Women Bishops

How long will it be before women may serve as bishops in the Church of England on equal terms with bishops who happen to be male?

2014 or even later?

In July 2008 General Synod (all 3 houses) decided to plan for the consecration of bishops who happen to be female, with safeguards in the form of a code of conduct to protect those who cannot accept the authority of a bishop who is a woman.

Yesterday the Revision Committee published proposals (to be brought back to Synod) for statutory provision to be made for those who cannot accept women as bishops (or priests) and those who cannot accept the authority of a male bishop who ordains women.

I cannot see how such leglislation can avoid creating a 2-tier episcopacy. I share the disappointment expressed by WATCH (Women and the Church) that this
"would be demeaning to women and would fundamentally damage the office of bishop in our church. Were such proposals to pass through our church synods, the Church of England would be in the uncomfortable position of asking Parliament to ratify legislation that institutionally discriminates against women – such legislation would be contrary to the expressed will of Parliament for the past 30 years." 
I'm not so concerned about the "expressed will of Parliament" as the witness of the Holy Scriptures that both women and men are made in the image of God.
"So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them." Genesis 1.27 (NRSV)
I respect those who hold a different view from mine concerning women priests or bishops, especially where those views are based on careful consideration of the relevant theological issues. But sadly, it is sometimes the case that hidden under apparently theological language there lies deep-seated prejudice against women 's ministry(including fear of 'taint' based on ancient and unchristian taboos).

How long, O Lord, how long?

Update 2015.

The long wait did come to an end. In January 2015 Libby Lane was consecrated bishop - the 1st in the Church of England.

Image Credit: Wikipedia


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