From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Scottish Episcopal Church - Woman Bishop Motion Wins Overwhelming

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 14 Jun 2002 10:57:08 -0700


The Scottish Episcopal Church

Press release

Woman bishop motion wins overwhelming support

Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church today overwhelmingly supported a
motion to allow women bishops, at an historic vote at their General Synod.
The vote was the first concrete step towards changing 2,000 years of
tradition which has reserved the top church job for men.
It could eventually give Scotland the first women bishops in the UK.
The 156 General Synod members supported the first reading of the motion to
change the wording the Church's rulebook to enable women bishops, after a
passionate debate.
Churches across Scotland now have a year to discuss the issue further in
their own dioceses. The motion will than come back to next year's General
Synod. If it is supported by two thirds of Synod members next year, the
church's rules or "Canons" will be changed.
In today's vote, all seven of the Scottish Episcopal Church's existing
bishops supported the motion. The vote from the clergy members of synod was
64 in favour and eight against, and for the lay members of synod, 64 in
favour and seven against.
The Most Rev Bruce Cameron, Primus or head of the Scottish Episcopal Church,
proposed the motion.
He told Synod: "I passionately believe that it is right, both in terms of
time and substance, to proceed with this legislation.
"It is also important that we use the time over the next 12 months to listen
to each other, and to understand the differences that exist within our own
Canon Ruth Edwards, from Aberdeen, said: "It believe it is just and right.
People outside the church find it almost inconceivable that we put men and
women through the same training programmes, let them work in the same
churches but still do not allow women to be bishops." She added: "I also
believe that it is theologically right. God created man and woman equal, in
His own image."
There were also a number of passionate speeches against the motion.
Mrs Gabrielle Robertson, a church member from the Diocese of St Andrews,
Dunkeld & Dunblane, said: "A vote in favour today would change the teaching
and practice of 2,000 years. Are we prepared to sweep all this away with a
show of hands?"
She added: "What is to happen to the people who, like me, will not be able
to accept the sacramental ministry of women bishops?"
The Rev David Campbell, from Dunfermline, said: "This is a huge change that
we are being asked to consider for the church, and I cannot accept it. I do
still want to work with those who can accept it."
At the moment, only the Anglican churches in the USA, Canada and New Zealand
have women working as bishops. The Anglican Church in Ireland has voted to
allow women bishops but has yet to appoint one. The next vacancy for a
Bishop in Scotland comes up in October 2003.
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a member of the Anglican family of
churches. It has hundreds of congregations across Scotland, from Burravoe on
the Isle of Yell in the north to Kirkcudbright in the south.
The General Synod acts as the Parliament of the Scottish Episcopal Church.
It is the Church's legislative and deliberative body. Members oversee and
direct the work of the Church's boards and committees.

Andrew Heavens
(press officer)
0131 225 6357 (tel)
07929 003809 (mob)
0131 346 7247 (fax)
press@scotland. (email)

The Most Rev Bruce Cameron
Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
01224 636653 (w)
01224 208142 (h)
07715 323 119 (mob)

Canon Len Black
Chairman of Forward In Faith Scotland
01463 233797
07836 365719 (mob)
The group has opposed the ordination of women

The Rev Alison Wagstaff
Co-ordinator of Movement for Whole Ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church

0131 554 6702
0131 551 1381 (w)
The group has supported the ordination of women 

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