The Declaration adopts a new approach. In addition to specific obligations and rights (which are spelt out in somewhat more detail than in the Act of Synod), it enshrines five ‘guiding principles’ against which actions can be measured. They are printed in bold to highlight their importance. In the Declaration they are unnumbered bullet points: they are numbered here for ease of reference. Principles 1 and 2 are those which require things of us – things that we ought to be able to give. Principles 3, 4 and 5 offer the basis for our future in the Church of England.


Statement of guiding principles


5. The House reaffirms the five guiding principles which it first commended in May 2013 when submitting legislative proposals to the General Synod for the consecration of women to the episcopate and which the Synod welcomed in its resolution of 20 November 2013. They need to be read one with the other and held together in tension, rather than being applied selectively:


[1] Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;


2] Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;


[3] Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God;


[4] Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and


[5] Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.


A commentary on the Five Guiding Principles is available here.