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Responses to the Synod’s women-bishops business

by
28 February 2014

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From Mr N. J. Inkley

Sir, - I would not have any concern about the reduced consultation period allowed to diocesan synods if I felt that there was a better knowledge abroad of what they are being asked to agree, with regard to the introduction of women bishops. It seems to me that this time round there is a most remarkable lack of detail on the future modus operandi: rather, "Let's do it and sort out the detail afterwards."

One small example: I was quite surprised to read in your account of Synod that the PEV sees will continue as suffragan, albeit not for PEVs. What sort of suffragans will these be? Will future appointments to these suffragan sees be traditionalists, or just suffragans in the round? Might future appointments to them be women? I expect someone "reckons" to know the answer to this, but does the Church at large?

We know the principle being pursued, of course, but we are very short on the "how".

NEIL INKLEY
6 Knot Lane, Walton-le-Dale
Preston PR5 4BQ
 

From Mrs Anne Foreman

Sir, - In the debate on the women-bishops legislation (Synod, 21 February), Canon Tim Allen referred to the ever lengthening queue facing the Crown Nominations Commission of dioceses preparing the search for a new bishop. His comment that "the shallow pond of male-only candidates has been over-fished" was greeted with laughter.

Now, I am all in favour of some laughter at the Synod: it does help oil the wheels; but I would like to assure Canon Allen that the "shallow pond", far from being over-fished, is still wonderfully full. As a long-time supporter of WATCH, I look forward to seeing women swim in that same pond, but they will be there to fulfil their own vocation to episcopal ministry, not because of a perceived dearth of suitable men.

Having had the privilege of serving on the Crown Nominations Commission recently, my experience, shared with colleagues, was of a long list of some truly excellent candidates, resulting in a shortlist of exceptional men. Exeter diocese is now eagerly awaiting, and praying for, one of those exceptional men, Bishop Robert Atwell, as he prepares to come among us in the West Country.

I would like to assure Mr Allen that if, by the time the CNC queue gets to St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, there are women candidates swimming alongside men, he will have a challenging shortlisting task facing him. And doubtless the catch will be a fine one.

ANNE FOREMAN
5 St Leonards Road
Exeter EX2 4LA

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