Thursday, 28 June 2012
Reform and women bishops
Media Statement: Reform members on GS encouraged to vote against Women’s Measure: REFORM SAYS ‘FURORE’ OVER WOMEN BISHOPS SHOWS NEED FOR BETTER PROVISION
Posted on 27 June 2012
Wednesday 27th June 2012
Reform Chairman Rev’d Rod Thomas said today that “Reform deeply regrets that we have reached such an impasse on women bishops” with the current House of Bishops’ amendments not satisfying the conservative evangelical network’s concerns over their future in the Church of England.
Speaking in advance of a prayer meeting for over 200 Reform members in central London, Mr Thomas said: “We thank the House of Bishops for their work. They have tried to find a way through. But their amendments have not succeeded in persuading our members that there is a secure future for those who cannot in conscience accept the oversight of women as bishops. In light of that we will be encouraging our members on General Synod to vote against the legislation as it stands.”
Mr Thomas added: “The furore created by some in response to these small amendments reveals most clearly the reason why those who hold to our Biblical position need legislative clarity, not just a code of practice if we are to continue to encourage young people to come forward for ordination.
“There is clearly a desire on the part of some to see any provision for us as strictly temporary, despite the fact that we’re simply seeking to follow the Bible’s teaching about how God wants his Church to be organised. They hope we’ll just leave. However, we believe the majority of Anglicans want to honour the promises made to us over the last two decades to preserve a place for us in the Church of England. As it stands, the draft Measure doesn’t do this – and we’ll be asking General Synod to withhold approval of the draft Measure so that some proper compromises can be agreed.
“We face a very difficult situation, so we are urging our members to pray today for the House of Bishops, the General Synod and for the church’s witness in this country to the saving grace of Jesus Christ.”
The full statement also includes some background notes.
Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 28 June 2012
This statement by U.K. conservative evangelical organisation, ‘Reform’, is calculated to excite further opposition to the proposed Amended Draft Measure to be debated at the July Meeting of the C.of E. General Synod in York, which is scheduled to consider the Ordination of Women to the episcopate.
Their opposition to the actual Amendment, is because, in their opinion, it does not provide sufficient ‘protection’ of the rights of dissident parishes to avoid having to access episcopal ministry via the authority of a Woman Diocesan Bishop – whether directly, or by what the House of Bishops is pleased to call ‘delegation’ (which would be mandatory, rather than by the specific agreement of the diocesan).
In their eagerness to prevent Women becoming Bishops, Reform is allying itself (an unlikely alliance under any other circumstances) with the ultra-montane catholic wing of the Church (Forward-in-Faith). Both minority groups are fearful that – even under the Amended Draft Measure – Women might yet be accorded the right to become Bishops.
In all probability – because of the amendments, many Women at the General Synod will not vote for the Amended Measure – simply because it would reduce the status of a Woman Diocesan Bishop to be considered ‘null and void’ in the eyes of those who would, by this provision, be allowed to reject her ministry to them.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand