Yesterday I noticed the announcement that the Church of England has appointed a group to advise the House of Bishops on human sexuality. This is part of a process towards a consultation document to be produced by the House of Bishops in 2013. This is intended to propose ways forward following the 'listening process' the church has undertaken since the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution on Human Sexuality.
What I failed to notice yesterday was the composition of the Advisory Group. They are:
- Sir Joseph Pilling (former Permanent Secretary Northern Ireland Office)
- The Rt Revd Michael Perham (Bishop of Gloucester)
- The Rt Revd Keith Sinclair (Bishop of Birkenhead)
- The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker (Bishop of Ebbsfleet)
- The Rt Revd John Stroyan (Bishop of Warwick)
Notice anything about this list? Not even 1 woman, not even a 'token' woman. Maybe that's not possible. Maybe they all had to be bishops, for reasons I don't understand. And of course the Church of England has no women bishops (yet). But if they all had to be bishops, why is the Chairman Sir Joseph Pilling who is not a bishop?
Is an all-male group suitable to advise on human sexuality without the wisdom of any women?