Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Women bishops - more reports and reactions to Monday's vote

Madeleine Davies, Tim Wyatt and Gavin Drake Church Times Women bishops legislation wins Synod’s final approval

John Bingham The Telegraph First women bishops in months after Synod vote

Jemima Thackray The Telegraph Women bishops: delaying this historic vote was a blessing in disguise

The Telegraph Celebration as Church of England General Synod approves women bishops

Ruth Gledhill Christian Today There will be women bishops… General Synod passes legislation

Ruth Gledhill The Guardian Joy and relief at display of unity for vote on ordination of female bishops

Claer Barrett and Mark Odell Financial Times Church of England synod votes for women bishops

Matthew Engel Financial Times Victory for women bishops but no triumphalism

Andrew Brown The Guardian Jubilation as Church of England’s synod votes to allow female bishops

Andreas Whittam Smith The Independent Women bishops: Church of England still divided but now prepared to trust each other

Stephen Castle The New York Times Church of England Votes to Allow Women as Bishops

Video: Archbishop Welby talks to BBC Newsnight about the vote to allow female bishops

Gillan Scott God & Politics in the UK Good news at last, but the women bishops vote was ultimately never about women bishops

Fulcrum Statement on Synod Vote for Women Bishops

Colin Coward for Changing Attitude Women bishops – finally

WATCH issued a press release which is copied below the fold.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued this statement: Women Bishops - Church of England.

Women and the Church
14 July 2014

“there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.28)

Today we are overjoyed that the General Synod has finally passed the legislation that will enable women to become bishops. This marks a new beginning for the church that can now begin to be fully affirming of both the women and men in it.

Much of the tone and mood of the debate today was notably different to that of November 2012 and WATCH gives thanks to all those who have worked tirelessly, supported wholeheartedly and prayed deeply for this wonderful day. Thanks be to God!

Hilary Cotton, Chair of WATCH said
What a historic day. Relief and then joy and then excitement. Yes to women at last.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:01am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

From Financial Times: “The absence of triumphalism was an appropriate response given the ridiculous fuss the church made about a change that everyone else regarded as a no-brainer.”

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 2:08pm BST

Which of these organisations is going to fold now?
FiF? Watch? Etc ........
Their very existence suddenly now seems to be archaic, a relic of past bitternesses .....

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 3:18pm BST

The most interesting section of the BBC Newsnights' interview with Archbishop is between the two minute and two and one half minute marks. Welby states that the decision was not so much about culture but is a theological decision. Seems to me that the decision is really about how the church continues to embrace opposing contradictory theologies, one based on gender equality and the other based on patriarchy and sexism. In that sense the decision has more to do with polity i.e. Anglican politics.

So, women are in when it comes to the episcopate
(alleluia!), but not to worry, the church is a family that welcomes authoritarian male headship as well.

The theology not culture theme is picked up as well in the Gillan Scott article (God and Politics in the UK), "Neither was the women bishops vote a victory for feminism or any other ism for that matter - it was a victory for servant-hood and the position of women in the eyes of God."

Actually, the church must give feminist analysis and the sexual revolution of western democratic countries the lion's share of the credit for decisions such as that to admit women to the episcopate. The cultural force of feminism has both required and enabled the church to radically re-think its theology of both servant-hood and the role of women.

Similar cultural forces are also laying the groundwork for a rethinking of the church's views on same sex marriage. The latter is something the journalist from BBC Newsnight tried to draw out of Welby who dodged the questions.

Finally, one perhaps has an obligation to remind Gillan Scott that Paul was not the author Timothy and Titus.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 3:41pm BST

I think a Dictionary of Outdated Church Acronyms is called for...my personal favourite has always been WAOW (Women Against Ordination of Women). I've always been a supporter of women's ordination but WAOW sounds much more exciting than MOW! (WAOW members were not, on the whole, very exciting!)

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 4:17pm BST

Among those women priests who are constantly referred to as papabile the names of three female deans constantly reappear - York, Salisbury and Norwich. It occurs to me that female Archdeacons by far outnumber women Deans but they hardly ever get a mention. Whoever is appointed as the first woman bishop will have to be fairly tough and Archdeacons can when necessary play "the tough guy" quite well. Besides, who in their right mind would want to give up the comfort of a Deanery for a crook and a mitre and a constant peripatetic ministry?

