Friday, 30 May 2008

Lay Women urged to write to Archbishops requesting transferred episcopal oversight or new dioceses

(Ed: Forward in Faith are circulating the letter below, to be sent to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. If you wish to use the letter I suggest you cut and paste it. They have asked for a maximum of ten signatures per copy. They should be returned, when completed, to Mrs Vivienne Goddard, Dean House, 449 Padiham Road, Burnley, BB12 6TE. Don't forget the various petitions available for all points of view, here)

Lay Women within the Church of England

Dear Archbishop Rowan and Archbishop John,

It was with some considerable concern that we read the report, in the press, of the discussions on the “Manchester Report” at the recent House of Bishops meeting, with the apparent conclusion that there would be no provision within the legislation leading to the admission of women to the Episcopate in the Church of England, for those of us who, in conscience, could not accept such ministry.

We had assumed that the House of Bishops consideration of the very fair and frank “Manchester Report” would have been a confidential matter, resulting in some guidance to the General Synod debate at the July Sessions, and as such not available for media coverage at this time. However, it now seems that a Petition from some 700 women clergy may well have influenced your deliberations.

We write to redress the balance and to assure you that there are thousands of lay women throughout the Church of England, for whom the provisions of the Act of Synod has been fundamental. If women were to be admitted to the historic episcopate within the Church of England with no appropriate provision, such as transferred episcopal oversight and responsibility from the Diocesan Bishop to a complimentary Bishop, or the special diocese option, we would feel totally ignored and rejected.

Such proposals would allow us to be recognised as a valued part of the church, now and in the future. How can we say that we are “Working as One Body” if one of the limbs is to be severed?

May we assure you of our continued prayers, as you seek to lead the House of Bishops and the whole Church of England to a position in which all members, clergy and lay, can continue to serve God in the way they perceive Him to be calling them.

Yours in Christ,

Name Address Diocese

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