No go zones?

 Cartoon Church Dave Walker

It feels really weird to think that when I am a vicar there exists the possibility there will be 'no-go zones'. It might feel quite radical to be seen in the diocese of one of these parallel places that opts out.

I am not suggesting that I had better watch where I buy my sandwiches. But imagine if you will a situation where a friend seeks you out to perform the marriage ceremony for her son but they live in a diocese where they have opted out of the geographical parish, does this mean that it would not be allowed?

This idea has been proposed but might never get voted through. The blog below is very helpful on this front for the latest Synod discussions, as is Thinking Anglicans.

'General Synod blog'  say

... there are aspects of this Synod that will be very difficult for some of us, and we would all be grateful for your prayers. Please pray especially for those who feel themselves to be under attack for their beliefs over the next few days, and for all of us that we can be open both to the Holy Spirit and to each other as we try to figure out where the Church of England goes next.

Here is the Revision Committee Report and the Draft Measure and an order for the debate.

Some ideas being considered are

 - the creation of additional dioceses for parishes where there will be no women bishops or priests operating. These dioceses will exist in parallel with the current geographical dioceses. A PCC will be able to vote for its parish to join these additional dioceses.

PCCs are to consult with electoral roll members before requesting episcopal ministry from a male bishop.

 - For those who seek the services of a suffragen Bishop because they do not want episcopal oversight from a woman this delegation of episcopal functions is for the purposes of sacraments and other divine services. It seems they are removing the phrase “the provision of pastoral care to the clergy and parishioners”. 'Pastoral care' is wider and could be used to support ministries other than sacraments and divine services. But I wonder whether the narrowing to particular functions will force some dioceses to join those parallel places where no women in dog-collars are to be found!

- Compensation to be made available to those who resign from ecclesiastical service before the measure comes into effect.

I remember, it cost the Church of England a small fortune last time. It is strange I always think that we throw money at an issue of theological 'integrity', at a matter that requires careful pastoral support and thinking. As a church we do not surely conform to the world and its compensation culture and yet we use money here. I guess, it will be argued that this money is the stipend that would have been paid had these people continued in the ministries they are leaving, they will take up other ministries, no doubt, and so the money enables them to do this more easily. Is that the reasoning?

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