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House of Bishops summary of decisions published

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.




  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 undervalued.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 revisions;
    • approved new model guidance on Parochial Appointments;
    • noted a presentation on the funding of Bishops' Legal Costs, with reference to upcoming local training sessions;
    • approved revisions to the 1975 Guidelines on Deliverance Ministry; and
    • agreed to the abolition of the obsolete Bishops' Agreed Maximum for theological colleges.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. The Archbishop of Canterbury briefed the House on recent events throughout the Anglican Communion.
  10. The House approved new policies in relation to Local Ecumenical Policy.
  11. The House approved a proposal to update the publication of Bishops' Working Costs.
  12. The House was briefed in relation to ongoing work by the Archbishops' Task Group on Spending Plans.
  13. The House was briefed on the published results of the 2011 Census.  The House noted a statement which had been made on the results.

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