Lay Anglicana, the unofficial voice of the laity throughout the Anglican Communion.
This is the place to share news and views from the pews.

Get involved ...

Sackcloth And Ashes From the Laity: What Next?

What a day!

Sunt lacrimae rerum.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

Add your own favourite quote for these moments.

Our grateful thanks to those who tried

Heading this list is our anonymous champion (we presume male), the Church Mouse, who rustled up the Yes2WomenBishops petition and got us all to sign, and got us to get all our friends to sign. Thank-you WATCH, who have been keeping watch through long years of seemingly endless nights. I am not attempting to name names, because they are legion. You know who you are, and we know who some of you are, and we just want to thank you for doing all that you did. It nearly worked!

Never glad confident morning again?

But, however we comfort ourselves, the House of Laity in the Church of England has today committed a blunder which will cost the Church dear. It will cost the new Archbishop of Canterbury, threatening to turn him into an Ancient Mariner stalked by an albatross even before the enthronement. It will cost the Bishops who, at 44 votes in favour, 3 against and 2 abstentions, mirrored the vote in their dioceses. It will cost the House of Clergy who, though less overwhelmingly, supported the motion by 148 in favour, 45 against and with no abstentions. And it will cost the House of Laity itself, who by voting 132 in favour, 74 against and with no abstentions, bring into question the degree to which they are representative of their dioceses. If you are a lay person in the Church of England, this is what has just been done in your name. Please take a moment to consider whether there is anything more you could or should have done to prevent this outcome. And then let us bury our heads in Aslan’s mane, like Lucy, and seek comfort there.

The Micawber Perspective

But having wept, it is time to reflect that it could (just) have been very much worse. You remember Micawber on the subject of annual income -

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

Yes, we are in misery. But there is only a shilling in it (5p in new money!). If 6 lay members had voted the other way (or abstained) the motion would have passed. This is of course maddening, but it is also ground for hope. We only have to tweak a few votes to change this.

What is to be done?

I don’t know. This is where you come in. I suggest that, since it was the laity that got us into this mess, it is to some extent up to the laity to try and get us out of it.  Off the top of my head (and I haven’t even had a chance to sleep on this):

  • We could begin by analysing the lay vote – what proportion of those who voted against were actually in favour of women bishops, but feel that the amended measure was discriminatory? Secondly, what proportion are implacably against women bishops on principle? I suggest we can work with the first group, but it is pointless to waste time on the second.
  • My understanding of what ++John Sentamu said is that the next move is up to the House of Laity: General Synod can discuss it again whenever the HOL agrees to reconsider. (Did I get that bit right – maybe not?). I am pretty sure he is not thinking of waiting for 10 years.
  • The next elections for GS will be in 2015 – we could work to ensure that more people to our way of thinking put themselves up as candidates.
  • We could talk to those who are in favour of women bishops but against the measure whether they might agree to abstain (only 2 abstentions altogether).
  • The Bishops are apparently meeting tomorrow to discuss what to do next – this is a hopeful sign as it may indicate that they will try and turn things around (for once I am grateful for the machinations of the princes of the Church!)

Please let us have your thoughts and  ideas in the comments. Please, please.

 

Important Appendix – with thanks to Lou Henderson for flagging it up:

GS Misc 1034

GENERAL SYNOD
Consecration of Women to the Episcopate: Future Process: Note from the Secretary General

3. If the Measure is rejected the effect of Standing Order 61(d) is that it cannot be considered again on the First Consideration Stage in the same form until a new Synod comes into being unless the Presidents, the Prolocutors and the Chairman and ViceChairman of the House of Laity give permission for such a motion to be moved and make a report in writing to the Synod setting out a summary of the case for reconsideration and their reasons for giving such permission.
4. If the Measure is rejected on 20 November it will, in the first instance, be for the House of Bishops and the Archbishops‟ Council to consider how best to test the mind of the General Synod on what should happen next. In addition there are Diocesan Synod Motions for the General Synod to consider on the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and the Ordination of Women to the Episcopate. The Business Committee agreed to „park‟ these until the conclusion of the current legislative process.
William Fittall
Secretary General
October 2012
Published by the General Synod of the Church of England

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

The Phoenix image is by DVARG via Shutterstock. Somehow it seemed a good symbol of any attempt to rescue something from the ruins!

128 comments on this post:

Andy Ryland said...
avatar

With the Bishops Clergy and the majority of the laity (but not the 2/3 required to pass the legislation) it seems the CofE wants women Bishops but that there was a problems with the detail of the measure. ( Ie few details of the code of practice were provided) It would seem appropriative that the ‘Group of Six’ (the Archbishops, the Prolocutors and the Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity) give permission for amended legislation to be brought back and report to the Synod why they want to bring it back.
From my reading there is still room to move forward if the group of Six are minded to do so. Let’s hope they have the wisdom of Solomon.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Oh, Andy, my turn to pray. Please may you be right!

Rose Braisby said...
avatar

I’ve started a petition
http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/women-bishops-another-vote-now
for the “Group of Six” to permit another vote next year; in the meanwhile the Dioceses can reflect on the results this year and advise their Synod reps accordingly.
Please consider signing and encouraging others to do so.

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

When are the next Synod elections?

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

2015

22 November 2012 15:34
Rose Braisby said...
avatar

4 years to get organised with a proper slate (like the opponents of women bishops did last time).
Or, to put it another way, too long to wait.

22 November 2012 15:52
22 November 2012 15:25
21 November 2012 14:24
20 November 2012 21:24
20 November 2012 21:09
Nick Morgan said...
avatar

I believe that the General Synod elections of 2015 are worth targeting. I was a deanery synod rep at the last election but one in 2005 (I think!) though in a different diocese to my present one. I remember receiving only biographical outlines of candidates which spoke of their experience and churchmanship as far as I remember. I think we should campaign to encourage candidates to state their position on women in the episcopate alongside other issues when submitting their candidacy. I think a “Stand by me?” themed campaign on those lines might be effecting.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Good idea, Nick, many thanks.

20 November 2012 21:25
20 November 2012 21:12
Kathryn de Belle said...
avatar

I really don ‘t know what to say Laura, except the vote was definitely not in my name. I can’t believe it, though I was warned by the Archdeacon of Rochdale, in a post-petition email, that the House of Laity could scupper it. As a member of my church, I would know nothing. The same goes for my last church. I learn from Twitter. I am so sad.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Me too, but I feel like Scarlett O’Hara at the end of Gone With the Wind (sorry for all these images – it is the way I think when I am tired or over-wrought!) – you remember, ‘tomorrow is another day’. We can’t give up now.

20 November 2012 21:26
20 November 2012 21:14
Simon Nash said...
avatar

Thanks for a very calm and sensible post. Still in a less sensible place at the moment: few drinks; few phone calls to dear friends; few attempts at prayer. Might start Compline early and give up making sense of it until the “O Lord open our lips…” of the next day. Seriously considering becoming an Anglican and this might, perversely, be moment that decision is being crystallised. Thinking of those who worked so hard in this, and mostly those whose spirits are crushed by this decision. If I had to name a practical thought – we must teach the Biblical and theological issues. The “Bible professionals” in the CofE overwhelmingly support the Biblical argument for female leadership, and yet their teaching has not got through to Joe Pew. Just a thought. Thanks for youe blog.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

The big problem with the Bible is that it is a very long book! And there is so much selective quotation. I am now in love with the Bishop of Dorchester, who said we must look to Rome, that is Paul’s letter to the Romans, for the answer – forget the bit in Corinthians. I looked it up (Romans 16) and it begins chatting to the deaconess Phoebe. He doesn’t talk as if she were anything special or out of the ordinary…:>)

20 November 2012 21:29
20 November 2012 21:16
Deborah Roberts said...
avatar

I do hope that something can happen so that we do not have to wait for many years to come back to this issue. Why is the 2/3 rule there?

I weep for those women priests who will now be unable to reach the heights of their calling

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Deborah, I do weep with you. But while it is fresh in everyone’s hearts and minds, I wanted to gather a few of us together to see if we can do anything to put it right.

20 November 2012 21:33
Phil Groom said...
avatar

Deborah, the 2/3 rule is there to ensure that there’s always a clear majority, that Synod decisions cannot be taken lightly or on the basis of a 51/49 split or similar.

I think it’s a good rule, but what’s not so sensible is the requirement for a 2/3 majority in all three houses, which allows a minority to hijack things, as we’ve just witnessed. My proposal is for a 2/3 overall majority backed by a simple majority in each house — the question remaining is whether those who are in a position to make the change to facilitate this have the will to do so. So – we watch and wait…

23 November 2012 21:10
20 November 2012 21:22
Wendy Dackson said...
avatar

A lot of the reading I’ve been doing in ‘emerging church’ stuff lately has been unreflectively anti-Constantinian, and calls for the Church not to ‘be conformed to the ways of the world’, denouncing any collusion or agreement with the ‘empire’.

Well, this vote reflects that–the way of the ‘empire’ is equality between men and women, not just for the men and women involved, but for those who will either benefit from or be harmed by their leadership.

So, the Church of England, by the narrowest of margins, does not ‘conform’ to the ways of the world. Well, in this case, the world has it right. We need to grow up and realize that sometimes, that will be the case.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

I think this is one of the big problems the Church of England has in being the established Church. Surely, so long as this remains the case, the CofE is obliged to conform to the ways of England. Up to a point of course, I quite realise that, if this green and pleasant land were to turn into Sodom and Gomorrah, it would be unreasonable to expect the Church to follow suit!

