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Drafting group set women-bishops puzzle PART TWO

Sr Anne Williams CA (Durham) moved an amendment that the motion draattention to the Rochester report as a resource for the debate that she hopewould now be carried out at diocesan, deanery, and parish level. She regrettethat 20 months had been "lost" between the publication of the report iNovember 2004 and the advice that the phase of exploration and reflectioinitiated by that report was now closed. "We would have benefited from thawider debate."She feared that if the motion did not refer to the Rochester report, ththeological, ecumenical, and missiological issues that underlined the debatmight not otherwise be discussed throughout the country. It would also helensure the ecumenical issues were considered.The Archbishop of Canterbury demurred: there was a wide spread of resourceavailable for the debate, and he had doubts about only mentioning one.The amendment was lost.The Archdeacon of Pontefract, the Ven. Jonathan Greener (Wakefield), wantethe whole matter referred back to the House of Bishops. He hoped that whewomen bishops were finally consecrated they would bring robustnesstenaciousness, and responsibility into the House of Bishops; for the currenbench had failed to reach a consensus on the problems that were theiresponsibility, passing them on instead to a legal drafting group."Lawyers are only as good as the brief they receive. . . I want to call thithe brief from hell," he said. It was for theologians and pastors to resolvthese issues, not lawyers.In Northern Ireland, staying at the table had eventually produced results"We should ask our bishops to start again." If they could not agree, whachance was there of getting the necessary lead of support in Synod, hwondered. "It wont do to stand at one end of the pitch and hoof the ball into thunknown, hoping that someone at the other end will get to it and do somethinuseful with it." He called on the Synod to "send this ball back to the bishop. But Dr Williams responded that the report was not being referred t"backroom boys and girls", but a group able to receive many views, includinthose of women, and would have the resources of considerable material produceby the House of Bishops, "which ought to be the foundation of what goes forwar .The amendment was lost.Canon Cynthia Dowdle (Liverpool) moved her amendment, which asked for better gender balance in the legislative drafting group. The amendment wacarried.The Archdeacon of Lincoln, the Ven. Arthur Hawes, sought in his amendmenfor the legislative drafting group to prepare a code of practice rather thathe "legal provision" specified in the motion. TEA had not met its objectivesit did not go far enough for some, and went too far for others. The purpose wato hold together as many people as possible where there were divergent viewsIt was a pastoral, not a legislative, matter.A code of practice addressed pastoral care: legislation could be divisivrather than decisive. A code drafted, scrutinised, and agreed by the Synowould be a legal provision with which all must comply. It would give peoplconfidence. Legislation could deal only with generalities. A code of practicaddressed a particular situation of pastoral need. The amendment sought to movthe process forward in a sensitive way.Dr Williams, resisting the amendment, said it would limit the options thmotion was designed to secure.The amendment was lost.The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) sought to put "drafts" and "provisioninto the plural for clarification. As the wording stood, it was ambiguous, ancould be read as the drafting group producing one option and one draft ailluminating the choices that had to be made.The amendment was lost.Canon Jane Sinclair (Sheffield) moved her amendment, which sought to includa direct reference to Canon A4 in preparing the Measure. The motion gave scanboundaries to the legislative drafting group. The amendment set down a cleamarker for the legislation group and would prevent a descent into "chaotischism", she said.Canon A4, concerning recognition of lawfully ordained ministry, did noattempt to regulate belief, but public behaviour. It had never been rescindeor altered. The additional legal provision would ensure the continuance oreciprocal ministry in the Church of England: "women being considered trulbishops and those they ordained being truly deacons and priests".Responding to Canon Sinclair, Dr Williams reiterated his caution over thHoulding amendment, and the identification of one particular canon in thamendment. Canon A4 had certainly not been abrogated, there were no plans to dso, and the Synod had no power to. It wasnt easy for a bishop to vote againsa motion in which a canon was mentioned, but he could not but be aware thatfor some, this reference reflected a reduction of existing liberties for manin the Church of England.The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd John Hind, was grateful to CanoSinclair for being so clear. Her amendment would indeed be a limitation of thwork of the legislative committee. It would not mean a shift of doctrine, buof the practice of the past ten years or so. A4 was part of the law of the C oE: but so was the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure. It, too embodiecertain ecclesiological principles even if these werent very comfortablones. Laws could qualify one another, and a later law could affect thinterpretation of an earlier one. "Canon Sinclair seems to be talking about different Church of England from the one that exists," he said.There were two ways of understanding Resolutions A and B. One was that therwas a prudential doubt about the orders of women priests which it walegitimate to hold. The other interpretation, an unacceptable one, was that onmight distinguish on the basis of gender between priests about whose orders onhad doubt. "Thats sexism," Bishop Hind said. To pass the amendment wapremature.The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd John Gladwin, said dissent in the lifof the Church was very healthy; conflict and difference of opinion were vitalas the Holy Spirit led the Church into new things, and it was important to hava culture in which that was possible. "We have to hold on to the canonicashape of life if we are to be a Church which flourishes across a diversity oopinion." Now was "a moment when we are re-thinking how we are bishops for thChurch in that context. It makes a huge difference if all of us accept thcharacter of our ministry."The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, said that thlegislation on women priests left Canon A4 intact, and there could be aargument "for not rubbing this one in at this point, because it could prevenus recognising a common intention and so foreclose the argument". He agreewith the late Archbishop Michael Ramsey about the "brokenness" of Anglicatheology: a balance between gospel, Church, and reason, pointing, in its owhistory, to something of which it was only a fragment.The Revd Sr Rosemary CHN (Religious Communities) said that the events of thpast 12 years had not led her to believe that Canon A4 was still in force. Iher community and in other places, the Church sought to accommodate the viewof those who did not accept women priests, who celebrated only twice a month iher community and not on feast days, including Sundays, so that all thcommunity could communicate."The solution we have found is to treat women as second-class priests; anthat solution is replicated throughout the Church of England," she said. It waa sacrifice they had been willing to make to keep people in the C of E whom shrecognised as loyal Anglicans. "Canon A4 assures us that women are validlordained, and the Church of England is not in two minds about women priests. Iordains women, but compassionately makes provision for those who do not accepit."A friend had told her: "I accept you are a woman priest, but I do not wisto receive your ministry." "That is not logical, but it is in the spirit of thcanon," she said.Canon Simon Killwick (Manchester) said that Canon A4 was inhibited, as matter of fact, by Resolutions A and B, in which parishes could decline treceive the ministry of women. If an additional province were to be providedthere would then be no need for Resolutions A and B; so the universarecognition of orders could be restored throughout the provinces of Canterburand York. An additional province would not amount to a separate Church, buwould be as much Anglican as those other provinces that did not receive womepriests. "To be Anglican is to believe that separation is sometimes justified.The Revd Jonathan Clark (London) said that any legislation would have to bconsistent with Canon A4, a key issue for the working group. Reciprocarecognition of ministries was a characteristic of a Church.The Bishop of Basingstoke, the Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, said he told thosbeing ordained that it was the Church of God calling them into ministry: hcould not choose to elevate one text or canon above another, or to regard ontext or canon as less important than another.After a vote by Houses was called for, and the necessary 25 Synod memberstood to require it, Canon Sinclairs amendment was put to the vote. It wacarried: Bishops 27-11; Clergy 118-67; and Laity 103-93.An amendment from the Revd Jeremy Crocker (St Albans) sought a deadline othe February Synod next year for the draft provision for those unable treceive the ministry of women bishops was defeated.   The Archbishop of Canterbury said that the process had already suffered fro"excessively tight timetables".The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said that the Synod should indicate tthe Church that work needed to be done. "We are not turning our back on the Acof Synod, or saying that unless you agree with a particular point of view yoare not a member of the Church of England."Dr Williams and he were committed to a diversity of views within the Churcof England. He would not accept that views on women bishops should be a neorthodoxy. "I could not be part of a Church of England which gives thimpression that having a contrary view to the consecration of women bishopmust be out. I would not be in it either."Kay Dyer (Coventry), a county ecumenical officer, said she would love to gat the "steady pace" the Archbishop of Canterbury had envisaged. Four or fivdenominations were sharing together in a project to provide meals for homelespeople. Roman Catholics were choosing to learn to pray through ainter-denominational group rather than run their own teaching course.  "If you go too slowly, you will be overtaken by the grass roots," she saidThe speed should reflect what people were thinking in the parishes.  The Bishop in Europe, Dr Geoffrey Rowell, said that reception could be long process, and reminded the Synod of the Archbishop of Yorks presidentiaaddress calling it to live in gracious magnanimity. "We need to speak the trutin love," he said.  In the debate on Saturday, the Synod had not determined doctrine. "Iexpressed a view of the majority and only that. Developments are not madproper by declaring them to be so." He drew attention to the Preface in thPrayer Book, which spoke of the greater evils that could be caused by changeThere were serious questions to be asked about the Synods procedures irelation to theological issues. "This is only the beginning of the deetheological debate we should have."  The Archdeacon of Newark, the Ven. Nigel Peyton, said the Church of Englancould not be accused of "undue haste" in this matter. Historians of thReformation had described the Church of England as "avant-garde conformism" embracing the vanguard of change within conformity of order, and growing in thoroughly discerned direction. The Synod should be confident to leave thadiscernment to the drafting group. He urged the Synod to seize the moment. The offer of an adjournment to the following day was declined by thSynod.  Rachel Jepson (Birmingham) said that discernment over womepriests had been an ongoing process over two decades, most clearly seen ithose who had left the Church out of conscience and had since returned. Waunity solely dependent on holding integrities together, or sharing an ongoinprocess of discernment?The Bishop of Lincoln, Dr John Saxbee, warned the Synod not to underestimatthe enormity of the legislation drafting groups task. He quoted Bismarck"Laws are like sausages: youre better off not being there while theyre beinmade." There might be a messy time ahead, and the group needed prayers. Hurged the group not to lose sight of the merits of a code of practice to takthis on board would be to improvise "a little dance between grace and law".Argument was theological argument when the object was God. He reminded thSynod that "the object of all this is for God to be glorified. If we holbefore us that sense, then I do believe we have the potential to move forwartogether."After the Archbishop of Canterbury summed up the debate, the amended motiowas clearly carried:That this Synod, endorsing Resolution III.2 of the Lambeth Conference 199"that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination owomen to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans" and believinthat the implications of admitting women to the episcopate will best bdiscerned by continuing to explore in detail the practical and legislativarrangements:(a) invite dioceses, deaneries and parishes to continue serious debate anreflection on the theological, practical, ecumenical and missiological aspectof the issue;(b) invite the Archbishops Council, in consultation with the StandinCommittee of the House of Bishops and the Appointments Committee, to secure thearly appointment of a legislative drafting group, which will aim to include significant representation of women in the spirit of Resolution 13/31 of thAnglican Consultative Council passed in July 2005, charged with:(i) preparing the draft Measure and Amending Canon necessary to remove thlegal obstacles to the consecration of women to the office of bishop;(ii) preparing a draft of possible additional legal provision consistenwith Canon A4 to establish arrangements that would seek to maintain the highespossible degree of communion with those conscientiously unable to receive thministry of women bishops;(iii) submitting the results of its work to the House of Bishops foconsideration and submission to Synod; and(c) instruct the Business Committee to make time available, before firsconsideration of the draft legislation, for the Synod to consider, in the lighof any views expressed by the House of Bishops, the arrangements proposed ithe drafting groups report.Feeling excluded: Sue Slater from Lincoln

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