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New report on women in the episcopate

31 May 2013


From Mrs Sue Johns
Sir, - I am reading the paper submitted by the working group on women in the episcopate, and have been forcibly struck by its use of the words "majority" and "minority".

In various dioceses, deaneries/areas, and benefices, the majority and the minority will be polar opposites to their near neighbours. So, while reading the paper in the context of the Church of England as a whole sets the majority in a particular way, in the interpretation of this essential piece of work, it brings home to me in a dynamic way what will be required by reciprocity and mutuality.

I continue to pray that we will move forward together to discern and deliver the simple process that will free us to continue be one in our mission and ministry to this land.

(Synod member for Norwich)
8 Dragonfly Lane

Norwich NR4 7JR

From the Revd Jesse Zink
Sir, - Since the defeat of the legislation on women bishops last November, it has been frequently said that the Church is in "crisis". That may be, but the burden has been borne by only a portion of the Church's membership.

Those who supported the legislation have been the primary carriers of the "anger, grief, and disappointment" referenced by the House of Bishops in their recent report on women in the episcopate.

One simple way of ensuring that the burden is carried more equally would be a moratorium on the consecration of any new bishops until the crisis is resolved, apparently not until 2015 at the earliest. Such a move would place the burden of the crisis where it properly belongs - on the entire membership of the Church.

It would also frankly acknowledge something that is widely agreed: the status quo cannot endure in the Church. As it cannot yet be changed in a way that would resolve the crisis, perhaps it can be changed temporarily in another fashion so as to be a continual reminder that change is needed.

A similar moratorium was proposed in the Episcopal Church in the United States after the 2003 election of Gene Robinson. Surely, there are enough retired bishops to continue the sacramental functions of the episcopate while the Church prayerfully considers how, not whether, the status quo will change.

Assistant Chaplain
Emmanuel College
Cambridge CB2 3AP

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