Wendy Dackson said...
avatar

The problem is, this is one place where the state has got it right and the Church (albeit by a very slim margin)chooses to remain in a bad place. It is the Church’s desire *not* to conform, in some small way, to the ways of England, that is reflected in this.

Simon Nash said...
avatar

I would have to disagree with you Wendy. It was the Constantinian shift that finally drove the women out of the Episcopacy, although the patriarchalisation of the church did have some orgins before Constantine in the second and third centuries. The Empire has always had an oppressive way with women, and the Constantinian Church dressed this stance up with flimsy theology, which became revered tradition. I see the work of faithful men and women over the past few hundred years to bring equality and rights to women, ethnic minorites, people with different abilities and the like as a powerful move of God, often pioneered by Christians but also taken up by people who see the creational rightness of this principle. So in this reading of history “conforming to the world” is keeping men and women in patriarchal structures, and “being transformed by the Spirit” is about resorting the chruch to its early roots and developing expressions of church that are true to its radical nature.

But for me a church beyond Christendom is a gracious opportunity, not a loss.

Simon Nash said...
avatar

*restoring the church*

21 November 2012 15:16
Wendy Dackson said...
avatar

Actually, Simon, I think the lost opportunity was exactly when the Church was adopted by the state. There was the chance to transform the state into something more life-giving, more egalitarian. The Church blew it by not holding to its principles: it wasn’t really the state’s fault for being true to its own essence. If the church was supposed to be the ‘leaven in the lump’, the church did a blessed poor job of it.

23 November 2012 15:09
simon nash said...
avatar

Replying to Wendy @ 1509. I do love your word “adopted” rather than “sold out” or “taken over”.

Establishment will never transform the state only the church. What was it Tony Campolo said about church and state – ” a little bit of honey on a cowpat doesn’t mnake it good, but a little bit of cowpat in your honey…” But then he’s an Anabaptist, the only Christian grouping other than the Roman Church singled out for condemnnation in the 39 Articles.

The church did a blessed poor job of establishment because that wasn’t its job to do. What does the church of Jesus have to do with Kings and armies… Rant over. I do appreciate there’s many good Christians who do see a faithful way to be a church under supreme governorship of a secular monarch – many of them probably lay Anglicans, so I should be more respectful as a guest here. Much love in Christ etc.

23 November 2012 15:28
Wendy Dackson said...
avatar

Simon, what *was* it the church’s job to do, if not to transform the world?

25 November 2012 20:30
21 November 2012 15:16
20 November 2012 21:38
20 November 2012 21:35
20 November 2012 21:24
Benita Hewitt said...
avatar

I am shocked at this result, I really thought that this time the business of women Bishops was going to be resolved and the CofE could get on with more serious issues. I am also shocked that a handful of laity could squash the very clear majority of Bishops and Clergy.
It has made me wonder who the laity are that had the power to do this. How representative are they? And do they just represent their own views or is there any responsibility to represent the views of the laity in their area? Was there any consultation, I must have missed it.
But it’s also made me think of my own responsibilities. Perhaps I should make a serious effort to get involved more in these issues locally. Could I help to represent laity better? Should I have lobbied my own representative on this (and other?) issues?
I am sad that this result will have a negative impact on the whole church. Most of the public will only hear that ‘The Church’, or perhaps ‘The CofE’ has voted against women Bishops. They will assume it is the hierarchy of the church, and that Bishops and Clergy are AGAINST women Bishops. I doubt that many will realise, or even care, that it was the laity that made the difference and that over 90% of Bishops, 77% of Clergy and even 64% of Laity voted FOR.
Even if the public did realise it was the laity vote that made the difference, what does that tell them about people who go to church? Is this another one to add to the list of qualifiers that people have to give when they admit to being a churchgoing Christian … but I’m not anti-gay, and I’m not anti-women in leadership, etc.
How on earth are we meant to display to others a gospel based on love, when it looks like we spend our time bickering and discriminating?

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Thank-you very much for commenting, Benita. And even more so for giving us so much food for thought. I will sleep on it, if you will forgive me, and try and respond more thoughtfully tomorrow than I feel able to do tonight. Very grateful :>)

20 November 2012 21:43
20 November 2012 21:32
Lesley said...
avatar

The truth will set us free – I think this shows us to be discriminatory, which we are. As long as we dress up discrimination as theologically and ecclesiastically acceptable then we don’t deserve women bishops.

20 November 2012 21:32
Andy Ryland said...
avatar

My guess is this could be a Kairos moment for the church and a time for grace and coming together and some bridge building. I really hope and pray that people don’t go off in a stomp as that won’t help. Perhaps the way women in the church deal with this will be an incredible way to show the grace of Christ and will also really help to win some hearts and minds.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Yes, grace under pressure is what is called for. But unfortunately the pressure has gone on for so long that many are developing pressure sores. Still, I hope people will rise above the petty infighting and lack of trust to see that what matters is that we are all part of the Body of Christ.

20 November 2012 21:58
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

I think I see your point, Andy, but I’ve a caveat. Who was it who said “For too long we have preached patience to the poor without preaching justice to the rich”? We risk asking women (again!) to bend over backwards to be understanding and patient.

Come to think of it, Limbo seems quite an apt image (though I’m not sure what for!) Apparently it was invented on slave ships as a form of exercise.

23 November 2012 14:28
20 November 2012 21:49
Kate ardern said...
avatar

A wonderful post, Laura as always. I’m appalled at the way yet again the CoE has shot itself in the foot – it’s incomprehensible to those that the Church is supposed to want to reach out to and is incompletely inconsistent with being the ” established” Church whose Bishops vote on legislation that affects us all. I have every sympathy with Parliament pushing for the equality exemption to be removed and with the renewed calls for disestablishment. And after the CNC showed real imagination and courage in nominating Justin as new ABC -one significant bold step for a man and now a giant leap backward for women. It will certainly take all of Justin’s considerable wealth of skills in conflict resolution to sort out this unholy mess – I do have ample faith that he is more than up to the task but what a baptism of fire before he’s even enthroned. What is certain is that the General Synod in its present form and its voting system are now no longer fit for purpose if so few votes – like the infamous hanging chads- can make or break such a crucial decision. At this point, I really do wish I could unconfirm myself but I will now have to be content with being non-communicant.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

You make a lot of very good points Kate – no surprises there! Like you I have a great deal of faith in Bishop Justin’s ability to get us all to work together, but I am sorry that he should be faced with this as perhaps the most difficult of his first tasks.
Don’t, please don’t unconfirm yourself or become a non-communicant. I offer the story of Elisabeth Longford, who was asked whether she had ever considered divorcing her -extremely difficult and occasionally tiresome – husband, Lord Longford. ‘Murder, often!’ she replied ‘But Divorce, never’!
That is how I sometimes feel about the CofE. I could cheerfully wring its neck, but cannot imagine divorcing it.

20 November 2012 21:56
20 November 2012 21:50
UKViewer said...
avatar

I’m afraid that I’m so unhappy about this, that I’m minded to have nothing further to do with an organisation that continues to pander to those who are willing to wreck a majority voted idea in the interests of protecting that vocal minority who hide behind the shield of scripture and tradition. Where did the reason go? Because, I feel that it’s been thrown out with both the baby and the bath water.

There has been little grace on either of the more militant elements on both sides of the debate, but by using bile and rhetoric and emotional blackmail to get their way.

But, this decision is a disgrace. The Mind of the Church of England (as the Bishops are so fondly quoting) is firmly set on the Consecration of Women as Bishops – and the House of Bishops and the other involved, particularly the six members who can send the measure back to Synod, need to keep this firmly in mind while they agonise whether to accept the decision and kick it into the long grass, or have the courage of the majority conviction and refer back to Synod.

At the moment, I am probably still so angry that we can treat women in this way – that I can even contemplate moving elsewhere. But that would be a defeat for reason, which I hopefully possess enough of to continue to pursue and support the action of WATCH, INCLUSIVE CHURCH and CHANGING ATTITUDES who work so hard to bring the Love of God into our so called relational church.

Sorry for the rant :(

Anne said...
avatar

Please don’t withdraw from the C of E UKviewer. As a woman priest who is hurting, the worst thing in the world would be to see people who I would have looked to for support leaving. It will make our job ten times harder if we don’t have people willing to walk alongside us through this, and it will disproportionately weaken churches who have or who support women’s ordination – those against it will keep their people, their money and their power. If you are feeling angry about what has happened, find your nearest woman priest and give her a hug (I should ask her first, though, or you may not get the response you expect…)

UKViewer said...
avatar

Thanks. I’ve calmed down a bit. And we have two women Priests in our Benefice and most welcome they are indeed.

In fact, without the involvement of our Women in Lay Ministry and most of our Church Wardens, we would be between a rock and a hard place.

The feeling of not belonging came over me, because I just can’t understand the mindset of the wreckers who deliberately it seems to me decided to hold the majority to ransom.

Synod needs urgent reform, it’s not fit for purpose and no longer has any credibility in my eyes.

