Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Further news and comment on women bishops

Update Wednesday morning
Frank Field MP tweeted at 6.02 pm on Tuesday that “Ecclesiastical Committee, of which I am a Member, has just unanimously approved the women bishops measure. Hurrah!”

Update Wednesday afternoon
The agenda of yesterday’s meeting of the Ecclesiastical Committee, originally linked below, is no longer available.
A transcript of the Archbishop’s opening speech to the Committee is here.

The Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament met today (Tuesday) to consider the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure. There is a recording of the public part of their meeting here [1 hour 16 minutes].

John Bingham of The Telegraph reports on the meeting: Church of England to use positive discrimination to boost women bishops.

We have reported news and comments on last Monday’s votes at General Synod here, here, here and here. There is more.

Linda Woodhead The Conversation Yes vote for women bishops challenges the Church of England to embed equality

WATCH Synod Voted Yes!

The Ordinariate in England and Wales: Statement from the Ordinary - Women Bishops

David Pocklington Law & Religion UK Women in the episcopate: legislation and its adoption

The Primate of Uganda Church of Uganda applauds CoE women bishops vote

Moses Talemwa The Observer (Uganda) Uganda Hails Vote On Women Bishops

Ian Paul asks What are (women) bishops for?

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 at 9:38pm BST
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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Update on clergy entering same-sex marriages

This roundup has been somewhat delayed due to the distractions of General Synod, but here it is now. Our previous report was on 9 July, and is here.

Madeleine Davies wrote in the Church Times on 11 July: Chaplain is blocked from new post after same-sex marriage. She included this:

…Canon Pemberton said that he had mentioned his application for the new job during his meeting with Bishop Inwood on 29 May, and that he was “not surprised, but disappointed”, to learn that the Bishop had subsequently refused to issue a licence.

“The unequal position that I find myself in is that I have a licence now, and am working in a trust in Lincolnshire; so I am a suitable person to work in the NHS; but if I attempt to move 30 miles away, I become unemployable, apparently.”

He went on: “It needs to be considered that the NHS is bound by the Equality Act 2010, and it does seem odd that, if this offer is withdrawn, it is because the Church has obliged the NHS to act in an unequal way. Is that proper or legal?

“My action has exposed a faultline here with an NHS that acts strictly under the rules of equality according to the law, and a Church that does not.”

Chaplains are appointed by NHS trusts. The UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy, with whom Canon Pemberton is registered, states that: “It is usual for job descriptions and person specifications for chaplaincy posts that include a religious function to specify that a chaplain will have the endorsement of their faith community, often referred to as ‘being in good standing’.”

It continues: “The situation may arise that the standing of a chaplain in relation to her or his faith community or belief group changes during the term of employment. Whilst this may affect the official status of the chaplain as a ‘minister of religion’ or ‘office holder’ of a belief group, it may have no consequences in relation to their terms of employment so long as they continue to practise ethically and professionally.”

NHS Employers was contacted but was unable to comment at the time of going to press.

On Wednesday, the Revd Justin Gau, a barrister specialising in both employment and ecclesiastical law, and Chancellor of the diocese of Bristol, said that the removal of Canon Pemberton’s licence was, in his opinion, “unlawful, as there has been no breach of canon law”.

And Hugh Muir in the Guardian had this tidbit:

Battle lines are drawn in the Church of England after the first gay British clergyman to marry a same-sex partner was blocked from taking up a promotion within the NHS. Canon Jeremy Pemberton works as a chaplain for an NHS trust in Lincolnshire. The Right Rev Richard Inwood, acting Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, said he is “unable” to issue a licence for Pemberton to work for the NHS in Nottinghamshire “in light of the pastoral guidance and for reasons of consistency”. A number of people have expressed outrage. Add to their number Prof Diarmaid MacCulloch, the Oxford historian of the church. “I trust that you realise what an appalling impression of pastoral insensitivity you and your fellow bishops are providing to the nation,” he tells the acting bishop. “None of you seem to understand the widespread contempt that your stance provokes, particularly among the young.” They can’t even claim to have history on side.