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 4:27pm BST

Martin: oh, that WATCH could fold! We are very clear that there is a lot yet to be done about full gender equality in our church.

But today, thanks be to God, for she has truly made her Spirit known!

Posted by: Dan BD on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 5:12pm BST

New days need new remedies, Dan BD!
If there is an need as you describe, and I hardly doubt it, then let's make a new thing ....
I liked the Stephen Morgan call to venerate old acronyms like WAOW! Can anybody remember others ......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 6:55pm BST

Was striking to see that 'Newsnight' has already moved on to equality and justice for lesbian and gay Anglicans. Equally striking to see how quickly Welby's self-satisfied joy at the Synod vote melted into testy defensiveness.

I was never in the camp that wanted this vote to fail for tactical reasons. You don't fight one injustice with another. But even on tactical grounds, this vote is a triumph. It's untenable for the church to overturn one type of patriarchy only to defend another, not to mention incomprehensible to anyone outside the institution. It's incomprehensible to plenty within.

Every bit of the joy at this vote has been hard earned, and is fully deserved. Let's hope that passion carries over to the next battle.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 7:20pm BST

Is it all about the clothes? Readers may get a kick out of this column on women bishops in England from the Toronto based newspaper, National Post


Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 8:24pm BST

Just so readers know, the National Post (Toronto, Canada) is a very right wing publication. It supports conservative views and the Conservative Party and is highly biased. It is not a "newspaper of record" in Canada. For some reason, negative articles about the Church of England are often reprinted, usually from a conservative British paper like the Telegraph where a columnist has said something nasty about liberalism. Then the usual extremely conservative comments begin. Oddly, these articles never seem to note that the Anglican Church of Canada has had women as bishops for about thirty years. They assume that Canada and England are identical. Being outraged about the C of E seems to attract their readers, since calling the Anglican Church a dead duck seems popular in the comments column, mostly by extreme right wing RCs and fundamentalists. This tells us something about their readership.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 9:22pm BST

Martin Reynolds,
Scotland voted for women bishops 20 years ago and has not yet got a single one of them.
I hope WATCH etc. remain very very active until we have at least two female diocesans.

See also Linda Woodhead's blog post on this: https://theconversation.com/yes-vote-for-women-bishops-challenges-the-church-of-england-to-embed-equality-29226

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 9:37pm BST

MOW disbanded after the 1992 vote etc. WATCH was born of necessity from the ashes. Conscious of that history, it is unlikely that WATCH will disband quickly. Those who were at General Synod will have seen at the WATCH stand the ten WATCH aims, one of which is close to being delivered. WATCH has always had a more extensive agenda than the campaign for women bishops and has found its work rather distorted by the extended synodical process for enabling the consecration of women as bishops. Much of its work in other areas has had rather less public profile - inevitably, because of its nature.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:11pm BST

'striking to see how quickly Welby's self-satisfied joy at the Synod vote melted into testy defensiveness.'
Are you sure? I must have been watching a different Newsnight.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:14pm BST

Erika ... as Bishop Jefferts Schori observed even in TEC, it is difficult for women to be elected...there are currently only 3 diocesans. In Ireland, the recent female appointment only occurred because the election was deadlocked and the bishops nominated instead.

Posted by: robert ian Williams on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:20pm BST

Erika, as the Scottish Episcopal Church has elected bishops, it's in a very different situation from England.

There have been female candidates, but electoral synods have yet to raise a woman to the purple. As there were gaps in age and experience, there's no indication that the Piskies' decisions were sexist, but rooted in a desire to elect the right *person* for the diocese.

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:22pm BST

It's less than 20 years since the Episcopal Church in Scotland agreed that women could be bishops. It's true that they haven't appointed one yet, but I don't think there have been many vacancies to fill during that period.

