Daily Archives: July 14, 2014

(Lambeth Palace PR) C of E approves women bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today’s result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing.

“The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.

“My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.“

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(BBC) Church of England General Synod backs women bishops

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(Economist) A special report–Defending the digital frontier

Cyberspace has become shorthand for the computing devices, networks, fibre-optic cables, wireless links and other infrastructure that bring the internet to billions of people around the world. The myriad connections forged by these technologies have brought tremendous benefits to everyone who uses the web to tap into humanity’s collective store of knowledge every day.

But there is a darker side to this extraordinary invention. Data breaches are becoming ever bigger and more common. Last year over 800m records were lost, mainly through such attacks…. Among the most prominent recent victims has been Target, whose chief executive, Gregg Steinhafel, stood down from his job in May, a few months after the giant American retailer revealed that online intruders had stolen millions of digital records about its customers, including credit- and debit-card details. Other well-known firms such as Adobe, a tech company, and eBay, an online marketplace, have also been hit.

The potential damage, though, extends well beyond such commercial incursions. Wider concerns have been raised by the revelations about the mass surveillance carried out by Western intelligence agencies made by Edward Snowden, a contractor to America’s National Security Agency (NSA), as well as by the growing numbers of cyber-warriors being recruited by countries that see cyberspace as a new domain of warfare. America’s president, Barack Obama, said in a White House press release earlier this year that cyberthreats “pose one of the gravest national-security dangers” the country is facing.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

PBS ' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly-Wounded (Anglican) Priest Michael Lapsley

Father Michael Lapsley is an Anglican priest who was sent to South Africa during the institutionalized racial segregation of apartheid. He became a chaplain to Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress and a target of the white supremacy government. One day Lapsley opened a package that turned out to be a bomb. He lost both hands and one eye in the attack on his life, but his faith survived. He now uses his wounds to connect with those who have experienced trauma and help them find healing.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, South Africa, Theology

(Wales Online) Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson says Lord Falconer’s Bill 'is not fit for purpose'

“I am against Lord Falconer’s Bill because actually, it has got lots of holes in it and it is not really fit for purpose,” argued Dame Grey-Thompson, describing the Bill as “too vague”.

Speaking on internet station Fubar Radio, she added: “I am worried that there will be people, vulnerable people, who will think they have got no choice, who will be encouraged to choose assisted suicide when it is not really their choice.

“What we have to make laws for is to protect the vast majority of people in society and there are vulnerable people who just would not be protected and that is the biggest worry.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Observer) Desmond Tutu: a dignified death is our right ”“ I am in favour of assisted dying

This takes me to the question of what does it mean to be alive. What constitutes quality of life and dignity when dying? These are big, important questions. I have come to realise that I do not want my life to be prolonged artificially. I think when you need machines to help you breathe, then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced and about the way money is being spent. This may be hard for some people to consider.

But why is a life that is ending being prolonged? Why is money being spent in this way? It could be better spent on a mother giving birth to a baby, or an organ transplant needed by a young person. Money should be spent on those that are at the beginning or in full flow of their life. Of course, these are my personal opinions and not of my church.

What was done to Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was disgraceful. There was that occasion when Madiba was televised with political leaders, President Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. You could see Madiba was not fully there. He did not speak. He was not connecting. My friend was no longer himself. It was an affront to Madiba’s dignity.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Africa, Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, South Africa, Theology

Fifa talks to Lionel Messi after the World Cup Final

Before going up to collect his award, Messi sportingly accepted the commiserations of his opponents, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, who gave him a warm embrace at pitchside. He also took time to congratulate Manuel Neuer, who had followed him up to receive the adidas Golden Glove, and posed for the obligatory photos. Messi then rejoined his team-mates as they filed past the victorious Germans, before climbing the steps once more to pick up their runner’s up medals.

And still he kept his anguish and disappointment in check. Afterwards, following almost an hour in the dressing room, he made time to stop off for a photo with his side’s conqueror Mario Goetze, before making his way to the mixed zone to face the world’s media.

