Wulf's Webden

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Oxford Votes

I had a look last night at who voted for what in last week’s Synod debate on women bishops, with a particular eye on responses from Oxford. The local bishops (+John of Oxford and +Colin of Dorchester) said yes, local clergy were largely in favour (although not as much as the overall average) and local laity were evenly split. Interestingly, out of those eight people, the four who said no appear to have consisted of two men and two women as did the four who said yes. That is actually less support than I expected.

Given the overall level of the figures, it means that other places were even more in favour, which must have made the final decision even more galling for them. I understand that women priests were accepted only by one vote tipping the balance, and from what I can see, that is working out well, so we’ll have bishops in dresses before long. Oh, wait…!


  1. Thanks for the link to this table, Wulf.  Interestingly, the ‘no’ voters in the critical House of Laity vote are in the majority in some dioceses with a higher than average percentage of parishes with ‘resolutions’ in place (e.g., Chichester, Blackburn, London, Sheffield) but also in some dioceses where support for women’s ordination is strong across the board and few parishes have resolutions in place – e.g., Guildford, Ripon & Leeds.  Geographically, there’s also a slight weighting of ‘no’ votes amongst the House of Laity towards the London commuter belt (e.g., London itself, Guildford, Oxford, Chelmsford, Winchester, Rochester – although admittedly the western reaches of Oxford and Winchester are beginning to stretch the ‘commuter’ definition), though there are exceptions to this either way (does this partly reflect the number of more conservative evangelical churches in some of these areas, where there might be a tradition of male headship?).  I would also like to know how the seats in the House of Laity are divided up between dioceses – I might be wrong but it does not exactly seem to reflect total population of the diocese, and certainly doesn’t reflect Anglican churchgoing per head of population (or else somewhere like Hereford would have more seats than anywhere else).  Nor even does it reflect anything historical that I can see.

    • There is definitely scope for some statistical work to pick out patterns although the fact that these “laity” are clearly not representative of the dioceses they come from (nobody asked me who I wanted to send even at PCC level) means there is more than simply quantatitive analysis to be done. I’m sure someone could get a PhD out of this although I hope there is further progress before they get a chance to finish.

  2. By the way I can’t remember if I told you I’ve started blogging too – http://ianjonesblog.wordpress.com/