From the Revd Don Brewin
Sir, - Along with many others, I am pleased that the Church of
England has voted in favour of women bishops. But may I express a
note of caution.
When the Episcopal Church in the United States voted to appoint
women bishops, there appeared to be an unseemly competition to be
the first. This was exacerbated because bishops there are elected,
encouraging the ambitious to put themselves forward. Some of those
who became women bishops were and are of the highest calibre; but
others were projected into high office for less laudable reasons,
and have not served God or the Church so well.
In the Church of England, thank God, we do not elect our
bishops; but the pressure will now be on those who appoint bishops
to be quick to choose a woman, whether she is right for the
particular post or not. There are some outstanding women clergy;
but the media are already speculating about who might be the first
The important thing is not who is the front runner, but who is
God's choice. This requires much prayer, clear thinking, and a
willingness not to be swayed by political correctness, public
opinion, or media pressure. This may take time; but it is worth
waiting for the right choice to be made.
Gaddesden Turn, Billington
Leighton Buzzard LU7 9BW
From Mr A. D. Hewlett
Sir, - The General Synod voted on Monday to put the Church of
England in the forefront of church reform for a modern age, and has
taken care to make provision for all shades of opinion and faith,
charging all of us to be charitable and understanding of those
whose feelings are not our own.
Now let us acknowledge our commitment to each other and our
acceptance of each other's positions by asking the Bishops to
provide an immutable liturgical moment to be used by us all to open
each and every act of public worship, perhaps like this:
Versicle: God grant grace to your Church to worship
together in unity and concord.
Response: In the name of the Holy Trinity. Amen.
Folly, Winsford TA24 7JL
From Dr Christopher Wilkinson
Sir, - RIP the Catholic creeds that the Church of
England claims to profess. When will the Anglican Churches in these
Islands come clean and proclaim, boldly, that they are now truly
Protestant, and end the farce of reciting the Catholic creeds
daily, when they no longer believe them?
3 The Terrace, Rhymney NP22 5LY
From the Revd James Oakley
Sir, - Canon Angela Tilby appeared to be criticising two views
of headship (Comment, 11 July).
The full version teaches that women are secondary beings, less in
God's image than men. The more moderate version says this applies
only in family and church. The former is old-fashioned and rarely
found today; the latter is troublingly inconsistent.
I don't know whom she's learnt these views from, but I hope she
would be reassured to know that we conservative Evangelicals would
not wish to see either view represented in the House of Bishops.
The biblical view of headship, classically formulated, is quite
Nobody is claiming any female inferiority in church, family, or
anywhere else. Men and women are equally made in God's image. But
we are designed differently, to work in partnership in
Tellingly, in alluding to 1 Corinthians 11, Canon Tilby cited
only Christ's being the head of man and the husband's being head of
his wife. St Paul gives a third parallel: the head of Christ is
God. The first two Persons of the Trinity are in ordered
relationship, and yet equal in dignity and divinity. Indeed,
without this, the Trinity explodes into tritheism.
This is the key place to begin, if she's looking for a view of
headship that is not arbitrary or worrying, but biblical and
The Vicarage, High Street
Kemsing, Sevenoaks TN15 6NA