Synod Live on Monday

July 12, 2010 § 3 Comments

Good morning all. Will blog through the day when there’s stuff to say.

In Morning Worship I am moved, as ever, by watching my friend Jo offer praise through sign language as of the interpreters for Deaf Anglicans Together. Why this always makes me cry I don’t know. Perhaps I’m gearing up for an emotional day.

9.45. ++Rowan giving some Presidential Remarks.
Let’s complete the business.
House of Bishops will get to work on the Code of Practice, to be ready for the return to Synod of the legislation in 18 months time.
Don’t see Saturday’s vote be seen as the end. We need to serve one another, especially those with whom we disagree.
We are committed by a majority to women bishops, and by a majority to maximum generosity. Holding the goals together is difficult, but we have to do it in love.

Very warm applause.

9.50. +Manchester explaining the Steering Committee’s approach. They will resist amendments, and want us to resist any ‘wrecking motions’.

10.00. We are into some complex stuff on the legislation. Robert Cotton wants to take out the elements of the Measure which will provide formal safeguards for opponents. It sounds like a way of testing the best way to be generous, (in that debating them will make us value the proposed compromise before us all the more if we vote for it) but could also be used by others to say very tough things to each other.

The argument is that the provision of safeguards is too much for some – even as they are they can be seen to discriminate against women, and it is women who are offering generosity and sacrifice by keeping the safeguards in place.

This then feels very different to Saturday, where the safeguards were portrayed by not going far enough.

Those in favour of the legislation are being portrayed as not being generous. Debbie Flack from Europe says it’s the opposite. But be gracious and vote for it anyway. Huge applause.

10.25. Tom Wright tells a story about a taxi driver engaging him in conversation about women bishops. “What I always say is this,” says the driver. “If God raised Christ from the dead, then everything else is rock and roll, innit?”

Importance of being ‘adiaphrous’ – bearing with one another. He also takes on the Second Church Estates Commissioner – we must not be swayed by political considerations alone. We will cease to be the church if we do.

10.36 Tony Thiselton tells us that collaborative ministry is not demeaning. Paul did it – joint authorship of the epistles.

10.40. Paul Perkin says that we need the safeguards for the sake of those ordained women who find the headship of women difficult to take.

10.45. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes voices it clearly. We have spoken too much about avoiding the ministry of women and not enough about their gifts to us. However she will vote for Clause 2, and withdraw her later amendment (which was about allowing the Measure to lapse after 40 years).

JF comment: this last hour has rebalanced the debate. But whether those disappointed by Saturday are hearing enough to help them I do not know.

10.25 The Steering Committee is pleased to have had Clause 2 tested.

We are to vote (simple majority).
373 For. 14 Against. 17 abs.

Off for coffee.

11.33. Back in. Further amendments (about consulting electoral roll members), requiring PCCs to reconsider voting on making a resolution, etc) all fall.

Now talking about the requirement to have two thirds of the Pcc to be present when discussing the resolution.

Amendment to delete the two thirds being present is defeated.

Now on to an amendment which the Steering Committee will welcome (they say). It is possible under the Measure for a third of PCC members simply not to turn up, and therefore frustrate the process. This amendment allows it to be be done by simple majority even if two thirds are not present.

Carried overwhelmingly.

12.02. Now on to an amendment on 3. 10 (c) which currently allows a veto for the Parish Priest (on the basis that if the incumbent is happy with a female bishop and the PCC wants a male one then that makes the position of the Parish Priest untenable.) It’s not simply a matter of democracy, of simple numbers.

Eva Macintyre nails it: “I hold the cure of souls with my Bishop.” Rosalyn Murphy says much the same.

We are voting by houses. I assume the clergy will resist the amendment.

Bishops 2 For. 34 Against. 3 Abs
Clergy. 35 For. 136 Against. 8 Abs
Laity 83 For. 104 Against. 7 Abs.

We all did!

12.28 Clause 3 now up for the final vote after a speech or two. Prof Richard Burridge is pointing out that the legislation is all about parishes and does not relate to sector ministry or chaplaincies. He gets an answer – yes we need to look at it.

I should have said that you can get all the legal stuff and texts at the Thinking Anglicans site. They type faster than me too!!

We agree Clause 3 and Clause 4 and Clause 5, and Clause 6.

Now we get on to Clause 7, which is about the Equality Act. It will be quite a fine legal argument.

