Sunday, 11 July 2010

Trouble ahead.

There has been a press release by the Catholic group FIF, and by Anglican Mainstream on behalf of Anglo Catholics and evangelicals which suggests a desire to overturn yesterday's decision. The basis of their objections will be that the vote would not have carried if the vote had not been by house, it was overturned in the house of clergy by only five votes, and this is an issue of such significance. WATCH has already issued a statement saying it is disappointed that these groups are aiming to overturn the due process of Synod.

One of my commenters asked if the Archbishops' authority has been damaged by Synod choosing to vote against them. I do not think so. Rowan Williams made it clear that voting for or against these proposals was not a loyalty test, many spoke of the reluctance with which they took that decision, but most of all it is the role of Synod to scrutinise legislation and act impartially.

I do think that Rowan Williams in particular is harrowed by the divisions in the Church of England and by the criticisms directed at his leadership. I think we saw this in John Sentamu's remarks against his detractors in his address yesterday. Williams genuinely has a heart for everyone in the Church, and nobody wants to be the person in charge if and when the Church breaks apart. I suppose he will take small comfort from the fact that the Church really is attempting the impossible in trying to keep everyone happy, or even on board, in the debates over women bishops and sexuality.

As I said in my last post, there IS provision for those opposed to women's ministry ; it may be a compromise, but it is far from being nothing. The provision is not ungenerous, but, as has been said by others, it does rely on trust and faith in each other - the simple fact is that there is not enough of that around.

Headaches and heartaches continue...


  1. Surely the problem that WATCH have is not so much that they are concerned about the due process of synod, but that they want the vote to stand.

    I also suspect that the trust and faith (in people) is running a little low, considering what's happened in recent years in the US.

    The problem is that those who are wanting change really want far more change than would ever be accepted by those who don't want change, so seems to be being done by lots of little changes, without discussion of the big picture.
    The debate should be about whether to permit a female AB of C. Anything else is just trying to sweep problems under the carpet for a few more years.

    As far as bishops go..... Ditch the lot of them IMHO, let them get back to teaching the bible and leading a church. Or maybe let the bishopping be an extra thing, rather than the thing itself.

    We have a confirmation service next Sunday. If the bishop comes in wearing a hat on I've got one bigger and even sillier at the ready, and I'm not afraid to use it!

  2. PeterB sounds as if he has evangelical tendencies. If he takes a cold bath, they might disappear. One can't abolish Bishops and then have a proper church. Your reports from Synod, Sue, are better than those in my morning newspaper. I have just cancelled it and am having you delivered.

  3. I like the idea about time for debate on having a woman Archbishop of Canterbury - I might just be persuaded, if they asked nicely...
    ( You little sweet talker Fr Hugh Jass - do I have your email?)

  4. Good Lord! What would you want that job for? By the way, I have been enjoying your reportage very much.

  5. Why can't you abolish bishops and have a proper church? What does a bishop do which precludes them from having normal vicar-like duties as well. I dislike the distance which seems to come with the job.
    As far as having evangelical tendancies goes, I am certainly in favour of everyone being forgiven through trusting in Jesus' death on the cross, and think the Bible is the best way to understand about all that, but that's equally an anglican thing as much an evangelical thing. Cold showers are quite helpful at the moment though, thanks for the advice.

  6. Don't be silly, PeterB! We are an EPISCOPAL Church, with a valid Apostolic Succession. You sound as if you are not really an Anglican, but simply a bible-believer. We hope that Bishops don't "do" anything. It's what they "are" that counts. When Jesus handed Peter and the Apostles "the keys to the Kingdom", He didn't say "You can be abolished and become a vicar".

  7. Okay, I'm not really suggesting that bishops be abolished, I do think that they should be closer to the action though. Why should the office of bishop preclude people from having a congregation of their own? If it's too much work they could have an extra curate!
    Jesus didn't say anything about vicars, one way or the other, my concern about the modern bishop is that they seem to be modeled after the OT High Priest more than the NT Overseer.

    If it's not important to you for bishops to 'do' anything, why not let them lead a church? It would probably be good for them.

  8. Fr Hugh Jass wrote

    "You sound as if you are not really an Anglican, but simply a bible-believer"

    My experience of Anglicanism leads me to believe that the converse is often true.

    Chris Bishop

    PS nice to read you on the Ugley Vicar Blog Suem.

  9. Thanks Chris Bishop. I do sometimes go on the Ugley blog to tussle with JR and his ilk (so to speak.) I think I've seen you there as well.

  10. I often tussle with his ugly ilk.