THE issue of women bishops dominated the General Synod's
sessions in York. It began on Friday afternoon with a short debate
on the Article 8 reference to the dioceses of the Draft Bishops and
Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and Draft
Amending Canon No. 33.
Introducing the debate, Canon Susan Booys
(Oxford), who chairs the Business Committee, thanked staff in
diocesan offices for the "very large amounts of work" which had to
be done to hold the debates and obtain the votes in the shorter
three-month period requested by the Synod in February.
The diocese in Europe was unable to hold a synod within the
timescale; but, of the others, all 43 had voted in favour of the
draft Measure, Canon Booys said, compared with the previous draft
Measure, which London and Chichester had voted against.
"A total of 3799 cast a vote, and a further 114 abstained. Of
those who voted, 91 per cent voted in favour and nine per cent
against," she said. "It is worth comparing this with the [previous
vote]. On that occasion . . . just over three-quarters of
diocesan-synod members voted in favour, and just under one quarter
did not. It is for you to draw your own conclusion from that."
She then outlined the administrative processes that would
determine how the Synod would consider the draft legislation. Under
Article 7 of the Synod's constitution, the House of Bishops had to
consider the draft legislation at the conclusion of the final
drafting stage to determine whether it could go to the Synod in the
form it was in. They would do that over breakfast on Saturday.
Then, the officers of the House of Laity and Convocations of
Canterbury and York had the right to claim a reference for debate
in their own Houses. Time had been allocated on Sunday afternoon
for those debates, if they were needed. (In the event, none took up
the offer of a separate debate.) The full Synod would hold its
final-approval debate on the Monday.
In the debate that followed, Margaret Condick
(St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) said that her diocese was the first
in which 100 per cent voted in favour of the draft Measure. She
said that the vote reflected comments heard in deanery synods and
churches, where people were asking "When on earth are you going to
get this done?", "Why is it taking so long?", and "What's the
problem?" The previous vote "brought us into disrepute", she said.
"The wider Church and the whole country are beginning to treat us
It was "nothing short of a miracle" that the Synod had reached
the point it had, Anneliese Barrell (Exeter) said.
"The vision of a united and trusting Synod seemed impossible" after
the last draft Measure fell in 2012; yet "we now talk amicably to
each other outside our defined groups. Many of us have found that
there is much more that we agree about than we disagree about."
She told the Synod that she could not vote in favour of the
draft Measure, but said that "I promise, and so do my fellows, that
we will do our very best as the Measure is passed to continue to
work in close co-operation with all God's chosen ministers."
Canon Pete Spiers (Liverpool) said that a
recorded abstention was not a wasted vote; and urged those opposed
to the Measure to abstain rather than vote against.
Susie Leafe (Truro) said she was concerned that
those opposed to the ordination of women as bishops were being
forced out of the Church's decision-making, noting that, in some
diocesan synods, the previous no vote to the 2012 Draft Measure had
disappeared, while the yes vote had not increased.
Timothy Allen (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich)
said that his diocesan synod had sent a clear message to the
General Synod: "For heaven's sake give a resounding 'Yes.'" He said
that a history of excellent leadership by women in Suffolk had led
his diocese to be content with women bishops, and that they were
sad that their next diocesan bishop would be chosen before women
could be considered. He, too, called for abstentions.
The Revd Christopher Hobbs (London) asked: "If
there was any intention to allow conservative Evangelicals to
flourish in the Church, why has there not been any conservative
Evangelical bishops?" he asked. He had been going to abstain, but
would now vote no.
Canon Booys, responding to the debate, insisted that she did not
want anyone to "disappear", but to stay within the Church.
The Synod took note of the report.
THERE were "many eyes and ears which are attentive to what we
say and do", the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd
James Langstaff, said on Monday morning, when the Synod returned to
The Bishop, who had chaired the steering committee, introduced
the final-approval debate on the draft legislation. Having chaired
the steering committee, he said that "the wider Church of England .