Posted by: Flora Alexander on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:29pm BST

You may not have to wait long, Martin. My episcopal sources tell me that Caroline Boddington has already emailed the bishops along the lines of "Dear Bishop, please send me the names of those who are READY NOW (her capitals) to be diocesan bishops." She's not wasting any time and is obviously anxious to get one appointed before any more axes fall on the heads of Lambeth Palace mandarins. Some of us, on the other hand, might wonder how a process of discernment might come in to play - and discernment takes time.

Posted by: James A on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 10:46pm BST

I think Erika meant that Ireland voted for women bishops 20 years ago and still hasn't managed to elect one yet! (One was appointed after an electoral college failed to nominate). Scotland it is that has been willing but not able for a decade.
Who knows Wales may beat them both to it yet!

A careful reading of my comment will show that I would advocate and encourage WATCH to vanish as they have achieved their goal, others (or etc) need to vanish for different reasons.

A new thing supporting, advocating, encouraging and teaching the path of inclusion might well be a good thing, unencumbered by the battles of the past. That would much better.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 11:15pm BST

Also I see no purpose or justification in an unseemly rush to ordain a woman to the episcopate. Nothing will be served by such haste.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 at 11:24pm BST

What a wonderful result for the Church of England.
However, the Scottish Episcopal Church has yet to elect/appoint a woman bishop - despite having passed the enabling legislation some time ago. Could this be because of a lingering reluctance on the part of some to make the first step in the U.K.?

One can only hope that there will be women in the House of Bishops before any determination is made on the enablement of Civil Marriage for same-sex clergy in the Church. The decline of historic patriarchy in the Church could make a world of difference to this particular justice issue.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 1:44am BST

Re what Richard Grand says about The National Post is pretty much spot on. The one thing I would add is that the name of the paper " National Post" is somewhat pretentious, in my opinion as a Maritimer, hence my reference to it as Toronto Based. British readers may be amused to know that Conrad Black ( British Lord Cross Harbor), who ran afoul of American Justice, was connected to The Paper and his columns are still published there by times, I believe.

Not sure I would dismiss the National Post as a paper of record in Canada, as a couple of its journalists are regulars on Canada's two national television networks, CBC (public) and CTV (private). It is also the only national aspiring news platform to pay more than passing attention to religion.

My long winded preface aside, I do think the Post's piece on the ordination of women to the episcopate was pretty droll, and in this instance
contributes legitimate political sardonicism with regards to conservative opponents of the same in the Church of England. So Richard, lighten up.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 2:17am BST

I totally disagree with Martin.. Watch needs to continue and expand their work. To monitor any discrimination against women or men ordained by women..especially discrimination coming from the new groupings Reform and Forward in Faith, who will be working for a de facto third province.

Watch needs to watch that the bishops do not let them develop an episcopal succession , free from the " taint" of bishops who participate in women's consecrations.Their bishops must be ordained by Canterbury or York.

Help needs to be given to those in parishes where a pcc bans women. Shamefully this never happened over the past 20 years and hopefully the new Ombudsman in his decision making will work both ways.

Concrete help needs to be given to expand the work of ordained women outside the Church of England, especially where GAFCON and Sydney are trying to stem development.

No Martin, WATCH is needed more than ever.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 6:18am BST

Martin Reynolds: "Also I see no purpose or justification in an unseemly rush to ordain a woman to the episcopate. Nothing will be served by such haste."

That same attitude leaves TEC after 25 years with 3 diocesan bishops out of 110.

On the same time scale, Martin will never live to see one in the Church in Wales!

As for Archbishop longley's comments..a Catholic rejoices that there is still within the Church of England a tiny group believing in the historic episcopate. Sound the trumpet WATCH, or you will get a third province de facto.

Could you imagine Martin luther King saying in 1968.. " well we,ve got the vote now and segregation is outlawed. We've done enough! " Even with a man of colour in the Whitehouse, work has still be done to address 300 hundred years of tyranny that British settlers and their descendents wrought on millions of Africans.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 7:09am BST

The RC Bishops' spokesman's comment is presented in very pale grey. We understand why they had to say it, but maybe they're ashamed at heart? (Sigh) Probably not.

