Hallelujah: South West London reverends delighted after synod vote paves way for female bishops


The Church of England’s ruling body voted in favour of proposals.


By Molly Kersey

Reverends in South West London are hopeful that the Church of England synod vote will pave the way for female bishops, but admit there is still more that needs to be done. 

The ruling body of the Church of England have voted in favour of proposals which could allow female bishops to be ordained next year. 

The motion was passed by members of the general synod with a majority of 378 to eight. There were 25 abstentions.

This vote has paved the way for female bishops being ordained, as well as providing a ‘declaration’ which sets out guidance for parishes which choose to reject female ministry, and an ombudsman to help rule on disagreements.

With both Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby being vocal in their support of female bishops being ordained in England, many are optimistic that this will become a reality.   

“I’m very hopeful. After years of sterile discussion, in which the same old arguments were rehearsed endlessly, Archbishop Justin seems to have changed the tone of the debate and found a way of getting people who disagree passionately on this issue to find a way forward together,” said Reverend Canon Dr Ann Nickson, from St Mary’s Mortlake in Richmond. 

“At long last the church will be living out the reality that men and women are created in the image of God and Bishops can be chosen on the basis of the gifts and abilities they bring to the church, not on the basis of gender.”

However, caution has been urged as there is still work that needs to be done.

Reverend Helen Hancock, from St Matthew’s Church in Surbiton, said: “I am delighted that it was passed but feel that there is still much to be done.  I’m interested that a new style of mediation ushered in by the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have brought into the open more of what unites us than what keeps us apart as Christians although I am concerned that much of that is still lurking beneath the surface.

“So to get through the whole process I think we will need to be praying for much more of God’s grace because there are still some tricky issues to deal with.”

Further votes on approval of the draft legislation will take place on Wednesday afternoon in the general synod.     

“It’s a great result but of course there’s still some way to go and some who voted in favour this week may vote down the final measure next July,” Reverend Nickson added.

Photo courtesy of Catholic Church (England and Wales), with thanks.

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