Anne said...
avatar

Glad to hear that you have some good women there to support! My bishop said at a clergy meeting yesterday that he had had various concerned messages from clergy since the vote, but that it was interesting how they differed. The younger women priests who had come into ministry in recent years had been shocked, never really having encountered the views of those opposed expressed so starkly and at such length as they were on Tuesday. The male clergy were saying “I don’t know if I can continue to work in a church which behaves like this.” But he said that the older women clergy, who had been around from or before the original decision to ordain women priests (like me) had told him that while they were gutted, they were planning to get up and get on with the job they were called to… Frankly we’ve been through too much to feel like giving up at this point! I can’t make decisions for others, who may feel that for them the pathway now leads out of the church, but I would urge people to breathe in and out. God is still with us in all of this – where else would he be? – and if he is sticking around, so can I.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Attagirl! ‘If he is sticking around, so can I’ – well said!

23 November 2012 21:16
Erika Baker said...
avatar

UK Viewer, I can so understand how you feel!
Strangely, as the one who has left the church because of its same dismissive attitude over lgbt people this vote is bringing me to the edge of joining again.

I hear loud and clear what Anne says. Those people on Synod got away with it because there weren’t enough of us around. How often did I have the chance to join Deanery Synod and didn’t because it’s boring and because I hate pointless committees.
And yet… now I look on aghast at what “they” have done.

Those who are battling on our side in this need our support. I haven’t quite made up my mind yet but the question is there getting louder and louder.

24 November 2012 16:58
Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Erika, please join us again. It’s not just that we need company while we are stuck in the Slough of Despond, how are we going to reach The Delectable Mountains without you on the journey with us :>)

24 November 2012 17:06
23 November 2012 20:07
23 November 2012 19:52
23 November 2012 15:26
20 November 2012 22:43
Tim Chesterton said...
avatar

As a foreign observer, I must say I’ve always thought that the fact that the C of E’s GS meets so often (ours in Canada meets once every three years) and midweek means that lay membership is only open to a certain kind of person, inevitably non-representative of the laity as a whole.

Having meetings once a year at the most – with a national executive council doing the work in between – would open GS membership to a much wider and more representative group.

My two cents’ worth, but I am a foreigner so probably don’t grasp the nuances…

Meanwhile, surely a vote of thanks is due to a group often maligned as ‘out of touch’ – the House of Bishops!

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

As far as I’m concerned overseas contributions are particularly welcome here – we clearly have a lot to learn from North America, Swaziland, and other provinces.

24 November 2012 12:01
21 November 2012 09:06
Barbara Hart said...
avatar

Did we shoot ourselves in the foot? Having agreed to have female priests should we just have assumed that gave us the authority to make them bishops? A letter to the Times this week said that there is no law, secular or church, against them and so this motion was not needed.
Why is it that people like me, an ex Secretary of the PCC too, have no idea how Lay members are chosen for Synod? Who are they? What is their mandate? Will we be told how they voted, as happens in Parliament. or will they hide behind some kind of secret ballot concept?
Women priests and their supporters will not walk away from the church over this – they never do, unlike their opponents – but a vote like this could lead to us losing our establishment status and our influence on British life. We could lose our charitable status and all that brings us. What if some of our senior female priests decide in the light of this decision that they did not have a calling to the priesthood and walk away. So many what ifs, I know, but we could be finished by this.
I do hope that the Group of Six will refer this back to Synod without delay.

21 November 2012 11:06
Taylor Carey said...
avatar

As ever, a wonderful post Laura. If it hadn’t been for a pressing tutorial, I think I might have lacked the motivation to emerge from my room this morning. A brief glance at today’s papers confounds the dread; we’re being slated, not least with the words like ‘inequality’, ‘sexism’ and ‘irrelevance’.

The vote was narrow and unquestionably unrepresentative. This was always going to be a political decision – I have been on the receiving end of a few ‘strategic’ e-mails, especially from those opposed, laying out the line of attack to secure the precious few votes in the HOL – which is deeply disappointing and troubling for the Church. As you suggest, what is now needed is of course prayer, some space and time to reflect, but also, as ++Rowan quite rightly stressed, the will to re-engage. This was not a vote to do nothing, but a vote to discuss further, we are told – so let’s take up those who voted against on their word.

I remain wholeheartedly committed to female ordination and consecration as bishops. Nonetheless I desire a cherished position for those who cannot in all conscience support this step. To this end, here is the first of a five part interview with a bishop I know well, who lays out very humbly a reasoned opposition to the legislation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmCggfoomUc&feature=plcp

We all have an obligation to meet those of alternative persuasions at the Lord’s table. For all the failure we have seen so far from both sides to do so, I don’t believe we can abandon that commitment in our disagreements and debates. So, let’s give time and space to the anger, disappointment and frustration. But let’s find ourselves drawn back to the Lord, and in Him persevere.

This all sounds rather pious, but I can’t see much in the way of alternative. From this morning, some good reads:

Rev Lucy Winklett in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/20/women-bishops-vote-disaster-church-of-england

+Justin’s comments, with ++Rowan’s brief interview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20421576

++John Sentamu in the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/church-of-england-not-dead-after-women-bishops-vote-says-john-sentamu-8339611.html

Taylor Carey said...
avatar

*I think I meant to say ‘confirms’ rather than ‘confounds’.

21 November 2012 11:22
21 November 2012 11:21
avatar

[...] Sackcloth & Ashes from the Laity: What next? (Laura Sykes) [...]

21 November 2012 14:26
Alan said...
avatar

I was so sorry to hear how this turned out. So often when it comes to expanding civil rights we find ourselves taking two steps back after every three steps forward. Just wanted to add my thoughts and prayers.

22 November 2012 09:09
Joyce said...
avatar

As a matter of interest,how many vacancies come up every year for – for want of a better word – a bishop’s job ?

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Hi Joyce, I think this is the classic ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. Let’s say we are talking about diocesan bishops (rather than the junior ‘suffragans’). There are 44 dioceses, so 44 bishops. There is no fixed term of office. Bishop Justin Welby will have done a year at Durham, some bishops stay 10 years or more – bear in mind that by the time someone becomes a bishop they are getting on for retirement and so would rarely have more than, say 2 postings as a bishop. How are your calculations doing? I’m going to suggest the answer to your question is 2 or 3 a year?

22 November 2012 15:40
22 November 2012 11:45
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Are there any plans afoot for a way of marking this sad event in Anglican churches across the land on Sunday? I would suggest a couple of minutes silent reflection followed by an affirmation of women’s ministry. Bible readings illustrating women’s leadership would be in order (maybe we should leave out the tent peg!), the Song of Miriam as a canticle, Tell out my soul as a hymn perhaps… I think it’s important to celebrate women up front at a time when many of us are feeling dejected and women priests in particular feel undervalued.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

I think this is an excellent idea – and will pass it on to my priest, who of course happens to be a woman! (More difficult for a woman to do this)

22 November 2012 15:36
22 November 2012 15:14
Joyce said...
avatar

Another silly question: what’s it got to do with the laity anyway ? How many lay people have even met a bishop ? As a lay worshipper I have but four times in my life attended a divine service at which the diocesan bishop has performed,one of which being my own confirmation.As for actually meeting any bishop at all who wasn’t Tom Wright,that’s happened twice.I’d say most laity are like me,entirely unaffected by who the bishop is and having very little idea of what he does for pew fillers,if he does anything.So why was their House allowed such an important say in the bishop’s sex ? I caught a glimpse of an item on the TV news last night in which a clergywoman was weeping.Someone whom the decision may have affected,perhaps.Maybe she was hoping for the job,or had a friend who was well suited to it. Surely the people who are closely concerned with the bishop should have been the ones only ones whose votes mattered.

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Joyce, I think the reason why this debate is so heated goes way beyond the practical one of what bishops do (though I guess your bishop will have a big say in who will be your next parish priest,and has a pivotal role to play when a parish or a vicar has a crisis).

But to exclude women from any role in the church on principle surely feels like a slap in the face to most women, but especially to women priests who have laboured so lovingly for so long in a church where some say they are not real priests or should not preach to men – and where those in charge make elaborate arrangements to accommodate those who reject their vocation.

I don’t think this is very different for women priests who have no thought of ever becoming a bishop, especially as everyone seems to be agreed that there’s no essential theological difference between a priest and a bishop. As far as I can tell, the nay-sayers are nay-sayers because it makes it more likely that an ordained woman will turn up at their church in an official capacity.

Men lording it over women, or indeed anybody lording it over anybody, diminishes us all.

Joyce said...
avatar

“As far as I can tell, the nay-sayers are nay-sayers because it makes it more likely that an ordained woman will turn up at their church in an official capacity.”
Thanks, Chris. I can see it now that you point it out.
I have to say the only people I’ve known to have their vocation rejected have been men turned down for even the first step towards ordination.We need to feel compassion for all who are disdained by those with the power to deny them fulfillment of their calling.I don’t imagine anybody is called to be a bishop. If they were there’d be a lot of disappointed men out there. When women can be bishops there’ll be twice as many of them.