Changing Attitude has had several articles relating to this action:

At the press conference in York on the evening of 14 July, after the vote on women in the episcopate, the journalists Rachel Younger for Sky News and David Sanderson for The Times both asked the archbishops how soon there would also be bishops who were in same-sex marriages. Needless to say the answers predicted no timescale for this. There is an audio recording of this press conference available here. The Sky News questions come at the very beginning of the conference, and The Times questions come at the very end (about 24 minutes in). A transcript of part of the latter is included here, below the fold.

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Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 20 July 2014 at 6:15pm BST
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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Bishop of Edmonton to retire

Updated

Peter Wheatley, the area bishop of Edmonton in the diocese of London has announced that he will retire at the end of the year.

There is nothing about this as yet on the London diocesan website, but we have seen a copy of the letter sent by the bishop to clergy in the Edmonton Area announcing his retirement.

Update 23 July

An announcement of the bishop’s retirement was posted on the diocesan website today: The Bishop of Edmonton announces his retirement.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 12:24pm BST
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More news and comment on women bishops

Madeleine Davies Church Times Synod delivers a confident vote for women bishops

Church Times leader comment The morning after

Nick Baines Bishops

David Keen Women Bishops: The Morning After

Janet Henderson Women Bishops, Malala and Mary Robinson

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop writes to ecumenical partners about women bishops

Methodist Church in Britain welcomes ‘yes’ vote on women bishops

The United Reformed Church welcomes women bishops

The Baptist Times Baptist welcome for General Synod vote

Statement from the Russian Orthodox Church

Ephraim Radner What Women Bishops Mean For Christian Unity

Sir Tony Baldry, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, was asked a question about women bishops in the House of Commons on Thursday. The answer is copied below the fold. He indicated that the Measure was likely to complete its passage through Parliament by early October, so that General Synod could promulge the Canon in November.

A letter from Rod Thomas to Reform members: Rod writes in response to the York General Synod

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Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 11:25am BST
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opinion

Yasmine Hafiz in The Huffington Post presents 23 photographs of The Most Breathtaking Church Ceilings In The World.

Peter Stanford The Telegraph The women who helped shape Christianity

Lucinda Borkett-Jones Christian Today What about women who don’t want to be bishops?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 19 July 2014 at 11:00am BST
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Friday, 18 July 2014

Assisted Dying Bill

The House of Lords is today debating Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill.

Today’s Guardian carries these three articles

John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, My wife knew she was dying – but she chose life
Andrew Brown Legalising assisted dying will put too much pressure on people, says bishop
editorial The Guardian view on assisted dying: safeguard life

But not all clergy oppose the bill.

John Bingham The Telegraph Bishop: uphold sanctity of life by allowing assisted dying
Patrick Sawer The Telegraph Anglican leadership accused of “scaremongering” over assisted dying

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 18 July 2014 at 11:08am BST
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Women priests in Australia

Muriel Porter reports in the Brisbane Times that Conservative Anglicans have women priests in their sights.

…Australian Anglicans need not be complacent, however. The stark reality is that if votes even for women priests were now required in the Anglican Church here, let alone for women bishops, it is highly likely they would not succeed.

That was the take home message from our own General Synod held earlier this month in Adelaide. Mercifully, votes for women were not on the agenda at that meeting.

Over the 22 years since women priests were approved in Australia, the dominance of the conservative Diocese of Sydney has grown exponentially. And it has become even more conservative…

So could we see the unthinkable happen in this country, the legislation for women priests repealed? It happened in the Presbyterian Church. Could it happen here, even though there are now close to 500 women priests in Australia? It is believed some conservatives have a repeal in their sights…

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 18 July 2014 at 10:51am BST
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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Faith leaders unite to condemn assisted dying law

Twenty four British faith leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have today called for Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill not to be enacted.

From the Archbishop’s website

Assisted Dying Bill: Archbishop signs faith leaders’ statement

Wednesday 16th July 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby today joins over 20 British faith leaders calling for Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill not to be enacted.

In a joint statement ahead of the House of Lords debate on Friday, the faith leaders said that if passed the bill would have “a serious detrimental effect on the wellbeing of individuals and on the nature and shape of our society.”

This is followed by the full text of the statement and a list of all the signatories.

