Thinking Anglicans

Some voting figures from the House and College of Bishops

Updated Friday

Francis Martin reports in the Church Times:

Bishops’ divisions over same-sex marriage exposed

Read the whole article if you possibly can, but it starts out:

A LARGE majority of C of E bishops support a move towards allowing priests to enter into same-sex marriage, and the immediate adoption of stand-alone services of blessing for same-sex couples, the Church Times can report.

The House of Bishops, however, voted to slow progress on both issues in a meeting earlier this month, in the face of conservative hostility. The outcome has prompted MPs to question the process of episcopal governance…

The report includes the following specific voting figures:

  • Voting records suggest that the House held a vote on whether it was of one mind that the pastoral guidance should permit clergy to be in same-sex civil marriages, and that this was passed by 18 votes to 15 — though the House still voted to delay its publication for “further work”.
  • Voting records seen by the Church Times show that a majority of 75 to 22 at the College of Bishops meeting in September supported a plan to approve the services under Canon B5A, which would have enabled their immediate use as an “experimental” service under the authority of the Archbishops.
    At a meeting on 9 October, however, the House of Bishops opted to take a different route, and instead move straight to the full synodical process outlined in Canon B2. The College of Bishops had expressly voted against this, by a majority of 68 to 28. The decision to reverse this in the House was by a small margin: 19 in favour of the plan to proceed straight to B2, and 16 against.

Update Friday

The leader in the Church Times reports that the College of Bishops voting on the pastoral guidance was  “72 to 26 to work on giving permission for clergy to enter same-sex marriages”.  This leader is also recommended reading.

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Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
6 months ago

I guess this is the moment for this Yank to ask for qualification: What is the difference between the memberships of the House of Bishops and the College of Bishops?

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

The House of Bishops is the diocesan bishops, plus the Bishop of Dover (suffragan in Canterbury diocese), plus a small number (nine) of suffragan bishops elected from among the suffragan bishops. I believe the provincial episcopal vistors and six female suffragan bishops attend but have no vote (unless they are also a representative of the suffragans). The House of Bishops is one of the three houses of the General Synod and has a legal and constitutional status. The College of Bishops consists of all diocesan and suffragan bishops. It is a consultative body and has no particular legal status. (There… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 months ago

Which raises the question of why only 33 or 35 were voting; that’s a lot of absences…

Rosalind R
Rosalind R
Reply to  Helen King
6 months ago

There are some vacant sees – not sure if that will fill all the gaps in the voting numbers.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Rosalind R
6 months ago

Good point. There are I think six sees vacant at the moment: Birmingham, Peterborough, Carlisle, Exeter, Ely, and Truro. And Sodor & Man and Coventry are both about to become vacant (S&M tomorrow, Coventry next month) so their bishops might also not have been present.

I think that acting diocesan bishops are invited to attend the House, but they have no vote.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
6 months ago

Gafcon leaders are fearful that gay people in the Global South will be persecuted if the CofE recognises same-sex relationships . Their solution is to allow LGBT people to be discriminated against in the Global North. The bishops are fearful of the influence of people like Nicky Gumbel whose evangelical tail wags the Episcopal dog.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
Reply to  FrDavid H
6 months ago

They also seem totally unaware of the sufferings of LGBT+ people in the Global South – some of whom end up as refugees here fleeing the persecution they face in places like Uganda and Nigeria. I’ve met them.

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
6 months ago

I am genuinely mystified as to why so many bishops still hold to the notion of collective responsibility on this. I can’t really imagine that collective responsibility has good roots in history or theology. (Was Augustine bound by collective responsibility in his disputes with the donatists? Genuine question. Were any bishops prior to last e.g. 20 years?). . They don’t appear to realise that it’s proving quite corrosive. I can understand why a bishop may be reluctant to declare their views one way of the other because (presumably?) they are fearful that they will lose the trust of clergy and… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

Few bishops are prepared to say what they really believe.  It’s easy to hide by simply affirming the doctrine of marriage.  I’ve heard it routinely in preferment discussions.  At one level the eleven dissentient bishops (nine of whom are members of the House of Bishops, and seven of whom are diocesans) are at least speaking their mind, despite raising serious concerns in their own dioceses about their now ability to be a focus of unity.  I was shocked to see some of the names on the list, based on interactions I have had, but also interested to see who was not on the list.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