“Right now, nothing can console me ”“ not the award or anything else,” said Messi. “Our only goal was to take home the World Cup and enjoy our victory with everyone in Argentina. We deserved a bit more after the game we played, and it was very painful to lose that way,” added the Albiceleste No10, understandably anxious to conclude his round of interviews.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports

Food for Thought from Karl Menninger roughly 4 Decades Ago

“On a sunny day in September, 1972, a stern-faced, plainly dressed man could be seen standing still on a street corner in the busy Chicago Loop. As pedestrians hurried by on their way to lunch or business, he would solemnly lift his right arm, and pointing to the person nearest him, intone loudly the single word, ”˜GUILTY!’”Then, without any change of expression, he would resume his stiff stance for a few moments before repeating the gesture. Then, again, the inexorable raising of his arm, the pointing, and the solemn pronouncing of the one word, ”˜GUILTY!’

“The effect of this strange j’accuse pantomime on the passing strangers was extraordinary, almost eerie. They would stare at him, hesitate, look away, look at each other, and then at him again; then hurriedly continue on their ways.

“One man, turning to another who was my informant, exclaimed: ”˜But how did he know?’ “No doubt many others had similar thoughts. How did he know, indeed?

–Karl Menninger, “Whatever Became of Sin?” which you may find in The Rotarian of January 1974 there, his emphasis (These are also the words at beginning of his famous book of the same title)

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Theology

(WSJ) Kabul Prepares to Start Huge Voting Audit Under Kerry Deal

Afghanistan is set to begin an unprecedented audit of the 8.1 million votes cast in the June 14 presidential election, a process that is expected to take at least three weeks and will delay the inauguration of a new president.

Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah agreed after marathon talks with Secretary of State John Kerry this weekend to a full audit of the bitterly contested election, which had threatened to split the country along ethnic and territorial lines.

In a political deal also brokered by Mr. Kerry, the two candidates said that in addition to accepting the results of the audit, they agreed that the winner of the election would form a “national unity government” that would include the losing side.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Theology

May I Vote or Should I Go? Transcript CofE Synod Friday Afternoon Women Bishops

You can listen to the debate on the Audio file here from from 1hr:19mins:40secs in until1hr:53mins:27secs in

[Note: Monday’s debate on the womens bishops legislation has taken place and the legislation has been passed by Synod – see the Synod links post below for more]
Pete Spiers: Liverpool 147
…when it comes to Monday, let’s not forget that we have three choices as to how we should vote. We can vote for; we can vote against; or we can abstain. Contrary to perceived wisdom I would like to suggest that abstention is not a wasted vote. People who abstain are those who say ”˜we recognise that this legislation if it were to fail would be catastrophic for the Church of England, we recognise that every single diocese and synod has voted in favour by a huge majority, but we can’t vote for it because in principle we can’t agree with it.’…abstention by those opposed would demonstrate their appreciation that all the discussions that had been held to bring this back so quickly were not in vain, and would also affirm the 5 guiding principles which respects everyone’s integrity and conscience and which I think have been unanimously welcomed….Abstention would I believe be the best way for opponents to signal that they and we are determined as a church to walk together into the new and exciting future that God has planned for us…

Mrs Susannah Leafe: Susie Leafe Truro Diocese 416: I’m not going to make a big speech. I’d just like to draw your attention to something that worries me. In all this talk about ”˜Flourishing’ and now a demand that perhaps we should abstain rather than vote against, I would like to draw your attention to the figures in 3 dioceses: Norwich, Oxford and Guildford where there was just about the same number of people voting in favour this time as last time, but where the ”˜No’ vote disappeared entirely. They didn’t move from a ”˜No’ vote to a ”˜Yes’ vote, or even to an abstention. They just appear to have disappeared.

If you want us to ”˜Flourish’, please let us come to your diocesan synods and speak our mind. If you want us to flourish, please let us vote ”˜No’ if that’s what our theological convictions make us need us to do. If you want us to flourish, please don’t make us disappear

Tim Allen, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich 393:
…It would be wonderful if those of us who previously voted ”˜No’ could bring themselves to be generous enough to abstain, so that following the example of Suffolk, no one votes against. In that way the Church of England and the Synod can move on to more fruitful work than quarrelling about the role of women.

Revd Christopher Hobbes, London 153: Conservative evangelical Christians are asking for what was agreed when women vicars were introduced in the 1990’s ”“ provision not to have female clergy over them in accordance with their understanding of the Bible. It was said then that the provision would continue for as long as necessary. If the Church of England is big enough to allow different types of robes, or not, different translations of the Bible, different liturgies, different songs, different accompaniments, why is it not big enough to allow to flourish even more, some in the church who hold what the majority of the Christian churches around the world hold: that God has ordained men to be bishops in the church? I personally am prepared to say women can be bishops, but I am not prepared to say that holding women cannot be bishops is unchristian. The legislation before us in my view is still unbalanced against conservatives. If there was any intention of letting conservative evangelicals flourish in the Church, surely we would have had a conservative evangelical appointed a bishop somewhere in the last 16 years, or even with 6 or 7 appointments this year [Madam Chair rings bell] ”“ there are competent candidates in the Diocese of London, conservative evangelicals [Madam Chair interrupts notwithstanding the generosity given to the previous speaker]

Madam Chair: ”“ excuse me I am going to interrupt you just for a moment and hope that you very quickly bring this speech to reference the report under consideration

Revd Christopher Hobbes: Yes ”“ I was wondering whether I would abstain but I don’t think that signals enough that the legislation is unfair concerning the swearing of oaths, regarding the rights of individual clergy rather than whole PCCs, so in the end, with a heavy heart, I will not be voting for it.

Canon Sue Booys responding: …Pete Spiers, thank you for your comments on voting. It is perhaps worth just commenting that there is a fourth alternative as it’s possible not to press the button. You can abstain by pressing the button, but you can fail to press the button and register your vote at all and that will have the same effect as an abstention…

Professor Richard Burridge on Point of Order: 452, Dean of King’s College: Could I invite the Chair of the Business Committee just to clarify, it may be that I misheard, but she said not pressing the button would have the same effect as registering your abstention. I understood the point to be there are 4 things you can do: press the button to say Yes; press the button to say No; press the button to have your abstention registered; and not to vote at all. Could that be clarified please because Sue said it would have the same effect?

Canon Sue Booys: I am advised, that if you do not press the button you do not formally record any kind of vote at all, and so for example your name will not appear on any lists but not pressing the button will have the same effect to the whole vote as abstaining.
[murmering]
…”¦
Madam Chair: Please bear with us for just one moment

Canon Sue Booys: I may, I may have worded that slightly poorly. The two thirds majority has nothing to do with either abstentions or votes not cast. I see nods. Is everyone happy with that response? Thank you.

Madam Chair: Good afternoon Synod. We now come to item 501. We come to the first item of business at this group of sessions relating to the draft legislation to allow women to be consecrated to the episcopate. It’s focus is the Report of the Business Committee on the reference of the draft legislation to the dioceses under Article 8 of the Synod’s Constitution.

Members will accordingly need that report which is GS1951. The form of the debate is very straightforward being a take note debate on the Report. I would remind members that they should confine their comments to matters addressed in the report under debate. I shall be ready to call them to order if they do not do so.

I now call on the Chair of the Business Committee, the Re. Canon Sue Booys to move Item 501. You may speak for up to 10 minutes.

Canon Sue Booys, Chair of the Business Committee, 175 Oxford – I beg to move ”˜that the Synod do take note of this Report’ and I don’t think that I will be taking as much as 5 minutes of your time.

The Business Committee Report GS 1951 outlines the results of the Article 8 reference to the dioceses on the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and Draft Amending Canon No. 33. Our Debate on this report is the first step in what is potentially quite a complicated sequence at this Group of Sessions before we get to Monday, so as well as offering a few comments on the diocesan reference I’d like to say something about that sequence.

I want to begin by acknowledging the very large amount of work that this exercise has entailed for the dioceses. This is particularly due to the fact that Synod voted in February to shorten the reference period from the usual six months to three months in order to expedite this process. I realise that this put considerable pressure on diocesan synods to meet and to organise the votes. Nevertheless, all save the Diocese in Europe was able to do so by the deadline of midnight on the 22nd of May, albeit in Manchester’s case by only a few hours.

