Hat Tip: Thinking Anglicans
Dr Rachel Jepson: Which resources does the Board of Education recommend to be used with both staff and students in all Church of England schools to address LGBT bullying?
Hat Tip: Thinking Anglicans
By Sam Jones, Guardian
General Synod votes in favour of proposals to bring women into episcopate by overwhelming majority
The Church of England is on course to give its final approval to female bishops next year after its General Synod voted in favour of new proposals to bring women into the episcopate, raising hopes of an end to the damaging and frequently bitter 20-year standoff between modernisers and traditionalists.
On the third and final day of its meeting in London, the synod voted in favour of the new plans by an overwhelming majority of 378 to eight, with 25 abstentions.
Proposing the new draft legislation, the bishop of Rochester, James Langstaff, recognised that the synod had been given a "second bite of the cherry" but said that it had come a long way since last November, when the last moves to introduce female bishops fell.
He urged the synod to vote "as positively as it is able" for the proposals, adding: "People may have quibbles about various words and phrases within this statement of guiding principles, but I would ask you to remember that these are guiding principles, not holy writ nor a creedal statement."
Although the first speech from the floor noted that "history makes us naturally cautious about optimists who wave documents that offer peace in our time" – and a later one described the previous failure as "missionally disastrous" – it soon became apparent that a consensus had been reached and that many key former opponents from the conservative evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wings of the synod had come to accept the new plans.
By John Bingham, Telegraph
It might seem like a cross between a parish flower arranging committee and the Soviet politburo but the Church of England's General Synod has the power to make law in England
Members of the Church of England's General Synod like to have their cake and eat it.
During a lengthy – and ultimately unsuccessful – debate about an attempt to overhaul the way the Church's National Assembly operates on Tuesday, one member stood up to bemoan the fact that the BBC occasionally refers to the Synod as its 'parliament'.
But as any member of the 467-strong body will gladly point out, it is a legislature.
Its decisions – although requiring ratification from the real Parliament – ultimately become part of the law of the land and receive Royal Assent from the Queen in the same way as other Acts.
It has many of the trappings of Parliament: measures, amendments, points of order, legal officers, arcane procedures governing how long people can speak for, committees, its own acronyms and procedural jargon and even a tea room – although no bars or underground shooting gallery.
by Sam Jones, Guardian
Today at Synod – Tuesday
The first two hours of synod today were spent in groups of around 15-20 people discussing the package of measures that have been presented with respect to women in the episcopate.
There is an almost universal consensus that the mood around this has changed significantly for the better. People on all sides of the question are currently saying that while no viewpoint is entirely catered for, every group can see enough that they can live with and welcome in the package of proposals. One reason I suggest for the change in mood is as Bishop Langstaff said on Monday night provision is being made for everyone. All viewpoints on the issue are now recognized as being authentically Anglican and belonging in the comprehensive Church of England.
Some who were gravely disappointed twelve months ago are even saying that last November’s decision was the right thing to do and that now there is a recognition that all have a place. Others who voted against the legislation presented last November are saying that what is offered here is a significant improvement.
There remain issues to engage with. The issue of jurisdiction was not discussed by the Steering Group because the vote in the July 2013 Synod did not opt for delegation of jurisdiction. But the scope of the ministry of those who male bishops who will minister to those who cannot accept women bishops is to be like that of suffragan bishops, which while undefined can be fairly extensive.
For some the issue of oaths of obedience to a woman bishop remain a problem. It may be that this is examined further but not as part of the decision whether to accept or reject the proposals.
It is likely that on Wednesday the synod will decide to move forward to the next stage of debating these initial proposals. The question is by how large a majority. That will signal whether the legislation will pass when it is brought for final approval which will require a two-thirds majority among bishops, clergy and lay people.
