Church leaders’ joy as women allowed to be bishops

The Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth: "The Church of England has a great future" ENGNNL00120120317124820
The Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth: "The Church of England has a great future" ENGNNL00120120317124820

The Bishop of Coventry has welcomed the Church of England’s historic vote to allow women to become bishops.

The General Synod, the church’s governing body, yesterday voted in favour of the move, having rejected the idea by a narrow margin in 2012.

In an open letter to church members in Coventry and Warwickshire yesterday, the Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth wrote: “Today General Synod expressed the will of the Church of England that now is the time for the Church of England to receive the great gifts of women into the Church’s episcopal leadership and to do so in a way that everyone, whether they rejoice or regret this development, can live together in the strongest bonds of mutuality and reach out to the nation as one Church.

“This is where we have been for sometime in the Diocese of Coventry and I pay tribute to the ‘faith, hope and love’ of so many in our Diocese who have brought us to this point in our life together.

“The Church of England has a great future ahead as we open the Church to the ministry of women Bishops, as we open our hearts to everyone in it and as we open ourselves to the urgent need to share the abundant love of God in all our towns, villages and cities.

“This is a day to rejoice in the ministry of women in the past, to look forward to the ministry of women in every dimension of the Church in the future and to give thanks for the ability of the Church of England in our own day to work patiently for its own peace so that we may concentrate on our main calling, which, in the words of the final speech of today’s debate, is to ‘return Christ to the centre of this country, its culture and its conscience’.”

The Dean of Women’s Ministry in Coventry and Warwickshire was also delighted with the General Synod vote. The Rev Canon Katrina Scott, who is also the vicar in Willenhall, said: “I am delighted that today the Church of England has strongly affirmed the role of women at every level of church life. This is a great moment to celebrate men and women working together to serve God and our neighbours.

“Having women as bishops will help us as a whole church better represent God to the nation, and to one another. I am especially pleased that this legislation has been accepted, because it continues to respect and value those in the church who will find it hard to work with women as bishops. Today, I particularly pray for them and I look forward to us continuing to work together with love, for the mutual flourishing of all.”

Opponents of allowing women to become bishops typically cite either verses from the Bible or examples from the church’s own tradition as reasons for objection.