FAIR POINT: It’s not amen for women bishops

Canon Rosie Harper speaks during the discussions over the introduction of women bishops being held at the General Synod at Central Hall, University of York. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 9, 2012. The Church of England has voted to put a historic decision on introducing the first women bishops on hold amid continuing divisions over the issue. Members of the General Synod backed delaying a final approval debate for legislation introducing women bishops to allow for further consideration of a controversial last-minute amendment made by the Church of England bishops. See PA story RELIGION Synod. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Canon Rosie Harper speaks during the discussions over the introduction of women bishops being held at the General Synod at Central Hall, University of York. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday July 9, 2012. The Church of England has voted to put a historic decision on introducing the first women bishops on hold amid continuing divisions over the issue. Members of the General Synod backed delaying a final approval debate for legislation introducing women bishops to allow for further consideration of a controversial last-minute amendment made by the Church of England bishops. See PA story RELIGION Synod. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
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Jo Davison tells it straight

She is on the first rung of the ladder. It’s more than just her dream career, it’s her vocation.

But unlike any woman in any other profession, she must never set her sights too high.

She has to live with the fact that she is forbidden from holding a job in the top tier. And all because she’s a woman.

This week, some 20 years after women were allowed to become priests, the church tore up plans to ordain women as bishops.

The move was despite overwhelming support in the parishes and from senior church figures. One bishop described it as a “very dark day for the Church”. The Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, next Archbishop of Canterbury, tweeted about a “very grim day”.

It was the vote of the non-clergy that the revolutionary plan did not have. Why? I am told it was based on theological reasoning – and not on sexism. But all I can see is the sexism.

I am far from hot on theology, but it seems to me that it’s because God said so a long time ago. Or, actually, because mere humans have interpreted his scriptures and DECIDED that’s what God wanted – and still wants.

Maybe he did hundreds of years ago, when the gospel was written and the life of women was so much less. But in this day and age, I believe that if people believe their creator loves all mankind, they ought to be thinking that he would surely be rejoicing in the fact that men and women are now striving for equality right across the board.

Surely he would be urging onwards the cause of any woman overlooked or treated unfairly, purely because of her sex.

All the reasons why women should be allowed to become bishops make such sound sense to me.

The ones against seem so airy-fairy, stultifying, wrong and unfair.

Is this the end of it? Of course not. Women never give up. The fight will go on and those whose blinkered, antiquated views lead them to oppose women bishops will eventually lose. Because women are the life force of many a parish.

Just look at any church congregation; it is predominantly women. The majority of newly ordained priests are also female.

There they are, doing everything from cleaning the silver and arranging the flowers to being the local vicar. And all because of faith.

At a time when Christian faith is on the decline and congregations are falling, the church effigies need to wake up, knock the dusts of time off their unshifting shoulders and strive to secure a future by reaching out and moving with the times, not by closing ranks and battening down the hatches.