The Episcopal Women’s Caucus (EWC) Board applauds the Church of England Synod’s vote on July 7 to “affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate” and to prepare by February 2009 a first draft of a “national code of practice” outlining how this will be accomplished.
“The Caucus is celebrating this great news,” said EWC President Elizabeth Kaeton. “The Church of England ‘allows’ women to be ordained to the diaconate, and for the past 15 years the C of E has ‘allowed’ us be ordained to the priesthood. But women have not been ‘allowed’ to be appointed bishops, keeping the stained glass ceiling firmly in place.”Bishops are appointed in the Church of England, not elected in a diocese by clergy and laity as they are in The Episcopal Church.
Kaeton and EWC board members are cautiously optimistic as the Church of England moves forward, including discerning how to “accommodate” those who will not support the episcopacy of women. “While it is important to make room for the multitude of voices in the Church, it is vital to maintain the authority of the office without regard to the person holding the office,” Kaeton said. “Any accommodation must not be used to legislate sexism.”
The EWC will continue to work for the Gospel values of equality and liberation and committed to the incarnation of God's unconditional love --- including and especially in the Church, said Kaeton.“Women and men who have heard the liberation promised in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and who understand ourselves worthy, through Christ, to stand before God as children of God, will work together to continue to crumble the ideology of patriarchy and the system of sexism,” she said.