The call for diversity
Paul Cartwrighturges the General Synod to support the Manchester following motion
I amone of the representatives from the Wakefield Diocese and I have to report that when we discussed the Manchester following motion it was supported in all 3 houses. The debate was highly charged, with emotions running high on all sides, but it was done so in a prayerful and respectful way.
A minority of members voted against the following motion, even though a majority of members are in favour of women bishops, and I think that here lies a live example for this synod to learn from.
Some of the arguments made had been heard time and time again, with the clergy members being expert at this, but some, if not the majority of convincing arguments which led to the synod to vote for the following motion in every house came from the laity.
Make or break
Today’s business could be the make or break of the future of the Church of England, and certainly all media eyes are on us. We almost have women bishops, they are within the grasp of this Synod, but we need to ensure that we also care for those who hold a differing position.
Look around you, can you offer love and compassion to those who you don’t agree with within this chamber? I think this was done in the Wakefield diocese as it recognized the importance of diversity within the Church. We talk about equality, but very rarely do we talk about diversity.
A win win situation
We must not have second-class bishops which are discriminated against, regardless of which side of the debate they sit on, a diocesan bishop male or female, or male bishops who care for those people unable to accept the ordained ministry of women. We need to work for a win win situation, and one way in which this can be achieved is by supporting the Manchester following motion. This is what the Wakefield diocese voted for, and I urge you to do the same today.
The motion was proposed by the Dean of Wakefield, who said in his address that he fully supported women bishops, but he also said that he believed that proper provision should be provided for those who held an opposing view to that which he did. He had the courage to speak out for those who he believed needed protection in this process, just like Archdeacon Vann, even though he was strongly criticized by some for doing so, but this didn’t stop him from doing what he believed to be right.
Chair, I am going to take synod back to several things which were said on Monday this week during our debate on assisted dying. We heard that the law exists so that there is an equality of protection, which means protection for all; and we also heard one of our colleagues state that she would not cast a stone at people who think differently to her, as we need to take other people’s thoughts and feelings much more seriously.
This is what is expected of us here today. Chair, for some in the chamber, they will have come with pre-formed ideas, already knowing how they will vote, and the people with these views will tend to be poles apart, but for others; they will actually listen to the debate and vote accordingly. This is one of the reasons why Wakefield supported the following motion, so that synod could consider the Archbishops’ amendment property with plenty of time. Today we can help make history.
Wouldn’t it be great for the media to report that the Church of England had finally decided to stop squabbling, that individuals in synod had stopped thinking about their own wants, and instead argued for the needs of others, that rather than offering fishbones (if I may use the Archbishop’s analogy) we could offer a whole fish, maybe even we could have a true miracle and multiply the number of fish.
Chair, the synod has voted to have women bishops, let us now make sure that we hold the church together with our actions today and allow proper provision for those who need it, in a way that they have told us they need, not as we as a synod think they need. When on that day of judgement when we all have to account for our actions, I don’t think that God will judge us negatively for being too generous to those who we don’t agree with. As we have heard the spirit blows where it will, and it would appear to have blown with concern for those who need proper provision, maybe even led by our Archbishops. As the Wakefield Diocese did, I will support the Manchester motion, unamended, and I urge you all in the interests of fairness, love, compassion and diversity within the Church to do the same.ND
Return to Trushare Home Page
Return to Home Page of This Issue