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Synod Sinks Hopes of Church of England Staying Together. Schism in all but name

Synod Sinks Hopes of Church of England Staying Together. Schism in all but name

By David W. Virtue
July 11, 2010

News from the Church of England's General Synod meeting in York was terse and direct: The Liberals have won. By 2014 the Church of England will ordain its first woman bishop.

By a procedural technicality the Archbishops' amendment was defeated, and conservative Anglicans here are now unchurched.

Basically, the Church of England is over. It is now Province XVII of The Episcopal Church. The Church of England has run up the TEC flag over York.

As one liberal commentator trumpeted, "It is the triumph of Anglican women. The General Synod's rejection of compromise on women bishops is historic. There's no return from here."

The Archbishops' Amendment on women bishops was lost. The voting figures were as follows:

House of Bishops 25; Against 15; Abstentions 0

House of Clergy 85; Against 90; Abstentions 5

House of Laity 106; Against 86; Abstentions 4

Totals 216; Against 191; Abstentions 9

By the procedural device of vote by Houses, though this commanded a majority in the Synod as a whole, it lost because it failed to command a two-thirds majority in the House of Clergy.

The House of Clergy includes 38 women out of about 205 = 18%.This includes Deacons. There is not a huge number in England (In TEC it tends to refer to those who are in their first or second year post-ordination, before being ordained Priest.). The House of Laity includes 85 women out of 212 = 40%.

A meeting of conservatives (Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals) tonight will update the Church of England on the current state of play. The House of Bishops meets separately Monday morning, with an announcement to follow later in the day.

Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals will look to see what can be salvaged from the ecclesiastical wreckage.

The Church of England Synod has at least 10 more hours of debate over the next three days on the terms under which women will be consecrated as bishops - a step that was formally approved two years ago. Women priests have been ordained in the Church of England since 1994 and now represent nearly a third of the church's working clergy.

There have been calls for the Archbishop of Canterbury to resign. He has said he will not.

VIRTUEONLINE will put out a special digest on Tuesday covering this momentous event. We will have news, commentary, news analysis and much more.



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