The Archbishop of York gave a presidential address highlighting some of the very disturbing statistics of poverty in England. For instance, people can now be in work and yet be in poverty. Leeds alone is estimated to have 27,000 malnourished people. Prices are rising three times faster than wages. Read the rest of this entry »
The Very Revd Andrew Nunn (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q39. When will the report of the group chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling be published?
Mr Gerald O’Brien (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q40. Will the House of Bishops give Synod an assurance that when the Pilling Report is published, it will carry a suitably prominent statement to the effect that any proposals or recommendations the report contains are not the official position of the Church of England unless and until they are endorsed by a vote of the General Synod?
The Revd John Cook (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q41. Can the Synod be assured that, if the House of Bishops having considered the Pilling Report are minded to make any changes to the Church of England?s position on human sexuality, it will ensure Synod is given an opportunity to debate these matters before any changes are brought into effect?
The Revd Jonathan Frais (Chichester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q42. Given General Synod’s resolution of 1987 saying that adultery, fornication and homosexual acts are to be met with “a call to repentance”, what steps will be taken to make clear that the Pilling Report, when it is published, has not replaced this stance unless and until the General Synod itself so resolves?
Read here (pdf) (scroll down)
From EV News
Church Society is dedicated to promoting and strengthening the evangelical and reformed foundations of our Anglican faith within the Church of England. We remain convinced that the best way forward on the issue of women bishops is one where those who are not persuaded from scripture of the necessity of the proposed changes continue to be able to flourish in the Church. We are therefore delighted that the new legislative proposals before General Synod this week do acknowledge that this view is “within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion” and that for those who hold to the classic and historic view, “the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures.”
There are various issues that need to be ironed out in the new proposed legislation for this to be a truly credible and reliable statement, and for the gospel to flourish within the Church of England. Some helpful, positive steps have been taken, not least in developing a mandatory grievance procedure, though significant worries remain for those who are not content to acknowledge the spiritual oversight of women bishops in good conscience. Many also find it difficult to believe that their ministry is valued or encouraged when, unfortunately, there are currently no serving evangelical bishops who hold to the classic and historic teaching on this subject. We are also concerned that any new bishops should be orthodox and faithful to our Anglican formularies such as the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, which officially and legally function as our doctrinal foundation and guide in ministry, and that trustworthiness here should be given a higher priority in selection criteria. Just as Her Majesty the Queen promised 60 years at her coronation to maintain and defend “the true profession of the gospel… the Protestant Reformed religion”, so also, we believe, should all our bishops.
The opening day of General Synod saw new approaches to Synod’s way of doing things.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked for a continuous cycle of prayer while Synod is in session, based in the chapel of Church House where all are welcome, but also embracing Anglicans throughout the land to pray for Synod’s deliberations.
The Archbishop of Canterbury also gave his own report to Synod of his activity. This can be read here.
He ranged over the murderous attacks in Peshawar and Nairobi and the suffering and courage of Christians in Nigeria.
He was surprised at the way the WCC meetings in Korea held together an extraordinary diversity of people united by the love of Jesus Christ. He announced that from January a Catholic order with an ecumenical and teaching vocation will be created, initially with four members, at Lambeth.
Of his visit to GAFCON2013 he said: “I had the opportunity to benefit from meeting a number of primates who had arrived for it. This was a great pleasure, and, as always, an education. As leader of GAFCON Archbishop Wabukala was as gracious as could have been wished. There were naturally, as you may have noticed, different views expressed about different aspects of the Anglican Communion while I was in Nairobi and subsequently, including views about me, it has to be said not invariably warm and cuddly, but I was genuinely most glad to have had the opportunity to meet, and I have to say that the overwhelming response was not only kind but also deeply encouraging.”
Archbishop Justin gave a short presentation about his recent activity to the General Synod this afternoon at Church House, Westminster. The text of the presentation can be read below.
'A few months ago the Business Committee requested the inclusion of a presentation of Archbishop’s activity to Synod, as an experiment. If the Synod feels it to be of no value no doubt they will tell the Business Committee who will discontinue us.
