UK: Unity and Minorities in the General Synod debate on Women Bishops

david at david at
Fri Jul 9 16:38:06 EDT 2010

UK: Unity and Minorities in the General Synod debate on Women Bishops

by Stephen Trott and Chris Sugden, members of General Synod
July 8th, 2010 

At General Synod there will be a great desire to keep everyone together in one Church as far as possible.

In 'A Question of Jurisdiction' (Church of England Newspaper July 8th 2010) Chris has noted: "It will be argued that as these provisions  would be for a minority, they do not need to be guaranteed in law. But this is not the way we deal with minority rights in other sections of society. If it were proposed to treat minorities on the basis of religion, disability or race, in the way that the minority opposed to women bishops are to be treated in this measure - ie with no statutory protection, there would be political uproar."

A General Synod paper GS 1685B notes the following statistics about Church of England Parishes who have made use of the current provision (to be abolished) for securing male priests.

2.8% of parishes (373) have passed all three resolutions;

6.1% of parishes (811) have passed Resolution A

7.4% of parishes (977) have passed Resolution B

These would not of course include parishes in such dioceses as London, Chichester or Blackburn where parishes currently have no need to pass such resolutions as they are not perceived to be needed. Equally one might add that many parishes have not passed any Resolutionsbecause their incumbent is a traditional Anglican and therefore no Resolution is perceived to be needed. In at least one diocese a number of traditionalist clergy/parishes have not passed resolutions, but would if they had to. And there are many Anglicans who are in a minority in parishes which have discussed but not passed the Resolutions.

In other cases involving minorities in the Church of England, there is a great concern for "inclusion" and inclusivity.  We should be aware of the need therefore to include as full members those who form this particular "minority" on the matter of women bishops. 


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