Some women are expected to be fast-tracked to episcopacy, with MPs and peers told that selection boards will be encouraged to use ‘positive discrimination’ to ensure that qualified women are appointed.
Secretary general to the General Synod, William Fittall, told Parliament’s Ecclesiastical Committee that boards would be told to apply the Equality Act, which enables organisations to ‘lean in favour of the under-represented group’ in cases of a tiebreak where there is ‘insufficient diversity’.
Synod member and long-time campaigner for equal ministry, Christina Rees, told Premier Christianity that there is still much to be done before women’s contribution within ordained ministries will ‘reflect the equality we share in the Body of Christ’.
‘The Church of England has discriminated against women for centuries and many aspects of the Church’s culture need to be transformed and renewed in the light of women now being able to serve as bishops,’ she claimed.
‘The current, male-only House of Bishops will need to welcome and give gracious space to the first new female colleagues in a way that allows the women to bring their distinctiveness and difference, with the commitment to developing and changing together.
‘This process will require patience and mutual trust and an eager anticipation to discover what new thing God is doing in the Church.’
However, chair of conservative evangelical group Reform, Rev Rod Thomas, wrote to group members: ‘Over the last ten years we have worked hard both to resist the introduction of women bishops and to offer ways in which appropriate provision could be made if the Church of England insisted on going down this path.
‘Regrettably, none of our proposals were accepted and we are now faced with a prolonged period of uncertainty about the ways forward for our congregations.’
Reform’s strategy will be considered at a conference in September.
TWITTER RESPONSES TO FEMALE BISHOPS VOTE
Synod women vote the result of grace and patience by all involved, in favour and against, and skills of facilitators
Three quarters (73%) of Anglican churchgoers support women bishops
At last - the Church of England ends discrimination against women priests
#womenbishops What do you love the most #God or equality?
By admitting women bishops, Church may avoid closer scrutiny of gender inequality