'The last couple of months have seen the terrible atrocities in Peshawar and Nairobi, and the typhoon in the Philippines. The first was aimed at an Anglican Church, the second deeply affected Anglicans among others. I offered to visit both: the Primate of Pakistan felt it would not be helpful in light of the security situation at the time, while I was able to get, fleetingly, to Nairobi for a condolence visit, where I had an emotional and warm welcome from Archbishop Wabukala. In the light of the terrible casualties in Peshawar, I hope the Synod might consider sending a further message of support to our suffering sisters and brothers in Pakistan.
'The attacks in Pakistan are amongst many which have been afflicting Christians around the world. Many parts of the Anglican Communion suffer greatly, and the Synod will, I trust, acknowledge both the suffering and courage of many of our sister and brother churches in places like Nigeria. The issue of how we support each other, and how we understand and confront violent attacks in the light and grace of Christ is certainly one of the greatest of our age.
By Edward Malnick, Telegraph
The Church of England is poised to bring in women bishops by next year after opponents agreed not to block a fresh move to do so.
A leading traditionalist group has called on the General Synod, the Church’s governing body, to back new proposals to allow women to become bishops when they are debated this week.
It comes after legislation backed by the Church’s leadership was denied final approval by six votes last November.
Forward in Faith, led by the Rt Rev Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, said the process of considering plans should be allowed to continue to a final debate as “expeditiously as possible”.
The Anglo-Catholic group, which played a key role in defeating last year’s move to introduce women bishops, told members the new plans were “a very significant improvement” on the previous attempt.
All but two of the Church’s 44 dioceses have backed the idea of women bishops. However, some conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Anglo-Catholics remain opposed on theological grounds.
Under the new proposals, an independent ombudsman would be appointed to intervene when traditionalist parishes complain they are not sufficiently “protected” from women bishops’ authority. Leading opponents of female bishops believe the measure will “go sailing through” this week’s debate and on to final approval by next year or 2015.
by Julian Mann
One could see the Apostle Paul getting into real trouble with the 'chair' of a reconstructed General Synod that disallowed parliamentary-style, adversarial debating and required a more postmodern, consensual, 'indaba' approach.
A motion is going before this week's Synod in London calling for a review of the 'parliamentarian' way in which its debates are conducted. The Daily Telegraph's religious affairs editor, John Bingham, reports that the critical views of the revisionist Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, about the style of Synod have inspired those pushing for a review.
Ironic that, given that Bishop Holtam recently likened opponents of gay marriage to supporters of apartheid. Now the Holtam brigade apparently want to extinguish the fires of odium theologicum with a pile of indaba-daba-doo.
But before they decide to mire themselves in managed dialogues around cafe-style tables, Synod members have a biblical responsibility to consider some rather adversarial statements of the Apostle Paul.
To the churches of Galatia:
by John Bingham, Telegraph
The Church of England is considering overhauling its governing body, the General Synod, because of fears it has created an image of a church constantly at war with itself.
Members of the Synod, which meets next week, say that it has become too much like Parliament, dominated by unofficial “parties” while debates are conducted in a “rude” and even unchristian way.
It follows claims in the wake of the collapse of women bishops legislation last year that the body had been hijacked by single issue factions able to exert influence out of proportion to their numbers in the pews.
Amid the anger over the outcome of that vote last November, there were calls for Parliament to step in or even for the Synod to be dissolved.
The issue of women bishops will be top of the agenda when the Synod is meeting for three days in London next week.
But members are also being asked to debate a motion calling for a review of how the Synod itself operates including the parliamentarian way debates are conducted and whether the complex system of electing members is now “fit for purpose”.
An official Synod briefing paper warns that members are now seen by many outside the Church seen as “rude and poor examples of Christians”.
From The Living Church
[...] In his first speech to Synod as Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby addressed the thorny topic: “This is not about whether but about how.”
