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2,200 Anglican women say “No Thanks!” to having a woman bishop

Proper Provision Petition

A petition signed by more than 2,200 Anglican women who oppose women bishops will be presented today to the House of Bishops at the start of their meeting in York.

General Synod member Susie Leafe, who organised the petition, said: "Not all the women in the Church of England think having women bishops is a great idea - our petition proves that, and we ask our bishops to recognise that and make proper provision for us. We believe that God created men and women equal but different, and that those differences are seen in the God-given roles that men and women have within the family and within God's household, the church."

Mrs Leafe continued: "This is not an outdated view held by a few ‘diehard traditionalists'. Our survey of those who signed the petition shows that they come from churches that are growing, youthful and very female friendly."

A survey of 185 churches whose clergy supported this petition found that:

  • two thirds of the churches had grown over 10 years, with a third growing by more than 33% per year
  • a quarter of the churches had planted at least one new church or congregation in the past 10 years.
  • one third of their congregations is aged under 30
  • they have an average of seven women in leadership roles within their church families.

Mrs Leafe added: "It is little short of extraordinary that the Church of England would even consider losing such a vibrant and growing group of people by not providing for our views."

-end-

Further information on the photo. The Archbishop of York welcomes the group of women who are delivering the petition signed by 2200 women requesting proper provision. In the photo are three women members of General Synod and three women involved in paid ministry in Church of England churches.

From left to right: Susie Leafe (General Synod member for Truro), Sarah Finch (General Synod member for London), Alison Wynne (General Synod member for Blackburn), The Archbishop of York, Rt Rev'd John Sentamu, Sophie Cornes (International Students Worker, All Saints Preston), Hannah Fox (Women's Worker, All Saints Preston), Ellie Maffett (Ministry Assistant, Emmanuel Church Bristol).

Click here to download the full resolution photo.

For further details contact: Susie Leafe (Proper Provision Coordinator & General Synod Member for Truro Diocese)

Tel: 07753690120. Email: properprovision2012@virginmedia.com

Further background

The petition which was signed by more than 2,200 women reads:

"Dear Bishops,

As loyal Anglican women, we, the undersigned,

  • Rejoice in the fact that men and women are inherently equal, reflecting the image of God,
  • Recognise that we all prosper when there is male oversight and headship in the family and the Church
  • Ask the House of Bishops to provide more robust provision than is currently provided in the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure to ensure a secure future for us in the Church of England"

In offering this petition we trust that the Bishops will recognise:

1) That this is not an issue of equality but theology. All sides of the debate agree that men and women are equal - we believe the Bible teaches that in the family and the church (which is God's family), men and women are equal and different and therefore not in every way interchangeable.

2) That the desire for a male bishop is not sexist - rather it reflects a Biblical desire to see men take ultimate responsibility in the church family as well as the domestic family, just as some other vital roles in both church and family are reserved for women. It is not an issue of competence but complementarity and thus retaining structures that best allow men and women to flourish alongside one another.

3) That the current legislation does not provide secure or sufficient provision for those who are concerned about these matters. As it stands:

  • it only provides that if a church requests, a female bishop should, at her discretion, delegate certain functions to a male bishop of her choice while she remains the one ultimately responsible for the church in all ways
  • it does not incorporate a legal right to receive appropriate ministry from a male bishop
  • there is no need for the chosen male bishop to share the theological convictions of the church to which he ministers
  • it does not ensure an adequate supply of male bishops willing to serve in this way now or in the future

In recognition of these points we ask the Bishops to amend the legislation, so that those churches which cannot accept the ministry of a female bishop will have the legal right to an alternate bishop, one who shares their theological viewpoint on this issue and whose authority is not delegated to him by the female bishop.

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