. . expressed a very clear view . . . and now that Church looks to
us. The wider Church, both the Anglican Communion and our
ecumenical partners, also looks on. And, of course, because we are
the Church of England, our nation - not least in the persons of its
Parliamentary representatives, and through its media - is also
taking a keen interest in what we say and do.
"But, while we are aware of others, we are here today to do what
we believe, under God, to be right."
He said that there was "little before us today that we have not
seen or discussed before", and he said he would "not repeat too
much" of what he had said on previous occasions. "We have already
had a lot of discussion, and we will see how much further
discussion Synod wishes to have today."
The C of E had "spoken very clearly through the voting of the
diocesan synods, and we today have, I believe, a responsibility to
show that we have listened. Wherever each of us stands on the
spectrum of views, I want to suggest that today we have a
responsibility to be guided, yes, by what we ourselves think, but
also by what we assess to be the settled view of the greatmajority
within the Church of England."
He urged the Synod to give final approval to the draft Measure
and Amending Canon, and then "walk together in receiving God's rich
and varied gifts of grace, responding to God's amazing and humbling
call, forming our lives after the pattern of Jesus, and showing
forth the wonder of God's grace in Christ for a world waiting to be
Dr Paula Gooder (Birmingham), a member of the
steering committee, told the Synod it felt as if they had been
trying to do this for a long time. She emphasised that new laws
could not make people trust each other, nor could they guarantee
flourishing. "What they can do is indicate intention. They can make
a space, but, actually, trust and flourishing are down to us. Trust
and flourishing can only be lived out in how we live our lives."
She would vote for the motion joyfully.
Dr Philip Giddings (Oxford) said that the
package on offer did not meet the needs of all sections of the
Church, but the question was whether it was still good enough to
approve. "We should not seek to unchurch those whose views on these
fundamental questions differ from our own."
He reminded the Synod that following the five guiding principles
could not just be for today, nor even this year, but were for the
long term. Even though traditional Catholics and headship
Evangelicals had wanted statutory protection, Dr Giddings said that
the Measure offered a better way, and that he would vote for
The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway,
admitted that a yes vote would damage the ability of the Church to
abide together, but said that, none the less, the Synod should
"proceed with joy. . .
"I'm committed to maintaining a culture within my diocese in
which Anglo-Catholics and headship Evangelicals flourish alongside
women priests," he said. "We can make this work, we must make this
work, and we shall make this work."
Tom Sutcliffe (Southwark) said that having
women in power was good, but the 2012 draft Measure would have been
bad for the C of E as a whole. Unlike last time, he said, he would
vote yes now, because the new draft Measure made suitable provision
for those who could not accept women priests. "Our Church should
regard itself as very lucky if those who are uncomfortable with
what we are doing now are not just going to leave the rest of us to
stew in our own juice, but will stay with us because they believe
passion-ately in the continuing life of our Church."
Christians did not have a monopoly on wisdom, nor any certainty
that they were right. "Our differences are not our weakness: they
are our secret weapon."
The Bishop of Burnley, the Rt
Revd John Goddard (Northern Suffragans), spoke of a "panoramic
rather than monochrome Church". He would "fully accept those who
vote yes as having full integrity and honesty. . . I do not wish to
diminish them but walk with them in the presence of our Lord; but
do ask that, for me, who is unable to vote yes, you treat me
He, "in obedience to God in conscience", would vote no.
Abstention was not possible. He emphasised the importance of
language, and suggested abandoning the language of "generous"
provision. Similarly, he wanted to apologise "if I have
unintentionally been felt to diminish any member of Christ's Church
in these debates".
Jane Patterson (Sheffield) was a conservative
Evangelical who held a "complementarian view of headship in the
Church and family". She would vote against the legislation. In the
context of worldwide Anglicanism, her theological convictions were
"at least as valid", and merited adequate provision. There was no
bishop in the College of Bishops who held a complementarian view of
headship, despite 69 appointments since the publication of
Talent and Calling.