Since the beginning of the year various national bodies, including the House of Bishops, have used facilitated conversations, an approach to which Welby brings considerable experience and expertise. The small-group sessions included a drama in which all members played a part. Reports from the groups are being circulated to the House of Bishops but for now the documents remain under wraps.
Will it lead to Synod members changing their minds? Probably not. There are already signs that some opponents are digging in for a long battle. The conservative evangelical group Reform announced in June that it had appointed its first full-time officer with the job title of director. The new director is Mrs. Susie Leafe, who was a notable speaker against the Measure voted down in November.
The sticking point is not the principle of women in the episcopate but of safeguards for those opposed. The House of Bishops brought forward a set of options but failed to persuade Synod to support legally binding safeguards. Synod told the House of Bishops, which will draft the new legislation, that the church giving its assurance of safe space would be sufficient.
Reform and the Catholic Group say they will keep up the fight for adequate safeguards. The House of Bishops will bring reworked proposals to the next Synod sessions in November, but 2015 is the very earliest that a final decision will be possible. There remains the possibility that if Synod cannot deliver Parliament will step in, as MP Tony Baldry told Synod, repeating earlier warnings to that effect.
Speech to General Synod July 2013 from the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Notts, Chair of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee.
"The Commissaries Reports will I suggest be seen as landmarks in the Church of England's responding to abuse committed by its clergy and other leaders. This can be the pivotal point when we turn from having a default position that is to defend the institution, even at the cost of failing to respond appropriately to those who have been abused, to one where we will listen to the survivor and begin from there.
"The Commissaries exposed serious failures in the Diocese of Chichester but in doing so exposed much wider institutional failings which affect every Diocese. For far too long the institution, and notably those in most senior positions, either disbelieved the stories that survivors told us or believed them but tried to hide the truth away or remove the offender elsewhere vaguely hoping that 'the problem' would go away. We can make all the excuses that we like about society being different in previous decades; or our understanding of abuse being so much better. We can note that our policies were different then and we followed those policies. But these take nothing away from the fact that we failed to listen properly; we did not acknowledge the wrong done; and we protected the institution at the expense of the person abused. We cannot do anything other than own up to our failures. We were wrong. Our failures were sin just as much as the perpetrators sinned. By failing to listen or act appropriately we condemned survivors to live with the harm when we should have been assisting them into whatever measure of healing might be possible.
In his first presidential address to General Synod, available here, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of living through a revolution. He said central to his time in office would be a commitment to a renewal of prayer and the religious life, reconciliation, and evangelism. He pointedly told synod that both demeaning the role and work of women in ordained ministry, and the refusal of selection for ordination to those who could not accept the ministry of women bishops were against the policy of the Church of England. He called for integrity between words of welcome and deeds. The relevant part of his speech is here:
"One thing I am sure of is that trust is rebuilt and reconciliation happens when whatever we say, we do. For example, if, while doing what we believe is right for the full inclusion of women in the life of the church, we say that all are welcome whatever their views on that, all must be welcome in deed as well as in word. If we don’t mean it, please let us not say it. On the one hand there are horrendous accounts from women priests whose very humanity has sometimes seemed to be challenged. On the other side I recently heard a well-attested account of a meeting between a Diocesan Director of Ordinands and a candidate, who was told that if the DDO had known of the candidate’s views against the ordination of women earlier in the process he would never have been allowed to get as far as he did.
Both attitudes contradict the stated policy of the Church of England, of what we say, and are completely unacceptable. If the General Synod, if we decide, that we are not to be hospitable to some diversity of views, we need to say so bluntly and not mislead. If we say we will ordain women as priests and Bishops we must do so in exactly the same way as we ordain men. If we say that all are welcome even when they disagree, they must be welcome in spirit, in deed, as well as in word."
