Bristol Diocese passes motion of ‘No Confidence’ in General Synod

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Bristol Diocesan Synod passes vote of no confidence in General Synod

Updated Saturday evening

Here is the motion passed today by the Diocese of Bristol:

In the light of the recent failure of the General Synod to pass the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) measure at its sessions of November 2012, despite overwhelming support for this legislation by this and other diocesan synods of the Church of England, Bristol Diocesan Synod:

1. Reaffirms our strong conviction that it is God’s will that women be ordained as bishops in the Church of England.

2. Has no confidence in the General Synod’s ability to transact the clear will of the majority of the Church with the urgency required to further the mission and witness of the Church.

3. Calls on the House of Bishops to explore, as a matter of great urgency, every possible avenue to effect the will of the Church on this issue.

Read more about the synod meeting: Diocesan Synod tells Bishops to effect the will of the Church, and read Bishop Mike Hill’s address to the synod over here (PDF).

This motion is by no means the strongest one that might have been passed. Paul Roberts has written about this in two blog articles:

The Bristol synod motion

…However, if other diocesan synods pass similar motions, where does that leave us? Essentially, the message given to Synod is, ‘we don’t think you lot are capable of passing satisfactory legislation and we’re upset about this.’ But, it doesn’t take any further action which would amend this situation. Essentially, this will not do anything other than register a protest.

The stronger, original version of the motion goes further – by expressing a total lack of confidence in the Synod to act as the present General Synod of the Church of England, it’s essentially saying it needs to go, and go as soon as possible. So why is this necessary? I think it’s so, for the following reasons…

And earlier in the week he had written: A possible way out of the Women Bishops bind.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 1 December 2012 at 3:18pm GMT


The protagonist of the idea – of C.of E. diocesan synods (the majority, 42 out of 45) that voted ‘YES’ to Women Bishops,  expressing their frustration by registering a ‘Vote of No Confidence‘ in General Synod – was Paul Roberts.

However, in this latest news – of the Bristol Diocesan Synod doing just that – it seems (at least to Paul) not to be strong enough to do more than cause a ripple in the calm of Anglican obscurantism, which is what has  allowed the fiasco of ‘the tail wagging the dog’ at the G.S. Meeting on the issue of Women Bishops.

Obviously, Paul Roberts, and many others who are keen that General Synod should not turn down a majority decision of the Church – where the diocesan Synods overwhelmingly opted for the original Draft Measure that would have allowed Women to be ordained Bishops in the Church of England – fears that too light a pressure on the system will not succeed in more than a temporary flutter in the un-representatively archaic voting process employed by General Synod; where legislation requires a 2/3 majority vote in all three Houses of Clergy, Bishops and Laity before enactment of the’ mind’ of diocesan synods.

However, what may happen as a direct result of the Bristol Motion, is that other dioceses may realise the urgency of the situation and weigh in with even stronger motions that call into question the competency of General Synod to express the ‘Mind of The Church’.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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4 Responses to Bristol Diocese passes motion of ‘No Confidence’ in General Synod

  1. Some more good news – God gave us this song a long, long, time ago

    “Chimes Of Freedom” Bob Dylan

    Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll
    We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
    As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
    Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
    Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
    Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
    An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night
    An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

    In the city’s melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
    With faces hidden as the walls were tightening
    As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin’ rain
    Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
    Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
    Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an’ forsaked
    Tolling for the outcast, burnin’ constantly at stake
    An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

    Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
    The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
    That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
    Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
    Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
    Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
    An’ the poet an the painter far behind his rightful time
    An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

    In the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
    For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
    Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
    All down in taken-for granted situations
    Tolling for the deaf an’ blind, tolling for the mute
    For the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
    For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an’ cheated by pursuit
    An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

    Even though a clouds’s white curtain in a far-off corner flashed
    An’ the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
    Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
    Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
    Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
    For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
    An’ for each unharmfull, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
    An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

    Starry-eyed an’ laughing as I recall when we were caught
    Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
    As we listened one last time an’ we watched with one last look
    Spellbound an’ swallowed ’til the tolling ended
    Tolling for the aching whose wounds cannot be nursed
    For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an’ worse
    An’ for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
    An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

  2. Phil Groom says:

    Alongside all this, there’s a petition (launched by yours truly) gathering momentum here: No Confidence in General Synod: Calling for an Urgent Review

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