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.


12 thoughts on “AT LAST

    1. They are agreed (with the men) that Jesus only chose men therefore only men should be in church leadership etc etc … a point of view that ignores the wider context, IMHO


      1. I shudder at the naivete of interpretation, the lack of ability to question, the lack of insight together with a myopic knowledge of history. There’s none so blind who cannot see.


      2. You may well be committed to moving forward, those who have compromised for the vote may have their own ideas about what it means, they do have a get out of goal card.


      3. I’m not sure what compromise means in this context, unless one is not satisfied until the so-called ‘opposition’ is either flattened or excluded, neither of which is acceptable.

        And indeed – there are always other denominations to move to! – or failing that, start one’s own ‘perfect’ church, and watch it get less perfect when it’s filled with imperfect human beings 😉


      4. There’s always different levels of anarchy to resort to, but the anarchy could be more fun with both elements of the population being involved in it!


  1. Hi GillyK,

    You will see I have commented on this event as an outsider without a subjective C Of E involvement. I am disturbed about the amount of warring that has preceded the ‘correct’ vote. How could it honestly show true empathic leadership without acknowledging the women in its English family as having equal faith, abilities and community commitment . Other Christian faiths have, a long time ago, i.e. protestants in Scotland, Christian churches based abroad. The English High church history is not one to be proud of. The current shift in intransigence is a beneficial start in a process that must no longer be impeded in England. As a mother church it should have led the way and not been led. Perhaps, now it can join in leadership in which, others will be able to follow.

    The C Of E has not been alone in keeping women down. There are practices which exclude women in senior faith positions in Catholicism, Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Sikhism, (their teachings give women equal status,culturally it is not very evident) together with a range of other world religions


    1. Most women would concur with these conclusions. There are, however, some who do not because they consider that church leadership should only ever be male. Despite vigorous disagreement with them, it’s important that the church is big enough to take all of us.


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