If there had been such an appointment announced, she might have
abstained. Since 2012, she had served as a central member of the
Crown Nominations Commission, and had witnessed the "difficulty in
nominating such people as diocesan bishops". The specification in
the statements of needs published by dioceses regarding views on
women was "the diocesan equivalent of nimbyism", and must be
discarded if flourishing were to be achieved.
When he was aged 18, the Revd Andrew Godsall
(Exeter) began to work for the BBC. At his BBC induction, he was
told that people were referred to by their Christian name,
regardless of rank; and that there should be no distinction in work
between women and men. It was "something of a surprise" when he was
later ordained, and everybody called him Godsall or Mr Godsall, and
the distinctions between women and men were
Oversight in the BBC was about pastoral care, he said, but in
the C of E it was patriarchal and hierarchical. "I found the BBC to
be more of a Christian organisation than the Church of England," he
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Revd Julian
Henderson, was one of those who voted against the draft legislation
in 2012, despite being in favour of women bishops. He said: "We
know that many struggle to understand the decision that we took
that day. Pain was caused and felt on both sides. Some will be glad
to hear, and others very disappointed and saddened to hear, that
some of us who voted against 18 months ago will be voting
en-thusiastically in support of the current legislation." He would
be one of those, and he recognised that "a different set of
relationships will be affected."
The Church needed to "find a way to disagree". The first
ordination of women priests in his diocese by the diocesan bishop
had recently taken place. "Up to three incumbents against women
bishops were present, and one took part in the laying-on of hands,"
he said. And he said that he had four "headship Evangelicals" as
rural or area deans who did a good job working in very diverse
The Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, the
Revd Dr Emma Ineson (Bristol), said that
there were "ten reasons why saying yes" to this legislation was a
good idea. "Those reasons are called Sarah, Bev, Anneka, Jo,
Debbie, Dora, Kim, Rachel, Joy, and Sarah.
"These are ten young women, most of them under 30, who have
offered themselves for the ordained ministry in the Church of
England, and who are training at Trinity. They are committed,
enthusiastic, clever, creative, mission-minded women, who have
responded to the call of Jesus in their lives, and offered their
gifts, their time, and their very selves to serve him in the Church
After the vote in 2012, "women ordinands . . . were dismayed,
confused, discouraged, that the Church to which they had been
called didn't appear to value a future in which they could continue
to minister as equally as men. Please don't let us do that to them
Canon David Banting (Chelmsford) said that he
was grateful that work to accommodate and respect the minority
opposed to women bishops had already begun in his diocese. He said
that it was a shame, however, that any mention of gender had been
removed from the process. "I tremble at the high calling I have as
a man in marriage and in the Church - I am called to model and
image Christ himself," he said. "To remove references to gender
suggests ministry is a job, and undermines my unique calling to be
a man. What might be the implications for marriage if we pass
Prudence Dailey (Oxford) had voted against the
2012 Measure, but would instead abstain. "In the aftermath of that
2012 vote, it's hard for me to forget the amount of bile and
vitriol that was heaped on the heads on those of us in the House of
Laity who defeated that measure," she said. The better package now
on offer, however, vindicated her decision in 2012.
The Archdeacon of Colchester, the Ven. Annette
Cooper (Chelmsford), said of the two sides: "We have hurt each
other, but today we can start to rectify this." The Synod had
already started to practise a different way of living together.
"Today, we have the opportunity to tell the world that the Church
isa place that takes seriously the ministry of women and men,
ordained at every level."
