Which bishops want women to join them?

Ruth Gledhill digresses from her Lambeth Diary to give the low-down on which bishops at last week’s General Synod voted for and against the motion on women bishops. This includes some minor surprises. I won’t repeat all the details, but I will give the votes of those bishops in the Church of England who I have been mentioning on this blog.

On “the Bishop of Winchester’s motion, including the reaffirmation of the Lambeth 1998 resolution that both sides in the argument on women priests and bishops are ‘loyal Anglicans’”, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester, otherwise so far apart, were together among the 14 bishops who voted in favour. Among the 31 against this motion were Archbishop John Sentamu of York and bishops John Gladwin of Chelmsford, NT Wright of Durham and Pete Broadbent of Willesden. Ruth writes mischievously that

those who hold traditional views on ministry, men and women who believe implicitly in the Catholic faith contained in creeds and scripture, are now apparently not regarded as loyal Anglicans by two-thirds of the diocesan bishops of the Church of England present and voting at the Synod

– including Sentamu, Gladwin and Wright, also Broadbent who is not in fact “diocesan” but was included in this reckoning. So will Pete Broadbent, despite staying away from the Lambeth Conference, now be rejected by the conservatives? It will be interesting to see.

On the final motion, which I reported here, it seems that Archbishop Sentamu and bishops Gladwin and Broadbent were among 28 voting in favour, whereas 12 bishops including Nazir-Ali and Wright voted against, and Archbishop Williams abstained, alone – although at least four bishops seem to have absented themselves as 45 voted on several of the amendments. Well, at least I can agree with my own diocesan bishop on something. But there is surely something symbolically significant in the one who is supposed to be leading the Church of England choosing to abstain.

4 thoughts on “Which bishops want women to join them?

  1. Pete (Broadbent) posts on Ship of Fools and he’s said he will not make any public comments about Lambeth.

    I don’t know what the ‘categories’ of evangelical are, but he’s certainly not ‘GAFCON evangelical’ and never was. Strikes me as pretty much an old-fashioned, sane, middle of the road evangelical. Yes, he’s ‘pro-tradition’ with respect to the gay issue but I don’t think this one necessarily qualifies a person as ‘conservative evangelical’.

  2. Pam, let me just clarify that I am not at all opposed to Pete Broadbent. My own position is probably quite close to his, not happy with Lambeth (though not afraid to say so publicly) but not entirely convinced about GAFCON either. I watch with interest to see which way Broadbent jumps, or is pushed. I’m not sure how long his position can be tenable – nor for that matter mine. But it is much easier for me to just leave the Church of England if that seems necessary.

  3. Peter, I surely ain’t a politician, and I’m sure the best way to find out why +Pete stayed away is to ask him directly… But I think you are absolutely right that Ruth was “mischievous” in quoting these figures the way she did. The reality of all debates in bodies like the general synod is that you have a flow of amendments (17 I believe on this occasion) which contain various nuances that nudge proceedings a tad one way or another as events unfold. Therefore people vote all kinds of ways on amendments, sometimes because of nuances and even individual words that only influence in the context of the flow of the debate, and their perception of the person proposing the amendment. That is politics. To pick out voting figures on one of the 17 and derive absolute positions from it is highly tendentious — no I prefer your word, mischievous. Almost as much so as pulling out a personal letter of +Rowan’s about Bible interpretation from 8 years ago and splashing it over the front page of the Times the day after the Lambeth Conference…

  4. Thank you, Bishop Alan. Well, Bishop Pete told Ship of Fools that he wouldn’t say why he stayed away, so we can only speculate. Yes, I agree that The Times is being a bit mischievous in all this, but then the C of E and the Anglican Communion don’t need The Times to make them look ridiculous.

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