Thinking Anglicans

Preparing for Women as Bishops


WATCH is publishing a series of papers on Preparing for Women as Bishops. All are PDF files.

First, there is Introduction to the papers: Preparing for Women as Bishops by Christina Rees. Her paper is titled Preparing for Women as Bishops –Legislating in Fear or in Faith?

The Church of England is in the process of drafting the legislation that will make it lawful for women to be bishops. After debating the issue of women’s ordination for over 40 years, WATCH is delighted that the General Synod has agreed that having women as bishops is ‘consonant with the faith of the Church’. We are concerned, however, that certain proposals have been put forward which would result in a two-tier episcopacy and a fracturing of the historical Anglican understanding of orders. Further, we are alarmed that the flawed theology of the Episcopal Act of Synod 1993 may be absorbed in the legislation permitting women to be bishops.

Several members of WATCH have written about their hopes and fears for the women bishops legislation and we offer this series of papers as a contribution to the on-going discussions about the way in which the Church will legislate for the Episcopal ministry of women…

The first paper is available here, and is by Dr Judith Maltby.

The prefatory material says:

Introduction to the Revd Dr Judith Maltby’s essay in Act of Synod –Act of Folly? edited by Monica Furlong, SCM Canterbury Press 1998.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, but Two Integrities?

On 11th November 1992, after many years of debate and discussion at all levels in the Church, the General Synod voted to make it lawful for women to be ordained as priests. Almost exactly one year later, with only two debates a day apart, the General Synod passed the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod, creating provision for three separate ‘flying bishops’ to minister to those opposed to women’s ordained ministries.

Five years after the Act of Synod was passed, the late Monica Furlong edited a collection of essays entitled Act of Synod –Act of Folly? Canon Dr Judith Maltby, Fellow of Christ Church College, Oxford, has given WATCH her permission to use her contribution to Monica’s book. We are grateful to Judith for her essay, which traces the theological and ecclesiological flaws inherent in the Act and the damaging precedent it has set, not only for the Church of England but for the entire Anglican Communion. 16 years on, the Act is still in place, although only 2% of parishes in the Church of England have signed Resolution C, the resolution calling for the extended Episcopal oversight created by the Act.

As the Church prepares to open the Episcopate to women, WATCH continues to work for the rescinding of the Act of Synod and for the simplest and most straightforward legislation for women bishops.

The second paper is now also available: Walls of Suspicion, Hatred and Taint by Jean Mayland.

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14 years ago

Bravo, bravo, bravo … in one fell swoop of clear reflection, Dr. M shines the glaring light of day upon the whole spin doctored business that aims to divide and conquer as a core strategy of rightwing Anglican realignment. It seems clear, even when justifications/reasons for needing some new global covenant are tossed around, especially from realignment corners: One must avoid being tainted. Sticky, gooey dirt can smear one, depending on a number of different sources whose contact contaminates real, pure, true, traditionalistic Anglicanisms. One may be touched by a woman, or by somebody who has touched a woman. One… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Sara MacVane
14 years ago

Brava, brava, brava is better – ain’t she a woman? Anyway, brava indeed and thanks also for drdanfee’s excellent comment.

Father Ron Smith
14 years ago

“16 years on, the Act is still in place, although only 2% of parishes in the Church of England have signed Resolution C, the resolution calling for the extended Episcopal oversight created by the Act.” And herein lies the anomaly of ‘Two Integrities’ How on earth (or how in heaven, for that matter) can there be such a thing a ‘two integrities’ – on the issue of whether Christ can be represented at the altar by a woman? Either a woman is truly created in the fullness of the image and likeness of God (just like a man) or she… Read more »

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