THE Canon to allow women to be elected and consecrated as
bishops in the Church in Wales was passed last September, and comes
into force this September. The Canon requires the Bench of Bishops
to publish a code of practice detailing provision for theological
The matter returned to the floor of the GB for "an open forum
with no motion, movers, or seconders" as the "third and final stage
of a process of consultation undertaken by the bishops", His Honour
Judge Philip Price, who chaired the session, explained.
As part of their consultation process, the bishops first
received written submissions. This was followed by a series of open
meetings in each of the dioceses.
The Archdeacon of Llandaff, the Ven. Peggy
Jackson (Llandaff), said that the code of practice should contain a
preamble that set out that the Church "no longer considers it
legitimate to discriminate on the grounds of gender".
It should have a sell-by date, saying that "anybody confirmed
after 20 September 2014 should not be able to reply on the
conscience provisions", she said, because "after that date they
have voluntarily joined a Church that accepts women bishops."
Canon Tudor Hughes (St Asaph) said that
traditionalists would want "a clear statement . . . that those who
in conscience cannot accept the ordination of women as bishops
continue to be within the spectrum of Anglicanism for as long as a
period of reception exists within the churches of the Anglican
Susan Way (Llandaff) said "there is an
overwhelming need [for] alternative episcopal oversight . . . to
enable us to have the security to remain within the Church that we
The code of practice was "for a time of transition",
Jenny Wrigley (Llandaff) said. "For those who woke
up [the day after the vote last September], and were disappointed,
the code of practice needs to say to those people, 'We want to be
gracious in this time of transition.' But it is a fact that this
Church in Wales is a different Church from what it was at the
beginning of September last year."
Sandy Blair (co-opted) said that the guidance
needed to offer "a willingness to honour and respect those who
currently in conscience cannot accept the situation. I would find
it inexplicable that we continue to allow future vocations or
ordinations from persons who cannot support what is now our
Dr Gillian Todd (Swansea & Brecon) said
that the code should be "simple" and tested. "When you introduce
any new policy or procedure, you need to be able to test it." She
wanted the Bench of Bishops to test whether the code that they
proposed will help move the Church forward.
The Revd Steve Bunting (co-opted) was "engaged
to a soon-to-be woman priest whose mother is a senior female cleric
in the Church of England". He warned against "vetting candidates .
. . for their theological beliefs": "If we restrict the selection
of people and the training of people based on some of their
theological beliefs, we are going to impede the Holy Spirit in
guiding the Church forward."
The Revd Jan Gould (Llandaff) said that the
period of reception was "only applicable to those confirmed before
the Bill became law last September. . . If they are choosing to
make that reaffirmation [of their baptism vows] in a Church which,
in law, permits women to be bishops, then they should not be able
to claim special treatment for disagreeing with that
Carol Cobert JP (Llandaff)
said that at every induction and ordination, the priests had to
pledge that they "accept the Canons of the Church in Wales".
The Revd David Lewis (St Asaph) said that he
was worried by phrases such as "a period of reception", because "it
seems to suggest that good priests . . . are somehow going to
change their opinion during that period of reception. The truth is,
they are not."
Susan Last (St Asaph) said that "it seems to
make sense that confirmation is the cut-off date," but added that
"things change." She said: "All I would urge is that the code of
practice puts into place something to care for those who are