According to Ruth Gledhill's blog, the Bishop of Dover, chairing the General Synod, sat weeping after saying these words just before the final vote which approved the introduction of women bishops with nothing more than a 'Code of Practice' to provide for those who cannot receive their ministry:
"I have to say that for the first time in my life I feel ashamed. We have talked for hours about wanting to give an honourable place for those who disagreed. We have turned down almost every opportunity for those opposed to flourish. And we still talk the talk of being inclusive and generous. The Rochester report said in many many pages that there were a variety of ways in which scripture and reason could be read with integrity. It argued over and over again that it is possible to be a loyal member of the CofE and [accept] some legal safeguards for those who oppose the ordination of women. It is not just those who are opposed to the ordination of women who find the motion we have at the moment difficult. I do. Where is the CofE about which we have spoken today? Is this CofE to which we have come to in this vote the CofE at its best? I have to say I doubt it. Is this the CofE to which I thought I belonged? I have to say with huge sadness, I doubt it."
The fact that Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham then moved (unsuccessfully) for an adjournment may make Open Evangelicals at least pause for thought about what has been done.
Final form of the substantive motion
As a result of the two successful amendments (67 and 76) the final form of the substantive motion became:
That this Synod:
(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;
(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;
(c) affirm that these should be contained in a statutory national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and
(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.
After a vote by houses the substantive motion was carried.
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