“My advice to clergy, when asked, is to plan a stand-alone service as the pastoral situation dictates, and simply get on with it on a DIY basis.” I agree. That’s what our priest did when he and the congregation gave us a wedding-style service after we’d got the little piece of paper. The bishops seem unable to resolve their own impasse, and yet this is a pastoral crisis NOW, not something to be sorted out (really?) in 20 years’ time. In the absence from clear moral leadership from the top, and continuing log-jam in Synod, I suggest that the moral… Read more »

Adrian Clark
Adrian Clark
Reply to  Susannah Clark
6 months ago

Would the corollary work for those PCCs desiring to remain rooted in the Church’s tradition of the biblical standard being marriage is between one man and one woman?

T Pott
T Pott
6 months ago

I am an ignoramus, but perhaps not the only one. I wonder if someone could explain the difference between House of Bishops and College of Bishops, please?

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  T Pott
6 months ago

See my other answer in reply to Pat O’Neill.

Itarbel
Itarbel
6 months ago

In the US, due to the electoral college and non-proportional distribution of senate seats, we effectively have tyranny of a minority. E.g., The state of Wyoming has 2 Senators for 576,000 people. The state of California has 2 Senators for about 39,500,000 people.

this state of affairs was created to empower slave holding states and now allows a rump of extreme right wingers to sabotage our democracy and pass policies that are opposed by vast majorities of Americans.

one wonders how the conservatives in your House of Bishops have managed to pull off the same thing, overriding the majority.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Itarbel
6 months ago

Nice revisionism. Show us the facts please.

“this state of affairs was created to empower slave holding states”

No, it was created to prevent smaller states losing something like parity, at least at the senatorial level.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
6 months ago

You have just said the same thing, except from the opposite viewpoint. The largest states in population were, for the most part, the slave-holding states–and, if they had not gotten this, they would not have ratified the Constitution.

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

You are arguing, if I understand your support of ‘Itarbel’, that the founding fathers created two chambers of the legislative branch, not, as Madison and others held, so that smaller states would have a place of parity with more populous ones, and that this place would be the senate; but that such a plan for a Republic was created for the purpose of safe-guarding slavery.

No, that would require throwing out the arguments found, e.g., in the Federalist Papers, that is, the actual dicta of the founders themselves.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Anglican Priest
6 months ago

Do you honestly think the writers of the Federalist Papers–one of whom was a slaveholder (Madison)–would openly argue that the purpose of the Senate was to protect slavery?

Also, of course, the existence and truth of one purpose–protecting the small states–does not negate the existence and truth of the other–protecting the slave states.

Or have you forgotten the three-fifths clause of Article One, section 2?

Anglican Priest
Anglican Priest
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

Nonsense. You belong to the school of thought that says the Republic and its two-level democratic assembly and upper chamber senate–so France e.g., and England in its own two chambers–was made fit to purpose. Slave-holding!

This is frankly tiresome US Left-chatter c. 2023.

And I apologise, as this thread isn’t about US Republic polity, but about the composition of the Church of England HOB.

EagletP
EagletP
Reply to  Itarbel
6 months ago

Isn’t the House of Representatives the only Republican-controlled house at the moment? And isn’t that more …. Representative?

I don’t think your narrative works, and of course there are plenty of small left-leaning states as well.

I’d suggest evangelicals are in fact UNDERrepresented on General Synod because the lay electorate – deanery synod reps – is in nearly all dioceses skewed towards small congregations.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  EagletP
6 months ago

“Isn’t the House of Representatives the only Republican-controlled house at the moment? And isn’t that more …. Representative?”

Nice try. Gerrymandering (look it up if that US political term is unfamiliar to you) has skewed the representation there as well.

Eaglet
Eaglet
Reply to  Pat ONeill
6 months ago

Gerrymandering is the word we use here as well. I’m aware I’m getting into an ‘infinite conversation’, but I can see that the popular vote for the House was 50%-47% R-D, which roughly tracks the overall outcome. Without knowing much about US gerrymandering – occasionally I see an irate tweet about strange shaped districts in eg Illinois. I guess both sides get up to it? In the UK we have supposedly independent commissions to set boundaries, but no doubt there’s pressure from both sides on them as well.

