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Women-bishops summit next week

Madeleine Davies

by Madeleine Davies

Posted: 31 Jan 2013 @ 01:15

THE next stages in the path towards fresh women-bishops legislation have been outlined to members of General Synod.

"Intensive" facilitated discussions are to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday next week by the working group on wome bishops. The group has invited an additional 15 people to participate. Their names will not be released until the conclusion of the discussions.

The news came in a statement sent to all Synod members today by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock (above), who chairs of the working group. He writes that the decision to invite the additional 15 was made at the group's first meeting on 3 January. The group had "sought nominations for some of these places from interested groups, and issued some invitations to named individuals." The group had met again yesterday.

On Wednesday evening, at the conclusion of discussions, the working group will meet the Archbishops and other members of the House of Bishops Standing Committee in preparation for a special meeting of the House of Bishops the following day.

Bishop Stock said that it was his "expectation" that the House would then issue a statement to give the working group "a fresh mandate for its next phase of work", and that, "shortly thereafter", a consultation document would be circulated "enabling all Synod members to make a contribution". Responses would be sought by the end of February.

The working group was established on 11 December by the House of Bishops to advise it on the preparation of fresh legislative proposals for women-bishops, to be brought before the Synod in July ( News, 21 December). It is comprised of ten people drawn from all three Houses of Synod. Two of its members - the Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, and the Chair of the House of Laity, Dr Philip Giddings - voted against the legislation at the Synod last month ( News, 23 November).

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