Adrian Vincent (Guildford) said that a majority
of those who had elected him to the Synod wanted him to vote in
favour of women bishops. He said that his reading of the Bible told
him that the Church "does not have the right to make this change,
but others interpret the Bible differently." He said that he would
have voted for the 2012 Measure if it had had sufficient provision
"This draft has just about enough provision. However, I also
represent the minority for whom this change is wrong, and say that
I should vote according to my conscience." Decrying abstention as a
"cowardly way out for me", Mr Vincent said that he would vote in
favour of the package, even though this would involve "betraying
what I believe and betraying those who trusted in me. . . I hope
that the promised commitment to mutual flourishing is not one that
will run out of steam in a couple of years, but will continue for
50 and 100 years."
Tim Hind (Bath & Wells) suggested that the
Church was now in a better place than in 2012. He paid tribute to
Christina Rees and Prebendary David Houlding, who had talked
through matters and had become friends.
Canon Dagmar Winter (Newcastle) described the
legislation as "not the best of all possible worlds, but it's jolly
good". There had been a move "away from the lethal seeking to nail
down what will happen in every eventuality" to working with the
five principles, in a "spirit of walking and working together".
Christina Rees (St Albans) suggested that
the facilitated discussions had made a "genuine difference". She
was visibly moved as she described how Adrian Vincent had made "a
sacrificial decision today for the sake of the Church. He has shown
his loyalty as an Anglican, as a member of the Church of England,
and as a responsible member of this body. He is making a sacrifice.
It has absolutely stunned me, and I thank you for that."
This package had "moved us from the legalistic into the realm of
the relational, and will better enable us to live out who we
believe we are as members of the body of Christ. . . This is not a
time for No."
Prebendary David Houlding (London) said that,
"when we argue among ourselves, we are losing sight of the purpose
of religion to love God and serve others." He had "colluded with
that all too easily", and suggested that everybody should be
approaching the debate "in a spirit of penance for the way we have
conducted things in the past". Any division was "a scandal. . . We
have to . . . go on trusting, however much it may cost."
He reminded the Synod that there would be an "ecumenical price
to pay with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox brothers and
sisters - we are moving ahead without them". But "we must not lose
sight of the aspiration of one Church, one faith, one Lord, and to
that end we must continue to pray and work."
The Bishop of Dorchester, the Rt Revd Colin
Fletcher (Southern Suffragans), wanted to thank "those who stopped
us in 2012". What had been produced since then was much better. In
the past, at Wycliffe Hall, he had argued strongly for the headship
view and understanding of scripture. Although he had changed his
mind, and believed that his understanding of scripture was now
"more accurate", he wanted to affirm those who disagreed with him
as "faithful and true Anglicans".
Canon Rosie Harper (Oxford) said that it had
been a "remarkable and very moving debate", but said it had been
"all about us". She wanted to "focus on women around the world".
She spoke of a female doctor in Cairo who could not walk the
streets safely; and the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. She urged the
Synod to vote for the legislation so that "we can speak out [on
such cases] without being accused of hypocrisy."
The Archdeacon of Hackney, the Ven. Rachel
Treweek (London), reminded members that they would vote not only as
individuals, but also as members together of the Synod, and members
together of the Body of Christ.
She wanted to be a member of a Church that valued each
individual member, and was "corporately committed to living with
Dr Elaine Storkey (Ely) said that she was
irritated after the vote in 2012, when a person described the
result as the work of the Holy Spirit. She had thought that "this
was a sop for bad theology"; but she later realised that he was
right. "I realised that God wanted greater unity in the Church,
greater security . . . greater clarity, a sense of peace; and I
believe we have got that."
At the last diocesan synod to be held in Wakefield,
Canon Joyce Jones (West Yorkshire
& the Dales) had been asked to speak in favour of the
legislation, while her fellow Proctor, the Revd Paul Cartwright,
was asked to speak against. "In the spirit of the five principles,
we thought it would be better to do a joint presentation," she
said. "The effect was to stun the Synod into silence. The only
speech was the diocesan adviser in women's ministry, and we had an
early tea." She hoped that this was "the shape of things to
Keith Malcouronne (Guildford) was another
speaker who voted against in 2012, but who would now vote in
favour. He challenged the Synod to do things differently in future,
and said that the Synod could have reached this point years ago. He
ran through earlier, failed attempts to reach consensus. As a
result of the new procedures used on this legislation, "we are in a
much better place. . . I believe we will be a better Synod and a
better Church in the future, and I am looking forward to it."
