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Latest on womens bishops legislation - General Synod July 8

Permission to be sought to move adjournment motion
The Steering Committee for the draft legislation on Women in the Episcopate has indicated that it intends to seek permission from the Chair of the debate on the Final Approval of the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to move a motion adjourning the debate to enable the House of Bishops to reconsider the amendment made by the House to clause 5 of the draft Measure.

Permission will be sought to move the motion during the Final Approval debate on Monday morning (July 9).

If permission is given to move the motion, and the Synod passes it, the effect will be to adjourn the Final Approval debate on the draft Measure until the House of Bishops can meet (probably in September).  When it does so it will have power to amend the part of the text of the draft Measure previously altered by the amendment it made in May to clause 5.

Following the reconsideration by the House, the Final Approval debate would be resumed at the next group of sessions of the General Synod - the earliest date for which would be in November this year.

 *The two amendments made by the House of Bishops in May (see press release

The amendment made by the House to clause 5
The House accepted an amendment to express in the Measure one of the three principles which the House had agreed in December.  This amendment adds to the list of matters on which guidance will need to be given in the Code of Practice that the House of Bishops will be required to draw up and promulgate under the Measure. It will now need to include guidance on the selection by the diocesan bishop of the male bishops and priests who will minister in parishes whose parochial church council ('PCC') has issued a Letter of Request under the Measure.  That guidance must be directed at ensuring that the exercise of ministry by those bishops and priests will be consistent with the theological convictions as to the consecration or ordination of women which prompted the issuing of the Letter of Request.  Thus the draft Measure now addresses the fact that for some parishes a male bishop or male priest is necessary but not sufficient.

Amendment to Clause 8
The House accepted an amendment making it clear that the use of the word 'delegation' in clause 2 of the draft Measure relates to the legal authority which a male bishop acting under a diocesan scheme would have, and is distinct from the authority to exercise the functions of the office of bishop that that person derived from his ordination.  For example, when another bishop ordains someone to the priesthood he needs permission to do from the bishop of the diocese ("delegation"), but the power to ordain derives from his consecration as a bishop.  The amendment also makes clear that delegation should not be taken as divesting the diocesan bishop of any of his or her authority or functions.


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