Press reports on opinions about the bill include:

John Bingham The Telegraph Religious leaders unite to condemn assisted dying law

Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England split over assisted dying as debate looms

Denis Campbell and Dominic Smith The Guardian Assisted dying: leading doctors call on Lords to back legalisation

We reported earlier on the views of George Carey and Justin Welby.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 11:11am BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | News

Women bishops - further reactions to Monday's vote

John Bingham The Telegraph Women bishops: I’m glad we waited until now, says Archbishop of York

The Telegraph editorial The Church of England has found unity on its own terms

The Telegraph letters Women bishops will meet opposition within the C of E laity

The Guardian letters Female bishops a birthday present for Emmeline Pankhurst

John Spence’s speech to Synod (on YouTube)

Transcript of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s speech to Synod

GRAS (the Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod) have sent us a press release which is copied below the fold.

Continue reading "Women bishops - further reactions to Monday's vote"
Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 10:22am BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Richard Frith to be next Bishop of Hereford

It was announced this morning that the next Bishop of Hereford is to be Richard Frith, currently the suffragan Bishop of Hull in the diocese of York.

Announcement on the Hereford diocesan website: New Bishop named for Diocese of Hereford

Announcement on the York diocesan website: Richard Frith to be Bishop of Hereford

Press release from Number 10:

Diocese of Hereford: Right Reverend Richard Frith

From: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street
History: Published 16 July 2014
Part of: Community and society

The Right Reverend Richard Michael Cokayne Frith is approved for election as Bishop of Hereford.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Richard Michael Cokayne Frith, MA, Bishop of Hull, for election as Bishop of Hereford in succession to the Right Reverend Anthony Martin Priddis, MA, whose resignation took effect on 24 September 2013.

The Right Reverend Richard Frith

The Right Reverend Richard Frith (aged 65) studied at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and trained for the ordained ministry at St John’s College Nottingham. He served his curacy at Mortlake with East Sheen in Southwark diocese from 1974 to 1978. From 1978 to 1983 he was a Team Vicar at Thamesmead and from 1983 to 1992 Team Rector at Keynsham, Bath and Wells diocese. From 1991 to 1998 he was Prebendary at Wells Cathedral, for 6 of those years being Archdeacon of Taunton. Since 1998 he has been Suffragan Bishop of Hull.

He is married to Kay and has 4 children and 4 step children. His interests include the theatre and sport, with a particular passion for cricket.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 9:59am BST
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

General Synod - Tuesday's business

General Synod completed its York meeting this morning.

Order paper for the day

Official summary of business

audio recording

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:08pm BST
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Women bishops - more reports and reactions to Monday's vote

Madeleine Davies, Tim Wyatt and Gavin Drake Church Times Women bishops legislation wins Synod’s final approval

John Bingham The Telegraph First women bishops in months after Synod vote

Jemima Thackray The Telegraph Women bishops: delaying this historic vote was a blessing in disguise

The Telegraph Celebration as Church of England General Synod approves women bishops

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today There will be women bishops… General Synod passes legislation

Ruth Gledhill The Guardian Joy and relief at display of unity for vote on ordination of female bishops

Claer Barrett and Mark Odell Financial Times Church of England synod votes for women bishops

Matthew Engel Financial Times Victory for women bishops but no triumphalism

Andrew Brown The Guardian Jubilation as Church of England’s synod votes to allow female bishops

Andreas Whittam Smith The Independent Women bishops: Church of England still divided but now prepared to trust each other

Stephen Castle The New York Times Church of England Votes to Allow Women as Bishops

Video: Archbishop Welby talks to BBC Newsnight about the vote to allow female bishops

Gillan Scott God & Politics in the UK Good news at last, but the women bishops vote was ultimately never about women bishops

Fulcrum Statement on Synod Vote for Women Bishops

Colin Coward for Changing Attitude Women bishops – finally

WATCH issued a press release which is copied below the fold.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued this statement: Women Bishops - Church of England.

Continue reading "Women bishops - more reports and reactions to Monday's vote"
Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:01am BST
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Monday, 14 July 2014

Women bishops - immediate reactions to today's vote

Archbishop of Canterbury Church of England approves women bishops

Archbishop of Canterbury “delighted” at result but stresses this is not “winner takes all” but “in love a time for the family to move on together.”