The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael
Perham, said that "it is evident that, in every diocese in our
Church of England, the ministry of women priests is vital, deeply
valued, and has been transformative. For them, for the well-being
of the Church of England, and our mission in this nation, a yes
vote is crucial; a no vote is a disaster."
He urged the Synod to support the legislation so that "we can
once again embrace one another. Evangelicals who have been divided
on this issue must stop falling out over women in the episcopate;
Catholics can recover a unity that they have lost. . . If we will
let God make it so, today will be the day when the Church
flourishes afresh; for those who have been divided can once again
Dr Sentamu led a brief time of prayer before adjourning the
session for lunch.
In the resumed debate, Canon Jane Charman
(Salisbury) suggested that the package showed a "genuine respect
for diversity and a commitment to power-sharing. . . I think we
should be proud of that attempt."
The Archdeacon of Chichester, the Ven. Douglas
McKittrick (Chichester), would, as a traditional Catholic, vote
against the motion. He described the icon in York which showed the
risen Jesus dragging the dead from their tombs: "This issue has
entombed us for too long. We are disciples for Christ.We have the
gospel to declare to the nation, and we need to move on."
The Archdeacon of Rochdale, the Ven. Cherry
Vann (Manchester), emphasised "intentionality".
Shesaid that her diocesan bishop had publicly committed the diocese
to having a breadth of traditions represented in long lists for
senior appointments and interview panels for such posts. "Let's not
just pass [the draft legislation], but model to the world how it is
possible to live with difference and remain united even in
diversity, and have good disagreement, and let's do it
Prebendary Rod Thomas (Exeter)praised the
process that had produced the new package, and said that he would
try to generate trust in parishes, although he would not be voting
in favour. This would be "hard work". For example, with regard to
the oath of obedience, would a woman bishop be happy to accept it
if a priest asked that she never required him to be obedient in an
area of church life in which he would have a conflict of
Lorna Ashworth (Chichester) said that she
remained "vulnerable", and words such as "narrow-minded, out of
touch, unbiblical, wrong" were "incompatible with trust and
flourishing". She also criticised the suggestion that "somehow we
are complicit in the suffering of women around the world because we
are yet to have women bishops. What is happening to women around
the world is because of sin in its most disgusting form." It was
"naïve" to think that the provisions offered confidence to her. She
would vote against.
Dr Philip Rice (London) said
that when he voted no in 2012, it felt like a funeral; but today
was different. He said that some parts of his diocese committed to
growth and church-planting had shifted since then towards accepting
women in leadership. He paid tribute to the work of the steering
group in finding a new way forward.
The Revd Janet Appleby (Newcastle) said that
the new package was a huge improvement on the 2012 legislation, and
urged the Church to use the five guiding principles in its
ecumenical dialogue as well. She said: "It is just what we need at
the moment to honour the diversity of our Church."
Dr Chik Kaw Tan (Lichfield) said that there had
never been a robust theological or biblical case for women bishops,
and that the Church should not follow the world's cultural mores.
"We are letting the world's dogma into the Church and shaping it,"
he said. "We are above all a people of the Book."
Samuel Margrave (Coventry) said that he had
been struggling with how to vote for some time. He decried the
preceding debate as a "well-oiled show for the media". He said that
some of those members of Synod who had switched from no to yes had
done so only because of bullying, or fears they might lose their
seat on the Synod. "This is really the end of the Church as we know
it," he said; he would vote no.
Dr Sentamu rebuked Synod members who had muttered or booed Mr
Margrave's speech. "We are not the House of Commons," he said.
