Norwich archdeacon plea on women bishops
Archdeacon of Norwich, the Venerable Jan McFarlane, has issued a video plea to the Anglican General Synod to finally back legislation to allow female bishops in the church in a crucial vote tomorrow (November 20), after 37 years of debate.
Jan, who is also Director of Communications in the Norwich Diocese, says in the video that the debate started when she was just 11 years old. She is now about to celebrate her 48th birthday: “That means we’ve been debating this issue for most of my life, and surely that’s enough waiting,” she said.
Jan (pictured right) urges General Synod members to recognise that, although the legislation may be imperfect, "Anything that we do is always going to involve compromise".
“But might we allow this imperfect legislation to be a means of allowing God’s grace to shine through, and to show to an imperfect and cracked and broken world that it is possible, with God’s grace, to live together in unity even when we disagree?”
“Will the majority respect the views of the minority? Will the minority also respect the will of the majority? Because if we do, then we’ll be able to move on with this legislation, and we’ll be able to start to deal with all the very many far more outward-looking issues that we’re called on to debate as a national church; a church which is concerned not with our own internal politics, but for those who don’t yet believe.
”We know that 42 out of 44 dioceses want us to move ahead and pass the legislation to allow women to be bishops. We know, too, that there’s a minority, but a significant minority, who don’t want us to move forward in this way, and we’re being called, in the legislation we’re to vote on, to respect their position,” said Jan.
“We agreed to respect the views of the minority, and to wait a little bit longer, and to try to find a legislation which would hold us all together.
”Well, now we’re asking the minority to also compromise; to respect the views of the majority, and to vote in favour of this new legislation on November 20.”