Archbishops release Amendment text

Rowan Williams and John Sentamu have released the text of their amendment on Women Bishops due to be presented to Synod next week. The amendment reads as follows:

Draft amendments to omit reference to delegation
Co-ordinate Jurisdiction

Clause 2

1. In subsection (1) leave out the words “way of delegation to”.

2. After subsection (1) insert –

“(2) The episcopal ministry referred to in subsections (1), (3) and (5) shall be exercisable by virtue of this section and shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions.

Clause 5

In section 5(1)(b), at the end, insert the words “and, in particular, arrangements for co-ordinating the exercise of episcopal ministry under section 2(1), (3) and (5) by the bishop of the diocese and any other bishop who exercises episcopal ministry in accordance with those subsections”.

Got all that? The effect of this amendment is to change Clause 2(1) from

The bishop of each diocese shall be under a duty to make and publish a scheme containing arrangements in his or her diocese for the exercise by way of delegation to a male bishop who is a member of the House of Bishops of the diocesan synod of that or another diocese of episcopal ministry which appears to the bishop of the diocese to relate to —

(a) the celebration of the sacraments and other divine service in parishes which request such arrangements in accordance with section 3, or

(b) the provision of pastoral care to the clergy and parishioners in those parishes.

to

The bishop of each diocese shall be under a duty to make and publish a scheme containing arrangements in his or her diocese for the exercise a male bishop who is a member of the House of Bishops of the diocesan synod of that or another diocese of episcopal ministry which appears to the bishop of the diocese to relate to —

(a) the celebration of the sacraments and other divine service in parishes which request such arrangements in accordance with section 3, or

(b) the provision of pastoral care to the clergy and parishioners in those parishes.

The episcopal ministry referred to in subsections (1), (3) and (5) shall be exercisable by virtue of this section and shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions.

If you’re still scratching your head, let me explain the mystery of the wording to you. By removing the words “by way of delegation” from Clause 1, the legal authority for the “flying bishop” in parishes that cannot recognise the authority of a female bishop derives not from the good will or otherwise of the Diocesan but rather from the measure itself. The upshot of this is that the role of the “flying bishop” will be roughly the same across the whole of England and cannot be varied simply on the whim of the Diocesan (which is how the un-amended measure ultimately works out).

Interestingly, the Archbishop’s proposed solution is very similar to that proposed last year by Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, in an attempt to find a solution to the issues around jurisdiction. That proposal was rejected by the Revision Committee (which Pete Broadbent sat on) but it will be interesting to see whether Synod takes the same view.

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