In my 3 April entry I wrote about two agenda items to be discussed at the Governing body of the Church in Wales later this month, Assisted Dying and Same sex Marriages. Papers here.
Sandwiched between the two items is a third, "Church in Wales response to the Proposals from the Gathering of the Covenanted Churches 2012". It makes interesting reading.
Here is a taste:
10. Long-term Recommendations
10.1 The Working Group recommends:
10.1.1 That the Commission invites the five Covenanted Churches to think of
themselves as the Church Uniting in Wales.
10.1.2 That this Church will be congregational, presbyteral and episcopal in
tradition and mode of pastoral oversight.
10.1.3 That the Church will have nine jurisdictions – the six existing Anglican
dioceses plus a Methodist jurisdiction, a Presbyterian jurisdiction and a
URC/Covenanting Baptist jurisdiction, each of which will be invited to
elect its own bishop.
10.1.4 That a description of the bishop’s role be drawn up and agreed by all
five Covenanted Churches (see Annex 1).
10.1.5 That, when and if the Methodist jurisdiction, the Presbyterian jurisdiction
and the URC/Covenanting Baptist jurisdiction each elect a bishop, the
bishop will ordain all those who are to become ministers within that
10.1.6 That this bishop will be a bishop in the Church Uniting in Wales and will
share collegiality and full interchangeability with all the other bishops of
10.1.7 That the bishops of all nine jurisdictions in the Church Uniting in Wales
consult with each other at least twice a year.
At their GB meeting last November, the Bill proposed by the bishops of the Church in Wales to enable women to be consecrated as bishops was successfully amended by the Archdeacon of Llandaff, the Ven Peggy Jackson, and the Reverend Canon Jenny Wigley. Their amendment substituted a voluntary code of practice for the statutory provisions contained in the bishops' bill.
Here is what they said in explanation:
Our amendment seeks to reflect the overwhelming view of Governing Body members (as expressed in questionnaire responses in 2012), that:-a) there should be provision for women to be consecrated as bishops in the Church in Wales,
b) there should be recognition and provision allowed for those who in individual conscience dissent from this move,
while also keeping faith with other aims, as expressed:-
a) in 2008 – that provisions for conscience should not be included in the body of formal legislation,
b) in 2012 – that legislation should not include structural provision to accommodate dissent. [My emphasis - Ed.]
That there should be women bishops in the Church in Wales gets over a covenanting hurdle but in the light of 10.1.6 above (That this bishop will be a bishop in the Church Uniting in Wales and will share collegiality and full interchangeability with all the other bishops of that Church), the agreed amendment to the bishops' Bill "that legislation should not include structural provision to accommodate dissent" now looks particularly spiteful if structural provision were thought credible.