The Church of England will shortly be ordaining a woman as bishop for the first time. This has been widely welcomed. But many were baffled to learn of the novel way in which a male bishop will be ordained not long afterwards. Savi Hensman explores the differences, and the underlying issues of church polity in a changing cultural context.
The Church of England has taken the final step in allowing women as well as men to be chosen as bishops (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21059). General synod members, meeting in London, voted by a show of hands that “A man or a woman may be consecrated to the office of bishop.”
The Church of England’s general synod has given the go-ahead for women to be bishops. The move won the required minimum of two-thirds of votes among bishops and both lay and clergy representatives at the gathering in York. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/20648) For some synod votes, the three ‘houses’ vote separately and a simple majority is not enough.
On 30 November 2013, at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Pat Storey was ordained as the Anglican bishop of Meath and Kildare. She had been the rector of St Augustine’s in Derry and is a standing committee member of the Church of Ireland’s general synod.
The Church of England’s decision to move a step closer towards allowing women to be bishops is a welcome move. By 378 votes to eight, General Synod backed a package of proposals to take forward legislation which may be approved in 2014.