COI Gazette – 26th July 2013

C. of E. General Synod voting on women bishops ‘cautiously encouraging’

Bishop Nigel Stock - proposed new approach

Bishop Nigel Stock – proposed new approach

The Bishop who successfully proposed a way of bringing new legislation to the Church of England General Synod on the issue of women bishops – the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock – told the Gazette during the 5th-9th July York meeting of the Synod that there had been “enough of a majority to be cautiously encouraging”.

Although the terms of the legislative plan were passed by 319 votes to 84, with 22 abstentions, this was not by Houses of Synod and suggested that there still could remain a difficulty in achieving two-thirds majorities, as will ultimately be required, in all of the Houses – Bishops, Clergy and Laity.



After mass demonstrations in Egypt led to the military removing President Morsi from power earlier this month, the President Bishop in Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Rt Revd Mouneer Anis, who is based in Cairo, issued a statement declaring that, at last, the country was “free from the oppressive rule of the Muslim Brotherhood”.

Bishop Anis said that the armed forces had taken the side of the “millions of Egyptians” who, since 30th June, had demonstrated against the regime. He said that Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt since last year had led to “divisions, exclusions, sectarian clashes, fanaticism, a decrease in tourism, and a bad economy” and, responding to the military’s move, continued: “This is an answer to the prayers of so many people from around the world who were praying for our beloved country, Egypt.

Please continue to pray for protection from violent reaction of the Islamists which already has started. Pray also for unity and reconciliation after more than one year of divisions.”

The military has said that the scale of the demonstrations meant that it had to act in response to popular feeling, but the new interim leader of Egypt, Adly Mansour, is now facing an almost impossible situation, with Islamists outraged at Mr Morsi’s overthrow.

The interim Cabinet of Mr Mansour, announced last week, could not include members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who simply refused to take part, a spokesman describing the interim government as “illegitimate”.

Christians in these circumstances are facing a dangerous backlash, Church leaders having supported the ousting of Mr Morsi. Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church – at whose enthronement last November in Cairo the Archbishop of Dublin acted as a representative of the former Archbishop of Canterbury – was critical of Mr Morsi’s pro-Islamist approach and attended the ceremony at which the army’s commander, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, announced the suspension of the country’s constitution. The killing of a Coptic priest and attacks on Christians’ homes have shown very clearly how vulnerable the approximately 10 per cent minority is in the situation.

The Church must heed the call of Bishop Anis and pray at this time for healing in a very troubled nation, and for all Christians in Egypt who are suffering real personal dangers.


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