Thursday, 29 November 2012

Women bishops vote - at least a constructive proposal

Today's letter to The Times [here if you wish to pay to read it] is interesting and may offer a way forward. It remains to be be seen whether the synodical lobbyists in favour of the innovation (WATCH and the 'senior women' quoted in the letter et al) are now prepared to accept a reasonable measure of compromise which gives a degree of adequate provision for the not insubstantial minority who are opposed,  or whether they wish to be portrayed (so far correctly) as wanting all or nothing and, in effect,  as desiring a theological 'cleansing' of traditionalists from the Church of England. Holding on to a self-perceived victim status is easy..... and something we must all work to avoid, particularly those who wish to be considered for high office in the Church...

Report form Anglican Mainstream [here]:

Letter to the Times from laity who unreservedly support the consecration of women yet voted against the Women Bishops' Measure

Eight lay members of the General Synod have written to the Times because “the uncomprehending fury and frustration that greeted the failure of the Measure and the one-sided reporting on the issue make it helpful for those of us who voted out of a sense of over-riding concern for the Church of England’s minorities, and for the promises made to those minorities, to explain why we acted as we did.”
They dispute the suggestion that doubters about the Measure in the Laity are unrepresentative of the people in the pews, and had been elected through sleight of hand or dubious electoral manipulation, is equally false. They note that they had stated clearly in their election addresses in 2010 that they would vote against the Measure if it did not provide oversight in the way that the minorities needed, or honour promises made to them only 20 years ago.
They say they were prepared to vote for the July 2010 version of the Measure with a clause referring to “theological convictions” of those requiring alternative oversight, had the Bishops not lost their nerve and decided under pressure from “senior women” to reconsider their proposed “helpful” clause.
“Our vote against stemmed from the Measure’s failure to honour the inclusiveness which we believe fundamental to the future of Anglicanism. The Church of England needs all the voices it currently has, and to hear them all. Unity has never been unanimity.”
They suggest that a new briefer Measure could incorporate the 1993 Act of Synod governing alternative oversight with the experience it has provided of living together with fellow Anglicans who cannot accept women priests and bishops. It should provide for alternative oversight on a churchwide basis to those unable to recognise their woman diocesan bishop and also to those parishes that accept or have women clergy which are unsuitably served by a traditional orthodox male diocesan bishop in a predominantly conservative diocese. It will minimally amend but not repeal the 1993 Measure which has served us all well. The Church must be concerned for, and provide for, all its members.
Tom Sutcliffe, Mary Judkins, Phillip Rice, John Davies, Anne Bloor, Priscilla Hungerford, Keith Malcouronne, Christopher Corbet London SW16

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