Comments: Senior women clergy

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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 5:30pm GMT

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

Posted by Barbara Moss at 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 at Tuesday, 12 February 2013 at 6:09pm GMT

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

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

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

Posted by Father David at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at Wednesday, 13 February 2013 at 3:08pm GMT

This is all getting quite exciting. Progress at last.

Posted by Robert Ellis at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at Tuesday, 26 March 2013 at 8:58pm GMT
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