Robert Key (ex MP) has just told Synod that the Bishop of Durham is ‘wholly wrong’. (about the relation between church and politics).

He doesn’t want an exemption from equality legislation.

Difficult choice – should we institutionalise discrimination? Archbishop of York about to speak. There are appropriate matters of conscience which need legal recognition. We need exceptions to the Equality Bill, and they don’t enshrine discrimination.

We’ll include Clause 7 I’m sure.

… and we did – with interesting comments about the nature of Establishment, and who decrees what is the C of E’s doctrine and discipline.

2.45. Here we are again – approving further clauses 8, 9 and 10. Now we are invited to insert a clause which will require a two-thirds majority in each house for any future change to the Measure.

Caroline Spenser invites us to pass this as an act of generosity.

We are going to vote electronically.

287 yes, 78 against. 20 abstentions. We have been generous.

Now we are being asked for provisions for people who resign and then face financial hardship. No specific proposals about how much though. Paul Benfield wants it in the measure, rather than in the care of the Archbishops’ Council and dioceses. And he appeals again for generosity.

We are now debating it. The Steering Committee considered a compensation package but rejected it.

David Houlding has ramped up the pressure – Clause 2 is especially problematic. There will be hardship. His speech is about the deep principles of the making of women bishops, about reception and jurisdiction. Hasn’t talked much about the financial package though. The implication is that there will need to be compensation, because people will leave.

Norman Russell says that passing the Measure will amount to constructive dismissal, and therefore there has to be provision for hardship.

He describes David Houlding’s speech as ‘hurt speaking, but not speaking the whole truth’. And he says that reception requires the community to stay together rather than for some to leave.

This feels like another crunch point: “you will make us leave and will not help us…”

The Steering Committee remind us that it does want there to be recognition of hardship, but not by Measure.

3.34 Bishop of Beverley speaking. Very emotional – we had an honoured place, and we have one no more. I’m OK because I have a pension. What about the younger priests foolish enough to sign up thinking that they had a future?

It feels like the constituency think that by not putting a hardship clause in the Measure you are kicking us while we are down.

ABY says we can work this out, and not by Measure.

Vote by show of hands – the proposal is heavily defeated. It feels like David Houlding and + Beverley are still in Saturday, and no talk of generosity will help at all.

Excitement now: procedural motion under Standing Order 58. This would send the Measure back for further revision by committee.

Simon Killwick (Catholic Group) makes it sound reasonable…and says that the Measure as it stands is likely to fail…

Steering Committee name the issue: the Catholic Group want the decisions taken properly on Sat and today to be revisited. Not a good plan.

Now we debate whether to adjourn for thought. And we carry on.

Is this the last roll of the dice, or are there more procedural delays to come?

Pete Broadbent: the Standing Orders allow various mechanisms for further revision. Clause 2 can’t go back for revision in the same way. Give it to the dioceses. We have followed procedure. Get on with it.

About to vote on whether to send it back for further revision or send it on to the dioceses.

Vote: 102 For. 293 Against. 12. Abs

No recomittal – off it goes to the Dioceses. Phew.

++Rowan speaking. We have decided to send to the dioceses a Measure about which we are not all agreed, but which we want them to help us think about. There is lots more to do, and we all need to listen to each other and to pray.

So… we’ve done it and early too. I’ll do a separate blog later, but the feel was interesting today. Lots of generosity from the ‘victors’, and some real hurt from the ‘losers’, who were not mollified in any way, and some of whom feel driven out. Diocesan debates will be fascinating.


§ 3 Responses to Synod Live on Monday

  • Sue Wallace says:

    Know what you mean about the sign language. That’s why I was inspired enough to learn level 1. And when you learn even the little bit I know, you discover that the signs are a whole lot more poetic in their language than English is.

  • […] Women Bishops Debate – General Synod 2010 Check out The Church Mouse or Jeremy Fletcher’s blogs. […]

  • hilary gray says:

    Thanks – again much clearer than the news is reporting it.

    Can I just ask about the PCC bit? As I understand it, Amendment to delete the two thirds being present is defeated. means that PCCs need to have at least two thirds of the members present to be quorate but how does that tie in with This amendment allows it to be be done by simple majority even if two thirds are not present.? The latter sounds like only three people could be present and still pass a valid vote on the matter….

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