And the Struggle Continues....in Wales, in the US and everywhere.

April 2, 2008 The Synod of the Church of Wales fell short of the decision to ordain women to the episcopate. The vote in the clerical order was three votes short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.

Yesterday the Primate of the Church of Wales wrote in the Guardian, (thanks to Thinking Anglicans for the quote and link.)

"If the Church in Wales refuses today to ordain women to the episcopate, it will be in danger of giving the impression that: the maleness of Jesus is more important than his humanity; only men can really represent God and his church to the world; men are the really important members of the human race; the church does not value the gifts and talents of women; and the church is not interested in testing the vocation of women, or even willing to consider their suitability as bishops, because their gender has automatically debarred them from such consideration.

None of these things may be true, but try explaining that to a class of sixth-formers who are interested in what the gospel may be offering them, but for whom that gospel is proclaimed by a church that refuses even to consider the possibility of opening up the episcopate to women."

Archbishop Morgan, who looks a good bit like an aging Alan Alda, has been a strong advocate for the ordination of women in Wales as bishops. Today's vote sets back that effort until another time.

Ruth Gledhill in her Times online article, writes,

"London’s Putney Vicar Giles Fraser, founder of the Inclusive Church campaigning group, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. If women are good enough to be priests they are good enough to be bishops. Anything other than this is a theological nonsense.”

Canon Mary Stallard, chaplain to the Bishop of St Asaph, said: “The moment will come back. We are very disappointed. It is not totally unexpected. But we are looking forward to bringing it back. This issue will not be ignored.”

The struggle against inclusion takes many forms, sometimes it is people of color, sometimes women, sometimes gay and lesbian people, sometimes politically or theologically untoward people, even, sadly, people of the wrong ritual persuasions. The struggle FOR inclusion takes only one: we are included by baptism into Christs death and we are raised with Him.

Put more succinctly, and in line with an ancient spiritual: All God's Children got shoes.

If we acquire God's shoes in baptism we can walk all over God's heaven. If we are baptized we can not be declared on the face of it inappropriate for any ministry of the baptized.

The struggle for inclusion will contine.


  1. When women can command the shuttle, run a country (tho not yet in the puritan US), be a firefighter or police, etc., why can't they "run" a church? And people wonder why today's young people find church irrelevant, hypocritical.

  2. I spoke with a class of college students today about gender and religion. I highlighted the ways in which Jesus and Paul promoted radical ideas of equality and mutuality between women and men. However true that is, the continued failure of some parts of the Church to recognize it is profoundly discouraging.

  3. Sometimes I just want to quit. I get sick of it. Do the people who make these votes against the full humanity of women have any idea what it feels like to, in effect, be told that God, God's own self, does not consider us fit matter, does not consider us as fully human as men? Give me one good reason why I should continue in organized religion, as a priest serving God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit to the best of my ability to do so, whilst being told to my face by Network types that I am not a Christian because I took holy orders as a priest? Give me a reason, please. I am sick at heart for myself and for my sisters the world over.
    Lois Keen
    Priest in the household of God whether anyone likes it or not.
    Named for the grandmother of Timothy. Look it up yourself.
    And yeh, I'm mad as hell. I'll get over it, but not tonight.
    Peace to you, Mark, for your support of women's orders.

    Now I have to negotiate the word verification and this time its a doozy. Wish me luck!

  4. ...even, sadly, people of the wrong ritual persuasions

    What in the bleedin' heck does that mean?

  5. Perhaps God is doing a new thing in Wales.
    The vote is in, shouldn't the losers simply accept the decision and quietly sit back and accept it.
    Afterall, that is what the winning side in the U.S. wants the conservative part of the church here.
    The votes are in, the will of the House is determined its time to just accept it.
    Doesn't sound so good when the slipper is on the other foot does it?


  6. j-tron...in the late 19th century at least one bishop was elected but did not get consents because he was a "ritualist" ..putting candles on the altar and such like. The hatred of high church doings and the fear that it led to papist leanings got cut out...they might be priests, but never bishops. That was the reference. I could have been more direct.

  7. Jim...no, and no I don't think that for conservatives either. The votes are in, yes, and that means the Church in Wales will have to take it up later and revisit the matter. The vote is in from the HoB and if there is a way to challenge that vote there is no reason why it should not be challenged. How is another matter.

  8. John-Julian, OJN2/4/08 11:50 PM

    As someone else has pointed out, the Church (of England, at least) has an anointed Supreme Head who happens not to fit with the Salic Law and is notably female! Royals, yes; bishop, no?

    But s I pointed out elsewhere, the good thing about the Wales vote is that the attempts to include "alternative male bishops" in amendments failed worse than the resolution itself.

    So it will be back.....

  9. Mark, the Governing Body of the Church in Wales has three houses. The measure passed by the needed 2/3s majority in both the House of the Laity and in the House of Bishops. The measure achieved a majority in the House of the Clerics, but do to negative votes and abstentions, failed to achieve a 2/3s majority by 3 votes.

  10. daved...yes. Thank you for pointing out the three house matter. I knew that but was addressing the clergy house alone, not commenting on the rest. It could lead one to think that clergy and bishops constituted one house and laity another. Thanks for the note.

  11. Said it before and I'll say it again... the wrong Welsh bishop ended up in Lambeth Palace.

  12. Those who voted no should now be required to write detailed explanations of exactly what the spiritual qualifying differences are between bishops and priests. That would make amusing reading!


  13. Rev Lois:

    Three good reasons:

    ++Jefferts Shori

    The advancement of humanity is always a bit uneven. Canada, the US, New Zealand, and other places may be on the bleeding edge but the front is moving forward. If you doubt me, ask the dolts who tell you that you are inferior. They know they are loosing, that is why they are so vitrolic!


  14. Thanks, JimB, I did get over it, in part for those very reasons. Would that I were more like Our Katharine, not to mention Chilton K. et al. I've always been aware that I stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me. I am now in the position of being one of those on whose shoulders my successors will stand. God willing I will be worthy of the calling. I'm here to stay. Jesus, and those other women, are more than enough reason to keep going.
    Lois Keen


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.