Passing a Resolution
The detailed steps that parish churches need to take if they want special arrangements under the House of Bishops’ Declaration are set out both in the Declaration and its accompanying Guidance Note.
The Bishop of Maidstone has produced a short booklet: Passing a Resolution under the House of Bishop’s Declaration. A copy of this publication is available here. Up to five printed copies of this booklet can be obtained free of charge by contacting the Bishop of Maidstone’s office at [email protected]. If you would like more copies – up to 30 – we ask for a donation of £5 towards printing and postage costs.
The Reform briefing paper ‘Women Bishops: a guide for parishes’, which was published under Rod Thomas’ chairmanship of Reform, provides useful practical information. Reform members will be able to find it in the confidential updates and papers section of the members’ area of the Reform website (reform.org.uk). If you would like to obtain printed copies of this guide, please contact us at [email protected]
In brief, the steps that need to be taken are these:
If there is a diversity of views within the PCC, it may wish to consider passing an amended resolution. It is up to the PCC to decide on the wording of this but it is worth noting that some PCCS have passed resolutions in the form: ‘This PCC requests, on grounds of theological conviction and due to concern for the need for unity of our congregation, that arrangements be made…’ A further example of an amended resolution refers to meeting the needs of the incumbent: ‘Our flourishing requires the flourishing of our Vicar. In order to safeguard his convictions, this PCC requests…’
It is important for PCCs to pass resolutions even if no change in episcopal oversight is currently being sought. Having a resolution in place, safeguards the position of the church to seek a male incumbent should a vacancy arise or should a change in episcopal provision within the diocese occur. It also sends out a message of the need for, and support of, complementarianism within the Church of England.
If a PCC believes that the outcome of all this is not in line with the principles or procedures of the House of Bishops’ Declaration, then it can register a grievance with the Independent Reviewer. Before doing so, it must give the office holder in respect of whom the grievance is being brought a ‘reasonable opportunity’ to address the grievance. However, it is important to bear in mind that grievances have to be registered with the Independent Reviewer within 3 months of the action in respect of which a grievance is being brought.