Monday, 29 April 2013

Manchester 'Statement of Needs' violates existing Church 'code'

Once again (following a similar situation regarding the Bishop of Salisbury) the 'Statement of Needs' put out by a diocese seeking a new bishop has violated the code on appointments regarding views about the ordination and consecration of women.

In section 6 of the Statement of Need for the Diocese of Manchester it says the bishop,
... will be open to the ministry of women at all levels of the church’s life whilst respecting and seeking to hold together those of differing views.
The first section of the 1993 Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod states, however, quite plainly:
There will be no discrimination against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their views about the ordination of women to the priesthood.
 Of course "the times they are a'changing". Everyone knows that. But they have not changed yet. And the language of the statement of needs is plainly incompatible with the present situation regarding senior appointments in the Church of England.

The question I find myself asking is why it is OK to ignore the rules in this case? What makes this so special? And where else does this allow rules to be broken?

And did anyone on the panel drawing this statement of needs not realize what they were doing? If they didn't they should have. And if they did, well, shame on them.

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  1. Is there any way to raise this officially, so as to find out whether it is deliberate or accidental?

  2. Ask for judicial review

  3. There should be a Vacancy-in-See Committee which will have been responsible for the Statement of Needs. They might be the ones to ask.

  4. I think you've misunderstood the position and status of a 'statement of need'. This is a document which is produced essentially by the diocese saying what they want. It is then up to the Crown Nominations Commission to say what they will get. It is fair enough for a diocese to say that is what they want, but you are quite right that it would go against the Act of Synod for an individual to be rejected purely on the basis of their theological views on ordained women's ministry.

    Sadly, we have had just such discrimination for many years. A number of Sees have been unofficially reserved for traditionalist bishops to ensure their numbers are boosted in the ranks.

    It seems clear to Mouse that the only sensible way is to have a system of promoting the best person for the job, but that has never really been the Anglican way.


    "Identifying Candidates

    A national announcement in the church press will have invited members of the public to submit comments and possible names to the Appointments Secretaries. The names submitted are circulated to all members of the Crown Nominations Commission, together with the Description of the Diocese and Statement of Needs, the Secretaries’ Memorandum, a note by the outgoing bishop (if submitted) and a statement by the Archbishops on the needs of the Church of England as a whole. Members of the commission are invited to submit the names of potential candidates for consideration by the commission in the light of the information provided on the needs of the diocese and the national church."

    I don't think the Statement of Needs can be regarded so lightly as you seem to suggest.

  6. I don't see how that contradicts my point. You have alleged that the statement of need violates the church code by enforcing discrimination against those who have theological objections to women's ordination. It is clear that no statement of need could do that, as the decision making is entirely in the hands of the CNC. In practice, statements of need are regarded so lightly by CNCs as to be almost entirely ignored.

  7. Church Mouse, you wrote, " You have alleged that the statement of need violates the church code by enforcing discrimination against those who have theological objections to women's ordination."

    No, I haven't. And if I may say so, that is a typical example of the 'skim reading' and 'jumping to conclusions' that, along with anonymity, blights so much internet discussion,

  8. John

    Oh dear. We've resorted to calling me a 'blight on internet discussion' already!? And you're normally so hot on avoiding personal insults.

    If we return to the point, please explain how the sentence "Manchester 'Statement of Needs' violates existing Church 'code'" is not an allegation that the Manchester Statement of Needs violates the Church code?

  9. Church Mouse, you wrote, "We've resorted to calling me a 'blight on internet discussion' already!?"

    No, I didn't.

    To save you puzzling, what I did say, and I quote, was "'skim reading' and 'jumping to conclusions' ... along with anonymity, blights so much internet discussion".

    You said I called you ("me") a blight. I said I called some things people do (skim reading, jumping to conclusions, anonymous commenting) a blight.

    As to my previous denial, I'd encourage you to go back and read carefully what I said. You should be able to work it out, and I think it would be good for you.

  10. Without doubt the most patronising comment ever directed at me.

  11. It wasn't meant to be patronizing. I would genuinely encourage you to try to work out why I said what I did in denying your summation of my argument.

    However - don't take it personally. That's the advantage (I reluctantly concede) of anonymous commenting. Were we to meet, I for one would have no idea I'd offended you.

  12. Dear John, You say "why it is OK to ignore the rules in this case? What makes this so special? And where else does this allow rules to be broken?"

    This case ISN'T special, the appointment of Bishops quite commonly ignores the specified rules as far as I can see ... those rules set out in the Bible. For instance when anybody who promotes or endorses an unbiblical lifestyle is appointed as Bishop (whether man or woman).

    Imogen Taylor. Derby

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