Thursday, 25 October 2012

Women Bishops - enough waiting

Hi - my name is Pete Broadbent, I’m Bishop of Willesden and a member of General Synod and I’m excited because we’re nearly there. We’ve got to the stage where in November we’re going to be voting on women bishops, and I’m hoping for a resounding ‘yes’ from the Synod which gets us the two thirds majority which we need.
Why am I so passionately committed? Because I work with women in the Church and in the community – I see their amazing gifts of leadership, I see what they bring and what they will bring to the Church as bishops. 
There is a logic to what we’re going to do anyway, because when we ordained women as priests, it was only right that we should then say that they should be bishops as well. We’ve been around the houses a long time trying to get this legislation right and I’ve been involved quite a lot in trying to make that happen.  I think we’ve got to the stage now where there is a consensus in the Church that this is the best possible way forward.
I know that there are people on both ends of the debate who are concerned about it and who think we are doing down those who are opposed or that we are demeaning women by what we’re doing. I think neither of those is true.  I think there is now in the Measure sufficient provision for those who are against, and there’s a real sense in which what we are doing is affirming women on equal terms with men. So I think the legislation is okay.  It’s not the best thing that everyone hoped for in many ways, but a vote against it now will be a vote which sets us back another five years and sends us around the houses again.
If you are thinking of voting against, can I urge you, if your objection is not completely principled against, to think again?  Because I believe it’s important we get a two thirds majority this time around and don’t look completely stupid in the eyes of society, in the eyes of the Church, and spend our time discussing this for another five or ten years.
If you are in favour but worried about the provisions, I think the House of Bishops will provide a Code of Practice which will work for those who are opposed. In the end the most important thing is to get women bishops in place, to see their ministry benefitting the Church, and for us to stay together as a Church as we do that. So please consider making sure that your vote goes in favour in November.  Thank you.