It is more than time that women had a place in the episcopate of the Church of England, which has been discussing this for decades.
The matter of women bishops is once again before General Synod this week. Its members will need much wisdom and grace. I've been reading some interesting posts on this matter. Here are three that I recommend:
I missed it when first published on 24th January, but Andrew Brown's blog post, The Church of England's fudge on female bishops is breathtaking highlights what a ridiculous position the church is in as a result of attempts to hold together those who think women can be bishops and those who think they should not. Forms of concession are on the table for those who cannot accept a woman as bishop, but says Andrew Brown
Despite all these concessions, there will be female bishops, as there are already female priests, and these will be treated exactly the same as male ones – except by the men who don't want to treat them equally and who believe that God has called them to undermine women's authority wherever it appears.Bishop Alan in his post No Woman No Cry hopes that this week
will not see Archbishops pootling around on a pinhead all over again trying to come up with some convoluted form of Discrimination Lite against women. The very attempt will amaze and disgust the vast majority of people in this country far more than any major player in the game of blowing ecclesiastical bubbles can perhaps understand. It undermines at a tectonic level any claims the Church may make in our culture about bearing, let alone being, Good News.Savi Hensen writes in Ekklesia about Women Bishops and the Churches Core Purpose arguing that decisions about women bishops are likely to have a major impact on the church's mission and ministry.
The role of bishops is not merely administrative: they are there to nurture and support other clergy in their calling and, most importantly, to enable the priesthood of all believers, in all their diversity, so that the whole people of God in each locality can witness in word and deed to the good news of Christ.
The exclusion of any section of the Christian community from being even considered as bishops can have a demoralising effect on those who, at parish level, are seeking to live out their faith within an often sceptical society, and to help to build God’s realm of justice and peace in an deeply unequal and sometimes harsh world.
There has been growing recognition that both men and women are made in God’s image and that, in Christ, barriers are broken down: in the words of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Yet the church has often failed to communicate this effectively to the wider world, in part because this is not fully reflected in its own life. Some churches seem unsure how to respond when the Holy Spirit calls and empowers women.
You might also be interested in my previous posts on this:
Like a Mighty Tortoise
Of Bishops and the Wearing of Purple Worsted
Process Proceeds Towards Women Bishops in the Church of England