15 July 2014
Five female Anglican church leaders on the women bishops vote
"I felt quite dazed"
"I find myself crying on the train on the way home from York Synod. I felt quite dazed after the debate but when I reached the train, the tears started. My Church –and suddenly it feels like my Church –just acknowledged women as equal. All of the ministries of our Church are now open to all of our people. We have removed gender bias even from the language in the canons! No more women bishops, just bishops! The power of this change dawns on me suddenly, equality feels tangible! The depth of emotion has surprised me, the sudden sense of acceptance and belonging! This has been a long road. I want to say a huge thank you to the gracious people who voted yes today or abstained, who could have voted no, they voted for church unity and made a sacrifice so that we might all move forward. I appreciate their sacrifice. We must honour their trust in us and make sure there is provision and space to keep them also feeling like they still belong in our Church. Only the grace of God working through His people could have brought us together to this point and will keep us as we walk on into the future. My prayer is that now we can, together, focus on the task of reaching our nation with the love and message of Jesus."
Dr Rachel Jordan is national adviser for mission and evangelism for the Church of England and a member of the Evangelical Alliance Council
"We are family, not adversaries"
"I'm elated that the women bishops vote has passed. It's the end of decades of negotiations and prayers. For me the most important thing about this is that it has come after a concentrated time of trust building. It is only when we engage as human beings with all our hopes and fears, as family rather than adversaries, that we can hope to move forward as a church, as a family and as the body of Christ. I'm grateful to those generous conservatives who have entered into these discussions with open hearts and ears. I'm also thrilled by the vote because it puts in place our long held theology that in Christ, women as well as men are called into serving the Church. I pray this is a very clear statement to all secular young women that God is for them and that God has a place for them in His Church."
Reverend Sally Hitchiner is senior chaplain and faith advisor at Brunel University, London
"No more gender distinctions"
"I'm delighted that the women bishops measure is through. With an overall 83 per cent of Synod in favour the result is very clear. New Testament scholars have long encouraged us towards a deeper exegesis of 'gender leadership' passages in the Epistles and it is evident that the Holy Spirit gives powerful gifts to both women and men for service in the Kingdom. Many evangelical churches in the country make no gender distinctions in types of Christian leadership, and now the Church of England is on board. Our legislation has already gone to parliament and I'm expecting three or four women to be nominated as bishops over the next few months."
Elaine Storkey is a philosopher, sociologist and theologian, anda member of the Evangelical Alliance Council
"This is of cosmic significance"
"20 months ago I was sat in the public gallery when the vote for women in the episode was voted down by a tiny margin in the House of Laity. It was inconceivable then that such a short time later we would be seeing very different scenes after the same vote was passed with an overwhelming majority. It seems truly miraculous! In a world where the idea that women and men are equally human is contested, this vote, far from being of niche interest, is in fact of cosmic significance. We are beginning to get our own house in order when it comes to gender justice and so will have a credible, and God-given, voice in this much-needed area. Women and men are called to represent God's image together in the world and this move takes us one more step closer to fulfilling that call."
Reverend Jody Stowell is vicar of St Michael and All Angels' Harrow and part of Women and the Church (WATCH), the main campaign group for gender justice in the Church of England. She blogs at www.jodystowell.com. @RevJodyStowell
"The stumbling block has been removed"
"It is good news - in the fullest sense - that women can now become bishops in the Church of England. Men and women are made interdependent, in the image of God, and when we minister together we represent a richer reflection of what God is like. The Church has been lop-sided in its leadership and I am excited to see how God will grow a Church that has removed what has been a stumbling block for many. There's no space for gloating though, and I genuinely pray for peace upon those who disagree with this decision."
Reverend Alexandra Lilley is a curate at St Paul's Shadwell