Church of England’s legislation on women bishops ‘needs more work’

From Christian Today

The Church of England’s governing body has heard that more work needs to be done on draft legislation to allow women bishops.

General Synod is considering legislation making provision for those who cannot in conscience accept a woman bishop, including an amendment that would grant greater authority to clergy providing alternative oversight.

The Manchester motion is based on an amendment put forward by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in 2010 and proposes ‘co-ordinate’ jurisdiction in dioceses where a parish has requested male oversight.

This would make the intervening male bishop less subject to the authority of the female diocesan bishop than under the ‘delegated’ jurisdiction being proposed in the draft legislation as it stands.

The Rt Rev Nigel Stock, the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, told Synod that the committee on the draft Code of Practice, which he chaired, had sought to enable “consistency” and “avoid confusion” in the application of the scheme.

Canon Chris Sugden, of orthodox group Anglican Mainstream, questioned whether the Code of Practice would be able to achieve this.

He said: “They produced a code for two bishops to work together, neither of whom believes in principle in what they are called to do – one to receive delegation from a person they might not regard in episcopal orders, the other to give delegation to which they in principle object.

“This disagreement needs to be addressed and this gap reached across. Is the code of practice strong enough to bridge this principled disagreement?”

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