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‘Women in waiting’ and what they are waiting for

11 July 2014


From the Revd Mary Strømmen

Sir, - I was sorry to read Canon Angela Tilby's scathing review of Julia Ogilvy's collection of interviews Women in waiting: Prejudice at the heart of the Church (Books, 20 June).

I had read this book and enjoyed it. I had also recommended it, both to women with experience of ordained ministry and to those considering their own possible vocation to it.

The book is by no means a dispassionate or academic approach to the questions what a woman's vocation may mean, and how it may be put into practice in the institutional structures we have in the Church today. But surely we have had plenty of writing and discussion on the theory surrounding this?

Ogilvy presents us with the thoughts and experiences of a small group of women who have reached senior positions, but are are still very much in the minority. It is useful for other women, and also, I hope, for men, to see what their journey has been like. The women have different personalities and backgrounds. We get only their own perspective on their journeys, but that is the nature of an interview. Despite the challenges and difficulties they had faced, the general impression I was left with was not one of self-pity. I found it on the whole to be an inspiring record of endurance and faithfulness.

Yes, there is more room for closer recording and analysis of the experiences of the clergy, but I do not think that this devalues the contribution of books such as this, and certainly would not join Canon Tilby in wishing it had not been written.

Lykkestien 4, 7053 Ranheim, Norway

From Dr Colin Podmore

Sir, - Though I agree wholeheartedly with the words attributed to me by Sally Muggeridge (Letters, 4 July), I did not write them. They come from a New Directions editorial, and so the credit belongs to the Editor, the Revd Philip Corbett.

Director of Forward in Faith
2A The Cloisters, Gordon Square
London WC1H 0AG

From Rosalind Richardson

Sir, - If the Revd Paul Williamson (Letters, 4 July) wishes to use scripture's description of the bishop (masculine) as "the husband of one wife" as the basis for his argument against female bishops, he is presumably also seeking to ensure that unmarried male clergy are prevented from becoming bishops, or, indeed - reading a little further in the Pauline text - to prohibit those without children from episcopal office.

3 Park Avenue, Bideford
Devon EX 39 2QH

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