Andrew Brown The Guardian Church of England General Synod approves female bishops

John Bingham The Telegraph Church of England General Synod votes for women bishops
and Women bishops: a century of campaigning

Anglican Communion News Service Church of England says yes to women bishops

BBC Church of England General Synod backs women bishops

Lizzie Dearden The Independent Women bishops approved: Cheers as Church of England General Synod votes for historic change

The Council of Bishops of The Society under the patronage of S. Wilfrid and S. Hilda has issued this statement, the Catholic Group in General Synod this statement, and Forward in Faith this statement.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 14 July 2014 at 5:31pm BST
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Church of England to have women bishops

Press release from the Church of England

Church of England to have women bishops
14th July 2014

The General Synod of the Church of England has today given its final approval for women to become bishops in the Church of England.

The vote in the General Synod on the measure was carried by the required two-thirds majority in the three constituent parts of the Synod: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.

The voting results were as follows:

House of Bishops: Yes 37 No 2 Abstentions 1
House of Clergy: Yes 162 No 25 Abstentions 4
House of Laity: Yes 152 No 45 Abstentions 5

This means the first woman bishop could potentially be appointed by the end of the year.

Today’s vote comes 18 months after the proposal was last voted upon in November 2012 when the proposal failed to achieve the required two thirds majority in the House of Laity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today’s result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing.

The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.

My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.“

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, said:
“This is a momentous day. Generations of women have served the Lord faithfully in the Church of England for centuries. It is a moment of joy today: the office of Bishop is open to them.

To those who ask “what took you so long?” my answer is that every decision has a cost and there will be those within our body who will be hurting as a result of this decision. Our answer to the hurting should not be “get over it” but rather “we will not let go until you have blessed us.”

We move slowly because we move together. But in moving together we achieve not only what is just but also model what is right. As the African Proverb says: “Whoever walks fast, travels alone. Whoever walks far, walks in the company of others.”

The legislation approved today includes a House of Bishops declaration, underpinned by five guiding principles and a disputes resolution procedure. Following the vote on the measure which enables women to become Bishops, the Synod voted on enabling legislation (Canon) and also rescinded existing legislation (Act of Synod) as part of a package of measures being proposed.

Following today’s vote the measure moves to the Legislative Committee of General Synod and then to the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Houses of Parliament where the legislation will be considered. Subject to Parliamentary approval the measure will return to the General Synod in November of this year where it will come into force after its promulgation (legal formal announcement).

Today’s vote follows a process which began at the 2013 July Synod which created a steering committee on women bishops, chaired by the Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff, with a mandate to draw up a package of new proposals. Bishop James opened the debate on behalf of the steering committee and responded to the debate urging synod members to vote for the proposals.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 14 July 2014 at 5:04pm BST
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General Synod - votes on women bishops

All portions of the legislative package to allow women to be bishops in the Church of England were approved by General Synod this afternoon.

1) Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (GS 1925B)

On the motion

That the Measure entitled “Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure” be finally approved

there voted

Bishops 37 in favour, 2 against, 1 recorded abstention
Clergy 162 in favour, 25 against, 4 recorded abstentions
Laity 152 in favour, 45 against, 5 recorded abstentions

and the motion was carried with the necessary two-thirds majorities in all three houses.

2) Draft Amending Canon No. 33 (GS 1926B)

On the motion

That the Canon entitled “Amending Canon No 33” be finally approved

there voted

Bishops 37 in favour, 2 against, 1 recorded abstention
Clergy 164 in favour, 24 against, 3 recorded abstentions
Laity 153 in favour, 40 against, 8 recorded abstentions

and the motion was carried with the necessary two-thirds majorities in all three houses.

3) The motion

That the petition for Her Majesty’s Royal Assent and Licence (GS 1926C) be adopted

was carried on a show of hands.

4) Draft Act of Synod Rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 (GS 1934A)

The motion

That the draft Act of Synod rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 be approved

was carried on a show of hands.

5) The motion

That the Act of Synod rescinding the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 be solemnly affirmed and proclaimed an Act of Synod

was carried on a show of hands

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 14 July 2014 at 4:30pm BST
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod