14 November 2009
The Revision Committee met for its third scheduled meeting
yesterday (13 November) since 8 October (see earlier
statement). It concluded a substantial exploration of ways in
which the draft legislation could be amended to enable certain
functions to be vested by statute in bishops who would provide
oversight for those unable to receive the episcopal and/or priestly
ministry of women.
After much discussion, the members of the Committee were unable
to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting
which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the
ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that
development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting
particular functions by statute were defeated.
The effect of the Committee's decision is therefore that such
arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal
ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the
diocesan bishop rather than vesting.
There remain important issues for the Committee to determine at
its forthcoming meetings over the shape of the proposed legislation
in the light of this decision, in particular whether to retain a
statutory code of practice or adopt the simplest possible
The work of a Revision Committee in scrutinising draft
legislation, and in considering submissions to amend it, is only
part of a longer legislative process. The Revision Committee on
this draft legislation will report to the full General Synod at the
conclusion of its work and the Synod will debate its proposals and
have its own opportunity to support, amend or invite further
reconsideration of the legislation by the Revision Committee.
Further stages in the legislative process would require
consideration of any legislation by the Diocesan Synods of the
Church of England, final approval by the General Synod,
Parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent.