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
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."
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
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).