Alwyn Hall
Alwyn Hall
Reply to  EagletP
6 months ago

Respectfully, it doesn’t quite work that way. The number of Deanery Synod places is based on the electoral roll numbers in each parish. When I was a member of Deanery Synod (until recently), our (non-evangelical) church had 6 places, but other local churches would have had only one or two. A large evangelical church could have a substantial number on the electoral roll and therefore have many more members on Deanery Synod than other local churches. Of course, representatives from small congregations can vote for evangelical candidates too! The other thing to bear in mind is the (from memory) low… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
6 months ago

A fascinating look at the differences in the ways general synods are elected. In Canada, the AGMs of our parishes elect lay delegates to our Diocesan Synods (licensed clergy are automatically members). Clergy and duly elected lay members of the Diocesan Synods are then eligible for election, by their Diocesan Synods, to General Synod, in proportion to the size of the diocese (I can’t remember if that’s average Sunday attendance or parish membership). General Synod meets once every three years, so usually people will only get to attend one GS, unless they are re-elected (by their parish to diocesan synod,… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

I’ve been corrected by a person who knows our canons and constitutions better than me.

‘To be elected a member of our General Synod, one must be either a member of a diocesan synod or eligible to be a member.’

EagletP
EagletP
Reply to  Alwyn Hall
6 months ago

But you’re ignoring the damping effect as churches get larger. Diocese have different systems, but in nearly every diocese 8 churches with ERs of, say, 50 together are allowed many more DS members than 1 church with an ER of 400. I just happened to Google the quotients for Lichfield diocese, basically at random, and in that diocese churches of ER 50 are allowed 4 DS members each, and one with an ER of 400 is allowed 6 DS members in total. In other words that’s a 32 to 6 skew! The pattern is similar in nearly all dioceses. Given… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  EagletP
6 months ago

If those are the correct figures for deanery synod representation in Lichfield diocese (in particular, a parish with 50 on the electoral roll being allowed as many as 4 lay representatives), I would guess that they are atypical. Deanery synod numbers are set by resolution of the diocesan synod no later than 31 December in the year preceding the 3-yearly elections (the most recent elections being earlier this year, 2023): see Church Representation Rules (CRR), rule 19(1) and (2). The only constraint is that the diocesan synod must exercise its powers so as to secure that the total number of… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  David Lamming
6 months ago

Ely’s allocation is even simpler:
1-50: 1
51-200: 2
201 or more: 3

This is also broadly proportional. It was approved at the October 2022 diocesan synod and I am not aware that there have been any complaints from larger parishes. My recollection (I was in the chair) is that it was agreed without dissent — but I’ve just checked the minutes and they say “approved by a majority”, which does imply there were some dissenters.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 months ago

Simon – I’d be interested to know the attendance record from those parishes in Ely diocese with only one rep on the deanery synod. In St Eds & Ips I was instrumental in securing an increase in the representation to two for all parishes with 26-100 (rather than 51-100) on the electoral roll, reasoning that if one member was unable to attend a meeting of the synod (for whatever reason), hopefully the other member could attend so that the parish was represented. (At the time, the CRR restriction of only one rep for parishes with fewer than 26 names on… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  EagletP
6 months ago

If those figures from Lichfield are correct, then good luck to any parish with 50 on the ER trying to find 4 deanery synod reps!

Bryan Y
Bryan Y
6 months ago

How can a vote of 18 to 15 “pass” the resolution that the bishops are of one mind? Clearly an 18-15 split shows anything but “one mind”, whatever the issue on the table may be.

Mark
6 months ago

Isn’t it rather unChristian that our bench of bishops is permitted to conduct itself in this way, in secret and with only rumours of votes making their way into the public domain via select trusties?

Surely we are enjoined to be open, honest and do our business in the plain light of day. This is particularly important in this area, given that a culture of secrecy has led to gay people being blackmailed and bullied.

