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Women in the Church

27 September 2013

September 26th, 1913.

ANTICIPATIONS of the programme of the coming Church Congress are to be found, so far as the question of woman's position in the Church is concerned, in the discussions which took place this week at the Carlisle Diocesan Conference. The Bishop of Barrow-in-Furness advocated, in a speech of studied moderation, the admission of woman to a share in the administration of the Church, and eventually, after an interesting discussion, in which the Dean supplied the humorous element, the Conference came to the conclusion that women might be admitted to exercise the right to vote in ecclesiastical elections in the same way as men, and that they might be admitted members of the various sorts of conferences. There is nothing very revolutionary in these proposals, seeing the active part which women have ever taken in Church matters, to their own great honour and the benefit of the Church whose servants they are proud to be. It would be a mistake, nevertheless, to draw the conclusion that the admission of women to the exercise of the vote in these respects implied what Dr Barker seemed to imply, that they belonged to the executive. The word council was erroneously adopted in the course of the discussion, if by council we are to understand a governing body. But the episcopate is the true governing body of the Church, and none else. We may still, therefore, and in spite of the fearful anticipation of Carlisle's dean, look to a future without a feminine successor in the chair of St Augustine.

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