Misuse of the Act of Synod 1993

by Lyn Ferraby

The CofE should not create additional Flying Bishops (FBs) to cater for those members that object to Homosexuals. Indeed the role of the present FBs should not be extended to cover that objection. The Act of Synod 1993 is very closely drawn to deal with women priests alone and should not be extended in any way; to do so would confuse the matter of women bishops with gay concerns. Indeed that may be part of the purpose of the furore against gays; the secondary target being to confuse matters now that those women priests are generally accepted.

I believe that the point is one of principle. To create new FBs to cater for those opposed to gays would open the gates to every other dissident group such as those opposed to colour, foreigners, racial groups, flat earthers - you name it.

One understands the pressures that created the Act of Synod 1993; very similar to the pressures now arising because of the present objections to homosexuals. Are not both in fact acts of discrimination unworthy of the church? The Act of Synod 1993 gave a special status not just generally to those opposed to women priests but to a number of separate identifiable groups, REFORM, Church Society, FiF for example and some elements of the Evangelical Alliance too? There were circumstances that made the Act of Synod 1993 seem necessary at that time, even though it was in principle wrong, but that time is past; the Act is now being misused to prolong the debate and should be rescinded.

There was a suggestion in The Times recently that the number of Resolution C parishes had increased since the argument about homosexuals began. If so it is a clear breach of the terms of the Act, which is specific to the ordination of women.

Lyn Ferraby is a Reader in the Church of England and a member of the commitees of both GRAS (the Group for the rescinding of the Act of Synod) and WATCH (Women and the Church).