Examples of women in leadership in the Gospels were summarised
by the Revd Jennifer Tomlinson (Chelmsford).
"Generations later, we have re-read the Gospels in a different way,
and rediscovered those women. The weight of scripture shows that
God is doing something new . . . calling the new Eve in
David Kemp (Canterbury) told a story about God
speaking to an otter about his concerns over General Synod:
"Anglicans have this idea of three doors: scripture, tradition, and
reason; but, although I have created [lots of different things], I
have not been able to create a door that cannot be closed."
A member of the steering committee, Canon Robert
Cotton (Guildford), said that the tone of subsidiarity was
important because the tone reveals latent values. "The tone of the
morning's debate was right."
Sarah Finch (London) used the example of
ballroom dancing, where men and women dance together but have
different steps, to explain her no vote.
But she was grateful to the House of Bishops for its
declaration; to the steering committee for its five guiding
principles; and to the Archbishops for their assurance that there
would soon be a conservative Evangelical bishop "or bishops", she
The Revd Clare Herbert (London) recalled
her time as Rector of Soho. "I loved this post for the
opportunities for community-building and engaging in mission in
this country," she said. But it was "difficult to pursue daily
living" with "degrading images of women displayed in shop windows,
in doorways and on streets". It was necessary to "contend hourly
with images of subservience, of punishment, and of violence".
Ancient philosophies, and the theologies driven by them, had
created an idea "that women are unequal to men and created
inferior, useful only for, yet tainted by, the sexual act; or that
women are equal yet fundamentally different, and made for humdrum,
more subservient, and less assertive roles within society and
She said that, "while we in this chamber may not believe that,
what we do as Church sends out signs which are lived out in the
lives of others who are less fortunate. We need, for their sake, to
loosen the ties that bind us."
Gerald O'Brien (Rochester) said that there was
little evidence from the House of Bishops that they would deliver
on their promises to enable traditionalists to flourish. He
condemned both the Crown Nominations Commission and diocesan
bishops for failing to appoint a bishop who held the conservative
position on headship.
"Actions speak louder than words," he said. "I fear that
conservative Evangelicals are being asked to give their birthright
away, with not a lot in return."
Jane Bisson (Winchester) asked whether this
debate meant that the Bible no longer mattered, and that the Synod
was interested only in following the world now. She noted that
Jesus had no women apostles, and did not want women in positions of
leadership. She expected the Church to split over this issue.
The Revd Philip North (London) said that the
challenge before the Church now was to "win the peace". He said
that internal conflict had defined the C of E for too long, and now
the Church must look outwards, moving from internal hermeneutics to
external apologetics. "[The argument] has been deeply and
profoundly personally hurtful. Can we let go of it?" he asked. "If
we cannot, the consequences are unthinkable. We need each
Sally Muggeridge (Canterbury) said that the
time had come for the Synod and the Church to "stay together, live
together, and to work out our problems together". She quoted the
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Dr Desmond Tutu, urging the Synod
to pass the legislation.
The Revd Angus MacLeay (Rochester)asked how
diocesan bishops would ensure that the culture of the five points
was embedded in their dioceses; how sensitivity would be shown to
those in difficulties over the oath of canonical obedience; how to
avoid the argument that "scripture applied then, but it no longer
applies now" leaching into other arguments; and whether Synod was
aware that conservative Evangelicals views were not based on
prejudice but on a "thorough engagement with the biblical text,
with a desire to live joyfully for the Lord Jesus Christ".
Susie Leafe (Truro) gave an account of her
experience of the facilitated talks. On the eve of the 2012 vote,
she had been "told clearly and loudly by one facilitator that it
was ridiculous for me to express the deepest concerns of
conservative Evangelicals to be taken into account. They were off
the table, because I was wrong; the Church thought I was wrong. He
thought I was wrong, and I just had to suck it up."
