Synod approves a “cunning plan”

General Synod extended its morning session to 3.30 this afternoon to complete the discussion of the way forward in the matter of the womenepiscopconsecration of women in the episcopate.

It voted by 319 votes for to 84 against with 22  abstentions to

(a) “reaffirm its commitment to admitting women to the episcopate as a matter of urgency;

(b) instruct the Appointments Committee to appoint this month a Steering Committee to be in charge of the draft legislation required to that end;

(c) instruct the Business Committee to arrange for the First Consideration stage for that draft legislation to be taken at the November 2013 group of sessions, so that the subsequent stages can follow the timetable set out in paragraph 141 of the annex to GS 1886; and

(d) instruct the Steering Committee to prepare the draft legislation on the basis described in paragraphs 79-88 of the annex to GS 1886 as ‘option one’ “ with the addition of mandatory grievance procedure for parishes in which diocesan bishops are required to participate and invite the House of Bishops to bring to the Synod for consideration at the February 2014 group of sessions a draft Act of Synod or draft declaration to be made by the House to accompany the draft legislation; and

(e) urge that the process of facilitated conversations continue to be used at significant points in the formulation and consideration of the draft legislation.

The vote was by way of a steer to the Steering Committee. The Synod also expressed very strong support for the “cunning plan” suggested by the Bishop of Willesden that the Steering Committee be expanded to include representatives of all the various groups that have concerns with relation to the issue; that its processes be through facilitated conversations; and that it be tasked to provide draft legislation which the whole group supports before it is brought to the whole Synod for consideration.

A number of amendments by Clive Mansell and Simon Cawdell sought to modify the nature of the legislation that would be considered. These secured enough support to be taken seriously in the consideration of the new legislation but not enough to command a majority in the votes today.

Chris Sugden at General Synod

Read CofE website report

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