The first meeting of the House of Laity since the lay members of Church of England’s General Synod narrowly defeated the women bishop’s measure will weigh whether their chairman overstepped his proper role in speaking against the proposal.
THE mover of a motion of no confidence in the chairman of the House of Laity ( News, 7 December) has outlined his reasons in a note circulated to all members in advance of the vote next Friday.
The note concentrates on the speech given by the chairman, Dr Philip Giddings, during the debate on women bishops at the November Synod meeting ( News, 23 November), in which he opposed the Measure as “unwise”, given that a “significant minority of our Church [are] unable to accept its provisions”.
The mover of the motion, Stephen Barney, argues that the speech was delivered immediately after that of the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Justin Welby, and thus “directly undermined” what Bishop Welby had said. It was “instrumental in convincing some of the undecided members of the House to vote against”, and was a “significant contributor to the reputational damage the Church of England is already suffering”.
Mr Barney wrote: “I have always been one of the first to say that individuals must vote according to their consciences; however, leaders have other responsibilities and accountabilities. I feel that if I am to support the leader of a group of which I am a member, then that leader must show wise and good judgement, and I do not believe that this has happened.”
The meeting will take place on January 18, 2013.