23 November 2012 18:19
23 November 2012 14:56
22 November 2012 15:38
Shaun - Michael Trevithick said...
avatar

Brothers and Sisters,
I am in the minority, I do not agree with the ordination of women to the sacred priesthood, neither to their consecration as bishops. The measures that were before synod on Tuesday, did not offer those of us in the minority the necessary safe guards to ensure that our traditional view point could continue. If Holy Church wants to Forge ahead she must enshrine in law such safe guards, the Code of Conduct suggested would not have sufficed.
Our Lord came not to the majority and those within the establishment, but rather not minorities and the marginalised. As soon as laws protecting Catholics and Evangelicals are written and passed, I would vote for women bishops

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

What are we commanded as Christians to do? Oh yes, I remember: ‘to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy might, and to love thy neighbour as thyself’. Your demands suggest you believe yourself to be surrounded by hostile forces, not brothers and sisters in Christ. If you feel you need laws to defend yourself against your brothers and sisters, perhaps it is you that has no part in the Church.

Shaun - Michael Trevithick said...
avatar

That Laura, was completely villike There are already laws which were established in 1992 which provided for PEVs and the provision of these meant surity of my traditional values. The Tuesday motion sort their revocation and would have left traditionalist vulnerable. Synod were asked to vote on a Code of Conduct they had not seen, where in daily life do you sign up to anything without reading it first? Tempers are fraid and anger is high, but no one need leave the church, we need to find a better balance.

Phil Groom said...
avatar

You don’t need to leave the church, Shaun, any more than I need to leave it because I support marriage equality. What you and I both need to do is to acknowledge and accept that the church of which we are a part is not minded to agree with us – then carry on as we believe ourselves to be called.

God offers us the security and protection we need, not legislation. Yes, it’s difficult to trust God in the face of a human-dominated organisation that doesn’t dance to our tune. So what can we do? Dance widdershins, of course, with a big smile on our faces for all the people going the wrong way!

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Brilliantly expressed!

23 November 2012 20:26
Joyce said...
avatar

Superb !

23 November 2012 22:56
23 November 2012 18:55
Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

I apologise – what I said was ovwerwrought. However, while I understand that your ‘wing’ of the Church feels threatened by the appointment of women bishops, do you also understand that the mid-candle types like myself also feel threatened by what feels like a threat to flounce off if the game is not played according to your rules. This is what happened with the Ordinariate.

What is being mooted now (eg in Parliament) is a single clause measure which will simply say something like ‘There shall be women bishops’. (Arch)bishop Justin has repeated with emphasis his intention to allow for your group to continue with your ‘traditional’ practices in a way which I think is more than generous. If I were Cantuar (which, don’t worry, will never happen) I would be very tempted simply to emulate The Episcopalian Church and enact the measure without any special provision for those against. Of course that (among other things) led to the creation of ACNA and endless problems,so it is not an ideal solution either I grant you.

But I do honestly think that the only way forward is for you and us both to trust the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, take a deep breath and hope for the best.

23 November 2012 20:24
23 November 2012 17:33
23 November 2012 09:04
Barbara Hart said...
avatar

Oh I don’t think that is a fair reply to Shaun, who has had the courage to state his point of view without resorting to any unkindness. But I do ask Shaun why we need to make provision for minorities in this case. For years we prevented a minority of women from joining the priesthood, to which they felt called by God. The pain they endured was very great yet they stuck with us. In Africa they have a female bishop and no provision has been made for those who dispute women as priests.
One of the things that concerns me most about our church is the amount of energy we have wasted on gay marriage and women as bishops when we should have been promoting the Gospel.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Yes, Barbara, you are right. It was harsh. I was not trying to be offensive, but I was genuinely taken aback, after listening all day to the debate, to hear so many egocentric speeches. We do need to trust each other, else how can we claim to be followers of Christ?

23 November 2012 11:26
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Like Barbara I’m grateful to Shaun-Michael for sticking his neck out and expressing his sincerely-held belief here. But why would anyone who believes women in holy orders or woman headship is wrong vote for women bishops under any circumstances? Are they wrong for you but right for the rest of us?

Before asking my next question I have to make it clear that I do not think that those who disagree with women bishops should leave the Church of England or that the church should split. But why do they want to stay? This is a question, not an attack. Surely, to people with those beliefs, both Rowan and Justin are heresiarchs.

I find it particularly hard to understand given that both Conservative Evangelicals and Traditionalist Anglo-Catholics appear to have a straightforward either-or view of truth. Either the Bible says X or it doesn’t. Either the whole Church East & West admits women to holy orders or it doesn’t. No shades of grey.

I’m sure there are good reasons for this desire to stay in the Church of England so I hope someone will explain it to me.

Barbara Hart said...
avatar

Gosh, that’s a good point. If it’s contray to God’s will it is not sufficient to make provision for those who are opposed. It seems to me that if you are an Anglo Catholic or indeed a Liberal Catholic and you disapprove of female priests you have a bolt hole to the Roman Catholic church. The situation is not so clear for Evangelicals but there again I do wonder if the CofE is a comfortable home for them in any case. What do we offer that the United Reformed church doesn’t, for example? I am not saying shove off if you don’t like what we do, merely saying that you do have alternatives already.

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Of course at various points in our history new life has been injected into the Anglican church by Catholic and Evangelical (/Puritan/Wesleyan/Charismatic) revivals. And even in its first century the Church of England was an ongoing negotiation between three strands which are still recognisable (just!) today. What I have yet to understand is why the most conservative Evangelicals and the Anglo-Catholics who follow Roman practice most closely are so keen to stay. Is it a sense of mission to the rest of us (including, of course, ‘open evangelicals’ and ‘affirming catholics’)? I would genuinely like to know. There was more reason to stay when the law made life hard for non-Anglicans in this country, and even in the late nineteenth century it would have been a big wrench socially to follow Newman to Rome – now even a married male Anglican priest can jump ship and practice his vocation there.

Incidentally, the URC are rather keen on women’s ministry – there have been women Moderators – and from this year has allowed civil partnerships in its churches (at the discretion of the local church)!

23 November 2012 14:14
Shaun - Michael Trevithick said...
avatar

I want to stay precisely because The CoE in its breadth and depth provides me with a Spiritual richness in its worship and liturgy. Rome, is not a bolt hole for me, becausecause I don’t believe in Papal infallibility, nor do I subscribe to confession to a priest, but rather alongside, as CoE teaches.
I would vote for women bishops (provided safe guards) not because I think they are right for one and wrong for another, but to allow those who want them access to themTo prevent a split, to care for my brethern

23 November 2012 17:19
Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

That is what I have longed to hear, Shaun. I thank you for your generosity.

23 November 2012 20:07
Shaun - Michael Trevithick said...
avatar

I should also add, I don’t like the Roman Rite, and to move to Rome Would mean re-confirmation and for me denying the Body and Bloody of Christ I have faithfully received at the hands of priests, because I would be saying their orders weren’t valid

23 November 2012 18:10
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Thank you for the clarification, Shaun-Michael. I think of myself as a pluralist, but it is not obvious to me that those who sincerely believe that women should not be priests should be guaranteed places of worship where women never minister.

Historically, there have been times when a church has changed its collective mind over beliefs and practises, but some continue sincerely with the old belief, which the majority may come to see as repugnant. For example, various kinds of racism have been justified by various churches in the past on theological grounds. And in each case there comes a point when the changed church no longer allows practices which reflect the old belief, though of course privately people may believe all sorts of things. And those practices are no longer allowed because they are now seen as harmful.

It seems to me that the breadth of CoE is in its worship practices – for example, I love to sing the Angelus in church; some other Anglicans might retch; a few might walk out. So things have evolved in such a way that we worship God in different ways in different places, and thankfully these are now less like silos, so many Anglicans appreciate different styles of worship from time to time. Maybe this is a tacit admission that God is not easily offended; he hears us worship each in his own ‘language’.

The case is different when our different sincerely held beliefs are specifically excluding others, or excluding whole groups from roles which they have a lifelong vocation to. To my mind, the vote at Synod seriously dissed women in the church, like, big time.

I need to understand your point of view better. Maybe for you the comparison with racism is spurious. Perhaps you think this has nothing to do with sexism, in which case I’d love you to explain why.

I’m grateful to you for coming back into the lions’ den and I’d really like to hear more from you.

23 November 2012 19:01
Joyce said...
avatar

It’s obvious to me why they stay,Chris. Without the protection currently available to those who still believe in what the Church has taught from time immemorial and which was widely accepted for centuries,there would be no home for them short of their own spin-off. Wouldn’t the devil love the headlines saying ‘Schism !’. They don’t have some bizarre and outlandish faith: they adhere to what was until recently the norm for all of us.
There is no church but the Anglican one for protestants who believe in having a priesthood and in the sacredness of Holy Communion consecrated by a priest,Barbara.
There has always been a women’s ministry in our lifetime. What other denominations don’t have is priests of either sex.Ministry and priesthood are not quite the same thing.They may or may not be present in the same person.
Orthodox churches are thin on the ground. Roman Catholics have Papal Infallibility and members who believe in Mary as co-redemptrix although they’re told not to. Rome is therefore not a place for all who merely don’t believe in ordaining women to the priesthood.What’s been done to them should give rise to compassion for their situation.

