The re-election of Christina Rees, a strong supporter of women's ministries, to the Church of England's Archbishops' Council is a sign that the church's mainstream wants to move forward on the ordination of women as bishops, observers say - writes Trevor Grundy.
"She is part of the mainstream. The trend within the Church of England is to push ahead and the way forward is towards women as bishops. Basically, that has been agreed and of course Christina is not the only person on the Archbishops' Council calling for the ordination of women as bishops. In a way, it would have been surprising had she not been re-elected," said Paul Handley, editor of the weekly newspaper Church Times, in an interview with ENInews.
Rees, who is from Long Island, N.Y., told ENInews from her office in Cambridge, England: ”I am very grateful to all my peers in the House of Laity (of the Church of England’s General Synod, its governing body) who voted for me and I will continue to keep the needs of the whole church, both lay and ordained members, in the forefront of my mind as I begin a new terms on the Archbishops' Council.”
The Archbishops' Council has 19 members. It advises the archbishops of Canterbury (Dr Rowan Williams) and York (John Sentamu) on issues relating to the policy and resources of the Church of England.
Christina Rees was a founding member of the Council in 1999. It meets every six weeks and her new term runs until 2015. By that time, say senior members of the Church of England and media commentators, women will be ordained as bishops in the established church whose head is Queen Elizabeth II. Rees works as a women’s rights campaigner, author and broadcaster, and is a regular contributor to programmes on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on religious issues.
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International  is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]