FRESH legislation to enable women to become bishops should be
introduced at the General Synod in November and receive final
approval in 2015, the working group appointed to advise the House
of Bishops has recommended.
The report of the working group, appointed last year (
News, 14 December), was presented to the House of Bishops at
its meeting in York on Monday. The group had the task of preparing
new legislative proposals after the fall of the women-bishops
Measure in November (
News, 23 November).
The report outlines four new options as a way forward, and the
group has proposed that these be considered at the General Synod in
July. The options have not yet been released: a statement issued on
Tuesday said that the the House of Bishops had agreed that the
working group's report should be published with a separate report
from the Archbishops "setting out the House's recommendations to
the General Synod".
The working group has met several times in recent months. In
February, the core group of ten was joined by 15 additional
participants, including representatives of Forward in Faith, the
Catholic Group, the National Association of Diocesan Advisers in
Women's Ministry (NADAWM), Reform, the Church Society, and WATCH.
After this meeting, a consultation document was issued to all
members of the General Synod setting out the four propositions that
had emerged from the "facilitated discussions" (
News, 15 February).
This spoke of the need for a shorter and simpler form of
legislation. It warned of the Church of England's "general tendency
of going in for too much regulation and prescription", and
expressed concern that, the more substantial and complex any
Measure was, "the more anguished and hesitant the Church of England
risks being over a development that, for most people within the
Church of England, should be a cause of affirmation and joy".
The consultation drew 376 responses (News, 5
The statement on Tuesday also said that the House of Bishops had
approved "the necessary changes in its standing orders to ensure
the attendance of senior women clergy at its meetings". In
February, it announced that eight senior women clergy would
participate in all meetings.
On Monday, a spokesman at Church House said that women had been
present at the meeting in York, "both staff and participants from
the working groups".
Question of the Week: Is the mood now right to introduce