Bishop Backs Women

Published: 16th September 2013

"I'm thoroughly in favour of women bishops and look forward to it happening", says the Bishop of Lichfield.The Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill made his comments on BBC Radio Stokes Sunday Breakfast show after a meeting of all the Church of Englands bishops in Oxford last week.Asked why it hasnt already happened, he said:Its mainly because it has been like that for two thousand years. I used to be against it years and years ago but gradually circumstances and study of the New Testament have changed my mind. When you first look at it, Jesus chose twelve male apostles: its only when you look more closely that you see its not a static picture and that the New Testament is moving towards women being used in leadership.Although women have been able to become priests in the Church of England for eighteen years, the last barrier to equality in the church has continued to be debated.We have representatives in the House of Bishops who are traditionalists and dont want the change. What weve tried to do all along is say that this is a change that must happen now. The vast majority are in favour of it but the people who are against through conscientious theological reasons are still loyal Anglicans… and although I think they are wrong about this issue we dont want to unchurch them and still want to make provision for them.He compared the role of General Synod (the Church of Englands governing parliament) to local democracy - you get more activists and fewer middle-of-the-road people on any council and its the danger that we get the really enthusiastic people who are against from several different points of view and so it may be touch and go in November.While General Synod is currently split very evenly between those who are for and against female bishops, forty two of the forty four Diocesan Synods (including the Diocese of Lichfield) voted in favour of change in the past year. General Synod chose to postpone the vote in July until its next session in November this year after senior bishops added a clause to the legislation that was intended to clarify safeguards for parishes that objected to having a female bishop.Im proud of the way we dont crush minorities in the Church of England. It takes longer, but you go on caring and valuing other people and trying to listen to them and achieve concensus, he told the BBCs Stuart Ellis. The great thing about the College of Bishops meeting last week was that we all gathered round this version and way of making provision and we trust it will commend it to a large majority of people in General Synod.It would be marvellous if we had the first woman bishop in late 2013 or early 2014.For further information contact:Mr Simon Jones, Chaplain & Communications Officer to the Bishop of LichfieldTel: 01543 306002 Mob: 07973 625665

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