Given all these pressures, the Business Committee is hugely appreciative of the effort that was made by dioceses to turn this round in such a short period, and particularly to the staff of diocesan offices; to those who oversaw the circulation of the relevant material; to those who planned Synod timetables and agendas; and to those who contributed to debates in diocesan and deanery synods. This kind of exercise does not happen without considerable preparation and care.

Our debate today is not the moment for airing wider issues that will be more properly for other discussions over the next few days. I simply want to summarise briefly the information that is given in the report. First, it is notable, as the table in Annex A shows, that all 43 dioceses that voted did so in favour of the motion: the motion ”˜That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and draft Amending Canon No 33.’

Secondly, a total of 3,799 people voted and a 114 abstained. Of those who voted
91% voted in favour and 9% against. Not counting abstentions, the level of support was 96% amongst the bishops, 92% in diocesan houses of laity and 90% in diocesan houses of clergy. If you add in the number of abstentions the breakdown in the dioceses is as follows: 88% in favour across all three Houses, 9% against and 3% of members abstaining.

It is perhaps worth comparing this with the vote on the Article 8 reference on the previous Women in the Episcopate legislation on which my predecessor the Venerable Julian Henderson (now the Bishop of Blackburn) reported back to Synod in February 2012. On that occasion, 42 of the 44 dioceses voted in favour of the legislation and two against. Back then, looking at the individual numbers of votes, Julian noted that just over three quarters of diocesan synod members voted in favour and just under one-quarter did not. Well, it is for you to draw your own conclusion from that. The role of the Chair of the Business Committee is simply to try and facilitate an orderly process.

So in conclusion let me say a little bit about what happens next. Assuming that you are content to take note of our report, we shall move immediately to the final drafting stage when I shall hand over to the Bishop of Rochester as Chair of the Steering Committee. Given the nature of that report I doubt whether this will detain us for very long.

The business will then stand committed to the House of Bishops under Article 7. They are due to meet, lucky them, at breakfast time tomorrow and it is for them to decide whether the Measure and Amending Canon be submitted to the Synod, in the form they will take after Final Drafting and for final approval. At the same time they will deal with the Article 7 reference to the Act of Synod which Synod considered in February which proposes to rescind the 1993 Act of Synod

Immediately after that the Clerk to the Synod will consult the relevant officers of the House of Laity and the Convocations to see whether they are going to claim Article 7 references. If they do, as I have said in another place, those references will take place after lunch on Sunday. And if not, we have scheduled other business for that time.

Then, we come to Monday, when all being well we will come to the final approval debate to the legislation and, if the votes are in favour, the final approval of the Act of Synod.

For the avoidance of doubt I should make clear that it is only the draft measure that requires the two thirds majorities in each House. Sometimes amending canons also require that level of support but I am assured that on this occasion, it doesn’t.

And so I have pleasure in commending our report to the Synod and look forward to hearing any responses you may have.

Madam Chair. Synod, this item is now open for debate. I call on Mrs Margaret Condick, followed by Mrs Anneliese Barrell

Mrs Margaret Condick: Thank you Chair, Margaret Condick, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich 394 ”“ And St Edmundsbury and Ipswich was the first diocese where no one voted against this legislation. We had a 100% majority. Along with 3 other dioceses on the 1st of March we began the process, a wonderful start. Since then as we all know other dioceses have voted either 100% or overwhelmingly giving a complete endorsement of this package. Our vote at diocesan synod reflected the views I hear at deanery synods and locally. People say things like: ”˜When on earth are you going to get this done?’ ”˜Why is it taking so long?’ ”˜What’s the problem?’ It’s incomprehensible to most people.

Someone I know and respect from an evangelical church said to me after the November 2012 debate: ”˜Oh that was rubbish what happened then.’ He and others, General Synod, are completely switched off, General Synod, by the whole process. That vote brought us into disrepute. The wider church and the whole country are beginning to treat us with contempt. We have not so far reflected the views back home. I have had, for instance, people saying to me: ”˜Can our next Bishop be a woman?’ ”“ Answer: ”˜No, because even if we pass this now, the process won’t be finished before we in St Edmundsbury and Ipswich appoint. But others will have the chance. Please listen to the view expressed by your diocesan synod. Please, let’s not have to go back to the deaneries and apologise yet again. Let’s vote as our church members are asking us. Thank you.

