20 December 2012
The summary of decisions taken by the House of Bishops at its
latest meeting (December 2012) has been published.
The summary can be read below and will be posted on the Church
of England website.
SUMMARY OF DECISIONS
- A meeting of the House of Bishops was held at Lambeth Palace on
10-11 December 2012. Those matters reported below reflect the
items discussed and decisions agreed upon.
- The House considered the consequences of the 20
November General Synod vote on the draft Bishops and
Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure. The
House recognised and felt the profound and widespread sense of
anger, grief and disappointment experienced by so many in the
Church of England and beyond. The House considered that the
present situation was unsustainable for all, whatever their
convictions, and affirmed that the Church of England now had to
resolve the issue through its own processes as a matter of great
urgency. It was agreed that a statement from the House of Bishops
on this issue would be released as soon as possible after the
conclusion of the meeting.
- The House expressed its gratitude and appreciation for the
ministry of ordained women in the Church of England, and its
sadness that recent events had left so many feeling undermined and
- The House had the benefit of four senior female members of
General Synod participating in their discussion. The House
agreed to hold an event in early 2013 to which lay and ordained
women will be invited, to discuss how the culture of its processes
and discussions might be changed and a more regular contribution
from women secured.
- The House also set up a working group drawn from all three
Houses of Synod (the membership to be determined by the Archbishops
and announced before Christmas), to arrange facilitated discussion
with a wide range of people of a variety of views in the week of 4
February and to advise the House so that it can decide in May what
fresh legislative proposals to bring before the next meeting of the
General Synod in July.
- The House considered a number of items relating to
appointments, personal data and ministry and:
- agreed draft guidelines on Clergy Current Status
Letters and Clergy Personal Files subject to some further
- approved new model guidance on Parochial
- noted a presentation on the funding of Bishops' Legal
Costs, with reference to upcoming local training
- approved revisions to the 1975 Guidelines on
Deliverance Ministry; and
- agreed to the abolition of the obsolete Bishops' Agreed
Maximum for theological colleges.
- The House considered an interim report from the group
chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling on the Church of England's
approach to human sexuality. Pending the conclusion of the group's
work next year the House does not intend to issue a further
pastoral statement on civil partnerships. It confirmed that the
requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for
ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are
consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally
in relation to the episcopate.
- The House was updated in relation to a draft document in
preparation from the Faith and Order Commission in relation to
the doctrine of marriage. The House agreed
that, once further revisions had been made, it could be issued with
the agreement of the Standing Committee as a FAOC document and
commended for study.
- The Archbishop of Canterbury briefed the House on recent events
throughout the Anglican Communion.
- The House approved new policies in relation to Local
- The House approved a proposal to update the publication of
Bishops' Working Costs.
- The House was briefed in relation to ongoing work by the
Archbishops' Task Group on Spending Plans.
- The House was briefed on the published results of the
2011 Census. The House noted a statement
which had been made on the results.