Fulcrum Statement on the Decision of General Synod not to approve the legislation on Women Bishops
Fulcrum is completely committed to the full ministry of women at every level and is therefore very disappointed at the outcome of Tuesday’s vote by General Synod. In our opinion, the concessions made to opponents were the strongest possible without fatally compromising the full ministry of women bishops.
We are glad that the measure met with such overwhelming approval in the House of Bishops and also House of Clergy. Given that the vast majority of lay members of the Church of England support women bishops we are perplexed at the unrepresentative nature of the House of Laity in regard to this issue. Fulcrum urges lay members of the Church of England to make a greater effort to be involved in its political structures in order to rectify this serious problem.
Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the large numbers of women clergy doing a wonderful job within the Church of England. Without their gifts, vision, energy and leadership the mission and ministry of the church would be so much poorer. We pray that the damage done to their ministries through the discouragement brought by this decision will not be permanent. Fulcrum will remain 100% committed to doing everything that we can to work for women bishops, with the full status and scope that their Episcopal ministry must have to be authentic. We will continue to work and pray for this to happen as soon as possible so that the church and this country can receive the enormous blessings that the full ministry of women has to bring.
I have long thought the organisation known as ‘Fulcrum’ in the Church of England to be representative of the more moderate side to the Evangelical wing of the Church. For instance; although they still have some reservations about the claims of the LGBT constituency in the Church of England, they have, certainly lately, when it really matters, become advocates of the full ministry of Women – as both priest and bishops.
Their disappointment at the latest rejection of the ‘Draft Measure’, that would have enabled the ordination of women as bishops, is mingled with surprise that the House of Laity could have defeated the Measure, when this clearly doesn’t represent the majority mainstream Lay-people‘s opinion on the subject.
This does point to a systemic failure of the process of Lay election to General Synod – which takes place through Deanery Synods – that allows people to be elected who do not necessarily represent the opinions of the people of their home parishes – which is where ‘the rubber hits the road’ in terms of mainstream heartbeat of the Church.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand