Posted in Church of England, women bishops

Women Bishops: a sense of hope

Having returned earlier today from the College of Bishops, leaving the House to decide what might happen to the amendment which caused so much trouble earlier in the year. I was hoping, and praying, that the outcome would be what has in fact occurred. To quote from the press release

“The final text proposed by the House of Bishops is:

“Substitute for the words in clause 5(1)(c):” the selection of male bishops and male priests in a manner which respects the grounds on which parochial church councils issue Letters of Request under section 3″

Simple words – words which fill me with a sense of hope – at two levels.

I really really hope this will enable the legislation to pass. If there was one thing all of the bishops had in common was a realisation of the disaster it would be for the church if we fail to pass legislation in November. We really have to move on – and I really hope we will. To those who fear that they will be excluded from the church when we have women bishops, I hope this will provide reassurance that they will not be. To those who fear that the legislation will pay too great a price, I hope it will also say – yes, we do want to make provision for those who are opposed, but we are doing so within a church which is unashamed of ordaining women bishops as absolute equals with men.

And the second level of hope is that we might just start to work together a little more. If we do ‘respect’ in the legal term, maybe we can build on the many individual respectful relationships between those of different opinions, and build a greater culture of respecting our differences in the whole church. God cannot be completely understood by any person or system: respecting those who differ from us within the faith is a recognition of the mystery of the God who is beyond knowing.