Women bishops: Enough waiting

Simon Harvey writes,

Next Tuesday, the General Synod of the Church of England returns to the opportunity to enable women to take leadership as bishops. Getting here has been complicated, long and fraught. The outcome is far from certain - it could be a really close vote. I hope that Synod will accept the legislation, so that our national church can soon benefit from bishops who are called by God, gifted and female.

At St Mary's last year, we held an open meeting in which the unanimous view was that as a church we welcome women as bishops. It's a view that the overwhelming majority of church members across the country hold. But the balance of those elected to the General Synod is much narrower. Getting the legislation passed has involved discussion about fine detail and much wrangling over words. This kind of negotiation, nowadays very much in the public domain, hardly puts the church in the best light.

There are probably few people who are completely happy with the legislation as it stands. It's a compromise that allows the very small number of parishes who have resisted the change to be provided with a male bishop. Many will feel that too much has been conceded in the interests of unity. Yet this is a momentous opportunity that we should be excited about.

We pray for courage, grace, boldness and gentleness in the days ahead of the debates and in the weeks that will follow. Please pray for all who have a role in this crucial decision.