The Guardian has asked where supporters of women bishops might defect to. Their conclusion is that they should probably stay and continue the discussion.
Quakers are raised with the central office press officer being quoted. Since Quakers admitted men and women to one central committee in 1896, men and women have been able to hold all roles in the organisation. But women have been encouraged to preach and teach and hold roles locally since the Civil War!
” Their spokesperson Anna Van Staveren explained: “If I said to you we don’t have priests, what’s more accurate is that we don’t have laities. We believe in the priesthood of all worshippers. Equality is hugely important to Quakers, right from the early days of the 1650s.” Van Staveren was raised an Anglican, and came to the Quakers via a variety of ecumenical churches. I asked her whether she would find it hard, now, to worship in a church that didn’t see women as equal. It’s a bit more complicated than that. “Once you get used to stillness – it’s not silence, it’s a very deep stillness, listening to one another and listening to God – I would find it hard to go back to somebody telling me what page number to turn to.”
Quakers do appoint people to support the spiritual life of meetings locally but these are for fixed three year terms and we don’t see them as a separate group.