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A no-nonsense look at the Church of England and women bishops

Female bishops are welcome

On July 14, the Church of England voted to allow women bishops in a ruling that came after years of opposition. It was a historical event that had a very different end than the vote two years ago that overwhelmingly denied a comparable piece of legislation.

The latest news

While it has become familiar territory for women to be ordained, Monday was the first time that the Church of England approved of women taking a higher role in the Church. The organization had previously been able to deny women the top spots with the reasoning that these were traditionally male positions and ought to remain held by men. Some opposing groups openly explain that women cannot do the job of bishop or that it’s theologically wrong to have a woman in that position.

Personally, I think that hiding under the veil of religion as a way to deny women their right to be bishops, pastors, or another role is shocking, and I can’t fathom thinking that way. It is one thing to say religion asserts a view, but isn’t this particular instance another case of gender discrimination?

Gender talk

How can someone justify denying a person a role in society simply based on his or her gender? What of gay, lesbian or bisexual people who want to be bishops? Are they not allowed as well? Why are males given preference for the position simply because they were born with a penis and are called Mr.?

I think not.

I say bravo to all of the people who voted within the General Synod (the general assembly of the Church of England) to allow women to become bishops. I say it is about time that we welcome females to holding a new, higher position than they had previously been able within British society.

However, by no means do I look at this issue with rose-colored glasses. I believe that the heads of many parishes will still say “no” to having female bishops there and use religious theory to defend themselves. These women will still face gender discrimination and have an uphill battle on their hands.

I want to say to these women that I am proud of them for striving to represent God and believing as I do that God sees beyond gender. It is the heart of a person and their passion for the Church, whether it is the Church of England or another one, that will define whether they do a job well.

My take

That concept goes for both men and women. Look at that photo above and “do what you love!” It is simple yet excellent advice, in my opinion, whether you want to be a CEO, church leader, or any other important role.

I look forward to hearing in the near future that the Church of England has its first woman bishop. I will cheer on the news when it happens.

What do you think about the women bishops controversy in the Church of England?


Top photo source: hisa fujimoto, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Flickr

44 thoughts on “A no-nonsense look at the Church of England and women bishops”

  1. In politics it’s possible that there is always an angle for something being put through. But I say Bravo! It’s just another process of the world accepting women in positions of authority. :)

    1. Christy Birmingham

      True Deb that we can look at everything as positive or negative – let’s stick with positive as it signals progress! :)

  2. I remember the boohah when women were first ordained as priests here especially among the traditionalist values brigade, oddly enough many of them women, including female members of my family who upon getting a female vicar went to another church as a mark of protest. Not being a Christian i don’t follow the Synod’s goings on too closely but I know the traditionalists will no doubt moan and groan at the first female bishops. They’ll get over it. The world is changing and institutions need to change with it.

    As a former RC I have to say don’t hold your breath on that, their views on women and most things are stuck in the dark ages.

    1. Hi Jez, Great to see you here. I think those traditionalists really need to get with the times! As for those women that changed churches, oh my, sometimes people make my head spin. I have no doubt they would be able to rationalize their behaviors but, well, I’m good with having a modern approach!

  3. Unlike you Christy I’m not a believer. Having said that, part of that reason I suppose started because of the corruption within the church that has gone on for centuries.I include the paedophilia so prevalent within the Catholic Church in that. I’m inclined to dismiss those who say women have not had a real high place in Christianity since didn’t Jesus himself place great faith in his followers amongst whom was the Magdalene?
    Women will bring a breath of fresh air to the Church of England and will I’m sure be more adept at giving the most practical help in times of trouble to parishioners.
    In 2000 years men in the business of peace haven’t brought peace to the world, perhaps it’s time to give the ladies a chance.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    1. Hi David,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to lend your views here. I appreciate that and also your honesty. The last part of your comment, about the peace and men, had me laughing as it was most unexpected and so like you to do that! Hugs to you and wishing you a nice rest of Sunday :)

  4. Oh, and how far away from embracing women as equals is Islam?
    The Suffragette Movement’s successes are barely 100 years old, Canadian women earning the right to vote in 1918.
    Women in Quebec were barred from voting provincially until 1940 due to a collaboration between the Quebec government and the Catholic Church.
    We’ve a long way to go to see all of our sisters equal to our brothers on this planet!
    I, for one am looking forward to that day, even if I am not here anymore.

