Wednesday, May 23, 2012

House of Bishops statement - links roundup and thoughts

The original statement from the CofE, on the House of Bishops 2 amendments to the legislation on women bishops. You might want to read this later, unless you have a PhD in law, theology and English grammar.

A translation of the statement into English by Unshaun Sheep.

Pete Broadbents explanation of what the amendments mean. He also chips in to this comments thread at Thinking Anglicans.

Bishop Alan offers some analysis and comment.

Nancy Wallace doesn't know what to make of it. I suspect she's not the only one.

Thinking Anglicans has the predictable responses from pressure groups Reform ('disappointed') and WATCH ('disappointed'). Forward in Faiths response is more positive and graciously worded, but still slips the 'd-word' in near the end.

Ancient Briton doesn't think much of the WATCH response, and Radical Disciple doesn't think much of Reforms'

Good post from James Ogley, who sees a legalised 'third province' emerging.

Telling Secrets reckons the Queen needs to have a word

Lay Anglicana thinks that a lot will depend, not on the legislation itself, but on the leadership of the next ABofC

Archdruid Eileen rounds up the press coverage, sort of.

update 1: Andrew Brown comment piece for the Guardian.

There's a blow by blow account of the debates within the CofE here, if you're a real anorak and not fed up with the whole thing already.

My thoughts:
1. When one persons discrimination is another persons theological integrity (or vice versa), we're clearly at an impasse. The choice is whether to make this a red line issue, or attempt to stay together. When we tolerated senior bishops who didn't believe in the risen Jesus (who knows, we may still have some), should we have split then? Should we split now? There is no way to express the views of both WATCH and Reform within a single church. So, do we have 2 separate churches, or try to accomodate? Which is more Christian?

2. My brief take on the amendments is that it's an updated version of Resolutions A&B and flying bishops, to accomodate conservative evangelicals. It provides an institutionalised way of rebelling against the 'liberal' leadership of the church - is this a clever CofE response to the sabre rattling from Southwark, or an impossible line to hold?

And by the way, talk of a 'stained glass ceiling' does the supporters of women bishops no good at all. Ordination is not a career, becoming a bishop is not 'promotion'. But if you want to talk about opportunities to serve, gifts to be used in the service of God's kingdom, and the building up of the church, then I'm all ears.

Update 2 (Sun pm): some more links. Archdeacon in the Dales argues that the CofE can't have it both ways, Church Mouse just wishes the powers that be would get on with it and doesn't think the Bishops amendments amount to a great deal. Thinking Anglicans rounds up a few more links. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes wonders what the long term effects will be, and whether 'pick your own episcopacy' will work.

Update 3:  perceptive post from John Richardson, in response to Miranda Threlfall-Homes piece, and the sabre-rattling from WATCH.

Update 4: Rachel Hartland and Seeker and Lay Anglicana all worth a look, WATCH aren't the only supporters of women bishops, and it looks as though their more strident response doesn't sum up everyone's position.


  1. Thanks for the round-up - some good links here. I was going to do something similar but you got there first, so I've linked to this post on my post today.

  2. Thanks Nancy, the links were a way of bulking out the fact that I didn't have much to say. Too much to put on Twitter, but not enough to justify a post on its own!

  3. Thanks for this David, I like your round-ups and gathering links, it means I don't have to! The whole thing seems designed only to generate jobs for liturgists and litagators, because no-one else understands. Especially like your last bit about stained-glass ceiling, careers and gifts. You've got a blog there in itself.

  4. Good round-up, David. I too look forward to the day when the headline is about the quality of a new Bishop's leadership, their ability to empower and lead their diocese and their work as the focus of mission and ministry rather than their sex. Female or male, we need Bishops who witness powerfully to the incarnate, dead and risen Christ through their ministry. I'd also like to see Bishops paid the same as curates - no sense of promotion, merely of fitting to their ordained role within the Church.

  5. A good round up indeed. The Archbishops claim all they have done is to "clarify" the wording and I think, by and large, that is true but it has undoubtedly given more power to traditionalist elbows and could prove devisive in the long run. It will be a difficult decision as to whether to proceed on this basis. I think we may have reached a point where it is time to trust to grace and let things proceed. I do worry how all this will pan out in reality though and its long term effect on the church though.

  6. 'when we tolerated bishops who didn't believe in the risen Jesus.....', we didn't legislate to allow it, and let people choose which kind they wanted. That's the problem here. Do we really want to say that women are a more fundamental issue than the resurrection?

  7. "'when we tolerated bishops who didn't believe in the risen Jesus.....', we didn't legislate to allow it, and let people choose which kind they wanted."

    There's a real danger of a tu quoque argument here - we allowed a big bad thing, so we should be willing to allow anything.

    Er ... no.