on business from the General Synod at Church House
After a service of Holy Communion there were four items discussed by the General
Guildford Report is the first attempt to consider how the Church will
cope with the divisions caused if legislation to consecrate women as Bishops
goes ahead. At this stage a decision has still not been made to approve the
consecration of women Bishops. The report was introduced and taken note of
this morning and it was noticeable that far more people were called from those
opposed to the innovation. A more substantial motion will be debated, at greater
length, on Thursday morning.
Of the conservative evangelicals called to speak were the following:
- Jane Bisson (Channel Islands) argued that the proposals in the
report were born out of desperation and that the Church is tearing itself
apart. She did not wish to see further division caused by going ahead.
Macleay (Vicar of St. Nick’s Sevenoaks) argued that
conservative evangelicals are being ignored and pointed out that
no evangelical opposed to the ordination of women had been appointed
as a Diocesan Bishop in the last decade.
- Sarah Finch (London)
asserted that women were being disenfranchised if they accepted biblical
models of ministry rather than those now current in the Church. She argued
that justice requires us to recognise that men and women are different.
Thomas (Exeter & Reform Press Officer) argued that there must
be acceptable provision for those opposed to the ordination
of women and stated that the Guildford proposals (called TEA) are a reasonable
starting place for this.
- Dr Chick Kaw Tan (Lichfield) stated that the
arguments for consecrating women as a matter of natural justice were
irrelevant if the original decision is wrong. He also argued that reception
meant that the practice must be universally accepted.
The afternoon and early evening saw three largely uncontroversial and uneventful
debates all of which were passed unanimously.
Seeds in Holy
Ground is a report on rural issues. The Synod affirmed its commitment
to work (ecumenically) to sustain and support an effective Christian presence
in each rural community. It also called on national and local government to
do more for rural communities and to involve churches (and other faith groups)
in decision-making. The report itself was commended for study in rural churches
and national church bodies were called upon to monitor and review the issues.
Pushing at the
Boundaries of Unity is a report on Anglican-Baptist relations.
This was commended for study but churches and feedback requested by the end
of 2007. It should be noted that the Baptists involved in this dialogue are
the Baptist Union not the reformed or particular Baptist churches who are much
more biblically conservative.
Mutual Expectations is a report on the Church of England’s colleges
and universities. The continuing involvement is recognised as of great benefit
of the Church and the institutions and builds upon the very strong involvement
in primary and secondary educations. There were a number of people in the debate
who called for the distinctive approach of church colleges to be maintained
although the speakers did not really flesh out what this meant in practice.
The motion passed was affirmative of the colleges and called for greater partnership
between dioceses and the higher education institutions.