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Officials look for ways to fast-track women into Lords

April 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

by Madeleine Davies, Church Times

CHURCH officials and advisers are considering ways to speed up the entry of women bishops into the House of Lords, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Tim Stevens, confirmed on Monday.

Episcopal admission to the House of Lords is determined by the Bishopric of Manchester Act of 1847. This limits the number of places for Lords Spiritual to 26. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, London, and Winchester are ex-officio members of the House of Lords. The remaining places on the Bishops' Bench are held by the 21 diocesan bishops who have been in post the longest.

On Monday, Bishop Stevens, the convener of the Bishops in the Lords, said: "The discussion is about whether it would be helpful to the Church, and, indeed, to Parliament, for the Bishops' Bench to be both male and female in rather quicker time than the present process would naturally allow. . .

"We have started to consult about this, including consulting with some senior ordained women about what their views would be about some positive affirmative action."

The proposals will not be put before the General Synod. Rather, both Houses of Parliament would have to pass an amendment to the Bishopric Act.

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Statement on the Consecration of Rev Dr Sarah Macneil as bishop of Grafton

March 3rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Sydney Anglicans, Women Bishops Comments Off

From Anglican Church League, Sydney

On 1 March 2014 the Anglican diocese of Grafton will consecrate its new Bishop. The consecration will be hailed as ‘historic’ as she will be the first female diocesan Bishop in the Anglican Church of Australia.

The fact that the diocesan Bishop will be a woman is of concern, especially considering there has been no publicly available provision by the Grafton diocese for those who cannot in good conscience accept her episcopal ministry . The matters raised in this document however are of more grave concern.

Dr Macneil has made recent public statements regarding human sexuality and the Atonement that are unbecoming a Bishop in the Anglican Communion. At best they are unclear, requiring clarification. At worst they are a serious departure from Anglican historic formularies and the Scriptures.The consecration of someone who holds these views is further evidence that parts of the Anglican Church of Australia are departing from the Apostolic faith.

We wish to state our full support of the Diocese of Grafton in its recent moves to deal openly, honestly and fully with claims of child abuse within the Diocese. We offer our support to any leader of the Diocese who will continue this approach. Our criticism of the appointment of Dr Macneil ought not in any way to be seen to impact on our view on this serious matter.

Dr Macneil's Public Teaching

During a series of lenten sermons in 2013, whilst preaching on the parable of the Prodigal (Luke15), Dr Macneil stated the following :

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Women in the Episcopate: Reference to the Dioceses

February 17th, 2014 Jill Posted in Forward In Faith, Women Bishops Comments Off

From Forward in Faith

The diocesan synods will shortly be voting on the Women in the Episcopate legislation – a draft Measure and a draft Canon.

This legislation forms part of a package which also includes a House of Bishops’ Declaration (containing provisions that will replace Resolutions A and B and the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod) and a Resolution of Disputes Procedure, both of which we warmly welcome.

Only the Measure and the Canon will be the subject of formal voting in the diocesan synods. When legislation is referred to the dioceses because it touches the sacraments of the Church, Forward in Faith believes that synod members should give their votes according to principle and conscience. For members of Forward in Faith that is likely to involve voting against the Measure and the Canon because, for reasons of theological conviction, we cannot endorse the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. This will be the only opportunity for members of diocesan synods to vote on the principle in accordance with their theological convictions.

We wish to underline that in making this recommendation we are not seeking to hinder progress towards a final resolution of this issue. It is important that this is made clear in diocesan synod debates. We are conscious that at this stage in the process only simple majorities are required.

We were encouraged that, when members of the General Synod voted against the relevant parts of the legislation at the February group of sessions, the fact that they felt obliged to do so as a matter of integrity was widely accepted. We trust that similar understanding will be shown in the diocesan synods.

