Thursday, 30 September 2010

Church Calls for Woman Bishops

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has resolved to encourage the election of women as bishops of the church.

A resolution agreed to by the church’s ruling Provincial Synod also urged those dioceses which do not yet ordain women as priests to do so.

The resolution, proposed by Bishop Oswald Swartz of Kimberley and Kuruman, said although women formed the majority of church members, they were under-represented “in theological education, at every level in leadership and in representational roles.”

Some dioceses still did not ordain women as priests and no woman had yet been elected or appointed a bishop.

The synod resolved to urge “every diocese to take all appropriate steps to promote the eligibility of women for episcopal office.”

Opening the synod on Wednesday, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town said the church was “hugely unrepresentative in relation to gender.”

The church first decided to ordain women in 1992.

The full text of the synod’s resolution follows:

MOTION 3: WOMEN AND MINISTRY

The Bishop of Kimberley & Kuruman, seconded by the Bishop of Port Elizabeth, moved:

THAT THIS SYNOD,

1. noting that

1.1 in Southern Africa women constitute the majority of the population and the majority within our churches,

1.2 as long ago as 1992 the Province agreed to the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate,

and further noting that

1.3 nonetheless, women remain under-represented in theological education at every level, in leadership and in representational roles

1.4 some Dioceses still do not ordain women to the priesthood, and

1.5 no woman has yet been elected or appointed to serve as a Bishop in our Province.

2. Resolves to encourage

2.1 every Diocese to promote and support the theological education of lay and ordained women

2.2 every Diocese to promote and support lay and ordained women as theological educators

2.3 those Dioceses which do not yet ordain women to do so

2.4 every Diocese to increase the inclusion of lay and ordained women in leadership and representational roles

2.5 every Diocese to take all appropriate steps to promote the eligibility of women for episcopal office. AGREED

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