David Chillman
David Chillman
6 months ago

Of all the many sad aspects to this, perhaps one of the saddest is that the bishops (& the archbishops in particular) have got themselves into a place where literally no-one trusts them. Those (mostly evangelical) who are opposed to SSM are convinced that the archbishops are deviously planning to sweep their objections away and push through SSM come what may. On the other side, those who desire this change are equally convinced that the archbishops are doing everything in their power to block it (without appearing homophobic). No-one believes them any more. No-one trusts them. They seem to have… Read more »

Peter
Peter
Reply to  David Chillman
6 months ago

You articulate the conservative position to readily. The conservative view is that the Archbishops (and bishops) have changed the episcopal model from that defined in the constitutional documents of the Church of England They act as facilitators seeking above all else to maintain unity. It is an intellectually coherent model. These people are neither fools nor are they animated by base motives. It still a catastrophic error to change the model. It has not worked and will not work. That is why they have lost the trust of conservatives. Paradoxically, it is pretty much the same reason that progressives no… Read more »

David Chillman
David Chillman
Reply to  Peter
6 months ago

“The conservative view is that the Archbishops (and bishops) have changed the episcopal model from that defined in the constitutional documents of the Church of England” Sorry but I have read a lot of comments on other (evangelical) discussion boards and this hasn’t come up once. What HAS come up repeatedly is the clearly expressed notion that the archbishops in particular are working to a “liberal” agenda. At the end of the day, though, what is undeniable is that they have lost the trust of both sides, so that anything they say or do now will be regarded with immense… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  David Chillman
6 months ago

Where do we go from here? One answer is for the H o B to relinquish the workload it reserves to itself, and return the focus, time and energy of the bishops to their respective dioceses. Gen Synod could more effectively function with a House of Clergy and a House of Laity, although even that distinction need not be used. Even the bishops themselves are complaining that the processes surrounding LLF/PLF and the H o B are a mystery to them. It looks like a simultaneously over empowered and disempowered House. The H o B either needs disbanding or to… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
6 months ago

Where do we go from here? Well, next Saturday is Bonfire Night.

Lottie E Allen
6 months ago

It’s time to ask the House of Commons to support a Cross Party one clause Bill to revoke Part II of the Marriage Act 1949.

Enough is enough. Marry everyone or marry no one. I have been a faithful active communicate member of the Anglican Church for all of the 42 years of my adult life. I have had enough of this Episcopal Crap.

Jeremy
Jeremy
6 months ago

Posting Ben Bradshaw’s reactions, as reported by the Church Times: Speaking to the Church Times, Sir Ben suggested that the majority of the Church was “fed-up with the complete failure of the leadership of the Archbishops and the Bishops, and their repeated pusillanimity in the face of extremely aggressive behaviour of a small group of completely unrepresentative Evangelical conservatives”. He “confidently predicted” that “Parliament will not stand by.” These concerns came “hot on the heels of the catastrophic failure by senior church officials over safeguarding”, he said. “There are very strong suspicions that a senior official in Church House wields far too… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
6 months ago

Reacting to what Ben Bradshaw is quoted as saying to the Church Times…
I think the Church of England is about to find out what it means to be an established and officially homophobic church under a Labour government.
But the real question is whether Parliament will do anything before the general election.
On that score, I have my doubts. We shall see.

David Chillman
David Chillman
Reply to  Jeremy
6 months ago

I agree that nothing will happen this side of a GE. As to what happens after that, who knows?

I suspect that a new Parliament may have far too many other things to deal with. And, quite frankly, very few MPs care about the C of E these days.

My gut tells me that nothing will happen until we reach the point where disestablishment is done, and the C of E loses all privileges and the Bishops get kicked out of the House of Lords.

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
Reply to  David Chillman
6 months ago

Even the more radical 2019 manifesto didn’t mention the Church of England. I’m willing to bet the CofE will never be disestablished, because, like, why even bother if you’re an MP? It’s neither a vote winner nor a vote loser. The bishops might lose their Lords membership if there’s Lords reform, but I’m not sure anyone outside of a handful of senior members of Humanists UK and the most Laudian Anglicans who really care deeply either way.

