General Synod voted to allow the Church of England to allow women to enter the episcopate at their meeting last week. It meas that the first female bishop could be appointed next year. Bishop Paul was able to vote on this measure for the first time. He gave his reaction and the implication for our diocese.
"After spending several years as one of the staff of the General Synod, it was good to enter the Synod chamber on Monday as a member. I am delighted that one of my first acts as Bishop of Liverpool has been to vote for the enactment of the Canon enabling women to be bishops. Although at this stage the outcome was certain it meant a lot to me to show my support for a measure that I have long prayed will come into being.
I do this as Bishop of a Diocese that has for many years shown strong support for women’s ministry and that has benefited from having many talented female priests. I do this also, very much aware that there are a fair number in our diocese who in all conscience cannot accept the priestly and episcopal ministry of women. Your ministry too must and will flourish into the future.
As I said in my inaugural sermon, I see the church as the table of the Christ who welcomes all. As I take counsel with the Core Group and pray about the future shape of our leadership here, I’ll be keeping that image at the forefront of our minds. I am hoping to invite some more honorary Assistant Bishops to share the episcopal oversight provided by myself, Bishop Richard and Bishop Cyril. And I hope that before too long one will be a female bishop.
More of that in the future. For now I rejoice that this part of the journey is complete, I pray for those who celebrate and those who struggle. And I look forward to seeing the first women sitting alongside me in the College and House of Bishops."