Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Senior women clergy

Last week the House of Bishops decided to give eight senior women clergy the right to attend their meetings. They stated that the “eight members would be elected regionally from within bishops’ senior staff teams (that include deans, archdeacons and others)”.

This article is an attempt to compile a list of the eligible women.

1) At present there are four women deans.


 Dean of
Catherine OgleBirmingham
June OsborneSalisbury
Frances Ward St Edmundsbury
Vivienne Faull York

2) This list of women archdeacons is extracted from Wikepedia. I know of some acting archdeacons omitted from the Wikipedia list, but they are all men. It is possible that some women are also omitted.


 Archdeacon ofDiocese
Nicola SullivanWellsBath & Wells
Christine FroudeMalmesburyBristol
Sheila WatsonCanterburyCanterbury
Penny DriverWestmorland and FurnessCarlisle
Annette CooperColchesterChelmsford
Christine WilsonChesterfieldDerby
Jackie SearleGloucesterGloucester
Jane SinclairStow and LindseyLincoln
Rachel TreweekHackneyLondon
Cherry VannRochdaleManchester
Jan McFarlaneNorwichNorwich
Karen GorhamBuckinghamOxford
Christine AllsoppNorthamptonPeterborough
Joanne GrenfellPortsdown (designate)Portsmouth
Jane HedgesWestminsterRoyal Peculiar
Ruth WorsleyWiltsSalisbury
Jane SteenSouthwark (designate)Southwark
Dianna GwilliamsSouthwark (acting)Southwark
Audrey ElkingtonBodminTruro
Anne DawtryHalifaxWakefield
Sarah BullockYork (designate)York
Suzanne SheriffYork (temporary)York

3) It is not clear to me precisely who the “others” will be. Diocesan websites do not usually give a list of the members of the bishop’s senior staff, and the Church of England Year Book never does.

It might be thought that Diocesan Advisors in Women’s Ministry (DAWMs) (listed here) would all be members of the bishops’ senior staff, but I know that this is the case in only some dioceses.

4) Readers are invited to submit (via a comment) the names of any women clergy (other than deans and archdeacons) who are members of their bishop’s senior staff.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 3:49pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

What about clerics in academia? Are there specific women whose theological insights and writings could be said to qualify them for this kind of participation and input?

And what about the leaders of some of the well-established religious houses?

Posted by: Susannah on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 4:04pm GMT

Christine Hardman is still Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich (Southwark), isn't she?

Posted by: Richard Gillin on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 4:12pm GMT

Why is 'women' an honorary adjective when it comes to clergy? What is wrong with 'female'? It's not natural English to talk of 'men deans/archdeacons/bishops' but 'male'.

Is it only me that feels that having peculiar grammatical provision resonates with the attitude that whole idea of women being ordained is a peculiar aberration?

In ten years time when this whole matter is settled (please God), surely no-one would naturally refer to 'male and women bishops', but 'male and female'. So why not get with the program now and be the change we want to see?!

Posted by: Sam Denyer on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 4:17pm GMT

Christine Hardman retired as Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich on Friday 30 November 2012.


Posted by: Peter Owen on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 5:30pm GMT

What about Ulla Monberg, Director of Training in the Diocese in Europe?

Posted by: Barbara Moss on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 5:59pm GMT

I'll have you know those (wikipedia) lists are fastidiously kept up to date, Peter! If an acting or designate or what-have-you does not appear, it is almost certainly because their appointment was not in the Church Times. Else it somehow escaped the lists' editors' notice...

On the other matter, Rose Hudson-Wilkin is an oft-mentioned "other".

Posted by: Dan BD on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 6:09pm GMT

Female religious superiors would, indeed, be an obvious source of other candidates.

Posted by: Richard on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 6:22pm GMT

Aren't female Canons Residentiary of our great cathedrals eligible?

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 6:22pm GMT

Sam, there isn't anything sinister about this use of 'women'; it is just a quirk of English usage. We have been speaking and writing of women doctors, and women researchers, for many decades, so it isn't specific to women in the church. Language is funny that way.

Posted by: Flora Alexander on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 7:11pm GMT

Perhaps The Revd Rebecca Swyer who is from the Chichester Diocese and The Revd Ann Turner who is DDO in Bradford, I believe. Both are permanent deacons, and both might offer a wider opinion than others on the list.

