Well, we finally made it, got over ourselves and voted through the Women Bishops Measure in General Synod today.

This is entirely owing  to Archbishop Justin’s determination to get it done, and his training in reconciliation.  His team is headed up by Canon David Porter, who has a great deal of experience in peacemaking from his days in Northern Ireland, and heads up the reconciliation work for Coventry Cathedral. His team includes the Mennonites who specialise in all forms of reconciliation including church conflict.

The first thing Justin did was to get representatives from all the factions together for discussion.  Then his team faciliated discussions in private, in groups of Synod members.  This meant that everybody had to listen properly to each other:  the Mennonite model will not allow interruptions – each ‘side’ is given as much time to talk as it needs, without anybody butting in.

Result:  better relationships, more willingness to respect the other point of view.

This argument has never been about getting us all to agree.  That is not going to happen.  The challenge for Justin and his team is to how to get the church to disagree in a generous and respectful way.  That has now been achieved.

The altered legislation protects those who are against women bishops, respects their opinions and ensures that they still have a place in the church.  I agree with this, I think it’s good, sensible and grown-up to say ‘we’ll never agree but I respect the fact that you hold your views as strongly and passionately as I hold mine.’

So the Motion was passed by more than two-thirds in all three houses, Bishops, priests and laity.  Which is what is required.

“There is a much greater sense of trust and mutual respect and goodwill than there was the last time the synod voted.”  (Canon Simon Kilwick who opposes women bishops).

And about time too.


43 thoughts on “AT LAST

  1. I never understood the reasons for opposing women bishops. I mean what are they afraid will happen, women will show up in skirts….in which case why are there any Scottish priests! ;D


  2. What wonderful news!! I too have seen some of this on the telly. I think it’s a huge step forward and champion any step in making the Church more accessible to the masses. I personally think, this will help significantly in encouraging new members to join the Church…Amen to that!! 😉


    1. We’ll see! We women clergy have already changed the ‘uniform’ to brighter colours etc – let’s hope the women bishops refuse to wear the silly hats and dream up something more sensible 😉


  3. Wow – sounds a very well thought -out process and good result! I watched JW on tv being interviewed by Simon Schama at the weekend and was impressed with his handling and response of all questions asked.

    I will look forward with great interest to see how it all pans out and how the people react etc… it is a massive step boldly taken! 🙂


    1. It will take a lot longer to change the ‘climate’ in the church – this diocese is ultra-conservative and nothing much will change here 😦 Still, I’m glad it’s finally done, although I’ve never felt very connected to the whole argument, if you know what I mean … 🙄


      1. Yes I knew you were not that greatly moved by the whole issue…

        I am very interested to see how it pans out. Us ‘ere in the ole RC church will all be watching with great interest. I don’t actually have much of an opinion about it or great feelings. I suppose I think that God doesn’t discriminate between male and female when it comes to working through them and I see priests as people whom God works through. I think God is bigger than gender…. I do see it as being about how the laity respond and react as we are all the Body of Christ etc :crazy:

        I don’t know that Tradition is necessarily right in many instances. Anyway… you’ll have heard every variation on a theme of female Bishops so I’ll wander off…. I just for myself cannot come to any for or against sort of feeling….


      2. But … will we turn aside like Moses to look into it??? or will we career on into the desert thinking ‘that was weird but I’ve got a sheep to catch’ … :??:


      3. 🙄 but sposing God says ‘leave the sheep … I want you to do something really difficult and frustrating and unpleasant … go and tell Pharaoh to let my people go …

        … think my side of the conversation would start with ‘now look here, God … ‘ and I don’t blame ole Moses for having a long and serious argument about it :yes:

        Just goes to show … if we want an easy life, beware burning shrubs 8|


      4. Exactly… I’d have probably legged it when I’d had a bit of a look at the burning bush and pretended I didn’t hear God say anything difficult…:oops:

        😦 but then again….. who knows! 🙂


    1. The end of a long painful journey! – but not really the end because it’s going to take a lot longer to change the ‘climate’ in the church … it really is just going to take time. I live in a very conservative diocese 😦 and I can’t see much changing here! That doesn’t take away from the relief of women priests that yesterday’s vote passed, of course.