Madam Chair: Anneliese Barrell followed by Canon Pete Spiers please.

Mrs Anneliese Barrell, Exeter 309: Members of Synod, I believe that the point at which we have all arrived is nothing short of a miracle. To achieve this miracle, we have to give very grateful thanks to both our Archbishops, David Porter, the Bishop of Rochester, the hard-working Steering Committee, and not forgetting those in our deaneries, our dioceses, and us here.

The vision of a united and trusting Synod seemed impossible to achieve in November 2012, but thanks to the foresight of our Archbishops and the advent of the Facilitated Discussion Groups, we now talk amicably to each other outside our defined groups. We’ve learned to trust each other, to talk to each other, not at each other. We listen, and try to understand, and to prayerfully value the views and beliefs of those with whom we differ.

And surprise, surprise [and this was echoed throughout the dioceses] many of us have found that there is much more that we agree about, than which we disagree about. We actually smile and speak to each other as we pass in the corridors of Church House, or on the campus here at York. What a difference, and how welcome.

This friendly atmosphere of trust was certainly evident in my own diocesan debate on this Article 8 business. The reference to the dioceses is always a final check on what is being decided at General Synod, and this time the green light shines even more brightly.

Despite having said that, I regret I cannot vote for in the final debate. If I do so, I will, with my fellow Catholics be denying our theological convictions and beliefs, and make a mockery of all we have been saying during the past years. The measure before us which we have, is not entirely acceptable to the Catholic Group. But what it represents is an exciting possibility ”“ one that would engender a very harmonious and diverse Church of England, and we are extremely grateful for the comments made by the Archbishop of York and his clear recognition of our position ”“ that is one of conviction.

But I do however promise, and so do my fellows, that we will do our very best as the measure is passed, to continue to work in close and prayerful cooperation with all God’s chosen ministers to promote His Kingdom. Thank you.

Madam Chair: Pete Spiers, followed by the lady right at the back ”“ yes you madam.

Pete Spiers: Liverpool 147 ”“ In Acts Chapter 15 we hear how when the early church faced difficulty and division, they held a council in Jerusalem. And as a result of that Council, they wrote a letter in which they used the following phrase: ”˜It seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit.’ There was no hint of a two thirds or a simple majority there.

So what is the Holy Spirit saying to us about these voting figures in the dioceses? Some would say there is massive support for this current legislation. Others might say that it simply shows that there is biblical illiteracy alive and well in the Church of England, or that the Church of England is intent on furthering divisions in the Church. I hope no one would say that the current legislation has not been worked out carefully and conscientiously. You will know that I have often spoken about how adversarial Synod seems to be.

So when it comes to Monday, let’s not forget that we have three choices as to how we should vote. We can vote for; we can vote against; or we can abstain. Contrary to perceived wisdom I would like to suggest that abstention is not a wasted vote. People who abstain are those who say ”˜we recognise that this legislation if it were to fail would be catastrophic for the Church of England, we recognise that every single diocese and synod has voted in favour by a huge majority, but we can’t vote for it because in principle we can’t agree with it.’

One of the things most often said by supporters of this legislation is why should we accommodate opponents when they will vote against anyway at the end of it? So abstention by those opposed would demonstrate their appreciation that all the discussions that had been held to bring this back so quickly were not in vain, and would also affirm the 5 guiding principles which respects everyone’s integrity and conscience and which I think have been unanimously welcomed.

It may be that there are those that think that there are enough people in favour for a two thirds majority to be achieved, in which case voting against is actually a wasted vote. It would be great if this legislation could be passed by as few against votes as possible. The people who read the letter from the Council of Jerusalem were glad for its encouraging message. So I hope and pray that by the end of Monday this Synod will be able to send out a similar message that will make people glad. Abstention would I believe be the best way for opponents to signal that they and we are determined as a church to walk together into the new and exciting future that God has planned for us.