After being persuaded to join the talks and the steering group,
"we did not discuss a new way forward,but edited a document already
written. . . The majority ended up telling the minority what was
good for them." Then, on the eve of these debates she was told "not
to complain, not to risk the Measure being defeated. There were
even veiled threats not to risk the dissolution of General Synod.
Is this a taste of flourishing?"
Judith Ayers (Exeter), a
teacher in a girls' grammar school in Torquay, argued that there
was "no place for inequality in the Church. Sometimes we are called
to be counter-cultural, but this should not be one of these
David Ashton (West Yorkshire & the Dales)
remarked: "This has been one of the best debates I have heard all
the years I have been on Synod."
Fr Thomas Seville CR
(Religious Communities) suggested: "If we are to flourish together,
we are going to have do things that we cannot dream about at
present. It means female archdeacons fostering a parish that wants
to appoint a headship Evangelical. And a complementarian
Evangelical archdeacon is going to have to do the same with a
parish that definitely wants a female vicar."
The Revd Hugh Lee (Oxford) said that the
legislation was an "amazing package", and that "none of us would
have dreamt that such a package was possible a couple of years
He thanked the steering committee and facilitators, saying that
it would not have been possible without them; and he asked for
"something like the steering committee to continue" so that it
could "monitor the way we work together".
There had been much talk about labels, the Revd
Professor Richard Burridge (University of London) said,
particularly the use of the words "complementarianism" and
"headship Evangelical". He said the relevant Greek texts were about
"neither headship, nor order, nor equality alone", but had
"multiple meanings". He urged: "Let us not use labels going
Dr Graham Parr (Chichester) remarked on the
difference from the 2012 debate: this time it was "thorough,
good-humoured, and positive in tone". Many who opposed the
legislation "do not want to stand in the way". "One of the reasons
for the change in tone is because trust in our clergy leaders has
The Revd Dr Hannah Cleugh (Durham and Newcastle
Universities) compared the Synod's decision with the approach in
Scotland, where there had not been a Movement for the Ordination of
Women, but a Campaign for Whole Ministry.
The Revd Jonathan Frais (Chichester) asked for
further advice for any clergy who could not endorse the arrival of
women bishops, but did not have a majority on his or her PCC to
support them in this.
Mary Durlacher (Chelmsford) said that the
reason conservative Evangelicals like her would vote against the
Measure was that they wanted to demonstrate the extentof the
minority who found the development difficult.
The Archdeacon of The Meon, the Ven. Gavin
Collins (Portsmouth), said that he had questioned whether the
legislation had enough safeguards for Evangelicals like him. But he
was being challenged afresh by Jesus's command to examine the plank
in one's own eye before commenting on the speck in others'. Calling
for more Evangelical bishops, he none the less commended the
legislation to the Synod.
Jacob Vince (Chichester) urged the Church, if
women bishops were ordained, not to force out talented potential
priests and bishops who could not support that development. He
would vote against the Measure.
The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner,
recalled the vibrant celebration in St Paul's Cathedral earlier
this year, marking 20 years of women priests in the C of E. "The
expressions, in that celebration of honesty and hope, for a more
trusting future together - they helped me to see that we do have it
within us as a Church to live out, in the detail of this package,
the good qualities that were evident in St Paul's."
"To pass this legislation is to commit ourselves to an adventure
in faith and hope," the Archbishop of
Canterbury said. "Like all measures, it contains dangers.
We have been reminded of that eloquently today."
Full success would require "perseverance, integrity, and
courage". Speeches in the debate had been a "good example of the
adventure: costly, painful, but generous in tone". They deserved
"genuine gratitude and much admiration", he said.
The five guiding principles would be "hard work", but he
promised: "The House of Bishops must act on our words. . . If this
passes, we are going to deliver."
The final speaker in the debate, John Spence
(Archbishops' Council), who chairs the Archbishops' Council finance
committee, said that he would speak just that once about the
experience of losing his sight in the late 1980s.