See more here
From Chris Sugden at York Synod
By Louisa Peacock, Telegraph
By John Bingham, Telegraph
The Church of England is set to bury a potentially explosive debate on homosexuality at its General Synod later this week – amid claims bishops are privately considering sanctioning blessing services for gay couples.
Officials have quietly shelved a debate on the possibility of registering civil partnerships in Anglican churches for the first time, ahead of a five-day meeting of the Synod which begins in York on Friday.
The motion had been tabled almost 18 months ago and has the backing of almost 120 members.
A separate motion reaffirming the traditional “doctrine of Christian marriage” has also been postponed until another session to allow more time for arguments over women bishops.
Campaigners said the postponement reflected an “appalling” reluctance by some in the Church hierarchy to openly debate the issue of homosexuality.
But others believe it could reflect a behind-the scenes shift at the top of the Church which they are convinced could open the way for an historic change in its approach to same-sex relationships by the end of this year.
Bishops have been lining up meetings with Anglican gay rights campaigners.
They are thought to be privately considering the possibility of introducing “thanksgiving and dedication” services – similar to those offered to divorcees who remarry in register offices – for gay couples in civil partnerships.
It comes after senior figures have voiced growing enthusiasm for civil partnerships in the midst of the debate over to the Government’s plans for same-sex marriage.
The General Synod meets in York on 5th – 9th July for the first time since the rejection of the draft legislation on Women Bishops last November. A large period of time on the Saturday will be devoted to work on this issue with a debate on the Monday. The Friday afternoon will see the first Presidential Address by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, which will be an opportunity for him to outline the main challenges facing the Church of England over the coming period.
The meeting of Synod will also include debates on Safeguarding following the Chichester Commissaries' reports and Welfare Reform and the Church. There will also be a vote on the Yorkshire Diocesan Reorganisation Scheme.
The agenda provides for the Synod to meet in private on the morning and afternoon of Saturday 6 July for reflection and facilitated discussion on the issue of Women Bishops. Some of this time will be spent in groups and some in plenary. The group work will take the form of 24 groups of 20 people with a trained facilitator, with Synod members from each House in the groups. On Monday morning there will be a debate on a motion from the House of Bishops which proposes that draft legislation be prepared and introduced at the November group of sessions on the basis of option one in the report from the working group. Synod members will have until 10am on Sunday to table amendments to the Motion.
by Jonathan Petre, Mailonline
Senior bishops have raised the prospect of asking the Queen to dissolve the Church of England’s ‘Parliament’, the General Synod, if it continues to oppose the creation of women bishops.
The unprecedented proposal was made in a confidential meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury last week and reflects Church leaders’ frustration with the Synod for narrowly defeating legislation in November to allow women priests to become bishops.
The House of Bishops unveiled fresh plans on Friday to push through the historic reforms within two years and is preparing for a battle with traditionalists.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are due to urge the Synod, when it meets in July, to accept a law that will allow women to be consecrated.
But some bishops fear that opposition can be overcome only by dissolving the Synod and electing new members who are more sympathetic to reform.
by Andrew Carey, CEN
It was predictable that Philip Giddings would survive the ‘no confidence’ motion in the House of Laity last week. The inadvisable meeting, which cost tens of thousands to stage, was based on the entire nonsense that the elected officers of Synod had a duty to be neutral even when they were not in the chair. This has never been the case in my memory of decades of covering General Synod meetings.
The real reason for opposing Philip Giddings became clear during the meeting as speaker after speaker expressed animosity towards conservative evangelicalism and in particular the Anglican Mainstream grouping of which Mr Giddings is convener.
These rather extreme and illiberal liberals are the equivalent of any so-called ‘fundamentalists’ they profess to deplore. I would prefer illiberal liberals not to hold high office in the Church of England in any capacity but I recognise that the Church of England is a broad church and a certain amount of tolerance comes with the ter ritory of being Anglican. It is a shame that they find it so difficult to concede any such reciprocal generosity.