|Picture: DAVE PERRY|
Church of England general synod debates female bishops - day three live @17.58. Riazat Butt thanks God she is a Muslim. Here is what she had to say:
"Wow. OK. Well, in true Anglican fashion we are almost back to square one. General synod has voted to allow the House of Bishops to tinker with the legislation but not make substantial changes to it. As one person in the chamber said, it's as if the debate never happened. The traditionalists have this to say:
"We welcome the fact the general synod is open to the possibility of the House of Bishops amending the draft measure, and call upon the house to do so in a way that will provide properly for those unable in conscience to accept the oversight of women bishops. The archbishops' amendment is a long way from our original proposals for provision; what we are saying is that we are willing to work with it, or something like it, for the sake of the unity of the church. We are hugely grateful to Archdeacon Cherry Vann for moving the Manchester motion; she has shown great understanding, courage, conviction and love – love for God and for God's people. We give thanks to God for Archdeacon Cherry, and assure the House of Bishops of our prayers as they discern the right way forward for the Church of England."
Initial reaction from the pro-women lobby is that they are happy because they know the bishops can't dramatically change the draft law. They're not going to see a different law, that's over and that's what they wanted to avoid. It's all baffling. Thank God I'm a Muslim."
So not dead yet! Despite the eagerness of supporters of women's ordination to move directly to a vote without amendment amid the usual claims of discrimination, two-tier ministries and second class-bishops, the more charitable struggle on to find a compromise that is in some way acceptable to people who don't interpret 'generous' in the same way as those who advocate a 'take it or leave it' approach. On my hearing there may have been a hint of sarcasm in the suggestion that the Rev Prebendary David Houlding had been thrown a lifebelt but nevertheless that imagery is captured superbly in the picture above. As they consider the next stage, those on both sides of the divide would do well to read the narrative that goes with it here and recall Archbishop Rowan's words in an earlier passionate debate on Recent violence in Nigeria when he referred to the desperate feeling of isolation experienced by persecuted Christians in Nigeria. They are not alone.