The next issue of newdirections is published on 5th October
This month the Bishops of the Church of England will meet to discuss the legislation that would allow women to be consecrated to the episcopate. They are being guided by a General Synod document GS Misc 1033 which contains various options as to the different ways in which the legislation might be amended in order to provide some small provision for those who cannot accept the innovation.
The bishops have an unenviable task but they must act to ensure that there is provision for us and that the provision is adequate for our needs. If the Bishops are serious about listening to all sides and understanding us and what we need then they will seek to be as generous as possible.
Speaking in earlier debates the Archbishop of Canterbury said he was seeking a way in which all of the different voices in this debate could be happy, it is possible that the bishops will find that a completely impossible task. As they consider what to do it is important for us to remember that whilst we may be a minority in the Church of England we remain a sizeable minority and indeed in equal in size to some provinces of the Anglican Communion.
In 2011 on Christ the King Sunday 14,126 went to Church in the Scottish Episcopal Church. If this figure is broken down by Diocese, the attendance ranges from 474 (Argyll) to 4747 (Edinburgh).
If on average 30 people went to Mass in the 85 churches cared for by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet then the attendance in Ebbsfleet parishes would be higher than four out of the six dioceses of the SEC. If 40 people on average attended the all 363 parishes which have alternative epsicopal oversight then the number of people served is equal to that of the SEC. There are some 966 parishes which have passed at least resolution B and even with an average attendance of 20 people this would far make the number of people worshipping in resolution parishes higher than that is the SEC. In the coming months New Directions will carry out a fuller comparison of these figures, it is however quite clear that we remain a sizeable minority and one that must have its voice heard. We continue to have men presenting themselves for ordination, we continue to have a large number of confirmation candidates and we continue to serve the people of our parishes faithfully.
We continue to show that we are willing and have a desire to work for the building up of the church and to serve alongside our brother and sister Christians, whether we agree with them or not. Part of being Better Together is recognising what we gain from our relationships with our fellow Anglicans, what we bring to the life of the church and what we gain from being part of a diverse church.
We hope that the College of Bishops will recognise that we are indeed Better Together; we need to continue to be a church that is broad and on that is not afraid to affirm her Catholic identity. ND
The Bishop of Beverley
As New Directions goes to press it has been announced that, in succession to Bishop Martyn Jarrett, the new Bishop of Beverley is to be Canon Glyn Webster. Canon Webster is currently Canon Chancellor at York Minster and has been serving as Acting Dean at the Minster. He has served his ordained ministry in the York Diocese and is a member of the Archbishops’ Council and is Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York on the General Synod. We assure Canon Webster of our prayers as he takes up this important role in the life of the Northern Province and in our wider constituency.