On behalf of the Council:

X JONATHAN FULHAM LINDSAY NEWCOMBE ROSS NORTHING

The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker Dr Lindsay Newcombe The Revd Ross Northing

Chairman Lay Vice-Chairman Clerical Vice-Chairman

 

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Some integrities are more equal than others

February 14th, 2014 Jill Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

By Peter Mullen

Many a good book has been produced as an act of retaliation. For instance, Newman’s magnificent Apologia Pro Vita Sua was provoked by a jibe from Charles Kingsley to the effect that truth didn’t matter to Roman Catholic clergy and moreover they were proud of the fact. I am feeling a bit Kingsleyesque myself as I read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s address to the General Synod in which he said that “inconsistency and incoherence” among members of the Church of England is no bad thing. Well, I have long thought that incoherence and inconsistency are hallmarks of the Anglican hierarchy, but I hardly imagined I would live long enough to hear an Archbishop actually recommend these qualities.
 
On second thoughts though, what Justin Welby said is rather like the creative device of the “two integrities” ingeniously invented by Archbishop John Habgood back in 1992. By creating flying bishops, this allowed those who opposed the ordination of women equal right – guaranteed by statute – to their view with those who supported women priests.
 
But in what fit of partisan spite does the Synod now decree that the statutory guarantee of their right, and thus their integrity, be withdrawn from the opponents of the appointment of women bishops while it remains extended to supporters of females in the episcopacy? For this is exactly the shameful action perpetrated by the biased Synod this week.
 
Read here
 
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Spiritual toolkit for resisting an unbiblical innovation

February 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

By Julian Mann, Cranmer's Curate

Now that the Church of England's General Synod has fast-tracked the women bishops' measure back to dioceses for final approval in July, here are a set of conceptual tools to help opponents resist politically-correct pressure to comply with this unbiblical innovation:

  • Voting for any unbiblical practice to be imposed on local churches without a clear and legally enforceable opt-out does not get anything of real spiritual value 'sorted out'. It is actually to place institutional loyalty above fidelity to the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ's Apostles.
  • The London media-driven 'shock' at the defeat of the measure in November 2012 should not frighten its opponents into compliance. That is because it was a good thing that an unbiblical innovation did not succeed in a church council on that occasion.
  • Opposing an unbiblical innovation supported by the overwhelming majority of the House of Bishops is not 'disobeying your leaders'. Church leaders who forsake the authority of God's Word Written forfeit their spiritual authority.
  • So what if we face a shortage of bishops if women are not consecrated asap because of an alleged 'shallow male pool'? Actually, there are a number of men who are leading thriving, biblically-faithful local churches who would be well capable of being bishops. They happen to be non-careerist conservative evangelicals.

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Church of England moves closer to a vote on women bishops – but it’s not over yet

February 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, General Synod, Women Bishops Comments Off

By Penny Marshall, ITV News

Supporters of the idea are telling me that today's vote could mean that the Church of England could see women bishops by the end of the year.
 
And that is possible. Because what happened today – cutting the consultation period on the issue from six to three months – could pave the way for a straight 'yes or no' vote this July.
 
This could be followed by a new law in November, and the first women bishops as early as the new year.
 
But that's the reformers rather optimistic view. The more cautious view is that today was really a vote about when to have the big, decisive vote: today wasn’t the make or break moment that will make it a certainty.
 
Of course, the fact that the proposal was passed so strongly – by about 9 -1 in favour- will give hope to the reformers that any vote in the summer will be easily passed.
 
But there was still some disquiet about the compromise on offer for objectors and reformers, who have been waiting three decades for this already. They have come close before to see their hopes dashed – most notably 15 months ago at Synod.
 
 
 
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Women bishops plan fast-tracked after warning change ‘urgently needed’

February 11th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, General Synod, Women Bishops Comments Off

By John Bingham, Telegraph

Church of England General Synod speeds ahead with women bishops after warning it has ‘overfished the shallow pond’ of male candidates for bishoprics and ‘urgently’ needs women to fill posts

The Church of England has overwhelmingly approved a fast-track scheme which could see its first women bishops appointed this year – after being told it has run out of male clerics who are up to the task.

The Church of England has overwhelmingly approved a fast-track scheme which could see its first women bishops appointed this year – after being told it has run out of male clerics who are up to the task.

