This is hardly the Guardian, but I’ll try to post some frequent short comments… There’s now a new page for the afternoon session.
12.45 I’d just lost the will to live, despite coffee and an illicit donut! Speeches not offering much new at present. But Archbishop Sentamu is just livening it up, though – calling Archbishop-elect Welby and then Philip Giddings, Chair of the House of Laity (and a conservative) and Archdeacon Christine Hardman… So the big guns are back.
Bp Welby offering calm and committment to working for and with ‘opponents’: not just ‘respect’, but loving one another. It’s gone very quiet in the tea room (and, I guess, in the Chamber). ‘I urge the General Synod to vote for this motion’ Clapometer goes off the scale… Dr Giddings – agrees with almost everything Bp Welby said – but will vote against. As a representative of the laity wants to make sure their voice is heard. We can find a better way that does not exclude. We need to gain the consent of those opposed. But he is not being listened to with the same interest or respect. Clapometer busy, but not to the same extent… Archdeacon Hardman who devised much of the proposal before us in its early days) not sure how to vote, because she does not want a Code of Practice that offers second-class Bishops. True reconciliation requires people to go to the point where they think may they have betrayed their original beliefs. She is at that point, and despite reservations, will vote in favour – to get us off the treadmill and establish men and women in the
The first speakers after lunch will be Tom Sutcliffe and the Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent. Stay tuned to the live stream… We start again at 2.15.
1205 That’ll teach me to move out of the chamber. Lost my connection and also some content.
Fantastic sparky speech from Young Anglican Hannah Page: born in 1992, Synod has been discussiing this her whole life! Dour speech from Bishop of Gibralter, citing traditonal Catholic faith and order as reasons to say no. Poster girl for women in ministry, Rosie Harper (she’s in all the papers – and a fellow Bishops Chaplain) on reasons to say Yes. Rod Thomas of Reform trying to set out conservative evangleical theology, but he was up against the clock of the speech limit. One of my Bath & Wells lay reps, Edward Armitstead, setting out the fears and complaints of conservative evanglicals (lack of trust, loss of young male ordinands, lack of being heard at Diocesan level… And April Alexander, setting out ‘we are where we are’; there are no alternatives: we can’t square the circle, but need to go with what we’ve got.
1140 It’s a bit less high profile now. Time to listen in the tea-room… The Revd Janet Appleby, who invented the ‘respect’ text we now have, spoke well: the measure is the best we can do. Rebecca Swyer on why she cannot vote in favour – if it is to happen, let’s get a better Measure. The Bishop of Salisbury, Nick Holtam, caught everyone’s attention – his maiden speech. 1/3 of his clergy are female, including a Dean and Archdeacon. If we are to allow God to bring forward the best of our clergy to higher offices, we must go ahead. Two speakers so far from conservative laity complaining that their views are being shut out. No Bishops hold ‘complementarian’ view of male and female. Lorna Ashworth says ‘we are not wanted’: murmers of ‘NO’ from around the chamber. Clapometer registers loud clapping from a very few people.
11.25 The new Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, made a very good contribution (Chichester often believed to be an ‘anti-women’ diocese, though it’s not as simple as that). He made two very clear points: 1. He will have to vote against; 2 if it is passed, he will make it work in his diocese. ‘Nuff said… he’s preparing for it to be passed?
Followed by a very emotional speech from James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool. Church will collapse without its women clergy; women have fed Jesus, taught, served, preached, Supreme Governor… He has changed his view on the matter, and believes we should vote yes. Subtle hint to conservative evangelicals to do the same thing…?
All the big guns out now. Fr David Houlding, doyen of the Catholic Group, also sounding close to tears. What are we to pray for when ‘both sides’ are ‘right’? We are where we are? If this passes, he too will make it work. We all have an honoured place
11.00 Archbishop Sentamu is in the chair: it’s a very full house. The Bishop of Manchester introduced the debate with a calm and eirenic ‘this is how we got to where we are’ which was very warmly received. Then the Chair of the Catholic Group, Fr Simon Killwick spoke giving reasons why, in his view, the current legislation will not do. He was received politely, but without enthusiasm – my personal clapometer reckoned loud applause from a small-ish number, gentle applause from the majority. But was it a 2/3 majority?
Rachel Treweek, archdeacon of Hackney now speaking powerfully about how the Olympics were predicted tobe a disaster and a mess for East London – but it was wonderful. The same may be true if we vote yes today. We don’t need fences against each other, but we can respect our boundaries under the proposals. The circle cannot be squared: but this is about the Kingdom of God where we look out for each other’s needs… Very well received speech.