“All houses of the Church of England have voted to send draft legislation on women bishops for debate in the General Synod, paving the way for a potentially historic session of the legislative body on Monday,” wrote Lizzy Davies of the Guardian.
“Of course, elsewhere in the Anglican communion, other churches had already addressed the issue, with the first woman being elected as a bishop in the United States in 1988, and the second woman being elected in the same year as a bishop in New Zealand,” Christina Rees of the Guardian reported.
Whether a speedy or delayed solution comes out of the church’s governing body, some observers, such as the the Rev. Dr., Mariann Edgar Budde, the ninth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, are concerned about the possible consequences. The following is a statement she made before leaders began to meet in York.
I read with sadness of the prolonged struggle in the Church of England to embrace women bishops, but I recognize it.
When the Episcopal Church voted to ordain women priests, our General Convention introduced what was known as “conscious clause,” which permitted bishops and dioceses that didn’t approve of women’s ordination to follow their conscience and not ordain them. Similarly, when the first woman was elected bishop, many objected on biblical and theological grounds.
But that was over 20 years ago. As more women serve in leadership, the more accepted our leadership becomes. Then biblical and theological understandings evolve, just as they have in the past on issues of race and ethnicity.
Because of the disproportionate political power of those who call themselves traditionalists and evangelicals, the Church of England is stuck, as is Roman Catholic Church, with teachings and practices that are an affront to 50 percent the human population.
God bless the women and their male allies who persevere in faith.
The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde is bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington D.C.