The Independent on Sunday carried this article
Tuesday 28 February Subjects proposed to be raised on the Motion for the Adjournment: 9.30 am – 11.00 am Diana Johnson Women in the Church of England.
A press release from WATCH (Women and the Church) : Monday 27 February 2012
Parliament to debate Sex Discrimination in the Church.
On Tuesday morning there will be a Westminster Hall debate on Sex Discrimination and the Church of England. Currently the Church of England, along with other religions, has specific exemption from some parts of the Equality Act 2010. This includes the right to discriminate against women in appointing clergy to parishes and in appointing bishops.
The current draft legislation that will allow women to be bishops includes continued exemption from the Equality Act, so that women may still not be appointed to some parishes, and will have to delegate their care of such parishes to a male bishop.
This debate is an opportunity for MPs to consider whether it is right that the Established Church should continue to be exempt from Sex Discrimination law.
Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH, said ‘WATCH has always worked towards ending sex discrimination in the Church of England, and is delighted that the subject will be aired in this way.
Most people in this country would be astonished to realise that the Established Church is allowed to enshrine sex discriminatory provisions in law when that has been against public policy for over thirty years. Having women as bishops will be an important step on the journey to full inclusion – but there’s a long road ahead of us’.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 26 February 2012
Thanks to Simon Sarmiento of ‘Thinking Anglicans, for this report of a Meeting to take place in Westminster, on Tuesday, 28 Feb. 2012 at 09.30 GMT.
This will be an opportunity for British Parliamentarians to reflect on the situation of Women in the Church of England, as the Church works towards its seminal debate on the issue of the Ordination of Women Bishops.
Already in process is a General-Synod-sponsored charge upon the House of Bishops to amend the original ‘Code of Practice’ passed by G.S. in a previous sitting that would allow a Woman Diocesan Bishop the right to invite another Bishop (neither female nor an advocate of female bishops) to exercise episcopal ministry in her diocese, on her behalf, to those who will not, in all conscience, accept her ministry directly.
What the amended ‘Code’ might be is anyone’s guess, but is likely to by-pass the Woman Diocesan Bishop’s authority, by direct intervention from an archiepiscopal surrogate ‘Provisional Episcopal Visitor’ who will operate independently of the Diocesan Bishop – if she is a Woman.
What this parliamentary debate on Tuesday might do, hopefully, is make Members of Parliament aware of the implications of just such a limitation on the authority of a Woman Bishop to make her own decisions about who may, or may not, offer episcopal ministry on her behalf in her diocese.
To allow an extra-diocesan bishop (PEV) to act independently of a woman diocesan bishop’s authority in her diocese, would be to set up a two-tier episcopal ministry in the Church of England. This would be unique in the life of the Anglican Communion.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand