Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Statement from Forward in Faith

issued today [here]

The Act of Synod and
the House of Bishops’ Declaration

As part of the package of proposals regarding the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England, the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 is to be replaced by a House of Bishops’ Declaration and a Resolution of Disputes Procedure (to be established by Regulations made under a new Canon).

Yesterday the General Synod welcomed the draft Declaration and Regulations and included the text of the new Canon in the legislation that will now be referred to the diocesan synods for approval. It also voted in favour, at the preliminary stage, of the draft Act of Synod that will eventually rescind the existing Act of Synod. We note that this will only come into force when the new Canon is promulged, thus ensuring continuity.

We welcome the fact that the new House of Bishops’ Declaration refers to the Sees of Beverley, Ebbsfleet and Richborough by name. It notes that they will remain in existence as one of the means by which episcopal ministry is provided to parishes that pass resolutions under the Declaration.

We welcome the following statement by the House of Bishops in paragraph 23 of its most recent report (GS 1932):

‘The title and role of the “provincial episcopal visitor” are currently set out in the 1993 Act of Synod. There is no reason why these – or the financial arrangements for the three sees – should change when the 1993 Act of Synod is rescinded, given the House’s wish for there to be continuity. As noted in paragraph 30 of the Declaration, the three sees and their occupants remain an integral part of the new dispensation.’

We welcome the fact that, once the new Declaration has been finalized, the House of Bishops will only be able to amend it if the amendment has been approved by two-thirds majorities in each House of the General Synod. This gives us assurance as we approach the new era that the legislation will initiate.

The Act of Synod has served the Church of England well. We are confident that the Declaration will enable us to flourish within its life and structures for generations to come.

X JONATHAN FULHAM                    LINDSAY NEWCOMBE              
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker                Dr Lindsay Newcombe
Chairman                                                  Lay Vice-Chairman

12 February 2014


  1. This is the sort of robust and unequivocal solution - with a legislative basis - which the Church in Wales should have embraced. Let us hope (all of us) that the forthcoming Code of Practice may offer something equally apt to keep us all together.

  2. But could they explain how they deal with the situation where Joe is ordained by Jane. Joe becomes a bishop and ordains others. Is this catholic order and if it is can someone please please explain. And remember how do you know when a bishop is lying? A handsome reward for the first answer! (sic)

  3. Sorry forgot to add that of course if you do stay in the Church o England you will have to accept all that it stands for including the, for all intents and purposes, the marriage (=blessing) of same sex couples. So the FIF lot will have to go along with that otherwise the legal processes will start - just watch this space

  4. You know when a bishop is lying - when he promises that there is an honoured place in the CofE for Catholics opposed to the ordination of women as either priests or bishops

    1. Alternatively, if less charitably, you know when a bishop is lying when - she claims to be a bishop in the apostolic succession ...


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