"Things felt bleak. . . In those days, people who lost their
eyesight lost their jobs. Even my group personnel director told me
that I could not be promoted because I couldn't see. . . In the
event, I went on to become managing director of Lloyds Bank - and
moved that personnel manager into early retirement."
He said that he discovered that his trust was "fully repaid",
and "given back to me in abundance".
He urged those who were wondering whether to abstain, or even
support the vote, to consider that their trust, too, would be fully
repaid. "Your faith is my faith, is all of our faith," he said.
"Every one of us has a positive role to make sure that the searing
vision of the risen Jesus Christ is taken out into this troubled
country. If you can place your trust when there is not yet
evidence, your trust will not be misplaced. You will come to see
that promises will be delivered."
The day was "not about two-thirds and one third. It is about a
celebration of the coalition of consciences around the risen
"The stronger the vote we can give today, the more confidently
we can walk, hand in hand, to return this Church to numerical and
spiritual growth, and to return Christ to his rightful place at the
centre of this country and its conscience." The Synod gave him a
Dr Sentamu called for a two-minute period of silent prayer,
after which Prebendary Houlding, on a point of order, asked if the
usual tradition of receiving the results in silence could be
relaxed, in recognition that "there will be much to celebrate."
Dr Sentamu rejected this, saying that he did not want people in
the gallery to get the impression that the Synod was a political
gathering rather than part of the Church of Jesus Christ. There
were none the less brief cheers from the public gallery when the
vote on the draft Measure was announced: Bishops: 37 for; 2
against; 1 recorded abstention. Clergy: 162 in favour; 25 against;
4 recorded abstentions. Laity: 152 in favour; 45 against; 5
recorded abstentions. Thus the Measure was carried in all three
Bishop Langstaff then introduced the Draft Amending Canon.
The Revd Nigel Irons (Lichfield) said that for
too long women's ministry had been kept behind closed doors. He
said: "Today we can legalise the full opening of that door. To
remove it from its hinges and dispense from its services
altogether." Both sides of the debate now needed to demonstrate
respect for each other.
Bishop Langstaff moved final approval of the Amending Canon, and
it was carried by more than the necessary two-thirds majorities:
Bishops: 37 for; 2 against; 1 recorded abstention. Clergy: 164 for;
24 against; 3 recorded abstentions. Laity: 153 for; 40 against; 8
Bishop Langstaff moved that the petition for Royal Assent be
Gavin Oldham (Oxford) said that he had always
believed in the potential and equality of everyone, regardless of
The motion was clearly carried.
Bishop Langstaff moved the Draft Act of Synod Rescinding the
Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993.
April Alexander (Southwark) reminded the Synod
of the Southwark diocesan-synod motion seeking the rescission of
the 1993 Act of Synod. It was a great day, she said.
The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) said that
the new legislation provided much stronger protection for
traditionalists than the 1993 Act of Synod. "The old Act of Synod
had no independent reviewer: it was entirely on trust," he said.
There was also a two-thirds majority needed to alter the new
Peter Smith (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) said
he had been privileged to see both the 1993 Act of Synod brought
in, and now rescinded today.
Canon Banting agreed that the new package was stronger. But he
emphasised that this was "an example of the first occasion of
trust". The 1993 Act of Synod had said it would be in place for as
long as it was needed, and had become "symbolic of one of the
promises that was broken". He would sup-port the rescinding, but
wanted to draw attention to the significance of this.
The motion was clearly carried.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York "ratified and confirmed"
the Act in each of their provinces; and the Registrar read the
At the end of the business, Dr Sentamu said: "We have not let go
of each other," and he invited Synod members to sing "We are
marching in the light of God".
Dr Sentamu ended: "Thank you, God. Thank you, Father. Thank you,
Holy Spirit." There was applause, and Synod members left the
chamber for a 20-minute adjournment.