Posted by: Sister Mary on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 7:16am BST

In reply to Rod Gillis, I agree that the article posted here from the National Post was really just a compilation from British papers and pretty innocuous. Nevertheless, it usually reprints British articles about the C of E, with a sense of outrage and cynicism, displaying at the same time a real ignorance of the Canadian and other branches of Anglicanism. I agree that columnists like Coyne and Ivison appear on the CBC and elsewhere, but the "National" Post per se is not well regarded unless one wants to know what the right wing is thinking. "Lord" Black actually founded the paper, if I am not mistaken, in opposition to the Globe and Mail and continues to print his self-righteous and self-justifying rants, thus securing the paper;s role as a right wing mouthpiece for him and other such cranks.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 8:05am BST

Re. the negative view of The Nationals Post on Anglicanism: Lord Black of Crossharbour, one of its founders and contributors, left the Anglican Church and became a Roman Catholic while in England. He became a "knight" of something or other in that Church and appeared famously in the robes of office. Then he became a felon. It's interesting that the NP has columnists like Da Souza and is friendly to the RC Church, since Conservatism in Canada was traditionally Protestant. However, there is an alignment between conservative RCs and Protestants and this is reflected in the Post.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 8:20am BST

If there's no reason to rush to have a female bishop, what was the point of the vote?
That sounds a bit like voting for women's suffrage but then declaring that they won't be allowed to vote in an Election for another... shall we say 25 years?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 9:27am BST

Re Richard @ 8:05, There was an article in the Globe and Mail, see link below, which is balanced, and quotes Bishop Goddard of Burnley as voting against the measure out what he describes as "obedience to God".
As for the comments board in the National Post (T.O.) being occupied right wing R.C.s and fundamentalists, there seems to be a trend in that regard on most comment boards, these folks, along with atheists, seem rather obsessively taken with Anglicanism. Seems they can't live with us, but can't live without us ( :


Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 1:08pm BST

I didn't think Justin Welby was testy in the Newsnight interview.

He quite pleasantly - and properly - refused to be hustled into making statements on issues other than the one he'd been invited on to discuss.

Posted by: Pam Smith on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 1:50pm BST

Erika, shall they just throw a purple robe over the first woman priest that walks in the door or out the restroom today to get it done quickly? Choosing the first one well is important I think for it to continue. Choosing poorly will just make it harder in the end as moderates and conservatives will just point out what a disaster "she" was. I'm from Montana and we chose the first female Congresswoman in the US because she helped push suffrage through the state. She was also the last female Congresswoman we've had.

While our current bishop has been trying hard to encourage women priests and a future female bishop, he's been having trouble as the parishes in this diocese prefer someone who stays long term and pays their dues. Most women priests here don't stay long enough in one place to win the trust required. Even the current PB wouldn't have been chosen as a candidate here, not enough experience, caught padding her CV, and too much "There are many ways to God, Christianity is just an opinion" statements(They make people here ask, "So why bother?"). Since bishops are chosen rather than elected in the CoE some careful thought should go into who and where, especially now that people are more willing to voice an opinion against appointments they don't like.

Posted by: Chris H on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 3:04pm BST

Oh dear, I thought most would agree that rushing forward for a trophy female as a bishop would be a bad idea! Leisurely repentance over a bad choice might set the whole thing back years ........ Though I note some are already saying that all we can expect is a copy of the present brigade with bosoms and vagina .... Though I suppose there is the point that the first woman bishop has every right to be equally dull or lifeless as the others.

As to suffrage, that was not something won in one vote. Indeed here in the UK we didn't have one person one vote until 1968, some fifty years after the first group of women were enfranchised for parliamentary elections. We do indeed need care in moving forward, but haste is not something that anyone should sensibly advocate.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 3:41pm BST

Chris H,
you are very quick to dismiss all those women who have been suggested as possible candidates.
Of course, if they were all miraculously found to be unsuitable, so be it. But Martin seemed to be suggesting that they should not even be considered as that was displaying undue haste.

20 years after having the first women priests, decades after Deans of Cathedrals etc. "unseemly rush" are not quite the words that spring to mind.

But if that's really the prevailing attitude then we must hope that WATCH and Yes To Women Bishops continue to exert pressure.
Certainly, if we don't have a female diocesan bisho in a reasonable period of time I shall be writing to my MP asking him to ask Tony Baldry to explain what the reason for the procrastination might be. I'd love to see what happens when the answer is "try as we might, we just couldn't find a suitable candidate".

