Women clergy and bishops are part of the New Zea-land
Anglican Church's offering to God and our communities, writes
Laurie Barber, of Alexandra.
If your readers, like me, are fans of the Vicar of Dibley (I
have all the DVDs), they will remember well the character,
David Horton, the traditionalist, ''well-heeled'' chairman of
the parish council. They will recall how vehement he was
against Geraldine's appointment as vicar - ''a woman vicar!''
- and his subsequent persuasion that she was ''the bee's
knees'' as their priest.
The article, ''Female bishops future hope'' (ODT,
24.11.12) give evidence that the David Hortons of today's
Church of England are just as misogynistic as the initial Mr
Horton. Apparently, the combination of male domination and
''old school tie'' male camaraderie won the day. The proposal
had majority support, but did not secure the necessary
two-thirds majority in all three house of the Anglican
General Synod. The House of Laity failed to let it pass, by
The Anglican Diocese of Dunedin elected New Zealand's first
woman bishop in 1990 - Dr Penny Jamieson, renowned for her
compassionate leadership of clergy and laity alike. A second
woman bishop, Victoria Matthews, is the enterprising
episcopal leader of Christchurch Anglicans as they seek to
rebuild a shattered church and city.
The Anglican Church of Aotearoa-New Zealand is an autonomous
church - valuing its historic links with the Church of
England, but possessing a daughter's determination to be her
own self. Women clergy and women bishops are part of its
offering to God and our communities. As one male bishop
remarked: ''We cannot do without them!''If any Church of
England laity thought they were casting their vote to uphold
a New Testament avoidance of woman leadership in the infant
church, they were misguided, and ill taught by their clergy.
the subjection of women to male domination are conventions of
a unenlightened age - and are not the ''law of God''. Paul's
genuine letters are filled with the names of women -
A further point: is not a woman, the Queen, the ''supreme
Governor of the Church of England''?
A few years ago I was treated to a lecture by an ecumenical
Catholic scholar. She provoked the gathering with her initial
question: - ''Where will the Pope be at the start of Vatican
Her answer was ''Back in Africa, having her first child.''
Such faith - and such hope. I have a similar question:
''Where will the Archbishop of Canterbury be at the start of
the Anglican General Synod in 25 years' time?''
• The Rev Dr Laurie Barber is an assistant priest at
the Anglican Parish of the Dunstan.