Members of the Church’s decision-making General Synod voted by a margin of nine to one to suspend its normal rules to speed up the process of changing ecclesiastical law to admit women to the episcopate.

It came as one member of the Synod was applauded as he warned bluntly that it “urgently” needs to ordain its first women bishops because it has effectively run out of male clerics who are up to the task.

He said that, with a string of bishoprics already lying empty and a growing backlog of appointments to make, the “shallow pond” of suitable male candidates had already been “overfished”.

Read here

More details of today's vote on Thinking Anglicans

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Final hurdle for women bishops to overcome

February 9th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, General Synod, Women Bishops Comments Off

By John Bingham, Telegraph

Church of England General Synod meets amid hopes of swift end to years of wrangling over women bishops – but row looms over the precise meaning of ‘trust’

Hopes of an end to the Church of England’s 40-year battle over women bishops could face a last-minute challenge this week amid wrangling over ordination services and an argument about the definition of a single word.

Members of the General Synod will gather in London tomorrow for a three-day meeting that should speed a historic change to ecclesiastical law through its main legislative stages.

If they succeed, the change could be given final approval as early as this summer. It could then receive Royal Assent in time for England’s first women bishops to be appointed before the end of this year.

But an influential group of traditionalists, who largely orchestrated the defeat of previous plans for women bishops, said behind-the scenes discussions had still failed to allay all of their concerns.

The Reform evangelical group, which is seen as representing the puritan tradition, believes that the Bible teaches that men should be “head” of the family and the Church.

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Church of England could name first woman bishops ‘by Christmas’

January 17th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

by John Bingham, Telegraph

The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be appointed before the end of this year, the Church’s most senior official has disclosed.

William Fittall, the Secretary General of the General Synod, said that under a new plan to speed the long-awaited legislation through, it is now possible that the first female members of the episcopate could be chosen by Christmas.

If the fast-track scheme is approved by the Church’s General Synod next month, a change to canon law allowing women to become bishops and archbishops could receive final approval in July and come into force by November.

He said that with a growing list of vacant sees, it is likely that “things could move quickly” once that happens.

Although male clerics would still be considered for the posts, there is a “huge expectation” that some of those on a long list of “very eminently qualified people” previously excluded on grounds of gender would be appointed.

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Women in the Episcopate: The Latest Drafts

January 17th, 2014 Jill Posted in Forward In Faith, Women Bishops Comments Off

From Foward in Faith

Forward in Faith welcomes the publication of the House of Bishops’ report (GS 1932).

In commenting on the proposals in November we set out three matters that still needed to be resolved. We are grateful that two of them have been addressed: the draft Declaration now contains transitional provisions, and the House of Bishops’ Standing Orders will provide that the Declaration cannot be amended unless two-thirds majorities in each House of the General Synod support the amendment. We also welcome the other minor improvements which the House has made to the draft Declaration and Regulations.

However, we note that the draft Declaration does not address the third of the matters that we raised in November. Para. 42 of the Steering Committee’s report (GS 1924) pointed to the need for ‘an agreed way of proceeding’ with regard to ‘issues that will arise in relation to consecration services for Traditional Catholic bishops’, including the ‘further and sharper issues that will arise in due course as and when there is a woman archbishop’. The Steering Committee was clear in envisaging ‘an overall, balanced package’ and that the dioceses should ‘vote on the legislation in the knowledge of how all the elements of the package fit together’ (para. 42).

Read here
 
 

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Meeting of House of Bishops December 2013

December 10th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England, Pilling Report, Women Bishops Comments Off

The House of Bishops of the Church of England met for two days in York on December 9 and December 10. This meeting was the first at which 8 women regional representatives attended the meeting as participant observers with the same rights as Provincial Episcopal Visitors.

Over its meeting the House covered a wide range of business including discussion of women in the episcopate, the Pilling report, the approval of experimental liturgy for Baptism, changes to legislative approaches on Safeguarding and discussion of the Anglican-Methodist covenant.

