as I write, the General Synod of the Church of England is debating whether and how the Church might ordain women bishops.
When the legislation went through that allows for the ordination of women as priests, there were safeguards built in for those unable to accept our priestly ministry. There is a possibility that similar measures might be part of the package this time, - which means that several thousand of us have written to our synod reps to say that we would actually prefer to wait longer and have the measure fully accepted than to live with a two tier church, in which some would undoubtedly treat women bishops as "second order". There is good coverage of the issues here. As today has gone on, I've been stopped by several people out and about in the community here, who've expressed huge support for the ministry of women together with a view that might be summed up as
"The church needs to get its act together".
I didn't expect to feel this anxious...Whatever happens, people will be hurt I think, - but please pray for minimal damage to this church that I love, despite all the institutional failings and frustrations.
Synod has voted in favour of women bishops (confirming an earlier decision that there was no theological objection to this) but with provision in place to protect traditionalists....At the moment, nobody seems able to say exactly what this provision may look like, so I'm not sure whether I'm rejoicing or lamenting, though I'm thankful to read that ++Rowan said, during the debate
"I am deeply unhappy with any scheme or any solution to this which ends up, as it were, structurally humiliating women who might be nominated to the episcopate." Goodness knows, at this stage, whether his voice will have had any influence, - but it's encouraging that he's not so punch-drunk as Lambeth looms that he can't see wood for trees in this particular jungle.