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Synod warned not to delay women-bishops Measure

by a staff reporter

THE House of Bishops, meeting in York this week, has counselled against any delay in a decision on women bishops when the General Synod meets in July.

A statement issued on Tuesday says: “The House is aware that there are those who believe that the present legislative process does not have the potential to lead to a satisfactory conclusion and that a better outcome is more likely to be achieved in some years’ time.

“Most members of the House consider, however, that it is crucial to keep faith with the present process. They see no grounds for believing that the issues with which the Church is grappling will become significantly easier to resolve with the passage of time.”

The House of Bishops acknow­ledges that it is as divided as the rest of the Church. A majority of the members of the House “strongly support the admission of women to the episcopate”, the statement says, but, at the same time, “there remains a strong commitment on the part of the House to preserve an honoured place within the Church of England for those unable to receive this development.” The House contains “a variety of views” about how this might best be achieved.

The Bishops warn that the July meeting of the Synod, when members will have the opportunity of debating the women-bishops Measure clause by clause, “has the potential to be one of the most demanding meetings of the Synod for many years”.

It urges members “to listen with particular care to those with views that differ from their own and to acknowledge the passion and sincerity with which those views are held”.

The Bishops promise that, if the decision of the Synod is to proceed with a statutory Code of Practice, as seems likely, they will assemble a group to work on a fresh draft of the Code as soon as possible.

She was naked. He was there

A WOMAN BISHOP might have been useful during the House of Bishops meeting in York, after a naked woman guest triggered a fire alarm in the early hours of Tuesday morning, writes Bill Bowder. In the event, one of the bishops present offered the woman his dressing gown.

There were about 50 bishops staying at the Park Inn in York. The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, reported that they had to evacuate the hotel when the fire alarm went off.

“The alarm seems to have been triggered when two young ladies, who were pickled, came back late at night. One of the two ladies was naked, and one of the bishops had to take his dressing gown off to cover her naked­ness. I think the other woman was also trying to take her clothes off, too, but she was stopped in time.”

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, said: “It would be a good ethical test on a board game to ask what you do if you are a bishop and you open the door to find a naked lady outside. I think that throwing your dressing gown out passes the test.”

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