Women look to their future leadership of world Anglicanism

By staff writers
July 23, 2008

Though women are primarily involved as advisers, spouses and fringe participants at the male-dominated Lambeth Conference this year, in future the number of women bishops will grow and one might well be presiding Archbishop.

That is the view of the Anglican Communion's most senior woman bishop, who has told told journalists that she believed that one day the Church will be led by a woman Archbishop of Canterbury.

"The signposts are pointing in one direction," said the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews, for 15 years a bishop in Canada and now moving to minister in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"I would be very surprised if it wasn't accepted worldwide," she told agencies at the Lambeth gathering, a once-in-a-decade event for Anglican bishops from around the globe.

But she added that "it would be difficult to say the timeline. A third of Anglican provinces have now given permission for women bishops."

Earlier this month, the Church of England's governing body, the General Synod, confirmed that it is willing consecrate' women bishops in the near future, but also opted for a 'code of practice that will seek to accommodate objectors.

Anglicans in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand already have had women serving as bishops.

Moreover, one in six of English parish priests is now a woman.

"The tide is now usntoppable", one woman at Lambeth told Ekklesia. "The Gospel is a message of hope and reconcilition for all people, irrespective of gender and other humanly conditioned attributes. We are facing great difficulties now, but I am excited about the future."

The new book Fear or Freedom? Why a warring church must change, edited by Simon Barrow, is published by Shoving Leopard / Ekklesia.

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