Madam Chair: Susie Leaf followed by Tim Allen. Speech limit is still 5 minutes.

Mrs Susannah Leafe: Susie Leafe Truro Diocese 416: I’m not going to make a big speech. I’d just like to draw your attention to something that worries me. In all this talk about ”˜Flourishing’ and now a demand that perhaps we should abstain rather than vote against, I would like to draw your attention to the figures in 3 dioceses: Norwich, Oxford and Guildford where there was just about the same number of people voting in favour this time as last time, but where the ”˜No’ vote disappeared entirely. They didn’t move from a ”˜No’ vote to a ”˜Yes’ vote, or even to an abstention. They just appear to have disappeared.

If you want us to ”˜Flourish’, please let us come to your diocesan synods and speak our mind. If you want us to flourish, please let us vote ”˜No’ if that’s what our theological convictions make us need us to do. If you want us to flourish, please don’t make us disappear.

Madam Chair: Tim Allen, followed by Christopher Hobbs and then I would welcome a motion to test the mind of Synod on closure.

Tim Allen, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich 393: Madam Chair, like my friend Margaret Condick, I have a brief and clear message from Suffolk to the General Synod. According to the list on page 3 of the Business Committee Report, there were just 4 dioceses where there was no objection at all in diocesan synod to these proposals to allow women to be bishops. St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, that’s Suffolk was one of these. Our sole acting bishop [since both the diocesan and suffragan sees are sadly vacant] voted yes, 48 of the clergy voted yes, 62 of the laity voted yes, no one voted against and 3 people in all abstained.

There could not Madam Chair, be a clearer message from Suffolk to this Synod: for heaven’s sake give a resounding yes to the present package of allowing women into the episcopate, and giving generous protection for those at either extreme of the Church of England who find it difficult to accept them.

Historically, Suffolk has swung from one pole to the other in terms of churchmanship. In the Middle Ages, the county’s marked devotion to the church led to it being called Silly Suffolk, that is Holy Suffolk. During and after the Reformation, Suffolk became for a time violently Protestant ”“ witness the iconoclasm led by William Dowsing which smashed so much of the architectural and artistic beauty created in the Medieval period.

Happily Suffolk is now calmer and really rather normal. In present day Suffolk manifestations to the spirit of Dowsing are rare and diluted; though I should say that as DAC Chair I sometimes catch a glimpse. Well the DBF chair would I think affirm that there is all too little residue of the generous devotion of our Medieval ancestors who sacrificially paid for so many wonderful parish churches. But being normal now, I think the reason Suffolk stands out as one of the only 4 dioceses where the diocesan synod registered no objection whatsoever, is probably because in Suffolk we have had extensive and happy experience of excellent women in leadership positions, headship positions I might say, within the Church. Our cathedral which celebrates its centenary this year flourishes under an inspiring female dean, Frances Ward. Our bishops have been well served by two female chaplains in succession. Though we no longer have a female archdeacon, nearly half of our rural deans are women, 7 out of 18 to be precise, and very many of our parish priests are women too.

Many of those who voted ”˜Yes’ in the diocesan synod will be disappointed for the timing of our Crown Nomination Commission meetings in September and October will be tantalisingly just too early for Suffolk to secure a women diocesan in place of Bishop Nigel who was so prematurely plucked from among us to assist at Lambeth, and many will hope that his necessarily male successor as diocesan will commit himself to select one of the excellent senior women to be his suffragan as Bishop of Dunwich. But that depends, Madam Chair, on the General Synod accepting the clear signal from all the diocesan synods to give overwhelming final approval to the measure.

It would be wonderful if those of us who previously voted ”˜No’ could bring themselves to be generous enough to abstain, so that following the example of Suffolk, no one votes against. In that way the Church of England and the Synod can move on to more fruitful work than quarrelling about the role of women. Thank you Chair.