    1. Thank-you Resa for offering those additional historic points! Would you be interested in writing a guest post on Canadian women and voting rights here? No pressure but just wanted to extend the offer :)

    2. I feel so honored that you would ask, and yes, I would like to write a post on Canadian Suffrage.
      I’d like to wrap it around the idea that in days without Social Media, women came up with the idea of using jewelry and fashion to communicate with each other, and express to the world their cause and goal.
      The original purple, green and white, became Green, White and Violet. Give Women the Vote.
      I can’t promise this quickly, as I may have a job coming up, and I would like to refresh my knowledge inasmuch as that I could provide my references.
      Due to my career, and research I’ve done in its pursuit, this would be a good angle.
      What do you think, Christy?

    3. Resa,
      That sounds amazing. I am so pleased you would consider guest posting. Absolutely no rush (truly!).

      Thanks for telling me about your site too as I enjoyed learning more about your work. I am happy to connect when it works for you and your angle on the post sounds amazing (and absolutely linked to your career so it would be a great fit).

      Feel free to contact me by email and take care!

    4. Hey there!
      Just sent you an email.
      It will say it is from Resa Swork.
      “lol” It is supposed to be …Resa’s Work, but Google has decided my name is Resa Swork.
      Take care, and we will be in touch again soon!

  5. Christy, yes I was happy to see the vote going the way of Women at last, but having read Aquileana comment she has a point.. Too many in high places have ulterior motives, so that attention is diverted…

    Great post.. Woman are gaining their rights within this Divine Age of Feminine Energies… :-)

    1. Yes Sue, after I read Aqui’s comment I too had second thoughts… I suppose life is not always straightforward… But we can only do our best and account for ourselves. We’ll keep motivating as best we can… Thank-you very much, Sue!! I hope you have a nice weekend :)

  6. Hi christy , I have been updated on this development quite sometime back and your post is a pleasant confirmation of what was expected . Women are already there as nuns and now they will ordain as bishops , and going forward , hold still higher responsibilities with equal felicity . Here is wishing God’s women godspeed in their spiritual journey…

  7. Hi Christy…

    I will say something that might sound quite cynic… But I am reading between the lines (which mean that we are surrounded by an specific and real context, of course).

    Well I tend to think that the General Synod could have approved this law in order to minimize the echoes of the lastest scandals with regard to male homosexuality in the episcopal area and the impact of other demoralizing effects such as corruption and pedophilia in the high peaks of the Church.

    Despite it all, the initiative is a clear advance to revert this situation and change the problems generated in vertical structures, in which male hegemony is even more clear in the highest positions.
    So that is something worth highlighting.

    Great informative and argumentative post.

    Best wishes, Aquileana :P

    1. Aqui,
      As we earlier discussed, I don’t think you’re being cynical but instead it may be that they’re trying to do just as you suggest. We don’t know, and that’s the difficult part… But I do thank you for coming by and, as always, contributing so cleverly to the conversation!

  8. I think it is a way forward. The Church is a male-dominated institution and needs to be modernized. I believe the Church of England is to be applauded in paving the way for the first woman bishop who will stand among many firsts (i.e. The first woman prime minister, the first woman CEO, the forts woman engineer).

  9. Hi Christy!!

    How are you doing? I hope you have a great time. Well first of all I am glad to hear that news.

    Its really feels proud that women around the world are not clustered anymore. The are self dependent. Equally giving out men a tough competition in each and every field. I feel so too, that strange rituals and customs are still practiced around the world, which personally makes me feel bad, deliberately.

    I hope and pray everything goes great, like you I am too excited to see England’s next Women Bishops.

    Empowering women around the world is a new and most needed cult. We are in a revolutionary period and everything will be for sure going to change. We just need to help and support women equally.

    I warmly welcome this new revolution with no offense. Too excited to see the future on the hands of women power.

    Swetank. :) Be Bettr, Stay Bettr.

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