  4. Cartoon gives the debate proper perspective from an outsider’s viewpoint.

    If things hadn’t changed in 2000 years slaves would still be bought and sold and gay people stoned.

    This is my point against fundamentalism. Our understanding of the nature of God deepens and broadens as the years pass.


    1. I understand what you’re saying, and some things have definitely changed for the better. On the other hand, I don’t necessarily subscribe to the ‘mankind is getting better and better’ philosophy – human nature has not changed that much.


      1. We don’t crucify, we don’t feed folk to the lions,…….. come on we reject slavery .

        When I was young sex outside marriage was a sin with profound negative consequences for some folk …………. we are getting nearer to heaven on Earth except in Israel…………… ironic isn’t it ?


      2. I agree, KateM. One has only to think about the last century – two world wars, Pol Pot massacring people in Cambodia, Mai Zedung starving millions of his people to death in the so-called ‘great leap forward’, Stalin ruthlessly executing thousands of his own people, Hitler and the final solution, not to mention the dictatorships of South America and the unending violence in parts of Africa … oh no, I do not believe that human nature is getting better. It’s a myth.


      3. We can be manipulated more easily too with info on Facebook and various other places;we can be called to action by mobile phone messages and we have more dangerous weapons too ..
        I have an interesting article by Lawrence LeShan.If you look at a post I put om yesterday which is just a link to an article.In the comments in reply to Munzly I have posted it in my reply.. if you can’t see it let me know..I can refind it


      4. KateM, I am not deliberately ignoring you, but I am away from home, staying with my youngest daughter. My son in law is in intensive care in hospital with bacterial meningitis. He’s dangerously ill and the consultant has warned us that he might die. We and all their friends are praying night and day, but I believe that God is always with us no matter what is happening. Thanks for your understanding.


      5. It never entered my head..I am far away in cancer land with my husband, not here…
        I am deeply sorry to hear your sad news.My best wishes
        Kathryn Braithwaite


      6. I was not saying improvements over what was acceptable in biblical times is universal…….. but here in the UK crucifixion, execution, stoning, slavery are unacceptable and against the law.
        In biblical times woman were not included as part of the twelve apostles . The idea of equality between the sexes is a change for the better over that 2000 years ago.

        In other words the bible doesn’t have the last word; there are incremental improvements in modern society.


      7. I didn’t know we had crucifixion here.You are right but equal pay for teachers only came in in the 60’s.. it takes time for change and I doubt if Jesus was interested in precisely those problems.. and he was a product of his times…Yes, until recently men cold rape their wives here legally


      8. All over St Andrews are crosses on the pavement marking the spots where martyrs were burnt for their beliefs. Does the cross of St Andrew hold no significance for crucifixion ?


      9. i don’t understand what you are asking,David.The cross is clearly a Christian symbol because of Jesus.. Christians executed each other in the era of the Reformation and later but St Andrew was not one of those..can you explain more what you mean,please


      10. What I was saying is that our standards in the UK have moved on since biblical times.
        Many horrible practices accepted in the bible are now outlawed. The bible teachings on women’s role have been modified as time as gone by so now there can be women priests and women bishops. I was trying to say fundamentalism makes no sense.


      11. Oh,right.There is a very good book by Karen Armstrong called,Fundamentalism.She has written quite a few books which I find excellent.She knows a lot but they are understandable by ordinary people…she says it’s a reaction to modernity.
        It’s weird that some Christians take the Bible literally as apparently Jews so not and so they spend time studying the Hebrew Bible and re-interpreting it for the age they live in.
        Karen has also written a book about the Bible.


      12. She is in my view perhaps the best person who writes on these matters.. and though some of the Fundamentalism book is distressing it is the best understanding I know of.I can see you are struggling like we all are to comprehend what is happeining


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