At approximately 5.50pm last Tuesday night (27th Nov 2012), the Right Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, climbed into the pulpit at All Saints, Cuddesdon to preach to the massed ranks of ordinands and their newly resident community of nuns. He looked at his watch, and commented that it was a week, almost to the hour, since General Synod had made a big mistake.
Then, with Rt Revd Michael Perham the Bishop of Gloucester (who was presiding at Eucharist) looking on, Bishop John apologised. He apologised on behalf of the General Synod for making a mess of things over the issue of female bishops, and specifically for making our lives as ordinands, and our ministries in curacy, even more difficult than it is already.
He went on to explain that in the days immediately after the General Synod vote, he had met with 50+ of the 250ish female clergy of his diocese, to try to share their pain and hear their immediate responses.
With the news yesterday that the Archbishop’s Council have this week
recommended that the House of Bishops, during its meeting in a fortnight’s time, put in place a clear process for discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July
I was set wondering as to whether all the Diocesan Bishop’s will be holding such meetings with their clergy before the House of Bishop gather to consider the next synodical steps in this painful journey.
So last night, with the help of Twitter, I discovered the details I list below.
You may well be able to add to this, and if so, I would invite you to please ‘comment’ the details below, so that those who might not have such meetings planned in the near future, and/or whose Diocesan synods meet this weekend, can have a clear picture of where they fit into the pattern of communication and care provided by the Bishops of their Diocese, to those affected by and concerned about last weeks vote.
- Durham, St. Albans, Oxford, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Southwark have met with clergy already, in some cases only with the female clergy, though in the case of St Albans all clergy/readers/laity have been asked to write with feedback
- Bishops in Sheffield were meeting their clergy last night
- Dover/Canterbury is holding a Eucharist and discussion on Saturday 1st Dec, which is open to all, not just clergy
- Ely Bishops are hosting Eucharist, coffee and discussion on Saturday 1st Dec
- Exeter are meeting Monday 3rd December
- St Edmundsbury and Ipswich meet on 5th December
- Southwell and Nottingham on 6th December
- Liverpool meet (with only the female clergy) on 6th December
- Chelmsford is hosting a Champagne breakfast (not sure when)
- Gloucester is meeting all clergy next week for Eucharist, with lunch provided for discussions with female clergy aftewards
- Coventry has planned a gathering for early December
Among the additional comments I received on Twitter last night were the following:
- disappointment that not all these meetings are open to all clergy, some are just for the female ones
- in those diocese that have already had meetings, the ‘diary clearing’ by Bishops that enabled them has been much appreciated.