Thinking Anglicans

a woman bishop in England

Martin Beckford reports on Britain’s first woman bishop to take office this weekend.

History will be made this weekend as the first female bishop to serve in a British church takes office.

However the Church of England continues to argue about how and when women should be introduced to the episcopate, while the Roman Catholic Church maintains that only men can serve as priests.

So it has been left to the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, which has just a few thousand worshippers, to become the first to take the radical step.

The Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, whose parents were Latvian refugees but who was born in England, will be consecrated as the church’s first female bishop on Saturday at a ceremony in the City of London…

…A spokesman for the Lutherans said in a statement: “The Lutheran Church in Great Britain will consecrate its first woman bishop, the Rt Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, on Saturday 17th January 2009, in the historic Wren church of St Anne & St Agnes on Gresham Street, in the City of London.

“Her predecessor, the Rt Rev Walter Jagucki, will preside at the service, and bishops and other clergy from Nordic and European Lutheran churches will participate in the consecration.”

More information about the Lutheran Church of Great Britain is here.

More information about UK-based Lutherans generally is here.


  • BillyD says:

    Does the CofE have intercommunion with the Lutheran Church in Great Britain?

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    Good on the Lutheran Church in the U.K. – to have beaten the C.of E. to the gun on the issue of ordaining their first women Bishop in the U.K.
    Maybe this will help Mother Church in the U.K. to catch up with her colleagues in the former Colonial Churches in their prophetic move to open up the ranks of the Sacred Ministry to the other 50% of its membership. Congratulations to the Lutherans. Obviously our Lutheran Brethren and Sistren are not inhibited by Rome’s refusal to recognise the ministry of Churches whose ministry they don’t recognise anyway.

  • Neil says:

    No it doesn’t BillyD. But it does with Scandinavian branches of the Lutheran Churches.
    Porvoo agreement.

  • Wilf says:

    There is currently no formal relationship of communion between the LCGB and the C of E. However, many of those who make up the LCGB either come originally from churches with which we do have intercommunion (e.g. the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran Churches via the Porvoo agreement), or those with whom we have pre-Porvoo agreements (e.g. agreement for mutual co-consecration of bishops with the Latvian Lutherans).

    The new bishop will, significantly, be ordained within the historic succession. She is also a first class priest and will be an excellent addition to the episcopal ranks.

  • Nom de Plume says:

    Good on the UK Lutherans. It might be interesting to note that the Canadian Lutherans, aside from having experience of a couple of women bishops now have a woman in the post of National Bishop – the equivalent of Primate.

  • Pluralist says:

    Existing female bishops in this country:

    Liberal Catholic Church International Province of Great Britain and Ireland Archbishop: The Most Reverend. E.B.Stuart

    The Right Reverend Shelley Harstad-Smith
    Open Episcopal Church

  • Gledhill notes a double standard,

    “The Church of England along with the three other Anglican churches of these isles is in full communion with the Church of Sweden, which is about to debate and probably approve a proposed rite of same-sex marriage. And there is no Anglican-English-style fudge here, over ‘when is a blessing a wedding and when is it just a blessing’. This comes as the Lutheran Church in Britain prepares to consecrate this country’s first woman bishop.”

  • Rev L Roberts says:

    The Society of Friends has had women in postions of eldership & oversight involving episkope (equivalent of bishops), for a very long time.

    I say equivalent, but lacking the ability to cause dissent and division, anglicans bishops have sown in recent years. They can only serve for a maximum of six years in UK and must then stand down for at least three years, while someone else tries their hand at it. No chauffeurs, purple, pretensions, or perks either.

    The C of E could have learned a lot from Quaker polity if its bishops etc were less pompous & /or restricted in thought.

    Now there’s a thought !

  • drdanfee says:

    WOW this would be so alarming if it were not so long overdue and so welcome.

    We might have a woman pope in about a thousand more years, but only for the colonies on Mars and the outer planets. (Mars and the moon will be the only off-planet cathedrals with no males only signs for a while owing to all sorts of factors.)

    Gledhill’s news is cleverly tottered on her typical fences. Swedish Lutheran Anglo-Catholic seminarian finds this development alarming, and all that. So. Just what is the awful thing to worry us so terribly when two adults pledge lifelong trust, care, (and often, parenting) asking for God’s help and for the help of their friends, family, and community of faith?

    In campus, community, and church workshops the old saw used to be that queer folks could not settle down and be productive members of society. Now the alarm is that we discover they have settled down, are productive members of society, and want to get married (not least to support their children and one another through the vagaries of life). How terrible, what a revoltin Ralph Cramden development this is?

    Oh yes. Now I remember.

    Friends may help, even family these days may help. But a community of faith which dares to help will immediately be trash talked and campaigners will immediately preach that the community is misguided at best, and outright faithless at worst.

    Thanks to Gledhill, though, for that pun: Porvoo mais pa por vous. Come to think of it, is Gledhill herself a point of alarm , insofar as she may be softening unduly towards the porvoo churches, Canada, TEC, VGR in New Hampshire, committed couples, or any number of other hot button campaign preachments. Akinola better keep a close eye on her then. Referrals to the new global Anglican police after the covenant is concluded will need to be carried through with all deliberate speed.

  • martin says:

    St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Bunhill Row, which enjoys warm ecumenical relations with St. Anne’s Lutheran Church was represented at Saturday’s consecration of Bishop Jana by clergy and laity. We also presented a greeting-card of the Icon, Joseph of the House of David, displayed in St. Joseph’s Church, signed by St. Joseph’s parishioners. We are delighted that Lutheran friends will be joining an ecumenical pilgrimage to Rome, 21-26 January, involving people and clergy from St. Joseph’s, St. Anne’s, St. Giles Cripplegate Anglican Church, and Wesley’s Chapel. We are thankful that here is no winter of ecumenism in our neighbourhood. On 7 February, our monthly Carmel-in-the-City spirituality day at St. Joseph’s will have as its theme: Spiritual Ecumenism & Ecumenical Spirituality.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    Reading today of comments made by various Faith Leaders in the UK to the press – to commemorate the Week of Christian Unity, one is struck by a common theme, which seems to be that initiatives towards convergence among the various Churches might best be pursued on a ‘local’ rather than more formally ‘national’ or ‘international’ basis.

    Martin’s story here of the fellowship existing in in London churches, between Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, Lutherans and Anglicans represented at the Consecration of Bishop Jana (first Lutheran Woman Bishop in the UK) speaks volumes about what really unites the Church – It is all about People of Faith, not Institutions.

    What does this say about differences in the Anglican Communion, when even some of it’s Prelates cannot bear to ‘Sup’ with their fellows -because of perceived problems of interpretation of the Bible ?

  • The LCiGB is in the latter stages of negotiations about joining Porvoo.

  • Frank Cranmer says:

    “The Society of Friends has had women in postions of eldership & oversight involving episkope (equivalent of bishops), for a very long time.” Not quite. Quaker overseers are not the equivalent of bishops: overseers are responsible for pastoral care and oversight.

    Episkope within the Society is exercised collegially by each Area Meeting (AM) – very much as in the Church of Scotland, where episkope is exercised by the presbytery of the bounds. The differences are that any Member of the Society may attend AM and participate in its proceedings – and that we don’t, of course, have clergy.

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