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 4:27pm BST

@Rod Gillis: Those who seem to comment the most on articles about religion in newspapers do seem to be either of a very right wing type, or are adamant atheists. They all seem to be looking for a soap box and they must scan the headlines daily so they can find a place to vent. Anglicanism seems to attract them, since its an easier target, having a history and profile, as well as things like bishops and cathedrals. They can't get such a bang from attacking the United Church, etc., although they make quite an effort. Romanism is less assailable, since they know that the RCs don't much care what they think. However, it's not just about religion. A similar (or the same) group foam at the mouth when they see the words "liberal" and "gay" with similar nasty results in online comments.

Posted by: Richard Grand on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 5:06pm BST

Don't know how the appointment process will unfold, but given that there are likely an abundance of qualified female priests who could be made bishops in the C of E, one would hope that the "first" one will not be a solitary appointment separated in time by a second female bishop, but rather that the C of E will get several female bishops in various parts of the country at or about the same time.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 5:26pm BST

I have responded to you Erica pointing out the error of your assumptions, gently, but it was rejected by the editor.

ED: delayed, but now published.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 17 July 2014 at 10:12am BST

Thank you Martin,
I confess to still being bemused at the implication that a quick choice now would likely be one that the church would repent of at leisure.
Isn't it rather the contrary - because no women has yet been made a bishop, yet we have had 20 years of women priests, there is a very large pool of very capable women to choose from?

There is no guarantee that a current of future CNC will make an inspired choice. But the risk of a boring woman bishop is no greater than that of a boring male bishop. And yet, there is no move to stop men becoming bishops until we (who? how?) agree that we have the right CNC to make that choice.

The women are already queuing up, there are some amazing possible candidates. There is no reason to hold back.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 17 July 2014 at 5:03pm BST

Are you suggesting I am being Entlike, Erica!

I know it is media hype but this ........ "We will have a woman nominated before Christmas ....." seems to my old fashioned mind irreligious, impious more appropriate to a football team player than bishops of the Church.

I am not against enthusiasm, but I am on record as not being very enthusiastic about the choice of the first openly gay bishop, I am sorry if some should think that I am not impressed with the women in waiting .........I don't know any of them well.
In any case, those women who see themselves as episcopal material must now fill in a 40 page application form and be vetted - one assumes partnered lesbians are not being encouraged by the system and that's another reason to be less sanguine .........

But wouldn't it be wonderful if the first woman stood up immediately and laid into the hypocrisy of her brethren ..... I would love to see the See houses in places like Exeter, St Albans and Edmonton (to name but a few) turned upside down by a bishop who was willing to speak truth!
But I don't think it's a possibility.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 17 July 2014 at 5:57pm BST

On the assumption of "quick choice" or "unseemly haste" - ever since this legislation has had a realistic prospect of success, the same processes which advance men towards consideration for consecration have been quietly invoked in the cases of women too. In fact the legislation has taken so long to pass that half a generation of capable women who could have been considered for consecration have continued their ministry in their vocation to priesthood, and will never have any potential episcopal vocation tested by the church.

Secondly, the processes for considering episcopal appointments are themselves notoriously slow, with a regular backlog every time there is a spate of retirements. No individual appointment is hastily made.

Thirdly, in church history (Ambrose comes to mind) consecration depends on the call of the Holy Spirit, and it is this which the processes of the church are designed to serve (rather than the other way around).

Women who may be fitted for particular appointments should have their vocations to episcopal appointments considered, tested and prayed over in the same way as men from the first day on which this is legally possible. They should be appointed if it appears to the church that they are called to serve in the posts for which they are being considered. That is not unseemly haste, but the way the church does things.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Thursday, 17 July 2014 at 9:57pm BST

I suppose it depends on how we interpret "unseemly rush".
Christmas is media hype, I agree.
I misunderstood you to be saying "slow down, just because it's now legal on paper doesn't mean we have to do anything yet".
I'm glad I was mistaken!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 18 July 2014 at 9:09am BST
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