Voting Day…

No, not the one for Police Commissioners, which was a bit of a non event last week.

Tomorrow, 20 November, the Church of England General Synod will vote on legislation for Women Bishops.

Well, I would like to see women able to be Bishops in England (as they already can be in other countries, hence the photo, which is of Katherine Schori, a Bishop in the USA), but I would also like to see a church which welcomes the ministry of men and women equally, and which will soon make the courageous decision to get rid of the discriminatory legislation of the past.

When the vote went through for women to be ordained, 20 years ago, they tried to keep everyone happy, and you simply can’t do that. So, we still live in a church where the law says that no one has to have a woman vicar if they don’t want one, and they can vote to never have a woman lead services or be the vicar in their church. The proposed legislation about women bishops does some of the same sort of theological and legal gymnastics to try too keep everyone happy, so we will be in a situation not much better than what we have now.

In case you are wondering how this can exist in a world where workplace equality is enforced by law, it is because the C of E is exempt from employment legislation and exempt from the sex discrimination legislation – which is just incomprehensible to anyone who works in any other organisation.

The vote could go either way tomorrow. We will see. Either way, there will be big implications.

Today, the church calendar remembered and gave thanks for Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, born in 680AD.

Here are a prayer about her which has helped me to focus and pray today:

Eternal God,
who made the abbess Hilda to shine like a jewel in our land
and through her holiness and leadership
blessed your Church with new life and unity:
help us, like her, to yearn for the gospel of Christ
and to reconcile those who are divided;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


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