Press Statement from WATCH (Women and the Church) 17 July
Generosity Offered to those Opposed as Draft Legislation Overwhelmingly Endorsed by Synod
General Synod overwhelmingly agreed last weekend to have women as bishops alongside provisions for those opposed. The decision to include provisions was passed by 373 votes to 14. This was urged on Synod by senior clergywomen who, despite the consistent demands on them to ‘be gracious’ towards opponents in the past 16 years, still want to offer those who disagree with them an honoured place.
Hilary Cotton, WATCH Campaign Coordinator commented, “This has been described as uncharitable by the opponents because it does not give them what they say they need. But generosity does not always mean giving people what they want: it means weighing up the issues and coming to a judgement about the best way forward for as many as possible. Women had made it clear in the debates that they could not accept appointment as bishops under the conditions of the Archbishops’ amendment. The provisions in the legislation ARE generous: no parish will have to have a female bishop or priest – meaning there will still be no-go areas for ordained women”.
Elections for General Synod take place in September. WATCH hopes that the new Synod will be truly representative of the majority of Church people who want women bishops and want to be generous to those opposed. This legislation has been given overwhelming endorsement as the will of this Synod. We trust that will be confirmed by the next Synod, and that women will be appointed bishops by 2014.