CofE is so out of touch with the vast majority of English people. It’s very much a case of the rich man in his castle and the poor man at the gate.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

Arguably that could cut both ways on this particular issue?

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 year ago

I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying; could you say more please?

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

Yes of course. Please forgive my “shoot from the lip” cryptic comment. First of all, I completely agree with you about the way that GS is inaccessible for anyone who can’t easily take time away from their domestic or work responsibilities. This isn’t just “middle class” vs “working class”. It means in practice that a lay person can’t be on GS unless they are retired or are in a fairly narrow range of roles where they can both afford to take time off and are able to. Without specific evidence I would imagine that means a tilt towards certain public… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 year ago

As I’ve said elsewhere on this thread, see https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-11/Expenses%20policy%202021.pdf as there is scope for claiming loss of earnings etc

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 year ago

Thank you for your fulsome and gracious reply. As you say we must be careful of stereotypes but perhaps you’re right that the house of laity is reasonably representative of the demographic of those in the pews. I would hope that the membership try also to take into account the wider English public they also represent.

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Fr Dean
1 year ago

But see https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-11/Expenses%20policy%202021.pdf – it is now possible to claim for loss of earnings, for carers to take over one’s caring responsibilities, and to support careers accompanying a Synod member. The system is far better than it was, say, 20 years ago.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Helen King
1 year ago

These arrangements certainly are an improvement on the previous situation. Without being churlish I would say it is also not always easy for low paid people to secure the time off with or without pay. Carers may now be reimbursed for the cost of respite care but it is not easy to secure, as you often have to pay for the room from the moment you book it, irrespective of when it’s occupied until it’s vacated. Care homes that just provide respite care are few and far between; easier perhaps for those with learning difficulties than those with dementia for… Read more »

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Bernard Silverman
1 year ago

Names may reveal that some liberals voted against because they were dissatisfied with the proposals and wanted more. I suspect most abstainers were liberals. Not a ringing endorsement perhaps but a wider gap in favour than I expected tbh. I wonder how far it reflects division in the pews? The H of Laity are often thought to be more conservative/ evangelical than the church generally.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

You seem to rather gloss over the fact that the final motion included an amendment that committed the bishops to uphold the historic doctrine of the church.

Is your point that the wider church should accept that commitment ?

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Is it that the vote committed the church to upholding an existing doctrine, or that the vote labelled something as doctrine that had never been doctrine before (see Miranda Holmes excellent speech).

I must admit I am a bit concerned that by voting for that, Synod may have inflicted more damage to the pro-gay marriage cause than we realise, and such damage may, in the long term, outweigh the benefits gained in the other clauses of the resolution

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

Simon, we both know the Motion was a piece of total nonsense.

I am challenging John T and his attempt to spin it as a victory.

That’s all

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

Perhaps we should take a step back and ask ourselves what is a doctrine of anything? What is the nature of doctrine? Is there ( has there been) a doctrine of marriage? George Lindbeck’s The nature of Doctrine is helpful here. But Anglicanism has never been strong on systematic theology.
The C of E is also part of the Porvoo communion though I sometimes wonder what that means in terms of theological sharing. The Nordic churches practice same sex marriage. Has their theological thinking on the matter ever been made available to Synod?

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

The amendment which was passed essentially quoted the Bishops’ stated intention that the prayers would be capable of being used in accordance with Canon B5. Both the outstanding Diocesan Synod Motion from Hereford and the Private Members Motion which ask for the Bishops to bring forward an order of Prayer and Dedication after the registration of a civil partnership or same sex marriage quote the same text from the Canon. So I think you are over-interpreting what those words actually mean, and the effect of passing the amendment. It gives the motion a more “conservative” feel, though it actually changes… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Mark Bennet
1 year ago

I was not placing any great weight on the amendment. Obviously the Motion is a piece of nonsense. We all know that.

I was challenging John T attempting to spin the vote as a success for one side.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I’m just sketching what might possibly happen in the next couple of years..Clearly there are going to be prayers and a replacement of some kind to Issues. What sort of settlement there might be I have no idea, I’m not convinced it will be a third province. .I suppose I think that conservative evangelicals considering their options will probably move in a variety of directions because different individuals will have different sticking points and all groups have “moderates”and hard liners. I’m a retired conservative liberal, not unhappy about the vote. Having spent a long time teaching church history I have… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Perry Butler
1 year ago

I take your points, Perry. The issue is votes.

We now know where they land after last week. We know another Synod is years away. We know the complexion changes at each Synod, but it doesn’t transform into a different creature.

It’s deadlock. That will be the pressure for a settlement.

