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Saturday, 5 July 2008

Taking Note: of Women Bishops - (a) 5July2008

When Synod meets in York, some time is spent in prayer & study in disucssion group. These (29!) groups of about 16 people are a great mix of members of the Synod, bishops, clergy, lay folks, and ecumenical visitors, and basically the same group meet each July Synod. Basically the same group, though on this occasion getting the bishops to chair the meeting meant that more bishops than sometimes came to the group discussions.

The groups discussion on Saturday morning was to prepare for the first block of work around this Synod's Women Bishops debate. This was to be a 'take note' debate - that is, to have an opportunity to have wide-ranging discussions around the report, raise questions over points of clarity etc. It is the later debate, due on Monday, where there are to be real votes on crucial issues of the way forward.

click on the link www.cartoonchurch.com to see the rest of the cartoon

The  Manchester Report suggests a number of ways of moving towards having Women Bishops in the church - and interestingly the 'Manchester Group', though theologically and ecclesiologically diverse - and certainly several are personally strongly against the ordination of women to the episcopate - but yet the group were unanimous in their support that the Church of England should move forward at this time.

The Bishop of Manchester, who chaired the group, finished the debate saying that although sometimes people say to us 'Trust me' - and we sometimes don't; instead if we are the ones that say 'I will trust you', as we explore these issues. In this difficult issue for the church, being able to trust is fundamental to a viable way forward.

Alastair, GS101

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