Jonathan Chaplin
Jonathan Chaplin
Reply to  FearandTremolo
6 months ago

I care, which is why I wrote ‘Beyond Establishment’ last year. Anglicans generally should care and this case shows why. Establishment inevitably leaves the Church vulnerable to external political pressure to change its stance on this, or other, issues that should be decided by it alone, according to its own convictions. If you don’t like those convictions, win the battle inside the Church. Those who look to parliament to ‘help’ them win this progressive battle wouldn’t be able to complain if in future it ‘helped’ get through some very ‘conservative’ policies. Also, the Church doesn’t have to wait passively for… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Jonathan Chaplin
6 months ago

As I am not on a Deanery Synod I have no vote for General Synod. I do have a vote for Parliament. The only elected representative who speaks for me is my MP.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  T Pott
6 months ago

If you are a lay person you get to vote for deanery synod members and they are your elected representatives. If you are a priest then you are either a member of your deanery synod or, if retired, you can vote for a representative of retired clergy on the deanery synod. So you are able to talk to and influence those who vote at diocesan synod and General Synod elections.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 months ago

For retired clergy, you need to have permission to officiate. I have not. Not having relinquished my orders, I appear to be ineligible for a parish’s electoral roll which is the electorate (at APCM) for lay representatives on Deanery Synod. I therefore have no voice in either, and merely sit in the pews! I think I can attend the APCM, but not speak (or vote).

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
6 months ago

If lay people are responsible enough to vote for Deanery Synod members, why shouldn’t they be responsible enough to vote direct for General Synod members? Candidates pitch their manifestos to persuade Deanery Synod members, so they could do the same addressing these to every person on a church’s electoral roll.

I advocate this approach because I simply think in the present ‘Soviet-style’ system of delegates only voting for General Synod, it distances Church governance from the greater number of people who live out their faith quietly and faithfully, and are actually by far the largest constituency in the Church.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  T Pott
6 months ago

But who elects the Deanery Synod members?

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
6 months ago

Lay Deanery Synod members are elected from each parish every three years by annual parish meetings (in years that have remainder 1 when divided by 3). There is a stepped quota depending on the number of parishioners on the electoral role in the parish, with every parish getting at least one representative. All licensed clergy are members of the deanery synod House of Clergy.

Lottie E. Allen
Reply to  Jonathan Chaplin
6 months ago

The Church of England has the authority to marry people because of the Marriage Act 1949.

The General Synod operated under delegated authority from Parliament.

The Church of England cannot have its cake and eat it. If if wants to Crown the King it has to live with the State.

Parliament has every right to question.

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
6 months ago

If the purpose of a system is what is actually does, one has to wonder what the purpose of this system is

Sussex Reader
Sussex Reader
6 months ago

Meanwhile the man in the street watches in amazement. People would join a church that says something is right and wholeheartedly embraces it. Some people would join a church that says something is wrong and will have nothing to do with it. But who in their right mind would join a church that says both things at the same time?

John T
John T
Reply to  Sussex Reader
6 months ago

Like women can be priests but not believing that women can be priests is still OK and will have protected status in the church? Or that it’s OK to marry people who have been divorced, and also OK not to marry people who have been divorced. We’re good at this broad difference thing, even if it is illogical.

Thomas G. Reilly
Thomas G. Reilly
6 months ago

I am utterly bewildered by the fact that, in a world torn apart by war, exclusion, hatred, and death, our Church and others are preoccupied, and devotes so much time and effort to the exclusion of people born gay who wish to marry people whom they love of the same sexual inclination, and who wish to live and be active members of the family of Christ. It seems to be less important, and less execrable, to be an exploiter of the poor, a racist, or a member of an organisation which encourages hatred or exclusion. The Bible is full of… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
6 months ago

There is one point which hasn’t come up yet in many of the excellent comments. The clergy and laity think they are ignored and that the trust in the Archbishops has been lost. What seems likely (although none of them have said so) is that most of the suffragan bishops probably feel disenfranchised in much the same way. I don’t think we had that insight before.

R S Cowlin
R S Cowlin
6 months ago

In all of this, I do wonder what change could happen if all the bishops we all know to be closeted LGBTQ+ (lets stop pretending we don’t know) would offer up openly their experiences of living in love and faith, and be open as so many of our clergy and congregants are forced to be open. When o Lord will we have more openly lgbtq+ bishops, archdeacons and members of bishop staff teams offering up their experience and gifts and demonstrating just how precious and of value lgbtq+ are to the church, when will our structures mirror the actual diversity… Read more »

Martyn Percy
Martyn Percy
6 months ago

In the midst of revolutionary sea-change, the Church of England has attempted to have its cake and eat it, with Synodical structures that mimic the democratic powers of Parliament. In truth, this seldom works. The Church of England’s General Synod does not exercise any meaningful governance or oversight over the church or its bishops. Synodical processes are controlled by a small elite of autocratic lawyers, bishops and a cadre of courtiers, with democratic decisions regularly undermined. For example, the voting for women priests (1992) and bishops (2014) in General Synod was diluted – delayed and qualified – by an executive… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Martyn Percy
6 months ago