If conservatives are given a new provincial structure, progressives will be free to follow their own conscience.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Actually, it’s not certain that’s what it does mean. Jayne Ozanne raised a point of order on that point and the answer suggested that the amendment only applied to the present draft. It’s very unclear.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I think it means what I says. The motion that was passed assumed the historic view of the church on marriage. Making clear that was all it was doing was to leave us free to have the discussions we still to have around on the development of the doctrine of marriage in today’s church.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I agree. The Motion was nonsense

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

It was not necessary as the point was implicit in the package already. But it probably persuaded some waverers to vote in favour. The common sense view is that is applies to the immediate way forward (i.e. is internal to the motion). But even if that is not the case, Synod cannot bind its successors any more than Parliament can. The problem throughout is those who believe doctrine is immutable. There are many examples (some recent) to prove that is not so. Sources of Anglican doctrine are scripture, tradition and reason, but not all get that!

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Anthony Archer
1 year ago

I agree with you that the Motion – a total dogs breakfast – contained implicit terms equivalent to the only amendment the Bishops accepted.

With each day that passes it seems to me more obvious that it will go down as the most absurd display of shallow thinking and clutching at straws seen in a national institution for decades.

I know you were on Synod for a long time, so you must have strong nerves. Even so, surely the outcome of last week will not last the course ?

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

Are not both of these things true? The effect of the Bishops’votes rendered all other voting superfluous… even pointless? There was only one house that needed to vote and controlled everything else. I’m not opposing or advocating… just a fact of synodical government.

Stuart
Stuart
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
1 year ago

Suppose that hadn’t been the case, and the bishops had blocked something that the clergy and laity had supported. The pressure to do something as a matter of urgency would have been pretty intense.

As it is, this mess looks like about the only mess that could have got through this synod, which is the one we have for the next few years.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Stuart
1 year ago

There were also technical documents – “Gravamina and Reformanda” – addressed to the Convocations of Canterbury and York (so a division of the House of Clergy into provinces) and also to the house of Laity. These were addressed in meetings of York and Laity, but not in Canterbury (the procedures were followed in each case). Had they been adopted as “Memorials” they would have been sent by the relevant body to the House of Bishops. They weren’t. I am not sure how the outcomes of these meetings will be published, but there was an opportunity for a majority in any… Read more »

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Ian Hobbs
1 year ago

The voting figures do not support the claim of bishops controlling it all. Voting by houses requires 25 people to stand in agreement. They always did – and not bishops. Furthermore, In nearly every case all three houses voted the same way. In four cases (53, 56, 60, 62) the House of Laity voted in favour whilst the other two houses voted against. But in all four the amendment would have been defeated even if the vote had been of the whole synod.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Just to clarify: the ’25 people standing’ rule is the number of people required to be standing to allow a debate on an amendment to continue if the proposer of the main motion (in this case the Bishop of London) resists the amendment, or does not indicate that he/she is willing for the matter to be debated even though he/she does not support the amendment. The 25 people standing are not thereby indicating agreement with the amendment – only that they think it should be further debated.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  David Lamming
1 year ago

David Lamming thank you, but my comments related to the procedure for agreeing to vote on an amendment by houses – not to continue to debate an amendment.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Thank you, David, for pointing out my misreading of your comment – my apologies. Although, as you point out, on the basis of the voting figures, each of the four amendments that were carried in the House of Laity would still have been lost had there been a counted vote of the whole Synod, an advantage of there having been votes by houses for all the amendments [save for Jayne Ozanne’s amendment at item 45 to leave out paragraph (a) of the motion, i.e. the ‘apology’] is that when the voting lists are published on the C of E website… Read more »

Barrie
Barrie
Reply to  John T
1 year ago

Said Arius to Athanasius…

Recently resigned
1 year ago

It must be said that the short names of the amendments gave me a bit of cause for amusement. If you have found the whole outcome depressing, just think of them out of this context. “Remove prayers”—most bishops against, but a lot of support from clergy and laity. “No sex”—eight bishops abstained (!) but obviously the clergy and laity have a lot more people that feel British. “Canon B30/Sexual” sounds X rated to me. “Freedom of conscience”—bishops against that, tickets to Pyongyang obviously already bought.

A lot more fun than reading the original order paper. Thank you, Anglican Futures.

