Bishops consult on “code of practice” for women bishops
The Bishops of the Church in Wales are launching a major consultation across Wales following the decision to ordain women as bishops.
As part of the legislation passed, the Bishops are required to draw up a Code of Practice to ensure all members of the Church, including those with conscientious objections to the decision, continued to feel accepted and valued within the Church.
Members are now being invited to have their say in what provisions that code should include.
The Bishops are asking people to write to them with their views and will also be organising open meetings in each of the six Welsh dioceses where people can speak about the issue.
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “While we, as bishops, welcome the decision that women can now be ordained as bishops in Wales, we recognise that there are some people who do not. We want to make sure that adequate provision is made for them so that they will still feel valued and accepted in the Church and will continue to worship and minister alongside us. We have been entrusted to draw up a Code of Practice within a year and we are keen to consult as widely as possible with church members in order to reflect their views as best we can.”
As a result of the legislation, it will be possible for women to be ordained as bishops from 12 September 2014. The 12 month delay in the canon taking full effect is to give time for the Code of Practice to be drawn up.
The open meetings will be arranged in each diocese in the New Year to enable members to make submissions in person. All will be welcome to attend and contribute.
Finally, an open discussion will be held at the Church’s Governing Body meeting in April, before the Bishops develop and publish the Code of Practice before the September deadline.
If the Bishops’ consultation allows for Women Diocesan Bishops to be consulted on which Male Bishop they will allow to offer episcopal ministry in their dioceses, this could be the best way in which to accommodate the ‘needs’ of protesters. It would appear that this is a similar process being presently undertaken in the Church of England.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand