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Monday, July 07, 2008

The CofE Synod Motion

After a 15 year labor, the CofE Synod finally, FINALLY approved the appointment of women to the episcopacy.

The Final Approved Motion

That this Synod:

(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;

(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;

(c) affirm that these should be contained in a statutory national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and

(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.’

The voting was:

Bishops: 28 for 12 against 1 abs

Clergy: 124 for 44 against 4 abs

Laity: 111 for 68 against 2 abs

And now, in some parts of The Anglican Communion, there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth. It will be proclaimed "a dark day in the history of the CofE." Others will say it is the "end of the world as we now know it."

There will not be Peace in the Valley this night. The paradigm of power has shifted once again.

There will be great rejoicing from the mountain tops this night. The stained glass ceiling has finally been broken for women in another church.

Of course, it remains to be seen just how long it takes for the code of practice (read: "accommodations") to be made for those who have strong theological objection to the ecclesiastical authority of women who are bishops.

The task will be to provide a code of practice that will neither be insulting to women or those who oppose women who are bishops, while still maintaining the authority of the office, no matter what person occupies it.

And, as former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple once said, "When we choose wisely, God reigns; when we choose foolishly, God reigns."

I believe the CofE made the wise choice. Others obviously disagree with me. And, either way, God reigns.

A press release from the Episcopal Women's Caucus will be forthcoming.

Okay, I've shown just about enough restraint as I can possibly muster. Can I just say:


Results of vote at Ruth Gledhill's Blog


David@Montreal said...

Lord knows your WOOHOO is long overdue and if anyone deserves this celbratory spin you do.

For me personally at least, the sad fact remains that in too many quarters, the practice of the official organs of Anglican practice is implicitly reactionary- judging the world rather than taking any ownership for the alienation so many feel from our Churches; setting itself up in judgement rather than integrating or intelligently engaging with the findings of contemporary science.

I have yet to hear an apology from any of the official quarters of our Commuion for its centuries of objectification and exploitation of our sisters; for the denial and limiting of their Christian vocations, and for the prioritization of traditionalist sensibilities embodied in the code of practice everyone is scurrying to take their time putting together.

Sorry, but no celebration here- more like 'about bloody time!'


Bill said...

I can't wait to see the post-partum depression in Nigeria.

The “He-Man, Woman Hater Clubs” are all being dragged, kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.

I’m reminded of something Jack Spong said when he came to visit. And it is, that once an issue has been opened for discussion, it will cease to be an issue.

One can only hope that GLBT issues will be the next nut to crack.

Mark said...


Saw your picture on the BBC News website ( You were described as a "campaigner" for the women bishops legislation at the CofE's General Synod.

Does this mean that you'd welcome GAFCON campaigners at General Convention to lobby on behalf of homophobic or misogynistic legislation in our province?

If we are arguing for provincial sovereignty without 'outside' interference, then we ought not spend our summer vacations at other provinces' synods and conventions 'campaigning'.

Let's pray for justice, and work for it in our own parishes, dioceses and provinces. Let's support the work of those working for justice in other provinces. But let's err on the side of respecting provincial boundaries -- when we clamor so justly that others respect ours.

It's a bit condescending and 'colonial' to think that we are what's needed in other provinces' struggles anyway. And it smacks of the unreconstructed lefty's "Don't hold a demo without me!"/partisanship-at-all-costs polemicism -- which we are certainly guilty of in this case.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear Critic,

Well, that got my attention. I went over and checked out the article and no mention of my name was to be found. Neither was there a picture of me.

Then, I saw the picture of Caro, a priest in the CoE and member of Changing Attitudes, standing with Colin Coward.

How brilliant to have been confused with such an outstanding woman, but I fear you guessed incorrectly.

What's worse, you've completely wasted your scolding and a homily veritibly dripping with righteous indignation on the wrong person.


A simple, "Oh, I see I was wrong. I'm sorry," will do just fine. But, I don't expect you to make a return visit.

BTW, you are aptly named, whoever you are.

Mark said...

Oh, I see I was wrong. I'm sorry.

I wonder if others will make the same mistake. It looks so much like your Interweb pics!

Care to comment on my main point? Would it be acceptable to 'campaign' at the CofE synod by those of us in TEC?

And I'll be back! Yours is one of the best blogs out here!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

My, that apology was as gracious as it was prompt. Thank you.

Ah, are you talking about "outside aggitators"? That's a term from our Civil Rights Movement. It was meant to silence the demonstrations because they were becoming embarassing on the evening news.

You know, right out there in front of God and everybody, people saw the injustice for their very own eyes.

Not good. Might bring about change. Don't want that.

I don't know where you are from, Critic, but in America, we beleive in the right to free speech and free assembly.

I truly believe we would not have stopped the War in Viet Nam, the injustice of the denial of Civil Rights to people of color, the shameful lack of government assistance for people with AIDS, and so many other injustices without demonstrations which brought the media to cover the event.

It's called 'non-violent' action. I'm sure you've heard about it in refrence to Dr. King and M.Gandhi.

And, I believe what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

So, if GAFCON folks wanted to come to General Convention in LA in 2009to demonstrate or protest, I say, let 'em come.

Indeed, in I think it was 1997 in Philly, the AAC folk staged a demonstration just before the start of the business day, by walking through convention floor carrying plackards that said, "God's love changed me!" with pictures of people who allegedly had "converted" from gay to straight.

It became an immediate joke. Everyone was suddenly wearing buttons that said, "God's love changed me!" - with the addition of a small pink triange on the bottom.

On the other hand, if TEC folks feel passionately enough about whatever is going on at the CofE to pay the ridiculously expensive air fare to be there and protest, I say, let 'em go.

Personally? I wouldn't, but that's another story.

I think the very best thing that happens for LGBT people at GenCon is when Fred Phelps' people come with their banners and plackards.

It's the best. Absolutely The Best consciousness raising for heterosexual people who always come away saying, "My God, I had no idea the world hated you as much as that. The church must stand against such hatred."


Thanks for the compliments on my blog. I don't exactly know why "it's one of the best out there" - probably because I'm so 'out there' - but I'll take it from someone who calls him/herself "Critic."

Mark said...

You make good points -- particularly the Civil Rights Movement comparison. I thought of that very example when making my comments. Where to draw the line, if at all?

I'm beginning to feel -- as I get older -- that though I have a right, exercising it in each and every case might not be the right thing to do.

We on the left often feel that we are fighting an oppressive, overweening oligarchy that has overtaken our country, church and world. In our images of ourselves, we are the Kent State student, and they are the National Guard. We are the Berrigans, the Dorothy Days and the Gene Robinsons, and they are the Jerry Falwells, John Hagees and Karl Roves. We are David and they are Goliath.

The thing is, when our fellow Anglicans view us and our actions, we are seen by them as part of the Goliath that is America. They see a homogeneous Imperialism that promotes Bush and Exxon and an immodesty and permissiveness that includes but is not limited to homosexuality. Though we see clearly the divide between ourselves as progressive Christians and the powers and principalities that determine our marketplace and foreign policy, most of the Anglican world sees us as part of the same America of the exploitive oil companies who hijack national economies, and the provocative, permissive media images that unsettle traditionalists here as well as those who dislike exploitive images of women.

Therefore, I'm feeling more of an inclination to "say" in our current conflict, "This is what I believe to be the truth of Christ's gospel. But I won't force it upon you like my country does it's oil companies, economics, wars, superficial values, environmental inaccountability, and other hegemonies. I'll stand by what I believe -- and I'll stand by your right to believe what you believe. And pray that you come to see the same light of the Spirit that my province has seen -- long time coming though it was. And I will pray for and honor those who will needlessly suffer until God's justice reigns over all the earth."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

There's a kids song my children used to sing at summer camp: "All God's children got a place in the choir."

I think there are those who are activist, others who are not. Everyone is given a vocation according to the gifts they've been given - and sometimes challenged to use gifts they didn't even know they had.

I do believe with all my heart that "all things work for the good for those who love the Lord."