Peter OwenPeter Owen
General Synod (House of Laity) Candidate 2010

I was privileged to serve as one of your representatives on General Synod from 1995 to 2005 and am now seeking your support for my election for a further five-year term. I have been proposed by Linda Jones (Ormskirk deanery) and seconded by Vera de Villiers (Sefton Deanery).

Your choice of representatives will be particularly important as the new Synod will be making the final decision on the legislation to allow the ordination of women to the episcopate.

Please feel free to contact me by phone, e-mail or post (details below) if you want to discuss anything to do with these elections to General Synod.

Women Bishops

I support the recent decision of General Synod in favour of legislation which will allow women to be bishops on the same terms as men, whilst making provisions for those who are opposed to this. When this legislation returns to Synod (probably in 2012) for a final decision I will vote in favour (provided, of course, that I am re-elected). I look forward, at last, to the full inclusion of women in all three orders of ordained ministry in England.


I am absolutely committed to equality, in both church and society, for all irrespective of gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability etc. I support the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in all areas of the church including the three-fold ordained ministry. Whilst we must try to understand and be sympathetic to those who find the full inclusion of women and LGBT people in the church a real challenge, it is not right that inequality for those groups should be enshrined in law. The church, I believe, has a duty to set an example of inclusion to the rest of society. Sadly, at this time, it seems that society is setting the example and the church is seen as an anachronism in today’s world.

Anglican Covenant

The Anglican Communion is an association of independent churches around the world. In recent years the Communion has found it difficult to deal with disagreement and there is a proposal to ask each church to sign an Anglican Covenant. Those who do not sign, or who do sign but are judged not to have done what the Covenant says, will be relegated to some sort of second class status. In effect the Covenant proposes to turn Anglicanism from an inclusive church into a confessional sect where everybody is told what to believe. The General Synod now being elected will have to decide whether the Church of England should sign. I do not believe that it should.

The Covenant was originally proposed in the Windsor Report, which was debated by General Synod in February 2005. I saw then that this was a development that should be opposed, and I voted against a motion welcoming the principles set out in the Windsor Report.

If I am elected

I will continue to contribute reports of General Synod proceedings to Thinking Anglicans. From 2000 to 2005 I published details on my website of how I voted and I intend to do this again if re-elected.

During the ten years that I was a member Synod met on 104 days and I attended every day, apart from two days when I was unwell. Since I am retired I hope to be able to maintain this record.

Biographical information

I was born in 1947 in Southend-on-Sea where I went to school. After studying mathematics, physics and astronomy at Birmingham and Sussex Universities I taught mathematics at the Royal Military College of Science and, from 1985, Liverpool John Moores University. I took early retirement from LJMU in 2000.

I have been a member of St Luke’s Church in Crosby since 1988. From 1989 to 1997 I was the PCC treasurer and from 2001 to 2005 a churchwarden. I was the Lay Chair of Sefton Deanery Synod from 1993 to 2003, and have been its secretary since 2005. Since 2007 I have been a member of the diocesan finance committee.

From 1990 to 1999 I was a governor of St John’s Church of England (Aided) Primary School in Waterloo. I have been the treasurer of Churches Together in the Merseyside Region since 1999.

I am a member of the Open Synod Group, WATCH (Women and the Church), and Changing Attitude, and I am a supporter of Inclusive Church.

I have been a member of an NHS Research Ethics Committee since 2000, and I chaired one of these committees from 2003 until earlier this year. I am a member of Amnesty International and its Urgent Action network.

I am particularly interested in the use of the internet for church communications. I am on the staff of Anglicans Online and I am one of the editors of Thinking Anglicans. For the last four years I have been reporting for Thinking Anglicans from the press gallery at General Synod. I am the webmaster for my own parish.

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September 2010