Reform and Forward in Faith achieve unexpected success

Members of General Synod and of WATCH were still angry this morning about yesterday’s vote. The motion was lost by 6 votes in the House of Laity whereas overall 74% of Synod members voted in favour and 42 of the 44 dioceses had voted in favour. Much spinning of percentages and research evidence took place yesterday in an attempt at self-conviction by conservative opponents of women in the episcopate. Over and over again people claimed that a more perfect solution was possible, despite the evidence of the last 12 years – blind guides.

But this morning, other reactions to the vote have begun to emerge. The Archbishop of Canterbury told Synod that the Church had lost credibility.

Reform and Forward in Faith have achieved something valuable. They have made people angry, really angry.

The House of Bishops is really angry about yesterday’s result.

The House of Clergy is really angry about yesterday’s result.

The Government is really angry about yesterday’s result.

The Government is telling the Church that it’s establishment status and the place of bishops in the House of Lords is no longer a given. More unexpectedly, the Government is now suggesting that the Church exemptions from equality legislation should be withdrawn.

The House of Bishops is determined to achieve a solution in the life of this Synod, which has 3 years to run.

Supporters of women in the episcopate are determined to give less away in any future legislative settlement and this morning I’ve talked with bishops who share this stance.

Changing Attitude expected that once the question of women in the episcopate had been resolved, space would open for the Church to deal with human sexuality and the place of LGBT people in the Church. At least one bishop I spoke with this morning said that the two issues now have to be integrated and dealt with together in a move towards fuller inclusion.

Reform and Forward in Faith have motivated a passion in the majority of Anglicans to achieve real change in the status of women and LGB&T people in the Church.

The Changing Attitude trustees meet on 1 December to review our strategy. Two potential new trustees will join us. The trustees are also angry about yesterday’s outcome. We are passionate in our support for our sisters and brothers in WATCH. We are passionate in working for a Christ-like Church which has no enclaves, no no-go areas, no second class citizens. We are building in a Church in which all are welcomed and loved unconditionally.

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