Dr Philip Giddings: The Way Ahead

So where are we now? After the debates in deaneries and dioceses, the General Synod will debate the Draft Measure in 2012. Two questions remain uppermost in people’s minds: is ‘provision’ needed? If so, what sort of provision is needed? ‘Provision’ means making arrangements in the legislation for clergy and parishes who have conscientious objections to the principle of consecrating women bishops. Although some of the leading advocates of the principle of having women bishops believe that any such provision is unacceptable, the Draft Measure does include provision in the form of a Code of Practice.

However, for those who do have conscientious objections to the principle of consecrating women bishops, the proposed Code of Practice route is inadequate: in their view it does not provide them with the security they need. [A complication here is that, in order to avoid appearing to anticipate Parliament’s decision on the Draft Measure itself, the actual Code of Practice is not yet available. An ‘illustrative draft’ has been presented to the General Synod but it has not been adopted by any authoritative body.] This is the main issue in the debate about the legislation, although many continue to dispute the principle of the acceptability of consecrating women as bishops. In this concluding chapter, therefore, we will focus on the issue of provision and examine whether there is a better way ahead than the Draft Measure currently being considered.

Why is provision needed at all?

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