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Adrian Vincent's Synod Speech

Date: 15 July 2014

Adrian Vincent, Diocese of Guildford General Synod representative #320

"The majority of those who elected me want me to vote for women bishops. My reading of the Bible - where Jesus appointed 12 male apostles, and the Early Church who followed that example - is that the Church does not have the right to make this change. But I accept that others interpret the Bible differently, so I said to those who elected me, that I will vote for women bishops if there is enough provision for traditionalists to enable them to remain in the Church of England with theological integrity.

The November 2012 package did not have that and I voted against. This draft, with the Five Principles and the House of Bishops' Declaration has just about enough provision.

However, I also represent the minority, for whom this change is wrong, and who say that I should vote according to my conscience. I am a member of the Catholic Group of General Synod, and, as the journal 'New Directions' says this month, "To vote in favour of the Measure is not a Catholic option and would betray the trust of this constituency."
So what do I do? I could abstain. That may be an honourable choice for some, but personally, I would see it as a cowardly way out for me.

Perhaps I am in a 1 Samuel chapter 8 situation. The people of Israel demanded that Samuel appoint for them a king. Samuel says to God, 'but that's not right'. God replies, 'It's not right, but give the people what they are demanding.' Samuel does so, and God is merciful, He calls people as kings and blesses Israel through them.

So I shall be voting in favour today. By doing so I am betraying what I believe; and I am betraying those who trusted in me.

I hope that the promised commitment to "mutual flourishing" is not a commitment that will run out of steam in a few years; but is a commitment that will continue for fifty, and a hundred years."

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