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How the options were developed
Summary of the options
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(The full text of this option is available in the print version of this report)
Alternative episcopal oversight within existing church structures
Option Two (A)
Diocesan Bishops' protocols
The Australian Diocesan Bishops already have protocols in place to allow for the Aboriginal bishop to enter dioceses, with permission of the relevant diocesan bishop for the purpose of providing ethnically sensitive ministry to Aboriginal communities. The same system could be invoked to enable ministry to parishes where the ministry of a bishop other than the woman diocesan is desired. Strictly speaking, no legislative changes would be necessary for protocols to be put in place by the Diocesan Bishops, though a simple General Synod canon could warrant and authorise this episcopal arrangement and at the same time raise the finance for it. Travel costs across the distances involved in Australia would be a significant factor but this Option would not necessarily involve the costs of providing additional episcopal personnel.
Option Two (B)
Nationally-based legislative model
This Option envisages the appointment of one or more bishops by the Primate to serve the whole country, providing liturgical and pastoral ministry to parishes, other church bodies and individual clergy, and administering confirmation and ordination where appropriate. The bishop would act at the invitation of individual diocesan bishops, in turn acting on the request of parishes under specific regulations. This Option would need some central funding and organisation.
Option Two (C)
Province-based legislative model
This Option provides legislation for collegial action by the college of bishops in a province. The Metropolitan, together with the other diocesan bishops of the province, would provide for the appointment, from among or in addition to their number, a bishop who could hold an auxiliary office and function, providing liturgical and pastoral ministry for those who request it within the province. That bishop would then offer alternative oversight where requested with the approval and consent of the diocesan bishop concerned.
Option Two (D)
Diocesan-based legislative model
This Option provides for a diocesan-based model of alternative episcopal oversight. It re-affirms the diocesan focus for the provision of ministry. Specially-appointed assistant bishops within the diocese, or bishops from other dioceses, are licensed by the diocesan to offer ongoing and continuing liturgical and pastoral ministry to parishes, other church bodies, and individual clergy, and also to administer confirmation and ordination where appropriate.