From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS: Woman bishop motion wins overwhelming support in Scotland

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 21 Jun 2002 07:25:32 -0700

ACNS 3027 - SCOTLAND - 18 June 2002

Woman bishop motion wins overwhelming support

[The Scottish Episcopal Church] Members of the Scottish Episcopal Church
have 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 in 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 be discussed at 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 church."

Canon Ruth Edwards, from Aberdeen, said, "I 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 ACNSlist is published by the Anglican Communion Office, London.

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