23 November 2012 19:10
Joyce said...
avatar

Chris,I can speak from the experience of living in a parish led by a woman years before there was any question of the CofE’s even debating the issue of women’s ordination to the priesthood. Our parish minister for three years or more was a deaconess.(Not a female deacon) Never,ever, did I hear any sexist remarks about her in the church,the pub,meetings at neighbouring churches,school committees, the newsagents’ the chipshop or anywhere.Very occasionally there might be the suggestion that she was so good at her job because she was a woman and could go where a man couldn’t. Nobody else reported hearing sexism either.
The fact that she was not a priest was universally accepted as the way things were. We turned into something pleasant like having a guest to lunch what on the face of it could have been an inconvenience at having to get a priest in from time to time to say some magic words like calling in a plumber because we hadn’t got the right-sized tap washer.Nobody ever said anything along the lines of ‘She should be a priest.’ We knew that Jesus was a man and therefore a priest had to be a man – and all the other reasons we’d been told.The suggestion that a woman could be a priest would have had the old ladies holding up their hands in horror,not to mention some of the youth. There was absolutely nothing sexist about the parish’s acceptance of her position and ours,no issue of equality or inequality,no dissing of women implied in her appointment,no question of her being lorded over by a man,no sense of a priest’s role being superior. We liked the minister we’d got. She was a jolly good pastor.
Men and women who have theological objections to women’s priesthood are not necessarily sexist or mysogenistic nor even opposers of women’s ministry in general. It is wrong to tar them with that brush.

23 November 2012 23:55
Phil Groom said...
avatar

Joyce, any chance of you expanding on that, please? You said:

“We knew that Jesus was a man and therefore a priest had to be a man – and all the other reasons we’d been told.”

That’s very clearly an anthropological objection and has no theological relevance: Jesus was also a Jew and illegitimate; would you therefore argue that all priests should be Jews of dubious parentage?

What, then, are your “theological objections” to female priesthood?

24 November 2012 09:54
Joyce said...
avatar

” Joyce, any chance of you expanding on that, please?”

Me ? I could try and remember but I think you’d be better asking somebody who still believes it,who knows a lot more about it and doesn’t have to rely on memory.Obviously many still care deeply.

You said:

“We knew that Jesus was a man and therefore a priest had to be a man – and all the other reasons we’d been told.”

Yes,we didn’t question any of it.It was the thinking and teaching at the time.

“That’s very clearly an anthropological objection and has no theological relevance: Jesus was also a Jew and illegitimate; would you therefore argue that all priests should be Jews of dubious parentage?”

No.Why would I ? I’ve never heard anybody suggest any such thing.I don’t argue anything at all.

“What, then, are your “theological objections” to female priesthood?”

None at all. I’ve never cared about that sort of thing myself.I’m not personally bothered about whether someone is a priest or not. Maybe somebody who still has them can tell you.

24 November 2012 10:49
Phil Groom said...
avatar

Thanks Joyce – I’ve evidently misunderstood where you were coming from!

24 November 2012 12:00
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Phil: Joyce hasn’t actually stated her present position.

Joyce: it’s lovely to hear the story of your deaconess being fully accepted. I think it’s important to note that
(a) some conservative evangelical traditions specifically prohibit women preaching to men, on the grounds that Paul wrote that women should be silent in church
(b) the situation would have been a less happy one for a more sacramentally-oriented congregation – I definitely want someone to say the magic words every Sunday.

On the subject of sexism, there are lots of examples of people accepting women in certain leadership roles and not others. The majority of people in the UK today would see that as sexist. It usually takes a long time for a culture and indeed an individual to work through all the ramifications of leaving behind a prejudice. Some historical examples:
a) For decades Cambridge University awarded ‘titular’ rather than full degrees to women – to stop them taking their place in the governance of the university.

b) In around the same period Oxford University limited the number of women students to 20% of the total.

c) In 1918 women were given the vote in the UK – but only women over 30, not 21 as for men.

I don’t find misogyny a very helpful term, as literally it means hating women. There have always been plenty of sexist men who love women as long as they are not seen as powerful. This seems to me to be a question of fear rather than hate. It’s perfectly natural to fear other people – most people fear that the people they love most might overwhelm them in some way. Maybe the call of the good news (the perfect love which casts out fear) is to learn to recognise our fears bit by bit, to dare to give an inch and see what happens…

24 November 2012 11:39
Joyce said...
avatar

Chris, you’re right in that I didn’t state my own position : it wasn’t relevant in the context. When I think about it I suppose I could say that my position generally is that there are already too many people in the world being told by too many others what they can and cannot do.So long as they don’t believe it’s all right to interfere with what I’m doing, or to spoil other people’s lives, they can believe what they want and do what they like so far as I’m concerned.( A bit like English law – there are no rights,only wrongs.Everything not listed as a wrong is permissible. :))
Phil,don’t worry. It’s easy to misunderstand something when one is reading quickly. I’m sure we all do it,I know I have. I’d thought it would be helpful at that stage to relate my experiences and observations as I remember them from the vantage point of possibly the only one in this group to have been led by an unpriested woman minister in the CofE in the pre-woman-priest era by virtue of my age and hers – she’s been retired thirty years.
She had certainly found that chapter by Paul annoying at times in the earlier stages of her career and wished it hadn’t got into the NT.She once told me that she’d often wanted to rip it out.
Who knows at this distance why the editors put it in ? Perhaps a chap on the panel had fallen out with his wife. When Paul was answering questions from congregations he would not have known then that he was writing Holy Scripture.
Some questions,especially that one,are a matter for speculation unless or until they turn up.
At the time I’m writing about it was generally accepted that in England and Wales men could not be trained as midwives,women and children could no longer be coal miners,WReNS didn’t go to sea,only women were trained as nursery nurses or nursery teachers and only men became priests.The zeitgeist was that there were a few areas in this life which were better suited to one sex rather than the other.
Some years later it became apparent that women were being called to the priesthood by the Holy Spirit and so began the debates and the votes.
I’m not sure when deaconesses were phased out. Women who wanted to become priests had to begin a step or two down as deacons.Fair enough, because that’s what men had to do. Once both women and men could become priested curates and priests-in-charge of parishes I suppose the roles of deaconess and head deaconess gradually became obsolete as they retired.I must look that up some time.

24 November 2012 15:06
23 November 2012 12:25
23 November 2012 11:59
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Barbara, I believe at the moment thrashing out these issues is a big part of our mission. If those opposed to women’s orders and gay unions are right that the good news runs counter to current culture, then they would be right to shout it from the housetops. If the rest of us are right – if the mainstream culture is preaching the gospel to the church, finally working out Paul’s bold pronouncement ‘there is neither male nor female’ then we need to work away at that.

Paul’s practical mission was to overcome the Jewish Christian/Gentile Christian dichotomy. He opened himself up to the non-Jewish culture around him and he spearheaded what became the norm. However he didn’t follow through ‘neither slave nor free’; he accepted the mainstream culture and told Christian slaves to obey their masters. This had a long shadow. An Anglican missionary society owned slaves until 1833, when the state outlawed slavery.

Male/female is taking even longer. There may be a lesson to learn from the Jew/Greek precedent about hatred (though I don’t know what it would be). I suspect that the frequent negative references to ‘the Jews’ in the New Testament are veiled attacks on ‘Judaising Christians’.(There were probably congregations of both Judaising and Pauline/Johannine Christians for centuries, perhaps increasingly estranged and hostile.) Those references to ‘the Jews’ were later used to justify murderous anti-semitism by both Protestants and Catholics.

simon nash said...
avatar

Hi Chris, I don’t doubt it, but do you have a source for the slavery / 1833 point?

Interested to follow up, as we tend to see similar arguments deployed for and against slavery then women’s suffrage, then divorce, then women as preists, now women as bishops and in future probably a few other issues…

23 November 2012 13:53
23 November 2012 12:23
23 November 2012 09:31
UKViewer said...
avatar

It’s an interesting conversation about why would anyone want to stay in the CofE if their tradition is under threat or they feel that their theology, and sacramental assurance is in danger of being diluted.

Firstly, as a former Roman Catholic I know why I left them, many reasons and circumstances intervened, but I just stopped believing in a paternalistic Priest Hood that disregarded people in favour of dogma and doctrine (at that time). I also, like Shaun, found Papal infallibility to be a non-starter.

I can remember a conversation with a Priest who approached me and my family on a coach to Aylesford Priory for a pilgrimage. He saw that we only had two teenage children. And assumed that contraception was in use and made a snide comment about someone being “very clever”. He failed to ask questions about how many children had miscarried, or how it had affected my than wifes health?

This for me was the final nail in the coffin of any trust I might have had on the Catholic Clergy of the day (this was in the 1970′s).

I joined the CofE after an absence of getting on for 25 years, away from any church. I had been the most obnoxious and militant agnostic you could meet. I supported my spouse in church for family occasions, but I was the quiet, surly one in the corner. Hating every minute of it and feeling out of place and out of sorts.

When I had my own, unique ‘Road to Damascus’ moment in 2008, I felt strongly called to be an Anglican and joined. Despite everything that has happened since, despite doubts, wavering faith and loads of stuff, I still feel that call as strongly as the first time I received it. I know that I am in the right place in my Parish, whether I would fit in anywhere else is open to question?

So, I can accept that Shaun and others want to remain within the umbrella of a broad church with respect for their beliefs. What I find difficult is that they can be seen to hold the rest of the Church to ransom as we seek to compromise and accommodate, which inevitably leads to reverse discrimination. In the case Women as Bishops. I just wonder how we can build that mutual trust and confidence between us to accept that diversity enriches our broad church, without the issues which legislation always brings. You can’t be fair to everyone all of the time. I seems beyond our human capabilities. But with God’s grace, nothing is impossible.

