Fidelium (previously The New Oxford Movement), a call to pray in advance of the CofE's General Synod meeting beginning on 7th July. As the vigil4synod site states:
It is an opportunity to join together to pray for mutual love and understanding at a time when the biggest story may seem to be one of division. There will be prayers for all members of General Synod as they prepare for the meeting, and for the unity and mission of the church.
The chair of the Catholic Group in General Synod has written to all Synod members in light of the amendments proposed by the House of Bishops to the legislation permitting the consecration of women to the episcopate:
The House of Bishops’ amendments are consistent with their responsibility to try to hold the Church of England together; their amendments are also consistent with their responsibility to find a way forward that stands a reasonable chance of success at Final Approval. Synod’s voting in May showed that unamended, this Measure was doomed to fail at Final Approval.
The present agitation also provides a warning as to what would lie ahead of us were this Measure to be passed, with or without amendment. The formation of the Code of Practice would become a new battleground. Were the House of Bishops to be forced to retreat over their amendments to the Measure, they would be forced to have the contents of the Code of Practice dictated to them. Even after the Code were initially agreed, it would be open to pressure groups to campaign to whittle away its provisions over time.
A recent survey by Christian Research has found that 69% of CofE members surveyed wanted to see women bishops, and 75% wanted to see proper provision made for opponents so that they are not forced out of the Church of England. We have to ask ourselves: how do we achieve legislation that is faithful to the majority of CofE members? Pressurising the House of Bishops into withdrawing their amendments is most clearly the wrong way. Reliance on a Code of Practice is now looking to be an increasingly shaky and temporary foundation for making provision - which is what the Catholic Group in General Synod and others have consistently said.
The letter hits the right tone. The theological arguments in support of the consecration of women to the episcopate clearly have the support of a majority of English Anglicans. But it is important for the witness of both the CofE and wider Anglicanism that generous and gracious provision is made both for those Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals who are unable to accept women in the episcopate.
A number of reasons make this significant for the entire Communion. Firstly, tt signals a humility on the part of Anglicanism, that while we have embraced the development of the consecration of women to the episcopate, we recognise that the overwhelming consensus of the church catholic cannot accept this development. We thus provide space for two integrities. Secondly, it affirms that traditional Anglo-catholics and Evangelicals have a valued place in the witness and mission of Anglicanism (as opposed to the 'let them go' attitude of some commenters on Thinking Anglicans). Thirdly, it declares that unity and communion - however imperfect - are of infinitely greater significance to our ecclesiology than political majorities and victories.
Across the Communion, then, Anglicans can participate in vigil4synod. Amidst contemporary Anglicanism's painful divisions, our prayer can be that the Church of England symbolises for the Communion a different way, an ecclesiology based not on majorities but on the peace and unity that are the Crucified and Risen One's gift to His Church.