Spiritual Life - how will the Church reconcile over women bishops and same-sex marriage?

Ian Tarrant

Ian Tarrant - Credit: Archant

The leaders of the Church of England made some important decisions last week – decisions which will puzzle many readers.

Gradually the General Synod is inching towards allowing women to be selected as bishops, and we should see the first women consecrated next year.

Women have equal opportunities in so many walks of life, so – people ask – why not in the Church? For decades the majority view in the Church of England has been in favour of the ordination of women.

But a minority feels that this is in breach of scripture or tradition. The concern has been to find a solution which will not alienate that minority, but help all to remain in one Church.

Later in the week the House of Bishops ruled out same-sex marriage for clergy. Again the Church appears to be behind the times; and again church members and leaders are divided, threatening the unity that we value.

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The balance of opinion will probably shift over the years to come, but there will never be total agreement.

On both issues the real challenge for the Church of England is how people who disagree can work and worship together: how to love one another despite our differences. Of course, the wider world needs to learn how to do the same.

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