As part of their discussion on Women in the Episcopate, the House heard from members of the steering committee on women bishops on suggestions for the next steps in the process. The House agreed the text of a draft declaration and regulations for a mandatory disputes resolution procedure for debate at General Synod in February 2014. The House also agreed to begin at the February Synod the process for rescinding the 1993 Act of Synod so that all the elements of the new package could be agreed by the synod in July 2014.

The House discussed and approved proposals for a new governance framework to enable the Church to develop a strategic vision for safeguarding. The House also approved proposed recommendations for legislative changes on safeguarding to be brought to General Synod.

Sir Joseph Pilling attended the House to introduce a discussion on ways to address the recently published report on Human Sexuality, a paper commissioned by the House of Bishops as a report to the House.

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WATCH’s priorities for the next three years

December 2nd, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

by Hilary Cotton, Chair, Women and the Church

[...]  For me the key has been the first two of the five principles adopted by the House of Bishops last May. These state that the Church of England is ‘fully and unequivocally committed’ to women and men as priests and bishops; and ‘everyone who ministers in the Church of England must acknowledge that’.

Hallelujah.

I have real concerns about the other three principles, but I do think they represent where the Church of England is at the moment.

So in all this, WATCH must and will remain very, very watchful over the next year and beyond.

Our second priority is the General Synod elections of 2015. Although they may well not be crucial for the women bishops legislation, it remains vital that we have a more representative House of Laity if we are to avoid being caught up in more disasters like that of a year ago. And WATCH must play its part in that, nationally and through the diocesan branches and networks.

Thirdly, as Christina Rees used to say (and I dare say still does) we need to continue to challenge and move beyond the patriarchal model on which the Church of England is built.

How we do that, and what the next steps are, is to some extent down to you, the membership, and what you want WATCH to do.

My personal driver for this is that I have had enough of an almost exclusively male God, in our prayers, hymns, speech and images.  (Emphasis ours)
 

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Irish Anglicans install Rev Pat Storey as bishop

December 1st, 2013 Jill Posted in Church Of Ireland, Women Bishops Comments Off

From BBC News

The UK and Ireland's first woman bishop has been consecrated by the Anglican Church at a service in Dublin on Saturday.

The Reverend Pat Storey, a rector in Londonderry, was appointed in September.

She was elected by the Church of Ireland as Bishop of Meath and Kildare, in the Republic of Ireland.

The married mother of two, who grew up in Belfast, said she was "excited and daunted" by the historic appointment.

Read here

 

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Church in Wales: Code of Practice

November 27th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church In Wales, Women Bishops Comments Off

From Ancient Briton

The Bill proposed by the bishops of the Church in Wales to enable women to be consecrated as bishops was successfully amended by the Archdeacon of Llandaff, the Ven Peggy Jackson, and the Reverend Canon Jenny Wigley. Their amendment substituted a voluntary code of practice for the statutory provisions contained in the bishops' bill. Details can be found here along with the Select Committee's recommendations.

Appendix 2 to the May 2013 Report of the Select Committee includes an Explanatory Note to the Jackson/Wigley amendment (Amendment 3): 

Our amendment seeks to reflect the overwhelming view of Governing Body members (as expressed in questionnaire responses in 2012), that:-

a) there should be provision for women to be consecrated as bishops in the Church in Wales,
b) there should be recognition and provision allowed for those who in individual conscience dissent from this move,
while also keeping faith with other aims, as expressed:-
a) in 2008 – that provisions for conscience should not be included in the body of formal legislation,
b) in 2012 – that legislation should not include structural provision to accommodate dissent.
The resulting vote did reflect"the overwhelming view of Governing Body" which, judging by the "huge cheers" that followed, must have been made up largely of like-minded supporters. By contrast the result of the vote against women bishops in the Church of England last November was received in dignified silence. There were no celebratory outbursts but complaints followed alleging that the Synod vote did not represent the will of the Church. It did but not part of it – the Church of England. Nevertheless a campaign was launched to set aside the rules and fast track legislation which included a process of facilitated discussion and reconciliation. This process should provide a model for the Church in Wales to restore the trust that has been lost.
 
