Forward in Faith and Women Bishops

July 15, 2010 § 5 Comments

Yes, I know, there’s almost nothing new to say about F i F and what it thinks about women bishops. But the Bishop of Fulham has released a statement which made me think. You can read it in full at Thinking Anglicans

In it he says this:

the abolition of the PEVs is proposed, which will leave our constituency in an intolerable position. All we would be allowed under the draft Measure as it now stands is access to a male bishop, whose own beliefs need not coincide with ours. That is sexism writ large.

There’s been quite a lot of this: not only are there to be women bishops, but the status of the bishops designated to care for those who cannot in conscience receive the ministry of a woman bishop cannot be guaranteed.

The Measure does indeed simply talk about a ‘male’ bishop (well, it’s not going to be a woman, is it?). But it also talks about the ability of a bishop to state that he will not ordain women, and talks about a Code of Practice which will make the kind of episcopal ministry which F i F want perfectly clear.

Two things here:

1. John Barton’s point in the debate on Saturday: it is in no one’s interest to designate F i F type parishes to the care of someone that parish does not recognise as acceptable.

2. John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, is not a PEV. Unless I’ve got it utterly wrong, he’s exactly the kind of Bishop envisaged by the Measure – someone designated locally rather than by law to provide ministry across a diocese (and in some other places too). The Bishop of Whitby does the same kind of job for the Diocese of York, so we don’t see an enormous amount of the Bishop of Beverley round here. No need – there’s a nominated Bishop who passes all the tests.

If I have got it wrong then I’m sure someone will tell me. If not, then John Broadhurst can’t moan about the loss of PEVs if he has proved for some years that they aren’t necessary. Operating under a Code can work, can’t it? Ask the Diocese of London.

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§ 5 Responses to Forward in Faith and Women Bishops

  • Paul Hutchinson says:

    Someone from the metropolis may correct this, but I thought that + Fulham had effectively become PEV for London and Southwark Dioceses – having no “area” of his own, unlike the unofficial areas (=archdeaconries) of York…

  • Paul: I think that’s the point. He’s not a PEV by law, he’s ‘effectively’ one, ie it’s a local arrangement.

    the Dicoese of York only asssigns suffragans to archeaconries on an informal basis, so +Whitby can (and is encouraged) to go anywhere where +Hull and +Selby are not welcome sacramentally.

  • Doug Chaplin says:

    Unfortunately +Fulham has a bad habit of shooting from the lip. Remember when he talked about Satan being alive and well in Church House? His public utterances regularly give the impression of someone who so despises the C of E that it’s hard to see why he would be upset to leave it.

  • Paul Hutchinson says:

    But the metropolis is special, isn’t it – isn’t there a “London Plan” (c.1996?) in which Fulham is the PEV and the southern PEVs don’t operate. That is different either to + Whitby, who only operates in one Diocese, and does exercise jurisdiction over non-C parishes (including the decidedly non-c ones in the rural part of Stokesley deanery), or to the system with the last assistant Bp in Newcastle Diocese (but not his successor), or indeed even with the Bp of Burnley, who ministers both in Blackburn and to the very small number of C parishes in Carlisle. All of them do cover non FiF ground, whereas Fulham is dedicated to C ground in the two metropolitan dioceses.

  • Geoff Jaques says:

    It sounds like Paul is giving several examples of how informal arrangements work well, I’m sure there are also some where despite the rules things don’t work well. Think maybe the Mothers’ Union have got it right this year by focusing on “Relationships not rule”.

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