Posted by: Cuthbert on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 8:01pm GMT

Hazel Whitehead (The Reverend Canon Doctor...), Director of Discipleship, Vocation and Ministry, Guildford Diocese. Not sure what the formal definition of "senior staff" is but I would imagine she would be part of it.

Posted by: John S on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 9:20pm GMT

It could be worse, Sam. It could be men and womyn. ;-)
Not that I'm advocating for it!!!

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 9:48pm GMT

So only 2 dioceses have 2 women on senior staff, having both a female Dean and a female Archdeacon. None have two female archdeacons.
the other thing that strikes me is that this small an electorate. I can understand these being the obvious women to be in the HoB, so these are the eligible candidates (and very eligible indeed), but I do feel the electorate should be wider, eg all licensed female clergy.
Durham, by the way, has a Woman Advisor in Ministry - Jen Bradshaw - who is on Bishops Staff.

Posted by: Miranda on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 10:29pm GMT

I have to agree w/ Sam here. I think the phrases "women doctors" and "women researchers" underscore his point: that males in these positions---include the priesthood---are normative, and "a woman _______" is something to stop and stare at. Male and female (and in the case of Yours Truly, genderqueer ;-/), Please.

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 5:13am GMT

As the eight are going to have the privilege of sitting in the House of Bishops (quite possibly the first woman bishop will be numbered among the chosen) shouldn't the CNC decide who the eight should be and wouldn't it be more Biblical to have twelve rather than eight?

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 6:24am GMT

It is hard to define, in a way that means the same across 44 dioceses, exactly who the "others" apart from archdeacons and deans should be. But the point is that they are people who share closely with the bishop in the oversight of the diocese.

It's emphatically not about a wide election among clergy to find representatives of themselves (we have General Synod for that). Nor is it about those who hold senior office in the church (abbesses, canons, theologians) who are not part of the bishop's immediate oversight team. Nor is it about including a wide range of views (on which particular issues?)

Does it help to think of it as an extension of the collegial dimension of episcope (these are colleagues of the bishop) rather than the conciliar dimension?

The nearest parallel is the election by the suffragans to HoB of seven of their number (though these latter, being bishops in their own right, become full voting members).

Posted by: David Walker on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 8:15am GMT

Janet Henderson is no longer an archdeacon, she has moved to become a Cathedral Dean in the Church in Wales.


Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 9:07am GMT

Miranda, there are 4 women on our Bps Staff, the Dean, the Archdeacon of Wilts and me as Director of Ministry, plus the Diocesan Secretary who is a lay woman. That's out of a membership of 11. We also have a female canon residentiary, a female DDO, a female head of lay learning and a DAWM. Sounds like Salisbury may be ahead of the curve. If HoB can do this then so can Bps Staffs around the country. Don't wait for women to become Bps, Deans and Archdeacons, attend to your gender imbalances now and you will quickly notice a healthier culture and positive difference.

Posted by: Jane Charman on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 9:56am GMT

Manchester has two. Archdeacon Cherry Vann and Canon Sarah Bullock, Bishop's Advisor for Women's Ministry and Chair of the Discipleship and Ministry Training Committee.

Posted by: Peter Capon on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:08pm GMT

This is all getting quite exciting. Progress at last.

Posted by: Robert Ellis on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 5:05pm GMT

The Revd Professor Alison Milbank (Hon priest vicar at Southwell Minster) is not a "senior" female cleric in the sense many might understand the word, but she'd certainly be a strong intelligent, inclusive, catholic voice well able to engage profoundly and theologically in HoB debates.

Posted by: Jonathan MacGillivray on Thursday, 14 February 2013 at 1:24pm GMT

I guess that the Church of England is suddenly beginning to assess the value and strength of the ministry of Women, without whom it could hardly function. This can only be a good wake-up call.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 14 February 2013 at 8:15pm GMT

I have updated the list of women archdeacons. As well as removing Janet Henderson, who as noted above has moved to the Church in Wales, I have added Sarah Bullock, who is to become Archdeacon of York.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Friday, 22 February 2013 at 7:06pm GMT

Ripon and Leeds senior staff was half and half men and women until I moved to Wales earlier this month - female archdeacon, diocesan secretary, registrar and Dean of Women's Ministry.

Posted by: Janet Henderson on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 at 8:58pm GMT
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.