R-E-S-P-E-C-T the House of Bishops

By jove, I think they’ve got it!

At least, I hope and pray they have. The House of Bishops that is. “It” being wording which will allow the mission and ministry of the Church of England to move on, and those women with the appropriate calling to be ordained bishop. It now rests with the General Synod who meet (if I understand correctly) in November (14th-16th), for the specific purpose of voting on the legislation to enable bishops to be of either sex.

I wanted to give myself an easy reference point of the final wording of Clause 5(1)(c) and the comments that have followed today, as a means of thinking through my own reactions.  For what it’s worth, they’re shared here:

Press Release from the new CofE Media Centre – short, clear and positive in how it reads. I get the impression the House of Bishops really want this matter voted through and the world to move on. May that prayer be answered, and may we who are members of the Church of England show them the respect they deserve for listening to the simple words of a woman, and deciding that they give us the best chance of earning us the belated respect of the nation.

Lay Anglicana hailing the wisdom of the Revd Janet Appleby (General Synod member) whose suggested rewording of the much debated clause received the “overwhelming” support of the Bishops. The dubbing of the Clause as the ‘Appleby Amendment’ should stick – in all senses. The post also leads to the thought that the onus for the move towards a general acceptance of ‘bishops’ as being either male or female, will rest firmly in the hands of local lay people, if the Appleby Amendment is accepted.

The Opinionated Vicar has highlighted today’s notable silences.  WATCH have in fact written to members last night noting their “disappointment that the House of Bishops today decided not to withdraw Clause 5(1)c” and saying they will “consult with our members and others” before deciding their public position. As a member, I publicly ask here and now that WATCH support the Appleby Amendment.

From their different point of view, Reform‘s silence thus far may well be for the same reason, and should thus be commended.

Peter Ould points out that “to respect a position means one has to not just recognise it but also take it into account when responding to it”. For some that may be hard work, but there are few things that are fruitful, that do not require tender loving care and hard graft, so if the General Synod votes the whole legislation through, let us be prepared to make respect a reality.

Thinking Anglicans as usual were the first to offer space for people to comment on the text of the House of Bishop’s statement and the Archbishop’s podcast which followed it. The comments on the post are of particular interest as they offer a range of viewpoints. I guess that my reaction to some of these is that now is the time for the game of semantics to end, and let’s hope we don’t need the lawyers to get too involved.

There may well be other comments made in places I haven’t noticed and in the days to come, especially since the Appleby Amendment came too late for the Church Times paper edition. Their website gets the ball rolling with Paul Handley’s item, which I presume is free to view until next week.

But by that time, I shall be concentrating on other things, but still praying.




  1. Interesting observation on Thinking Anglicans comments that, whatever happens at Synod, Parliament could still split it into two parts and pass one and reject the other. So, theoretically, they could pass the main bit allowing women to be bishops and reject the bits which it might view as discriminatory (but which ‘traditionalists’ think essential).


  2. A useful summary, thanks Rachel. I agree with you and hope that WATCH supports the Appleby Amendment. I think this is the chance we’ve been waiting for. Will keep praying!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s