Synod: Synod finds spirit of agreement about women

Women bishops

sam atkins

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 with contempt."

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 subject.

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 transformed".

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 it.

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 likewise."

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 "institutionalised".

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 said.

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 deaneries.

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 of England."

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 again."

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 this?"

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 for traditionalists.

"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 difference".

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 come."

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 be friends."

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 intentionally."

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 theological conviction?

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 Christ."

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 said.

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 families".

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 other."

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 occasions."

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 ago."

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 forward."

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 been transformed."

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 Christ.

"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 standing ovation.

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 Houses.

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 recorded abstentions.

Bishop Langstaff moved that the petition for Royal Assent be adopted.

Gavin Oldham (Oxford) said that he had always believed in the potential and equality of everyone, regardless of gender.

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 provision.

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 proclamation.

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.

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