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Church leader faces confidence vote

The chairman of the Church of England's House of Laity is facing a vote of no confidence.

A bid to oust Dr Philip Giddings from his post was launched after women failed to win the right to become bishops at the General Synod in November - a measure he had spoken against.

The legislation failed in the House of Laity, one of three houses which makes up the Synod, by just six votes.

Canon Stephen Barney is moving the vote of no confidence in Dr Giddings during the House of Laity meeting in Church House, Westminster.

Setting out the reasons he has no confidence in the chairman, Canon Barney cited the speech Dr Giddings made before the crucial vote.

He said the speech had convinced many undecided members of the House of Laity to vote against the legislation to introduce female bishops.

Bit it did not represent the views of the House of Bishops as a whole and also directly contradicted the views of incoming Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

During the speech, Dr Giddings had told members of the House: "I wish to say that it is unwise to go ahead with a measure dealing with fundamental matters of ministry and doctrine with a significant minority of our Church unable to accept its provisions. I do believe that we can find a better way."

Canon Barney said: "I believe the speech was therefore a significant contributor to the reputational damage the Church of England is already suffering at the hands of the press, which is also manifest in the comments of the Prime Minister, the emerging reports of withdrawal of financial support, the angry reaction of church members and the disbelief and ridicule expressed by many of our secular friends, all of which I believe will damage the mission of our church."

He concluded by saying that he expected the leader of the group to demonstrate "wise and good judgment" - but that this had not happened.


From Belfast Telegraph