Madam Chair: Christopher Hobbes

Revd Christopher Hobbes, London 153: Conservative evangelical Christians are asking for what was agreed when women vicars were introduced in the 1990’s ”“ provision not to have female clergy over them in accordance with their understanding of the Bible. It was said then that the provision would continue for as long as necessary. If the Church of England is big enough to allow different types of robes, or not, different translations of the Bible, different liturgies, different songs, different accompaniments, why is it not big enough to allow to flourish even more, some in the church who hold what the majority of the Christian churches around the world hold: that God has ordained men to be bishops in the church? I personally am prepared to say women can be bishops, but I am not prepared to say that holding women cannot be bishops is unchristian. The legislation before us in my view is still unbalanced against conservatives. If there was any intention of letting conservative evangelicals flourish in the Church, surely we would have had a conservative evangelical appointed a bishop somewhere in the last 16 years, or even with 6 or 7 appointments this year [Madam Chair rings bell] ”“ there are competent candidates in the Diocese of London, conservative evangelicals [Madam Chair interrupts notwithstanding the generosity given to the previous speaker]

Madam Chair: ”“ excuse me I am going to interrupt you just for a moment and hope that you very quickly bring this speech to reference the report under consideration

Revd Christopher Hobbes: Yes ”“ I was wondering whether I would abstain but I don’t think that signals enough that the legislation is unfair concerning the swearing of oaths, regarding the rights of individual clergy rather than whole PCCs, so in the end, with a heavy heart, I will not be voting for it.

Madam Chair: I see no one standing, and therefore I ask Canon Sue Booys to reply to the debate. You have up to 5 minutes.

Canon Sue Booys: Madam Chair I want to begin with an apology to Synod members. No one has picked me up on this but some of you may be aware, this is an apology that would be deemed very rare in my own house. I prepared too far in advance of this meeting, and you may have noticed that my speech actually contained an error, and so I will read to you the correction which appears on the Fifth Notice Paper with regard to the two thirds majority:

A two thirds majority in each house of the Synod is required for the final approval of both the draft Measure and the draft Amending Canon. It is the final approval of the draft Act of Synod that requires no special majority. As I say my husband would be highly amused at my preparing too far in advance.

There is a practical outworking of this in terms of Monday afternoon that it’s very important that you stay in the chamber for the entire outworking of the business.

Can I continue by responding to the debate to thank Margaret Condick, Anneliese Barrell and Tim Allen for their messages from their dioceses and reflection on those debates. Also Anneliese Barrell to share her thanks for all those who were involved in the conversations that have brought us to this point, everyone involved in the conversations as well of course as our Archbishops and David Porter.

Pete Spiers, thank you for your comments on voting. It is perhaps worth just commenting that there is a fourth alternative as it’s possible not to press the button. You can abstain by pressing the button, but you can fail to press the button and register your vote at all and that will have the same effect as an abstention.

Christopher Hobbes and Suzy Leafe, I don’t want anyone to disappear, but I did reflect as I listened, that I chaired the debate in the Oxford Diocese, and it was clear in our diocese that people who had voted no had not disappeared but they had changed their minds. So people are not being spirited away, there was a real change of mind and heart there. Nevertheless, its clear to me that we don’t want people to disappear. We hope you’ll stay, and we hope that everyone will be here on Monday to vote. Thank you very much indeed.

Madam Chair: Point of order ”“ Professor Burridge

Professor Richard Burridge: 452, Dean of King’s College: Could I invite the Chair of the Business Committee just to clarify, it may be that I misheard, but she said not pressing the button would have the same effect as registering your abstention. I understood the point to be there are 4 things you can do: press the button to say Yes; press the button to say No; press the button to have your abstention registered; and not to vote at all. Could that be clarified please because Sue said it would have the same effect?

Madam Chair: I will just take advice Professor Burridge.
”¦..
The Chair of the Business Committee will clarify that point:

Canon Sue Booys: I am advised, that if you do not press the button you do not formally record any kind of vote at all, and so for example your name will not appear on any lists but not pressing the button will have the same effect to the whole vote as abstaining.
[murmering]

Madam Chair: Could you please direct your remarks through the Chair

Canon Sue Booys: I will just clarify absolutely
”¦
Madam Chair: Please bear with us for just one moment

Canon Sue Booys: I may, I may have worded that slightly poorly. The two thirds majority has nothing to do with either abstentions or votes not cast. I see nods. Is everyone happy with that response? Thank you.

