WOMEN bishops face a "totally different starting-point" from
their male colleagues, who automatically enjoy authority, delegates
in Wales were told last week.
The conference "Crossing The Threshold" was held at St Michael's
College, Llandaff, on Thursday of last week, before the legislation
permitting women to be consecrated as bishops in the Church in
Wales came into effect this week.
It was addressed by a former Bishop of Rhode Island, the Rt Revd
Geralyn Wolf, who said: "There is always going to be
differentiation between men and women bishops. But I hope we can
lift it up so that people can see that, many times, it is plain and
"A man walks into a church and he receives trust, admiration,
and acceptance. He has authority. We walk into a church and we have
to gain that trust, gain that authority, and that is a totally
different starting-point. I still believe that a strong woman is
still called bitchy, difficult, unsympathetic - we still get those
tags placed on us."
She went on: "As has been said, we are not 'women bishops', but
bishops first who happen to be women. . . God's power will be with
those who are called to this ministry."
Bishop Wolf also presided at a service at Llandaff Cathedral,
becoming the first woman Anglican bishop to do so. The sermon was
preached by Canon Mary Stallard, Anglican Chaplain at St Joseph's
Catholic and Anglican School in Wrexham, who said: "Too often in
the endless debates about women and ministry, the focus has been
upon offence given and taken within the body of Christ - the
"There is frequently an unholy scramble to claim the status of
victim inside the Church, which completely misses the point of
Jesus's message. The lost, according to Jesus, are not the insiders
or the privileged, but the genuinely vulnerable, the poor, the
dependent, the young, and the frail.
"In a world where more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls are still
missing . . . where ordinary people are living in daily fear of
persecution, hunger, and war, the focus of our shepherding concern
has to be outwards, not inward."
Last month, the Suffragan Bishop of Massachusetts, the Rt Revd
Gayle Harris, became the first Anglican woman bishop to preside and
preach in a Welsh cathedral, at St Asaph.