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Women-bishops group to meet

01 March 2013


New woman: a Dean for Women's Ministry has  been appointed in the diocese of Chichester (see story, below)

New woman: a Dean for Women's Ministry has  been appointed in the diocese of Chichester (see story, below)

THE working group advising the House of Bishops on how to break the deadlock over women-bishops legislation ( News, 21/28 December) will meet again on Monday.

The group will consider responses from General Synod members to a consultation document, published last month, which envisaged a shorter and simpler form of legislation to enable women to be consecrated as bishops ( News, 15 February). It set out "ideas and issues that are beginning to emerge" after "facilitated discussions" by the ten members of the working group, who were joined by 15 additional participants, including representatives of the Catholic Group, Reform, and WATCH.

General Synod members were asked to submit responses to the document by this week. Martin Dales, from the Catholic Group, said on Tuesday that the working group was demonstrating "the will and the desire to get . . . something to talk about that is meaningful in time for the July Synod. Quite what form that takes we'll just have to wait and see."

The chairman of Reform, Prebendary Rod Thomas, said on Tuesday that it was "very important that any package that is put together provides real assurance for the future for those on both sides of the debate".

The Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, who chairs WATCH North-East, posted her response to the consultation document on her blog on Sunday. She said that members of WATCH North-East with whom she had spoken "feel that since the compromise offered in November was rejected, only the simplest possible legislation will now do".

She wrote of how other Anglican provinces had opened the episcopate to women. "There is considerable experience among Anglican bishops overseas in managing the resulting tensions carefully and gracefully, and the [working] group would do well to consult this body of available expertise."

New woman

A DEAN for Women's Ministry has been appointed in the diocese of Chichester, where none of the bishops will ordain women priests, writes Madeleine Davies. Canon Julia Peaty, Rural Dean of East Grinstead and NS Assistant Curate of St Swithun's, East Grinstead, will be licensed in Chichester Cathedral at evensong on Sunday. The post is newly created.

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said on Monday: "Canon Julia's new post will give her by right a place at the Bishop's staff meeting and on the Bishop's Council, together with a clear description of her role in ensuring that women in ordained and lay ministry are recognised, valued, and increased in number."

On Tuesday, Canon Peaty said that she hoped that the post would encourage more women to consider serving in the diocese, which had suffered from the reputation that women were not supported in ministry. She said that Bishop Warner had lived up to his pledge at his appointment to build up "trust and respect" with women colleagues ( News, 4 May).


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