Anglican Futures
Anglican Futures
Reply to  Recently resigned
1 year ago

Glad to have made you smile…

Nuno Torre
Nuno Torre
1 year ago

I know, I’m quite new here. I also know, I wouldn’t be even here once I’m a Catholic… But I’ve learnt English for the foreign born with several CofE Priests, male and female, of all quarters on your Church (they were here to partake post graduate studies on Latin Languages and they gave some English lessons for the foreign born for a living pay), I worked with the former Lusitanian Church (the Anglican Church in Portugal) Bishop ++Fernando da Luz Soares (whom I can to describe as a moderate progressive) for quite a while, and I have many friends on… Read more »

Susanna (with no h!)
Susanna (with no h!)
Reply to  Nuno Torre
1 year ago

Thank- you! With your fresh eyes you have hit the nail on the head- people not prepared to accept even minimal compromise – this coupled with the naked politics of Power, and we have reached the most terrible situation . It should be salutary to both sides of the divide that all this sound and fury within has barely bothered the wider public- hardly a mention on serious discussion programmes on steam radio or TV or the Sunday papers- broadsheets or tabloids. Unless a lot of folk can get over themselves and not start trying to impose imaginary deadlines and… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Susanna (with no h!)
1 year ago

You comments could not be further from the truth.

Conservatives are calling from the roof tops for a mediated settlement. In what possible sense can we be described as “trampling over people” and all the rest of it.

Urge the progressives you know to themselves call for a settlement. If enough of us do so from both sides of the divide it will happen.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Mark
Mark
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

I think that centuries of behaving appallingly to gay people may very well be described as “trampling over people”!

Some of the people who have been persecutors for so long are howling as if they are victims at the moment (no surprise, given human psychology). But Conservative Evangelicals do need to understand that Christians have a responsibility to distance themselves from their awful history of homophobia: I don’t see that in the line they are taking at the moment.

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

There are quite a variety of voices speaking in the conservative corner Peter. Some very angry and certainly non-negotiable. It really is not that simple.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

David, CEEC is a properly constituted authority and voice and needs to be accepted as such.

The fact people like Sam Margrave are on the loose cannot be treated as an excuse to claim there is no recognisable conservative position.

Margrave is an enormous hindrance. We all know that. There is still an entirely open door to genuine negotiation with authoritative conservative leaders

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

The CEEC is very far from representing all evangelicals and its GS presence (EGGS) effectively threw out evangelicals who did not take a conservative line on sexuality.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Charles Read
1 year ago

The issue of who wants a say that is out of proportion to their actual constituency will plague the discussion.

We still have a set of problems to solve

Susanna (with no h!)
Susanna (with no h!)
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Hello Peter,
Maybe it would be fairer if you were to rephrase your reply to me as nothing could be further from the truth as you see it?
I see things somewhat differently.
I am also not sure what this magic ‘mediated settlement’ which you would like ‘progressives’ to join you in clamouring for, actually is, or what it solves- the proverbial Pyrrhic victory?
I am very much on the edge of all this, but I find it hard to see that this is the way to the Kingdom of
Heaven.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Susanna (with no h!)
1 year ago

Susanna, if I made a sweeping statement about the progressive position would you not be entitled to correct me. I am sure you would.

You must be better placed to understand and represent the progressive position than I am. The same is true in regard to my representation of the conservatives.

More to the point, everything does not have to be reduced to “that’s just your opinion”. I really am telling you the authentic conservative view.

It must be better for us all to know what the parties actually think

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Peter
1 year ago

Just to be clear, and for the avoidance of any doubt, Susanna (with no h!) and Susannah Clark are different people. For my part, it seems obvious that there needs to be a settlement if people don’t want rancour for another 10 years. And why shouldn’t there be? If people as diverse as Jayne and Vaughan are calling for the accommodation of plural consciences (and they are recognised leaders among others) then I suggest all parties should talk together on the Scottish-style resolution (in some form) that was completely ignored and absent from options the bishops brought to the table… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 year ago

The Scottish model isn’t sufficiently robust for England. For example, there are a lot of chapels in England and they need careful handling because, unlike churches, chaplains (or deans in some cases) are employees and therefore don’t have the same protection against discrimination claims as vicars. Then there is the case of the PCC and minister in a parish church having different views. It really is far more complicated than the bishops’ proposal suggested. In short, it all really needs formal structures.

José Ribeiro
José Ribeiro
Reply to  Nuno Torre
1 year ago

The Lusitanian Church was founded by Catholics disatisfied with papal infallibility (Vatican I) with the support of TEC missionaries. She is linked directly to ABC.

Mark Hart
Mark Hart
1 year ago

Why does it take so long for voting lists to be published (on the C of E website, not TA)?

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Hart
David Lamming
David Lamming
1 year ago

The voting figures in the counted vote by houses on item 67 – the one amendment to the LLF motion that was carried – are now on the C of E website:

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2023-02/Item%2067%20by%20House.pdf

Hopefully, the voting lists for all the other counted votes during the February 2023 group of sessions will be published later this week.

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