On Tuesday I followed the debate on the live audio feed. When the vote count was announced I stormed out of my study, stamped into the kitchen, banged the pots and pans as I began to prepare supper while trying to tell my husband how I felt. Words did come rather loudly out of my mouth but really I felt speechless. I was devastated. Had I been wearing a clerical collar I might have symbolically cut it into little pieces.
This is what I wrote on my personal Facebook page that evening
"It is a very long time since I have felt so upset and so angry and so very very sad - all at the same time."Many others, men and women, inside and outside the church have experienced similar reactions. I was encouraged by the message posted by John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford on our diocesan website on Tuesday evening. He wrote this:
'I am deeply saddened that General Synod did not feel able to pass the legislation allowing women to be consecrated as bishops in the Church of England. I fear for the mission and credibility of the Church in our land at a time when neither society at large nor a clear majority in the wider Church of England will understand why the legislation has been rejected. I am also immensely sad for my many able and gifted women clergy colleagues whose ministry richly enhances the life of the Church and for whom this decision will be such a kick in the teeth. I very much hope there will not be resignations in the heat of despair. We need to believe there is still a way forward. Clearly we all need time to be exhausted and to stand back, but I’m sure that time cannot last long if we are to have any chance of regaining the confidence of the nation.' - Bishop John
20 November 2012
Thank you Bishop John and a number of others who have sent encouraging emails to women priests in the Oxford Diocese. At times of crisis it's good to be part of a family that actually does practice love and holds to gospel hope.
I have to recognize that some people are actually pleased and relieved about the decision. With some of them it is because they cannot on grounds of theology, tradition or prejudice, accept female bishops. With others it is because they do want female bishops on grounds of theology but not at any cost.
My view is that some cost has to be borne and we need women bishops in the Church of England as soon as possible. I really thought this could be achievable now. It seems that it is not and I am deeply disappointed, not only for those women who have obvious giftings as potential bishops, but for the sake of all women as well as the mission of the church. What message are we now as the Church of England giving about the role of women in society? What message are we giving about how God sees women? Are we also human, made in God's image, or not?
Photo: my own of sign outside Church House, Westminster, taken January 2012