A STATEMENT of unity over the theology of gender signed by more
than 100 priests and ordinands was launched on Sunday.
It states that differences over the parts played by men and
women in public ministry are "not a matter of primary doctrinal
importance and not essential to eternal salvation".
Of the 76 priests who had signed the statement, as of Sunday, 12
are women. Of the 47 in training for ministry, four are women.
A covering letter from the Vicar of Cople, the Revd Fiona
Gibson, and the Revd Pete Myers, a non-stipendiary minister at St
Andrew the Less, Cambridge, states that "the theology of men and
women is not an issue that prevents those in our tradition standing
together for the sake of Christ on the larger issues facing us
The signatories affirm as Evangelical any theology of women and
men which is in agreement with four listed points. The last of
these is that "Men and women are not so the same that they are
interchangeable in Christian marriage."
The statement also commits the signatories to reforming their
theology, "should we be so persuaded by the Spirit speaking through
scripture". There is a section on repentance for "attitudes, words,
or actions which disparage or misrepresent" other Evangelicals.
On Thursday of last week, Mr Myers said that the origins of the
statement lay in the aftermath of the fall of the women-bishops
Measure in November 2012. There was a need for something
"relational" and "positively worded", he said.
"One of the times I first realised the text we had was a good
one was when I sat down with somebody who was very clearly
egalitarian and she said, 'I am happy to sign this, but I think you
will never get a complementarian to agree to that," and then I sat
down with a complementarian who said, 'I am happy to sign, but I
don't think you will ever get an egalitarian to agree to that."
Since it was launched online on Sunday, the total number of
signatories has risen to 165. The Bishops of Birkenhead, Blackburn,
Peterborough, and Willesden are among them.