 
 

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Women bishops: the theology

November 24th, 2013 Jill Posted in Women Bishops Comments Off

By Michael Trimmer, Christian Today

For lots of people outside the Church of England or any other kind of Christianity, the idea that there is a 'debate' around the issue of women bishops is kind of strange. After all, women got the vote at the same age as men in 1928 in the UK, and equal pay legislation arrived in 1970.

The first thing to understand is that the Church of England, like all churches, is less concerned with keeping up with the times than it is with being true to God. If the world around says something is right, but the Bible says it's wrong, then the Church is probably going to defer towards the Bible. Although in an interview recently the Bishop of Oxford said that the C of E did have a duty to "reflect the life of the nation", being a holy Church is ultimately more important than being a relatable one. This is part of the reason why Christians seem to the outside world so obsessed with the questions surrounding homosexuality, as it is an issue of conflict between many in the Christian community and the wider morality of the non-Christian world.

But for the Church of England, the Bible isn't the only source of authority on these matters. Richard Hooker, an important theologian from the sixteenth century, created the basis of what is now known as the "Three-Legged-Stool" of Anglican theology. From his work "Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie" we get the notion that all Anglican theology is based on a blend of Scripture, tradition, and reason (with Scripture being the most important). It is for this reason that change and development are possible within Anglicanism, as new reason may come to light, and new traditions may emerge. But the question then before us is, why for so long did these three legs keep women away from positions of Church leadership?

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Canberra’s Sarah Macneil to become Australia’s first female Anglican head

November 23rd, 2013 Jill Posted in Theology, Women Bishops Comments Off

By Peter Jean, Canberra Times

With a real sense that she is answering God's call, Sarah Macneil will next year be installed as the 11th bishop of Grafton and the first woman to head an Anglican diocese in Australia.

The announcement of the Canberra priest's appointment comes as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse begins public hearings into the Grafton Diocese's response to claims of child sexual abuse at a Lismore children's home.

Dr Macneil is married, a grandmother and a former Australian diplomat.

She is a former dean of Adelaide and archdeacon in the diocese of Canberra-Goulburn.

Read here

Read also:  Australia’s First Female Diocesan Bishop – we should ordain homosexuals and the Cross does not save by David Ould, Stand Firm

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Women in the episcopate – next steps

November 22nd, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

by David Pocklington, Law & Religion UK

In contrast to Monday’s General Synod and the cloud cast over the proceedings by Dr Carey’s much-criticized speech in Shropshire, the overwhelming vote in support of women in the episcopate generated a raft of positive publicity. This will surely be welcomed by those responsible for the Church’s interface with the media, though perhaps a sterner test will be how press reaction to the forthcoming Pilling Report is anticipated and handled.
 
The CofE Daily Digest for 21 November was headed by links to the “women bishops” story in the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Times, Independent, Guardian, and Daily Telegraph. A notable absence from this listing was The Tablet’s encouraging article by Liz Dodd, Revitalised CofE Synod clears major hurdle in passing women bishops legislation”, whichwas in sharp contrast to the terse report in Vatican Insider and the absence of comment in the on-line version of The Catholic Herald.
 
For readers of this blog, however, perhaps the most significant aspect of the debate was the absence of amendments to the package so that it could go to the House of Bishops for clarification and not for alteration. The exchange on “women bishops” in the Lords during Prime Minister’s Questions prior to the Synod vote also bears some consideration.
 
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Anglicans No Longer Weird!

November 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

By Fr Dwight Longnecker

The Church of England General Synod has finally voted to allow women bishops. The Daily Telegraph reports here.
 
The main thrust of the argument seems to be that the members of the Church of England didn’t want to feel ‘weird’.
 
[...] I remember the debates in the Church of England in the late 80s about women’s ordination to the priesthood. There was solid debate from clergy and laypeople about the underlying important issues. We discussed (and disagreed) about the theology of priesthood, our sacramental theology and the impact of the decision on church unity. We discussed the scriptural arguments, the theological arguments, the political and practical arguments.
 
