Women bishops

There is no doubt that the decision by the Church of England to ordain women bishops is historic and overdue.  Several other Anglican churches round the world have long done so.

It is hard for Quakers to understand the opposition, since the spiritual and leadership gifts of women are so clear around us.  But on the other hand, the very idea of a separate, paid, ordained ministry is odd to us, as is the idea that one needs a specific type of minister to mediate God’s forgiveness, grace and love.  That there is a human gatekeeper to being of one body.

I have worshipped among those for whom women priests were not possible, and not acceptable; who would not accept the leadership of a bishop who ordained them.  For them, ordaining women as bishop was the last straw, since none of the priests she ordained would be priests at all.  Arguments based on tradition and scripture seemed to me selective, as are those which support the existence of a sacerdotal priesthood, or the eucharist as anything more than a shared meal demonstrative of unity and love.

But, real human beings in the CofE will object to this historic decision and will have to deal with it in their own way.  They deserve our understanding and our support.  We should however remember the many able women who waited patiently and in faith, many of whom will now have no chance to follow that calling.

 

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