Local clergymen split over women as bishops

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THE Church of England should stop dragging its feet and get on with appointing women bishops according to Spalding clerygman the Rev Peter Garland.

The Church’s governing General Synod has just delayed a vote until November on allowing woman to become bishops.

Many male Anglican priests remain opposed to women becoming bishops and say scripture requires male headship of the Church.

But female clergy are upset too because current proposals could make them “second class bishops” as traditional parish priests could be given legal rights to request they are lead by a male bishop.

Mr Garland officiates at St John’s Church, Spalding, and is vicar of Deeping St Nicholas, and says he would gladly serve a woman bishop.

He said: “We have ordained woman as priests for almost 20 years so it seems to me that we ought to be getting on with it really. I can see why it (the vote) has been delayed and it is all very complicated – but sooner or later I think it is going to happen.

“I think it would probably be better to get on with it because society can’t really understand why we have got all these reservations and why we are dragging our feet.

“The difficulty is that some people are strongly opposed to the idea of women being priests at all. Their argument is that Jesus only called men to be His apostles, but of course it was a different society from ours.

“Mary Magdalene became the first witness to the risen Jesus and He did give her a very important job to do.”

The Rev Andrew Hawes, from Edenham, is adamant he would never serve a woman bishop because he wants to be in a Church that “follows the example of Jesus and is true to the message of scripture”.

Mr Hawes said when it was decided in the 1990s to ordain women priests there was a promise there would be a “permanent provision” in the Church for male clergy who have a more orthodox view and it appears that promise will be broken.

The Rev Rosamund Seal, from Moulton, wants to see women bishops on an equal footing with male bishops – and says women priests of her generation have paved the way for the younger generation of women priests to become bishops.