Madam Chair: With that clarification I now put item 501 to the vote. All those in favour of Item 501 please show…thank you. Those against 501 please show”¦. Item 501 is clearly carried. Thank you.
[1:49:24]

Review of Legislation by Synod: Item 502
Madam Chair: We now move swiftly on to Item 502, the draft Amending Canon, No. 33. For the final drafting stage, members will need the draft Measure [GS 1925B] the draft Amending Canon [GS1926B] and the Steering Committee’s Report [GS 1925-6Z]

This is again a take note debate, this time on the Steering Committee’s Report. Members will see from the report that the Steering Committee is not proposing any amendments to the Measure and is only proposing drafting amendments to the Amending Canon. Those drafting amendments will not be moved, but will under Standing Order 59C be deemed to have been made if the take note motion is passed.

I again remind members that they should confine their comments to matters addressed in the Report of the Steering Committee and should not stray into wider matters.

I call on the Chair, the Bishop of Rochester to move Item 502. You may speak for up to 10 minutes.

Rt Revd James Langstaff, Rochester 34: Tempting as it might be to speak for 10 minutes I’m not going to speak for 10 minutes. I don’t necessarily make the same promise in regard to Monday. The main paper you need before you is really the Steering Committee’s Report which has already been referred to [GS1925-6Z] and not least the annex to that report on Page 3.

During some legislative processes this final drafting stage is an important opportunity for some necessary tidying up of the form in which the legislation is presented, and as has already been hinted at, some steering committees go beyond simple technical drafting changes to offer what are known as special amendments.

On this occasion your Steering Committee has been exceedingly restrained. We have no special amendments to bring to you and even the drafting amendments are not about words, but as you will see from the Annex to our Report, simply about some clarificatory renumbering of paragraphs. So it is simply about that sort of clarification ”“ nothing I think which touches upon content or wording at all. I think therefore that our report speaks for itself and I need to detain the Synod no longer. I beg to move the Item at 502 ”˜That the Synod do take note of this report.’

Madam Chair: this item is now open for debate. I see no one standing. I therefore put Item 502 to the vote. Those in favour of 502 please show”¦thank you. Those against please show”¦.That Item 502 is clearly carried.

The motion having been passed, the drafting amendments referred to in the Steering Committee’s Report are deemed to have been made. That completes this item of business. Thank you

to [1:53:27]

Posted in * Admin, * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Featured (Sticky)

(Reuters) Head of Church of England hopeful vote will back women bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was hopeful that the Church of England’s governing body would approve women bishops when it votes on the issue this week.

Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, said the general public would find it “almost incomprehensible” should the General Synod fail to support the move on Monday.

The long-running debate pits reformers, keen to project a more modern and egalitarian image of the church as it struggles with falling congregations in many increasingly secular countries, against a minority of conservatives who see the change as contradicting the Bible.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O thou who hast taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in thine: Help us to attain to this liberty by continual surrender unto thee; that walking in the way which thou hast prepared for us, we may find our life in doing thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Gelasian Sacramentary

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

–Psalm 25:1-4

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Congratulations to Germany, World Cup 2014 Champions

There were definitely the best team–well done.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Germany, Men, South America, Sports

(Tablet) Fears that push for abortion to be included in next Millennium Development Goals

Concern is growing that access to abortion may be included in the 15-year UN development programme that will replace the Millennium Development Goals from the end of next year.

Cafod has said it will be unable to giving 100 per cent backing to the new goals, currently in draft form, which already contain a commitment to grant universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

The 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals will replace the eight existing goals, with the primary aim to end poverty by 2030, and contain for the first time a direct reference to women. The fifth goal currently reads: “Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere.”

The accompanying text, still in draft form, includes bringing an end to female genital mutilation, as well as a commitment to “ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.” Pro-choice groups such as Marie Stopes International ”“ who received £41.5 million in Government funding this year ”“ are campaigning for a dedicated target on sexual and reproductive health and rights under the current health goal.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology