As well as the posts on this blog, check out the more frequently updated @Synodical Twitter stream, and the #Synod stream below right:

Monday, 7 July 2008

The Women Bishops Debate... as it happened!

(Updated* with information on electronic voting data)

So - it begins. We are about to vote on the first of the amendments - figures here when they are announced!

My friend Adrian has been doing a voting analysis here. It's quite interesting - nobody really likes radical options, but the Bishops hate them!

Item 66
Motion Lost

Bishops for: 14
Bishops Against: 31
Bishops Abstained: 0

Clergy For: 62
Clergy Against: 120
Clergy Abstained: 0

Laity For: 78
Laity Against: 114
Laity Abstained: 0

Item 67
Motion Carried

Bishops for: 28
Bishops Against: 17
Bishops Abstained:

Clergy For: 90
Clergy Against: 89
Clergy Abstained: 4

Laity For: 97
Laity Against: 85
Laity Abstained: 7

Interesting votes so far. The first one suggests that so far, at least, people are not interested in ruling out the 'Code of Practice' option. The second one will make it easier for traditionalists to vote in favour of whatever motion we end up with, but it does water down the level of enthusiasm in the motion a little.

Item 68
Motion Lost

Bishops For: 3
Bishops Against: 40
Bishops Abstained: 2

Clergy For: 28
Clergy Against: 149
Clergy Abstained: 4

Laity For: 36
Laity Against: 147
Laity Abstained: 5

This is surprising - I had expected this one to have a bit more support. Stephen Trott's amendment was essentially an opportunity for Synod not to have to make up its mind yet. The fact that it was defeated so clearly suggests that almost everyone does want a more concrete answer than that. (And the Manchester Group probably just breathed a collective sigh of relief.)

The next motion - the simplest possible legislation option - will almost certainly fall, but it will be interesting to compare the figures with the vote above.

Item 69
Motion Defeated

Bishops For: 7
Bishops Against: 37
Bishops Abstained: 1

Clergy For: 66
Clergy Against: 107
Clergy Abstained: 9

Laity For: 68
Laity Against: 118
Laity Abstained: 4

And so we go on...

Not surprising that this one fell, but it gives some indication of those who are - shall we say - unequivocably in favour.

We are now on to the 'New Structures' bit. The Chairman has asked for a general debate on Items 70 and 71 together, so the next two results should come quite closely together.

Item 70
Motion Defeated

Bishops For: 10
Bishops Against: 32
Bishops Abstained: 3

Clergy For: 53
Clergy Against: 124
Clergy Abstained: 4

Laity For: 71
Laity Against: 116
Laity Abstained: 2

It's looking clearer. +Exeter's amendment follows now and will almost certainly fall too. It is essentially the same, but it does not force the creation of new dioceses in the way that Item 70 did.

Looking at the figures it is clear now that we are going to end up with some sort of variation on Manchester's option 2 - in other words a Code of Practice.

Item 71
Motion Defeated

Bishops For: 14
Bishops Against: 29
Bishops Abstained: 2

Clergy For: 65
Clergy Against: 116
Clergy Abstained: 1

Laity For: 77
Laity Against: 112
Laity Abstained: 0

No surprise there, then. The Chairman has just got consent to extend this sitting to 6.30pm so that we can deal with +Ripon's amendment.

Someone has just said to me, 'So the Establishment is winning, then.' In some ways he might be right, but that's possibly rather too cynical a way of looking at it. OK, the bishops' view probably can be taken to be the establishment view, but it also seems to reflect what looks at the moment to be the majority view - namely some sort of Code of Practice.

Interesting. ++York has just got up to support the Ripon amendment. This is the first of the amendments that provides a real compromise view - the result of it would be a choice in February between a fully worked up Code of Practice, and a fully worked-up set of transferred episcopal authority arrangements. The second of those is as about as far as you can go along the road of special provisions without creating new dioceses. ++Sentamu is a very good speaker, and he might just get his way.

Item 72
Motion Defeated (but passed in the House of Laity...)

Bishops For: 21
Bishops Against: 21
Bishops Abstained: 1

Clergy For: 84
Clergy Against: 92
Clergy Abstained: 2

Laity For: 98
Laity Against: 87
Laity Abstained: 0

That was close...

My guess is that none of the rest of the major amendments - i.e. 74, 75 or 77 - will be passed. However, I would guess that 76 and 78 almost certainly will go through.

As to 73 - anybody's guess!

Well. Back from dinner, and we begin with Emma Forward withdrawing Item 73. We're now on 74, therefore, and +Gloucester has suggested that we might not need a vote by houses this time. That might be wishful thinking on his part...

Item 74
Motion Defeated

Bishops For: 5
Bishops Against: 31
Bishops Abstained: 3

Clergy For: 68
Clergy Against: 85
Clergy Abstained: 20

Laity For: 82
Laity Against: 90
Laity Abstained: 7

No surprise there, then - it really is looking as though there is no appetite for anything in any way hard line, and although it might not have been intended in that spirit, the last amendment did sound rather militant.

So now we're on to 75. We've just had to have an electronic vote to see whether we want to vote on the amendment yet. Democracy, don't you love it! And what do you know - the vote to have a vote was lost, so we carry on...

We've hit a real sticking point, it seems. People for the first time are starting to talk about giving ground or not - Mark Russell has just made a tub-thumper of a speech about showing generosity of spirit.

Item 75
Motion Defeated

Bishops For: 15
Bishops Against: 19
Bishops Abstained: 5

Clergy For: 86
Clergy Against: 78
Clergy Abstained: 8

Laity For: 81
Laity Against: 88
Laity Abstained: 10

So - defeated but only just. On balance that may well be right - the rules issues about what does or does not require whatever sort of majority should probably not be decided by an emotional synod after a long session.

Still, I can't help wonder what sort of effect this will have upon Jacquie Humphreys' amendment. +Gloucester likes this one and thinks we ought to pass it - we'll have to see if people agree.

Item 76: Carried by show of hands.

This is a really encouraging development - not so much that it passed but that it passed without debate and clearly by show of hands.

Item 77
Motion Lost

Bishops For: 1
Bishops Against: 35
Bishops Abstained: 4

Clergy For: 38
Clergy Against: 129
Clergy Abstained: 5

Laity For: 44
Laity Against: 129
Laity Abstained: 7

Well. Home stretch. People didn't really like that last amendment - it was seen as closing down the options for a Code of Practice, and kicked out accordingly.

Given that 76 passed overwhelmingly, I reckon 78 will too, but +Gloucester's reply will make a great deal of difference.

++York and +Gloucester have both asked for it to be rejected, and it has been clearly lost by show of hands.

Item 78 - Motion Lost by show of hands.

Ooh. It's got interesting again. Tom Wright (+Durham) has just got up and tried to adjourn the debate, and +Gloucester has declined to give a steer.

Now +Ripon is extolling the virtues of such motions, saying that he was now glad that the same thing had happened to him over Parochial Fees in February, and +Southwark is about to speak against.

Lost 180 to 203. And that's it. +Liverpool is speaking to the main motion once again, and then +Gloucester sums up and it ends.

The vote will happen in a minute. Clive Mansell has just been given a huge round of applause for his chairing. +Gloucester needs a round of applause too for the way he has handled the amendments with great objectivity. He has also just acknowledged that +Ripon's motion got a majority of the whole synod, and has said that the drafting group must take account of that - although he doesn't yet know how.

Item 20
Motion Carried

Bishops For: 28
Bishops Against: 12
Bishops Abstained: 1

Clergy For: 124
Clergy Against: 44
Clergy Abstained: 4

Laity For: 111
Laity Against: 68
Laity Abstained: 2

++Sentamu has just told the media to make sure they report this properly. We have passed a motion about asking for legislation, we have not kicked out the traditionalists...

So, the motion passed was as follows:

20.‘That this Synod:
(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;
(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;
(c)affirm that these should be contained in a statutory national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and
(d)instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.’

And that's goodnight from me.

Justin GS373

* Updated  16 July 2008
The electronic voting data has now been published online, and Peter Owen has put up a grid of how the bishops voted at Thinking Anglicans.
Alastair Cutting GS101


Adrian Beney said...

Thanks for the updates. Debate characterised by genuine desire to not upset the "other side" it seems, but I can't help feeling the "antis" are using the language of victimhood. I am not saying they ARE victims, nor that they think they are, but I AM making the observation that the language speaks of it.

Adrian Beney said...

Justin your comment about the mood is borne out by the statistics. By dividing the votes into three options: Radical, Progressive and Mild, it appears that the Progressive options are the ones people find most easy to support. Votes on Progressive amendments are being defeated by larger margins in all three houses than Radical or Mild ones.

http://www.beney.org.uk/synodvote.htm has analysis

Voting on most amendments does not vary enormously by house, except the radical ones which for some reason the Bishops really didn't like....

MikeCamel said...

Thanks for the feed. But what does it all mean? I've got lost among all the amendments!

Any chance of a quick synopsis? Are we (women-bishop-pros) celebrating or not?

Charles Read said...

Yes, we are. The motion does not ask for legislation which enshrines discrimination - though FinF will certainly try to pressurise the drafting group to come back with that. +Manchester said the Riopon motion got over half the votes of GS and must be taken seriously - but it still fell (due to voting by houses) and actually did not get much over 50%!

The clergy clearly do not want another Act of Synod or more flying bishops (or ones flying at higher altitudes!)

Justin Brett said...

Mike - I have just edited the post to re-produce the motion as passed, and tidied up my Bishops' names. It was the Bishop of *Gloucester* who was steering the motion through - based on the Bishop of *Manchester's* Report. Sorry for any confusion. It's been a long day...


kendall said...

Sincerest thanks on behalf of so many of us who were not able to be present or to have access to live audio for making this information available.

MikeCamel said...

Yes, many, many thanks for this. It was great to be able to follow things as they were happening. Very much appreciated by many of us!