By Jody Stowell

The Rev. Jody Stowell

Almost a week has passed since I was sitting, nervous, jittery and hopeful on the edge of my seat, in the public gallery in Church House, Westminster.  I was waiting for the voting figures to be called, first the bishops, then the clergy, and finally the laity.

Since that moment it has been all at once interesting – in a way that a disinterested observer might watch a newly discovered tribe order themselves by strange alien customs – and painful, so that the grief cycle of disbelief, anger, sadness is completed a number of times every day.

The most surprising emotion that I experienced this week was the sense of shame that rested upon me on the Wednesday morning.  I felt that I simply did not exist at the same level of priestliness as my male colleagues. I have heard a lot about ‘second-class’ citizens in this debate – whether it is in defence of making sure that women bishops are equally bishops, or, distastefully in my opinion, the cries of ‘second-class’ status that those who are ‘anti’ claim. However, I had not expected to feel like a second-class priest.  After all, isn’t this about bishops?  Not priests.

So, why this is not just about ‘Women Bishops’? Read More…

Sally Hitchiner, chaplain of Brunel University, leaves  the Church of England Synod at Church House in London on Nov 20, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Tuesday, Nov. 20, the General Synod of the Church of England voted on a measure to allow women to be consecrated as bishops. The measure required a 2/3 majority in all three houses (bishops, clergy, and laity), and fell short in the house of laity by just a few votes. 132 votes were cast in favor of women bishops, and 74 against. No one abstained. Reuters calls this four votes short. Washington Post says five, but the Church of England counts six.

However one rounds 2/3, a historic shift was missed by a handful of votes. The Church of England must face the fall-out of another missed opportunity to join the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand in consecrating women bishops.

Christina Rees, Synod member and former chairman of an advocacy group called “Women and the Church,” called the vote “an unnecessary and an unholy delay.” She remains convinced that women will become bishops in the Church of England, noting that most bishops and most clergy of both sexes support the measure and “feel hugely sad and worse than sad, embarrassed and angry.” Read More…