Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Statement from The Bishop of St. Albans following the vote at General Synod

The Bishop of St Albans the Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith issued a statement issued on 20th November 2012. The Bishop of Hertford and the Bishop of Bedford have associated themselves with it:

After many years of discussion and debate the General Synod of the Church of England today rejected the legislation which provided for the ordination of women as bishops. A two-thirds majority was required in all three Houses of Synod. Whilst the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy achieved the necessary two-thirds majority, the motion was lost by a few votes in the House of Laity. I have always been a supporter of women bishops’ legislation and I share in the disappointment of the many outstanding women priests who play such a valuable role in the mission and ministry of our diocese

I recognise that a significant minority of people in the Diocese of St Albans have theological objections to the proposals which were being debated. I have always tried to keep in close contact with them and to support them. Nevertheless I know that the vast majority of people in the diocese were in favour of this development and for them today’s vote will be a cause for deep sadness.   We need time to reflect on what has happened. In the meantime, I urge everyone to double their efforts to love and serve their communities, offering their pain and frustration to God. No one has any cause for rejoicing; all are aware that the pain felt will affect the whole church. I was grateful for the grace shown when the result was announced to the General Synod in silence.

 It is a bishop’s task to unite all those in his care and I call on all the people of the diocese that I lead to continue in the service of their communities, loving them as Christ loved us, sacrificing their pain to that task. As we double our efforts to reach out to the most needy, we will discover the future to which God is calling us.

We have more listening and more work to do to achieve the end result which so many believe is the right way forward both inside and beyond our church.

†Alan St Albans

Text taken from a statement on the St Albans Diocese website, available to read here