Bishop Stephen Cottrell of Chelmsford's Diocesan Synod Address from this past Saturday

So now to the crux of the matter. Should we still support this legislation? This diocese has 14 members of General Synod. From traditional Anglo-Catholic to conservative evangelical (and pretty much everything in between), we represent the spectrum of views on this and many other issues. When electing us, the diocese did a good job of making sure every voice was heard. This isn’t the same in other dioceses. It gives us strength.

I believe these amendments will give succour to those who were beginning to feel more and more marginalised. I hope that some who were thinking of voting against the measure will now vote in favour, or at least decide to abstain. At the same time the second amendment I have spoken about has hurt and confused a large number of people, and especially many women priests. I want them to know that I understand their anxiety. Nevertheless, I also want all of you to know that despite my own misgivings I will still be voting for the legislation. I will not be asking for it to be returned to the dioceses and looked at again….

Read it all.


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5 comments on “Bishop Stephen Cottrell of Chelmsford's Diocesan Synod Address from this past Saturday

  1. Saltmarsh Gal says:

    This is a very thoughtful piece and thank you, Kendall, for posting it. The derived vs. delegated distinction is helpful in many ways. One other thing that struck me was the Bishop’s encouragement to be willing to seek a Godly compromise. This is one consideration (alongside many others) that has been largely missing, IMHO, in the TEC wars which seem to be characterized by all or nothing thinking. Given the theological range at work in the Diocese of Chelmsford, I will be watching with interest to see what unfolds in that place.

  2. Ian+ says:

    Bp Cottrell is more of a liberal catholic, but a generous one. He seems genuinely to care for the traditionalists in his cure. (His books on prayer and evangelism are good reads too.)

  3. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    Surely women are either bishops or not? What a mess.

  4. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “The legislation, as it was proposed, received overwhelming support amongst the dioceses, including our own.” [/blockquote]
    In a way that is true, but it is also misleading: the “overwhelming support” was from Diocesan Synods, whose delegates mainly represent a large number of struggling (and often dying) churches across England.

    Many (if not most) of the largest and growing congregations in England are strongly opposed to women bishops, but their views tend to be swamped in the Diocesan Synods.

    Note also at Diocesan level, only two dioceses opposed the legislation, but one of these was Dio. London. According to a recent study, this is the only diocese in CofE which has consistently grown over the last 20 years.

    +Cotterell’s article is good, but he still isn’t facing the hard facts: In the main, the people in CofE who want women bishops are the ones who seem happy to be part of a declining CofE; whereas the people who are playing an active part to grow the CofE don’t want women bishops.

  5. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “However, because most of these assurances were in the Code – of which we have only seen a draft – and not in the measure, there was – is – a very real danger that the legislation would not gain the two thirds majority in each house of Synod that is necessary for it to go through.” [/blockquote]
    One problem – even after these amendments, most of the Code still remains an unknown quantity. Even the draft (which I understand most members of the Church of England have not yet seen) can be altered by the House of Bishops before they finalise it, and they will do this AFTER Synod votes on the measure.

    Effectively, the HOB is saying to evangelicals, anglo-catholics and liberals: “Trust us, we’re bishops. Please vote to accept women bishops in July, then wait for us to tell you the terms on which you get them. Oh and by the way, whatever we decide will become civil law as well”.