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Single clause gives way to TEA

THE Bishops of Guildford and Gloucester are to carry forward the work on the Guildford proposals for transferred episcopal arrangements (TEA) after the Synod 's vote last week to explore this option further before drafting legislation for the ordination of women bishops.

In the closing vote on the proposed future form of oversight for opponents, a handful of Synod members abstained, including Christina Rees of WATCH and the Revd Dr Giles Fraser of Inclusive Church; but only one Synod member voted against.

Six amendments were lost. One would have meant also revisiting the option of a single-clause Measure with Code of Practice. The Houses of Bishops and Laity voted it down, but it commanded a majority in the House of Clergy.

The Synod's resolution invites the House of Bishops, as part of its ongoing theological work, to produce a statement of the theological, ecumenical, and canonical implications of TEA for the July group of sessions; and asks for time in July "to determine, in the light of advice from the House of Bishops, the next steps, including a possible timetable for legislation".

On the Wednesday afternoon of last week, the Synod carried a long resolution concerning the 2007 bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade, and pledged its support for the contemporary campaign against human trafficking. The motion said that the Synod, "recognising the damage done to those who are the heirs of those who were enslaved, offer an apology to them".

Synod business covered in this issue (earlier debates were reported last week) also includes debates on healthcare chaplains, the human genome, and the built heritage.
General Synod

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