Now it all comes down to, “Hey folks, people think we’re weird! Let’s not be weird! Let’s fit in and go with the crowd!” Rosie Harper keeps harping on this theme and as she does she recites the Anglican creed from it’s formation in the sixteenth century, “The spirit of the age is our spirit! We must go with the prevailing trend in society! What the king says goes. What the culture dictates we accept. We must fit in. We are after all, the established church.”
 
What has this to do with the gospel at all? “Render unto Caesar” has become “render everything to Caesar.” In fact it has become “We have no king but Caesar” and where have I heard that before?
 
I am always amazed at how the Pope seems to speak accurately to the Anglican situation almost exactly at the right time. This week while the Church of England General Synod has broken out the champagne to celebrate yet another marriage with the Spirit of the Age, Pope Francis delivers this blistering rejection of compromise with the Spirit of the Age.
 
 
 
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The Church, Women Bishops and Provision – the integrity of orthodox objection to women bishops

November 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Women Bishops Comments Off

This is a repost from last November, which we felt may be helpful at this juncture.

Contributors: Roger Beckwith, Sarah Finch, Michael Ovey, Charles Raven, Vinay Samuel, Chris Sugden and Anthony Thiselton

Some think that a particular verse in the Bible – affirming that in Christ ‘there is neither male nor female’ (Galatians 3:28) – is all that needs to be said on the subject of women bishops.
 
If you are having difficulty explaining the reasons for not accepting the women bishop’s legislation in its present form, here is something to help.
 
This symposium was commissioned in January 2011 by a number of members of General Synod – some in favour of women priests and women bishops, some not in favour – who wished to see the theological arguments being more fully explored. As many people have recognized, these arguments have not yet been adequately addressed in General Synod debates over the years.
 
This book presents these arguments. It also includes evidence to show that, since the mid-1990s when women were first ordained, the richly varied ministry within the Church of England of women who are not ordained as priests has been growing strongly.
 
The commissioning group of General Synod members all agree that a proper legal framework should be in place, to provide the security of an ongoing ministry in the Church of England for those who will not be able to accept the ministry of women bishops.
 
The women bishops legislation, as it stands, does not give proper place to the theological positions contained in this book, positions which have every right to a proper and continued expression in the Church of England. And a ‘Code of Practice’ will do nothing to ensure that there will be proper places in the selection, training and ordination of the next generation of Church of England clergy for those who cannot accept the ministry of women bishops. In short, better, more secure, provision is required.
 
Some people argue that to make such provision would reduce women bishops to second-class bishops. That criticism relies upon an unbiblical view of ‘mono-episcopacy’ which, while represented in much (but not all) Church of England practice of episcopacy, fails to take into account the shared leadership that characterizes the New Testament Church.
 
The Chapters are:
 
Kingdom and Church
False Premises and Failed Promises
Recovering Mutuality – ‘heirs together of the grace of life’
How Does the Church Decide? The Trojan horse of Reception
A Better Way – the Biblical pattern for women’s ministry in the Church of England
Appendices on Collaborative Episcopacy
 
Available to download on www.latimertrust.org
 
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Cameron Wants to Fast Track Women Bishops Into House of Lords

November 21st, 2013 Jill Posted in Church of England, Women Bishops Comments Off

by Robert Hutton, Bloomberg

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to see women bishops jump the queue for places in the House of Lords as the Church of England’s ruling body backed proposals to create them for the first time.

There are places for 26 bishops in the unelected upper chamber of Parliament. These go to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the bishops of Durham, London and Winchester. The other 21 places are allocated to the bishops who have held office longest.

Asked during his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session if he wanted to see female bishops in the Lords faster than the current system allowed, Cameron agreed.

“The government is willing to work with the church to see how we can get women bishops into the Lords as soon as possible,” Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

The General Synod of the Church of England today voted 378 to eight in favor of introducing women bishops, alongside guidance for parishes that reject them.

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