To Deanery and PCC Secretaries in the Diocese of Chester
Informing discussion on the Women Bishops legislation
As you will know, the General Synod has referred the proposed legislation for the ordination of
women bishops to Dioceses under what is known as Article 8 Business. Diocesan Synod is required
to debate and vote on the following motion:
“That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and
Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No.30.”
This debate will take place at Diocesan Synod on 5th November 2011.
Prior to that, the Bishop and Bishop’s Council would like to encourage wide discussion of the issues
in both deaneries and parishes in the Diocese. A small working group has been convened to look at
how best to do this and we are now writing to offer an outline timetable for these discussions as
well as some resources which you may find helpful.
Where PCCs decide to discuss these issues, it would be very helpful if they could do so before May
2011. These discussions could then inform Deanery debates which would follow in the period up to
September 2011, so that any responses from Deaneries can be forwarded to the Diocesan Secretary
for consideration prior to the Diocesan Synod debate on 5th November.
In order to facilitate discussion and debate, the working group has produced a briefing paper which
is enclosed with this letter. While it cannot cover everything, we hope that this paper will be a
useful guide for those seeking to understand the issues, as well as a signpost to other resources for
those who wish to explore things further.
In addition, we hope to be able to provide speakers to attend Deanery Synods (or perhaps joint
meetings of more than one Deanery Synod) to speak about the issues. Speakers could either be
invited to give a neutral explanation of the issues and process (based on the briefing document) or
to speak for and against the proposed legislation. Synods will need to decide which format would be
most helpful in their circumstances. Requests for such speakers should be addressed to either David
Blackmore or Jonathan Gibbs, the convenors of the working group.
Bishop’s Council has requested that where Deaneries decide to have a formal debate on this matter,
they should debate the same form of motion as that which will be debated at Diocesan Synod.
Voting figures should then be reported to the Diocesan Synod Secretary, along with any further
motion which the Deanery Synod may choose to pass. Details are explained in the briefing paper.
Please contact either of the working group convenors if we can be of any further assistance. In the
meantime may we assure you of our prayers as together we seek the way forward for the future of
Jonathan Gibbs – Chair, House of Clergy, Diocesan Synod email@example.com
David Blackmore – Chair, House of Laity, Diocesan Synod firstname.lastname@example.org
Also on behalf of John Freeman, Libby Lane, Charles Razzall and Mike Smith