Monday, 7 July 2008

Women bishops or not?

So the Church of England general synod is debating whether and how to have women bishops. Judging from what those writing from the debating chamber are jotting down it may take a while ... as it happens I am thinking of the Anglican women I did my theological training with. Several of them would make excellent bishops. One will be too old by the time the legislation does go through - if it goes through, I feel sad as I think of the wasted leadership this implies for the church. Reading some of the discussions I realise that Anglicanism has a very different culture of debate to the French Reformed Church where the word "compromise" is a dirty word!

The links that follow - including Bishop Alan's sterling piece in favour of women bishops - are taken from Dave Walker's Church Times blog:

Ruth Gledhill of the Times is blogging live from York.
"Christina Rees of St Albans, and leader of Women and the Church, said: 'We are voting on going forward on woman as bishops. Three years ago synod voted to remove legal obstacles to women as bishops. Two years ago synod voted that women bishops were consonant with the faith of our church... Anything that distinguishes between bishops in our church is bound to make one set of bishops different.' This was for the sake of unity, of dioceses and of the Anglican understanding of what it is to be a bishop. What kind of church do we want to be? 'One that says yes to God calling women as He calls men, yes to a Church that ordains women fully as it ordains men. Unless we remove any doubt that they are as fully bishops as are males, some doubt will remain.'"
Peter Owen has posted the amendments and is blogging the result of each vote as they come in - scroll down the page for the latest.
The General Synod blog keep on updating with interesting bits and pieces.
Andrew Teather at Anglican Wanderings thinks it is likely that there won't be a result tonight owing to the number of amendments (sixteen).
Mark Russell of the Church Army gives us his thoughts from the public gallery.
Bishop Alan has written:
"No system of pockets within which gender based discrimination is OK can cut any ice missionally. Pragmatically, perhaps you can abolish racial discrimination in Alabama but keep a few all white buses, or all-white drivers. On every other level, it just don’t make sense.That’s the mountain our so-called traditionalist friends have to climb, and sincerely I wish them good luck with it. I can’t join them on the climb, because I believe passionately in the Church’s mission, and at the heart of that is the building of a kingdom in which there is neither male nor female, slave nor free, but all are called to be one in Christ Jesus. Period."