Unlike Shaun, I have no issue with Sacramental Confession in the CofE with a Priest. I was suspicious of it after my RC experience, where confession was the excuse for doing what you liked, getting absolution and going on doing what you were doing before.

Anglican confession, outside the General Confession in the Eucharist, is something reserved for those who feel a need to share their experiences, doubts and worries and failings with a Spiritual Advisor on a one to one basis. And tends to be a much more in depth examination of conscience and exploration of underlying issues. Contrition and absolution are given unconditionally once this process is complete.

There is much about the CofE that needs fixing, but at Parish level, in Chaplaincies in schools and wider, it continues to work with Ecumenical partners to build and to support community. Much of this work is in small things, just being there for people, and in some cases just providing the opportunity for those who want to “Hatch, match and despatch” without any real commitment to a Christian life.

Being there for all is the Churches essential mission and agenda – and it’s vital that it continues, perhaps in partnerships with other denominations, or alone where necessary. The bigger issues are a distraction from mission and need and deserve to be resolved soon, for the sake of the whole church and the whole of God’s people, whether believers or not.

23 November 2012 20:23
23 November 2012 08:47
Phil Groom said...
avatar

I beg leave to differ, Laura: it wasn’t “the laity that got us into this mess” – it was General Synod’s arcane voting system, a system that in my view renders GS not fit for purpose. An overall 2/3 majority backed by a simple majority in all three houses is more than sufficient to ensure an outright majority decision: it doesn’t need 2/3 in each house – all that achieves is to hold GS hostage to the minority in any house, a situation which is clearly unjust and inequitable – or in two words, plain wrong.

My response here: A Petition to the Archbishops’ Council, the House of Bishops, and ABC Designate Justin Welby: No Confidence in General Synod: Calling for an Urgent Review

50 signatures in the first 24 hours, now over 70 and still gathering momentum: please read and, if you agree, sign. Thank you.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

I agree completely with your petition, Phil and have signed it. I will also broadcast it on social media. I think it may already be in hand – have you seen the parliamentary debate on http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9771000/9771995.stm ?

Phil Groom said...
avatar

Thanks Laura: listening to it now :)

23 November 2012 14:05
23 November 2012 11:49
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

An overall two-thirds plus a per-house simple majority sounds like an excellent idea.

23 November 2012 18:01
23 November 2012 09:10
Barbara Hart said...
avatar

We do need to think about the Symod rules for voting. It does occur to me that if the whole of the House of Laity and the House of Clergy had voted in favour and just 16 of the bishops aginst the motion would have been lost. Do we need separate houses still? I keep on thinking of the French Revolution.

23 November 2012 12:30
Stephen said...
avatar

If all this generates wider grass-roots engagement with Synod elections next time round, I shall be delighted. And surprised.

23 November 2012 13:53
Rebecca said...
avatar

Thank you for your blog Laura.

As a member of the Laity who DID vote in favour, I wanted to say that there are still many of us (indeed the majority of us) who do want to see Women Bishops and who are extremely disappointed in how the vote went this week.

It will be easier to see what happened when the voting results are published but in the interim, I will offer a few thoughts based on my feelings from the debate.

1) Firstly, I there were several votes lost from those in favour who did not think the provision was adequate for those who are opposed. They are the people who we need to engage with most as my impression from the debate was that many of those against will always vote against in principle.

2) Secondly, whilst the HOL does not necessarily represent the Laity as a whole at the moment, these are people who stood and were elected fairly. Therefore, in the future we all have a responsibility to really question those who stand. Many dioceses organise hustings which are generally badly attended, we need to go and make sure we establish what our candidates stand for. And those members of deanery synods who don’t vote, need to make sure they do. The middle ground, so to speak, need to make sure they are better represented next time round but only we can ensure that we are represented, by engaging fully with the process.

3) I know that people want this to be resolved quickly and feel betrayed by the system that is there. However, remember that a quick fix may leave some feeling unable to vote for a measure if it enshrines too much discrimination.

4) Finally, please hold all of Synod in your prayers. For those of us who did vote in favour, this is a difficult time and we find ourselves in a challenging place. However, do not lose heart, we will have Women Bishops (of that I feel confident). And hopefully it will be before I am 30!

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Attending Synod must be an enormous commitment both in terms of time and emotional energy – I admire you! Thanks for your feedback from the debate. Do you think Andrew Brown is too cynical in this Guardian article about the House of Laity elections?

Rebecca said...
avatar

I think he is a little too cynical but having been involved in the process I think he is correct on a few points. Mainly that deanery synods are not generally well thought of and it can be difficult to get people to put themselves forward. This is important as it is our deanery synod members who have the vote for General Synod representatives. All parishes have a number of representatives at this level and it is so important they are used! The main reason our membership of the HoL is as it is because those parishes that have strong views on issues like the ordination of women, make sure they use these places and they make sure they vote

23 November 2012 16:16
23 November 2012 15:10
Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Rebecca, we are honoured that you write here and you provide a useful corrective balance. However much I felt I was suffering listening to the debate, it can be as nothing compared to what you will have suffered in spending the day in the Chamber. Also you know other synod members individually, whereas the ones that I do know are mostly Facebook or twitter friends, which is not quite the same.

I agree strongly that there is no point in our spending time on trying to persuade those who will never be persuaded. Someone like (Arch)bishop Justin may, however, be able to persuade one or two of them to abstain in the interest of the greater good. I was rather surprised that there were only two abstentions this time, as compared to the July vote.

I have never voted in an election for General Synod, Diocesan Synod or even Deanery Synod, but then nor have I been offered the opportunity to do so. I will be blogging on this later when the dust has settled as, although I know there is General Apathy to blame, there are also active members of the Church who would like to take an active interest if able to do so. I agree with all that you say in (2)

I also agree with your point that this is the system in operation. Although it may need fine tuning, it was helpful to our cause over the Anglican Covenant that one House (the House of Bishops in this case) was unable to impose its will on the other two Houses. Any fine tuning would have to be very fine.

Finally, we do indeed hold you in our prayers. It was salutary to see the distraught faces amongst those present at the end of Synod, and it was evident what a gruelling experience it had been for all present. May God deliver us from our troubles!

Rebecca said...
avatar

Thank you for your kind words and assurance of prayers. Those of us there, on all sides can find this debate very emotionally draining. Although was I proud that despite the pain we felt, we did still stay to worship together following the vote. We are still the body of Christ, even if we are slightly broken at the moment.

You are right that the system was good in giving us a voice over issues like the Anglican Covenant so we need to recognise the strengths and well as the weaknesses. Again, I’m sure this will be easier in a few weeks when the dust has settled.

Those involved in the structures, like me, need to play a roll in helping our active members get involved. It is not always clear or easy for people to find out information and when the dust is settled I would be more than happy to help anyone with this. I hope that one bit of good to come out of this will be that we can help give our Laity more ownership of the governance of the Church of England, at all levels!

23 November 2012 16:00
Revsimmy said...
avatar

Laura, while you may never have been offered the opportunity to vote for General or diocesan synods (these are elected by deanery synod reps, I am concerned that you say you have never been offered the opportunity to vote for representatives on deanery synod. Deanery reps are elected by a parish’s Annual Parochial meeting on a three-yearly basis, so if you have attended your APCM for more than three years you should have had this opportunity. Of course, an actual election only takes place if there are more candidates than places going. Often only sitting reps put themselves forward (or are put forward by others), perhaps because other church members feel diffident about potentially causing upset or division in their church. But if you are qualified and can get yourself nominated and seconded by other members of your parish’s electoral roll then there is no reason at all why you (or anyone else) should not stand.
The last round of elections took place in 2011, so the next will be in 2014. These reps will elect the new GS in 2015.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

There is theory and there is practice. I attended my twelfth successive APCM this April and in those 12 years there has been no question of anyone being asked to stand for election to deanery synod, nor have we elected anyone for deanery synod other than in the most perfunctory way. What has happened is that the vicar has said, either (A) Smith and Brown have agreed to continue as deanery synod representatives. Will someone propose and second please? We all fall into line. Or, by way of variety, he has announced (B) Smith has agreed to stay on but Brown has asked to stand down. I have therefore asked Bloggs to take over. Will someone please propose and second? We all fall into line.

In practical terms, it would not be possible for me or anyone else to propose ourselves or anyone else unless we felt so strongly that we were prepared to go against the flow of the meeting.

Anne said...
avatar

It should be the case that a notice announcing the APCM goes up a couple of weeks in advance, specifying how many places on the PCC and Deanery Synod are vacant. If that doesn’t happen, the APCM isn’t legal. I know that in my church I always try to make sure that people know they can stand, and leave nomination forms at the back of church, but even if that doesn’t happen, you can always tell the vicar (or PCC secretary) that you want to stand, and find yourself a proposer and seconder. From a vicar’s point of view it is a great joy to have someone say they want to do this (especially in advance!) The reality is that often no one offers, and you get to the APCM and you are left casting around for anyone who is willing to do it. If someone who you really don’t think will do the job well offers and no one stands against them, there’s nothing you can do about it – they are automatically elected. Do take the initiative and volunteer – it is a rare vicar who won’t welcome you with open arms…

23 November 2012 20:30
Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

I’m afraid we have the rare vicar! But even before our present difficulties, in the case of his two predecessors (one of whom is now an Archdeacon) it is quite true that no one offers, but that is chiefly because we are English and no one wants to put themselves forward (“who does he/she think she is?”). People like to be asked. And the vicar doesn’t want to go round asking and be rejected, because this is depressing. Whatever the theory of how a parish church should be run, I suspect that is the position more often than not. This is the reality of life in our village of 800 people, with a congregation of 40-50 on a good day, more often 20. Sometimes it is run according to the rules, sometimes it isn’t.

But what you describe is definitely what should happen and I agree that we need to get a grip of deanery synods, try to ensure that people who are appointed are in favour of women bishops, that the candidates for diocesan synod are made to state their position on the episcopate so that the carefully chosen deanery synod members will then vote for the right people for diocesan synod etc.

I’m going to wait a week or so to see what comes out of the Group of Six etc and then we may have to roll up our sleeves to start spreading the word :)

23 November 2012 21:14
Rebecca said...
avatar

I think you do describe the problem with deanery synods Laura- in churches with 4 or so places, it can be difficult to fill the places. This is also true of diocesan synod when often their are places unfilled.

There is also a problem that I have sensed of people not wanting to oust people who have done the job for years. But this should not be a consideration! It is not a right but a privilege to serve the Church in any capacity and if anyone feel called to that and wishes to offer themselves up, they should be able to so without fear of it not being the correct thing to do.

And I really hope that in the future, if we have learnt anything from this week, is that it is up to each of us to take the responsibilities we have as part of these electoral processes seriously or they will be hijacked by those with a specific agenda And it is up to people like me who are involved already to open it up and make it easier for people to do so

24 November 2012 11:04
23 November 2012 20:14
23 November 2012 17:27
23 November 2012 15:13
Phil Groom said...
avatar

Rebecca, I salute you: thank you for taking the pain on behalf of the rest of us.

My feeling is that the system is broken, and that brokenness was made worse by a betrayal as those who voted against chose to use their votes personally rather than representationally. Representative democracy only works when those in a postion of trust as representatives set aside their own agendas, difficult as that may be.

UKViewer said...
avatar

The issue of representation on Deanery and Diocesan and General Synod seems to be the thorn in our side.

I have attended four APCM’s in our Benefice and the Vicar has asked if anyone would like to stand for Deanery Synod? Nobody stood up. So, existing reps were nodded through. This is the underlying issue.

APCM’s should be held, in Church, after a Sunday Service with the majority of the active worshippers there. Than at least you get an audience. Part of the advertising for the APCM MUST include details of who may stand for election and invite people to apply in advance and put their case (if needed) to the APCM in contention with other candidates.

It’s apparent that this doesn’t happen and that it’s all a bit of a closed shop. Time to throw open the doors and windows and let some fresh air and fresh blood in.

Off course, there is the issue of apathy. Just like any other part of society, 90% of church goers are happy to turn up and have it ‘done to them’. So, asking them to make the commitment to turn up for even additional services and events is difficult. Getting to go that next stage to being in an official capacity to represent their parish, might be one step to far for most.

This leaves the small, minority who have the time or perhaps an agenda to step in and to monopolise these roles. It appears that for the last General Synod elections, those opposed to Women Bishops acted in concert to ensure that those chosen from Diocesan Synods met their criteria – what else can explain the higher proportion of them among the laity in General Synod if this wasn’t the case?

Reform of the whole process is needed and Parishes should have a say in those elected from Deanery to Diocesan and General Synod, even the right to a veto.

Barbara Hart said...
avatar

We used to hold our meetings on Sunday morning. We have a church and a chapel and we would combine the services and then have our meeting after. A few years ago we switched to having the meeting at 8pm on a weekday. I was commuting in those days and getting home at 7.15. It was such a rush to get a meal beforehand and it meant a late night with an early morning alarm call so I stopped going. I don’t think it was so well attended and I don’t know why we made the change.

25 November 2012 15:55
23 November 2012 20:36
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Though there’s a difference, Phil, in being a representative and being a delegate – for example, our representatives in Parliament have been much less supportive of restoring the death penalty than the electorate, I’m told (I haven’t checked the statistics).

Given that we have 2 houses of theologically trained clerical members to safeguard us from running away with popular whims, perhaps the House of Laity should act more like delegates (canvassing opinion from their dioceses) and less like representatives. Or perhaps they should be directly elected.

Rebecca said...
avatar

I agree, that is part of the problem but I’m not sure that having delegates instead of representatives would necessarily be better as we would lose some of the diversity of opinion in the chamber which does help inform and develop our outlook.

There has been talk of a direct elections using all the electoral roll but I also think that would be open to abuse as large churches would have a disproportionate amount of votes. And electoral roll members do not have to be regular worshipers either. I actually think it would be a bad idea!

There is definitely room for improvement in the system which we all recognise but that will take time and would not necessarily be done before the next elections. Therefore, we need to remember that currently, the best way for us to have our views represented is to engage with the current system fully. If someone is vague about their views on an election address, we need to question them, we need to check voting figures, we need to look at the parishes they come from so we don’t have disproportional representation from some parishes (which is the case currently in some dioceses). Most of all, those of us in parishes need to ensure that we take deanery synod seriously and when the elections come, make sure that those from our parish who vote, take it seriously.

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Rebecca, thanks so much for elucidating something of how Synod works.

24 November 2012 12:15
Pam Smith said...
avatar

I agree with Laura that in practice it can be incredibly difficult to break into the ‘closed shop’ of PCC and Deanery Synod elections. Elections were exactly as described at the parish church I belonged to for 8 years – we had three deanery reps and the 2 lay readers were always 2 of them, the third being the wofe of one of the readers.

Interestingly, when I was a member of Coventry Cathedral, the deanery rep posts were always contested. This might have partly been because a lot of congregation members wanted to be on the Cathedral equivalent of the PCC, and being a deanery rep gave ex officio membership. But I wonder if another reason was that how to nominate was very clearly flagged up for several weeks before the AGM and – maybe the most important difference? – it was a secret ballot with voting slips.

I’m very disappointed in this result, but I think the saying ‘Hard cases make bad law’ applies here. It may be that the House of Laity is unrepresentative, but doing away with the principle of a 2/3 majority because of one decision without thinking it through would be dangerous and also a distraction.

If there is an issue about the fact that the majority of church members don’t exercise their democratic rights and we end up with decisions about our corporate lives that we don’t like, that isn’t very different from the state national politics is in at the moment. We do need to engage people in voting but it will be a major task.

24 November 2012 12:36
Phil Groom said...
avatar

We don’t need to do away with the 2/3 majority principle: we just need it to be sensibly implemented. 2/3 majority overall backed by a simple majority in all three houses ensures that a majority of objectors in any one house can still effectively veto a motion but a minority can’t – a simple solution that evens things out equitably.

24 November 2012 14:00
Rebecca said...
avatar

I agree Pam, this is often the way. As I said in an earlier post, it does seem that often people don’t put themselves forward as they don’t want to oust people who have been doing it for years. However, we perhaps need to make it clear that standing for any of our elected bodies is a privilege not a right. I think you are right that because of the way elections are conducted, people feel that they are unable to put themselves forward and that is not the done thing.

Also, I completely agree that doing away with a 2/3 majority is not necessarily the right thing to do. It is a right and Christian principle to try and work to the greatest possible consensus. It is something that we need to consider but not as a kneejerk reaction to the decision taken on Tuesday.

However, it is clear that for many, our decision making bodies are not engaging them and are not open to their input and that does need to change.

24 November 2012 12:52
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

I’m a total noob on Synod mechanics, but Phil’s suggestion of 2/3 overall + a simple majority in each house seems like a very moderate and sensible step forward.

24 November 2012 12:59
Barbara Hart said...
avatar

Whilst I think that now is not the right time to do away with the 2/3 majority it must be said that the vote on Tuesday has put us in the position that the consensus in Synod as in the country was for and the motion was lost.

24 November 2012 13:00
24 November 2012 10:54
24 November 2012 10:32
23 November 2012 19:09
23 November 2012 14:36
Revsimmy said...
avatar

Could I just say that it would be wrong to conflate the women in ministry issue with the entirely separate one of same-sex marriage, though many do (including some of the commenters here). One can be firmly in favour of the former and without necessarily supporting the latter.

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Speaking for myself Simon, I’m aware of the differences between the two issues, and well aware that women-in-ministry gets a lot more support from Christians than affirming same-sex relationships. I’m also aware of the similarities between them. Presumably, anyone with an absolute view of gender roles would oppose both.

Erika Baker has pointed out that gay men are often not regarded as ‘real men’, and traditionally ‘real men’ have been in charge.

Phil Groom said...
avatar

So how come so many of those ‘real men’ are gay? Check out London – gay clergy galore, pretty well all doing a great job (even the anti-women’s-ordination brigade!).

Chris Fewings said...
avatar

You tell me! Gay men have clearly contributed a huge amount to the life of the church down the ages – but they’ve had to pretend to be ‘real men’!

24 November 2012 12:10
23 November 2012 19:05
23 November 2012 18:15
23 November 2012 17:44
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

It’s time we stopped using the word theology as a trump card [he proclaims pompously to no one in particular]. There ain’t no pure theology free from the contexts of history, sociology, pscyhology, culture, and personal bias. There ain’t no faxes from heaven signed ‘God’. There ain’t Biblical interpretation outside a tradition. #ffewshhathspoken

We speak of the CoE being founded on Scripture, Tradition and Reason… I suppose Tradition includes church architecture, and iconography, and music, which also influence our theology; perhaps Reason encompasses all the sciences… Aquinas embraced Aristotle; St Paul quoted pagan poets; Augustine might have been the first ‘depth psychologist’…

Am I right in thinking the Fathers saw prayer and theology as one? What kind of theology can happen aside from personal experience? The Cross is central to most Christian traditions, but we have no monopoly on its darkness and its struggle and its power. There’s nowt wrong with sitting at the feet of secular teachers and learning from other disciplines … they are exploring the created world with the intellect and the data God gives them.

24 November 2012 12:49
Erika Baker said...
avatar

Coming late to this debate and not really sure where to wade in…
So I’ll engage with the last comments first.
There are many gay men in the church but comparatively few who are openly gay and living a normal partnered life.
What they are having to do is try to blend in with the real men as much as possible. The examples of normally adjusted partnered gay men in the church shows conclusively that they are not accepted as they are.

The reason people often mix the issue of women priests and homosexuality is that both are, fundamentally, issues of justice.
And there is this really strange strand of thinking in the church that denies the validity of Human Rights as a concept and wants to root everything in “theologoy”, as if equality and justice weren’t fundamental Gospel values.

I despair of a church that can isolate its theology to the extent that people can say “we would treat gay people equally but God doesn’t want us to”, and who can say it is right that women should be subservient to men. This is getting stuck in an ever tighter theological knot that becomes purely self referential.

And people who are proud of rejecting “secular” values as if these were by definition anti-Christian are living in a world that is, to my mind, completely removed from the world Christ is asking us to create.

And so, yes, the 2 do go together.
Wherever we have an issue of justice and equality that conflicts with our theology we can be pretty sure that it’s our theology that needs adjusting.

And that’s not an impossible ask, either. Same sex relationships and women priests have both got a huge body of outstanding theology on their side. It is not only possible for Christians to make their theological peace with both issues, it is absolutely imperative.

Phil Groom said...
avatar

Well said, Erika :)

If anyone wants a thorough theological analysis of the issues, William J Webb’s Slaves, Women and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis is worth a look (IVP USA, ISBN 9780830815616) – may not agree with his conclusions but he forces his readers to think things through very carefully.

24 November 2012 14:23
24 November 2012 13:12
Chris Fewings said...
avatar

Rebecca and Pam: what to you think of Tim’s point above that the number of days spent in Synod per year excludes many people from even considering standing? This presumably would include most professional women with full-time jobs.

I agree with you that changing the system isn’t the most urgent matter, but I guess this is a good time to start thinking about what if anything needs changing.

Phil Groom said...
avatar

It pretty well excludes me, Chris: I’m a shop worker. Highly unlikely they’ll let me clear off for a few days at this time of year whilst trade is picking up for Christmas! And what about the cost of accommodation & travel etc whilst Synod is in progress? Is that covered by an expenses allowance? I couldn’t afford it on my paltry wages!

Rebecca said...
avatar

I completely agree. I am lucky that I have a job where I can balance the time but it is difficult for many, especially those in professions like teaching. In addition to the full General Synod meetings there are also a myriad of other committees which also need people to serve on them so the time commitment can be quite high for some people.

This is actually something I am very passionate about- as one of the few members of Synod under the age of 30 it is frustrating that we have a system that makes it much harder for younger people to get involved in. It is also hard for people with young families etc. I definitely think that if we want to make it more representative, we need to think about how we do our business so to speak.

Phil, your expenses are covered for all meetings by your diocese. We also meet on campus in York for one of the meetings which makes that side of things easier.

24 November 2012 14:29
Pam Smith said...
avatar

It certainly deterred me from thinking about standing – even had I known how to – when I was a very active lay person in my thirties, partly because as a teacher in a non C of E school there was no way to get time off in term time, also because it was difficult to organise child care.

I think maybe the whole arrangement needs looking at, rather than declaring Synod not fit for purpose I think the starting point might be deciding what purpose we want it to serve and shape it accordingly.

At one point in the debate – when speeches had been cut down to some pointlessly short length – ++JS pointed out that the lengthy applause was taking up speaking time. And I wondered why on earth there is applause after speeches anyway?

Phil Groom said...
avatar

Simply to clarify – I’m not saying Synod is not fit for purpose period but not fit for purpose until it introduces a more equitable system for tallying its votes.

As for what that purpose is: as I understand it, it’s about giving all church members a say in matters of church governance rather than allowing bishops and/or clergy to dictate terms to the rest of us.

24 November 2012 15:02
24 November 2012 14:30
24 November 2012 14:14
24 November 2012 13:59
Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

You may like to see the Revd Rosemary Lain-Priestley’s thoughts on all this – I hijacked a comment of hers on Facebook, and she has kindly allowed me to reblog it (I didn’t want it to get lost). See http://www.layanglicana.org/blog/2012/11/24/a-very-significant-tipping-point-the-revd-rosemary-lain-priestley/

24 November 2012 20:33
Shaun - Michael Trevithick said...
avatar

Let me start by saying I mean no disrespect, but I’m throwing this out there for debate:
I was told today, that in 1992 when the ordination of women measure was passed by 2 votes it was “the will of God”, so is the defeat of the consecration of women as Bishops not to be seen in a similar vain? Or is it only God’s will when it affirms?

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

The logic of this argument would be irrefutable were it not for the problem of the vote in diocesan synods (as I am sure you are sick of hearing by now, 42 out of 44 diocesan synods voted in favour). The Diocese of Bristol (or rather their synod) today passed a vote of no confidence in General Synod because of its failure to reflect the vote in the diocesan synods.

Although I would have been personally unhappy had the vote been close but in line with the apparent will of the majority (although it is debatable how far the diocesan synods in turn represent the views of the people in the pews, they do nevertheless reflect the views of those who feel strongly enough to turn up and get themselves elected), I -and I would think the rest of the Church- would have accepted the vote without question.

There now seem to be two major debates going on: (a) whether it is time we admitted women to the episcopate and (b) whether the governance of the Church needs modifying to take into account this blip in the results.

Phil Groom said...
avatar

Actually, there is no logic to this argument, let alone any irrefutable logic: if that vote was won by a slim margin under the present inequitable voting system, then by how much greater a margin it would have been won under a fair system!

What we have just witnessed is “the straw that broke the camel’s back” as Synod’s flawed voting system has been exposed for what it is: not fit for purpose. The recent vote was lost precisely and only because the current system is set up in a way that allows non-representative minorities to hijack it.

As for the will of God: our God is not a tyrant who overrides human will to impose his or her own; on the contrary, our God would rather be crucified than force his or her will. God’s will is for justice and equity, and God looks to us to bring that into being. We pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done” but we must make that happen. How does God answer prayer? By the occasional miracle, certainly; but more often than not, through God’s own people.

Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

Phil, I’m the one that agrees with you that bishops, clergy and laity have clearly voted, in diocesan synods, in overwhelming numbers for women to be appointed to the episcopate. When I say that Shaun’s argument has logic to it, I mean that I can see why someone would say -’This is the system in place in the CofE. The system has spoken. That is an end to the matter’. Or ‘This is the system in place in the CofE. It would not be the system in place were it not the will of God. Therefore it is the will of God that we do not have women bishops’.

I think it is the logic of Shylock, demanding his pound of flesh. Eventually a technicality is found whereby he cannot have a pound of flesh without also taking blood and sinew, so Shylock’s claim is forfeit, but he refuses to be swayed by the most moving speech ever made on the subject of mercy, or magnanimity. Sorry, Shaun, by this pettifogging insistence on the letter of the law your camp is in danger of putting itself into the position of Shylock, in my view.

So that there is never any danger of anyone from the nave of our Church bullying those in the chancel, the system insists on two-thirds majority in each House.(OK, any two houses bullying a third). I doubt whether the powers that be imagined the result that we had last week. And at the back of my mind is a sneaking question of whether the vote does not in part represent a revolt by some of the laity (it only needed to be half a dozen) who were sick of being condescended to and taken for granted by the chancel and decided to assert themselves. I hope I am wrong…

Barbara Hart said...
avatar

I suppose the other question we should be asking is: Are there any other votes on other topics where the result has caused so much distress and anger?

03 December 2012 10:51
Phil Groom said...
avatar

Apologies, yes: I realised after I’d hit ‘Post’ that my reply should really have been to Shaun’s comment rather than yours. Mea culpa.

Helpful analogy with Shylock.

03 December 2012 10:54
Lay Anglicana said...
avatar

no apologies needed, Phil! I realise the reference to Shylock is a bit melodramatic, but can’t help but see its relevance…

03 December 2012 14:19
03 December 2012 10:23
03 December 2012 09:16
01 December 2012 21:37
Barbara Hart said...
avatar

I take your point but I think we need to remember that when the vote in favour of female priests went through, there was a two thirds majority in each House in favour. It wasn’t therefore a close call.
In the case of female bishops there was a majority of 85% in the House of Bishops, about 75% in the House of Clergy and around 64% in the House of Laity for female bishops and we lost. Is that how God works? Really?

02 December 2012 20:32
01 December 2012 19:07

Leave a Reply

We rely on donations to keep this website running.