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Policy Change as an Aside

By John Martin, The Living Church

These are Jonah days for the Church of England. Echoes continue from November’s vote on admitting women to the episcopate. The chances of Parliament stepping in to insist on approval seem to have receded but fallout continues. On Jan. 18 General Synod’s House of Laity will meet to vote on a no confidence motion against its chairman, Philip Giddings, who spoke and voted against the measure and is accused of misusing his office.
 
Now the church also is enveloped in controversy over bishops and civil partnerships. On Dec. 18 staff at Church House posted a succinct summary of the Dec. 10-11 meeting of the House of Bishops. Neither the archbishops nor senior Synod staff seemed to have spotted the implications of a blandly written seven-line entry in the document. It effectively heralded that the bishops had adopted a new policy: people in civil partnerships would no longer be disqualified from appointment as bishops.
 
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