WATCH encouraged by draft legislation on Women Bishops
WATCH is very encouraged by the Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee which was published today, Saturday 8th May (see http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr4210.html). It proposes that women should be consecrated as bishops on the same basis as men. WATCH has argued for this for the last fifteen years, as there are sound theological reasons for it as well as scriptural warrant: the first chapter of Genesis says we are all made in the image of God, both male and female, and St Paul says that in Christ there is no male or female.
WATCH will be studying the details of the Report carefully over the coming days and will give a fuller response in due course. Our initial reaction is that we hope that the draft legislation will be approved by General Synod substantially as it stands in July and then be sent out to the 44 dioceses of the Church of England for them to debate and approve; which is the next stage in the legislative process.
A major concern of the Revision Committee has been how to draft legislation that does not create second-class bishops and yet enables those opposed to women bishops to remain in the Church. We are pleased that the Revision Committee has found a way forward that acknowledges their position, because it has never been the aim of WATCH to exclude those with a differing conscience. However, it is now right for the Church of England as a whole to accept women and men as equal before God in all parts of its ministry.