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:
…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