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Female clergy

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The Church of England:
The multi-decade effort towards consecrating
female priests as bishops succeeds in 2014

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Background:

The Church of England is composed of two provinces: The Archbishop of Canterbury leads the Southern Province while the Archbishop of York leads the Northern Province. Together, they extend across England, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Isles of Scilly, and a small part of Wales.

The archbishops, bishops, priests and representatives of the laity meet at least twice a year in General Synods to consider church business and establish policy.

The General Synod of the Church of England voted in favor of the ordination of women priests in 1992. The first group of 1,000 women were ordained in 1994. The next logical step was for women, religious liberals, human rights supporters and other opponents of sexism within the church to press for consecration of women as bishops.

The first firm step on that path was taken in mid-2005. Although consecration was authorized in principle in 2006, the process was at least temporarily stalled by the House of Laity vote in 2012. Women were not expected to be eligible to be consecrated as bishops for many years in the future. And so, there was a moral inversion in England, where:

  • The culture generally considers discrimination on the basis of gender to be profoundly immoral,

  • One of the Church of England's main roles is to promote morality, and

  • The official state church practices discrimination against all women, without regard for their talent, ability, education, dedication, or experience.

The logjam was broken in 2014-JUL when, under threat from Parliament, the laity members of the General Synod overwhelmingly approved female bishops by a vote of 152 in favor and 45 opposed. Sexism in the Church of England is expected to come to a granding halt in mid-2015 with the consecration of the first female Church of England priests as bishops.

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Topics discussed in this section:

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External links:

  • Cost of Conscience is an association of more than 3,000 Anglican priests worldwide. It has a web site at: http://trushare.com/

  • Forward in Faith has chapters throughout the English speaking parts of the Anglican Communion. Their web site is at: http://www.forwardinfaith.com

  • The Traditional Anglican Church maintains "... traditional faith, worship and discipline for Anglicans in England, Scotland and Wales." See: http://www.thetraditionalanglicanchurch.org.uk/

  • Women and the Church (WATCH) "... is campaigning to see women take their place alongside men as bishops and at every level in the Church of England." See: http://www.watchwomen.com/ They sell:

      tea towels,   T-shirts, and other merchandise.

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See our news feed on women's issues. It shows 20 current news items, and is updated every 15 minutes.

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Copyright © 2000 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-JUL-18
Author: Bruce A. Robinson
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