“The leadership of the CofE is paralysed and compromised.” And as you observe, Martyn, General Synod seems paralysed as well, not least by the way 34% of people can vote down doctrinal change, but it goes far deeper than that. The Church of England seems to be at a logjam and impasse, with years of delay being proposed just over ‘prayers’, with the key issue (gay marriage) still out of sight beyond the horizon. And yet this pastoral crisis is NOW. People’s lives are demeaned NOW. The public (and especially the young) are being alienated NOW. If moral leadership (and… Read more »

Jonathan Chaplin
Jonathan Chaplin
Reply to  Martyn Percy
6 months ago

I broadly agree with Martyn’s charge of chronic dysfunctionality at the top and share his dismay at the current tendency towards autocracy. But the radical Erastianism he advocates would make the church entirely subordinate to the state, destroying its spiritual autonomy. Progressives who want to call in the parliamentary cavalry to save the church from itself on this issue should be very careful what they wish for. If they run to the state to help them win church battles they can’t win themselves internally, they won’t be able to complain when in future the same state compels the church to… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Jonathan Chaplin
6 months ago

I don’t think I had realised this until you said. Parliament acting is inherently dangerous and something we don’t want. There is a bug exception though: it is right, indeed important, to ask Parliament to undo its past interventions such as the triple lock.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Perhaps there is a distinction to be drawn between matters pertaining to the rights of parishioners, and matters pertaining to the doctrine of the Church. It seems reasonable for the state to insist that parishioners (of all religions and none) of the same sex can marry in their parish church, and at the same time for the Church to say (to Christian believers who ask) that they should not do so.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  T Pott
6 months ago

The importance of it covering all parishes is witness – so that everyone in the parish, including youngsters, know it is ok to be gay. I suspect that the reason conservatives want to opt whole churches out, not just individual ministers, is to prevent that witness normalising same sex marriage.

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Yes. That is an obvious first action. Even if the Church of England chooses to discriminate against gay couples and lock them out of church marriage, MPs should not have to collude in that discrimination themselves by upholding the extra step of making marriage in CofE churches illegal. That additional ‘lock’ should be rescinded.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Parliament didn’t really ‘intervene’ with the triple lock. It was necessary as otherwise the Act and canon law would have been in conflict. Certainly it would need to be removed to enable same sex marriage in church, but the General Synod could do that by Measure. It’s tortuous.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Anthony Archer
6 months ago

So maybe remove it and force the Church of England to reinstate it by measure (which they probably couldn’t get through Synod) or accept same sex marriage. But, as Susannah says, the Government should not be colluding in the discrimination.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Kate Keates
6 months ago

Exactly. Parliament has already acted, in a change-defeating way.
Cries of “radical Erastianism” overlook the triple lock.
They also overlook how the ordination of women bishops was finally achieved: through parliamentary pressure.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Jonathan Chaplin
6 months ago

To this outsider looking in, it seems as if radical Erastianism is in the DNA of the Church of England.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Martyn Percy
6 months ago

Thank you, Martyn, for your historical knowledge, your wisdom and insight, and your public courage. It’s an extraordinary comment to make, but I agree with you that the bishops and Archbishops’ Council are unable to reason theologically. There may well be a precedent for Parliament to act – but will Parliament act? And whether or not they do, we have a Church of England without competent theological or emotional leadership and people, within and beyond the Church longing not only for justice for women, LGBTQIA+ people, black and brown people and those with different abilities, but for a depth or… Read more »

Martyn Percy
Martyn Percy
6 months ago

I was not suggesting Parliament somehow took over running the CofE management. That would be very foolish indeed. The 1717 legislation was designed to stop the CofE repeatedly self-harming. As the Georgian bishops seemed incapable of resolving their disputes through pronouncements – they were unable to demonstrate theological nous and leadership, and every time they opened their mouths on doctrine it made matters worse – Parliament intervened. Bishops were effectively legislated to not debate doctrine. It tore the church and communities apart when they tried. Stopping debates on doctrine bought everyone some peace. We’ve reached that stage. Collective collegial episcopal… Read more »

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