CAMPAIGNERS for women bishops are divided over the new wording
agreed by the House of Bishops (
News, 21 September).
The group WATCH (Women and the Church) has announced that it
will not campaign from now on either for or against the Measure, as
its consultation with members found them to be split. Instead, it
will "highlight the arguments and issues at stake for those who
support the full flourishing of women in the Church and allow
voices to enter the national debate that often go unheard", its
committee wrote in a letter to supporters.
Its latest paper, produced after a consultation with members,
said that "probably the majority" of members had decided that the
new wording should be supported, on the basis that "it is the best
arrangement we are likely to get."
The new wording - known as the "Appleby amendment", after the
Revd Janet Appleby, a team vicar in the diocese of Newcastle, who
proposed it - speaks of respecting the grounds on which
traditionalist PCCs seek male ministry.
WATCH says that many of its supporters believe that the new
wording "creates a space for trust and grace to operate", but
others are concerned that the full implications of the wording
cannot be known until a Code of Practice is drafted.
The conservative Evangelical network Reform has issued its
verdict on the new amendment, announ- cing, after its autumn
conference, that its members would not be supporting the
Speaking at the conference, the chairman of Reform, the Revd Rod
Thomas, said: "We have sadly been left with a draft Measure which
in the long term is likely to have very detrimental effects on our
ministries, however benign it may appear in its first few
The Catholic Group in the General Synod said in a 12-point
statement that the proposed legislation was "unfair, unstable and
incoherent", and lacked a consensus. "The word 'respects' has no
legal definition - meaning that the amendment is not prescriptive
of the contents of the Code [of Practice]."
It suggested that "a better way" would be to follow the Church
in Wales in looking at "two linked pieces of legislation": one "for
women to be made bishops, and the other to provide for
The General Synod will be asked to vote on the draft legislation