THE hope expressed by the Steering Committee that women-bishops
legislation may be passed in the lifetime of this Synod was given a
fresh boost this week when Forward in Faith recommended that the
current package should progress to revision.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Chairman of Forward in
Faith, the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, said:
"Though these proposals are still far from what we have long said
would be ideal, we believe that they may have the potential to
provide workable arrangements for the future, which will ensure
that our people, clergy, and parishes have continued access to a
ministry that will enable us to flourish within the structures of
the Church of England, and make our full contribution to its life
"Much will depend on the continuance of the atmosphere of trust
that has at last begun to be fostered by the process that produced
"We therefore encourage the General Synod to send the
legislation for revision in full Synod, so that the process may
continue as expeditiously as possible."
Last month, the Steering Committee given the task of preparing
fresh women-bishops legislation published a package comprising a
draft Measure and Amending Canon, a draft House of Bishops'
declaration, and draft regulations establishing a procedure for
resolving disputes (News, 1 November).
On Monday, Bishop Baker said that this represented a "very
significant improvement" on the legislation that failed in
November. But he warned that "any weakening of the proposals would
require them to be opposed vigorously."
The package was also welcomed by the Group for Rescinding the
Act of Synod (GRAS). A statement issued last week said that there
was "much to commend" in the Steering Committee's report, and
expressed hope that the proposals would be implemented "without
On Tuesday, Affirming Catholicism published several of its
concerns about the package, including a lack of clarity about the
status of the sees of the Provincial Episcopal Visitors. It
recommended that the decision to issue a letter of request should
be made by all those on the electoral roll, and argued that the
commitment to appointing a bishop with a Conservative Evangelical
view on headship sounded like a "quota system".
The proposal to state that a bishop does not hold a public
office, for the purposes of the Equalities Act was "an unfortunate
Consultation on women bishops. Last Friday, the
Bishops of the Church in Wales launched a consultation on a code of
practice setting out provision for those unable to accept women
bishops. It will be possible to ordain women as bishops in the
Church in Wales from 12 September 2014.
Written submissions can be emailed to
firstname.lastname@example.org before 31 December.