Today is an historic day for the Church of England as it passed legislation for women bishops 18 months after the last vote failed. Whilst there are female Anglican bishops in the world wide church this is a significant vote because it now means that all forms of ministry are open to both sexes here in England. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said:
Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years with the ordination of women as priests. I am delighted with today’s result. Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing.
The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds. Very few institutions achieve this, but if we manage this we will be living our more fully the call of Jesus Christ to love one another. As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the Church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow.
My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.
At Holy Nativity we have always been supportive of women in Church leadership and have had a female priest in the past. We look forward to celebrating the appointment of the first women as a bishop in the near future.