SOMEWHERE in the aftermath of the General Synod vote on women in the Episcopate, I came across an unexpected scene.

Unseen by the reporters and television cameras waiting outside Church House in Westminster, a crying man was being comforted by a female priest.

I wasn’t close enough to hear what she said, but I imagine it was something like, “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine; we’ll get there in the end.”

The Church of England has already expressed its commitment to appointing women as bishops and thus receiving the ministry and leadership of women in every area and level of church life.

York Minster’s new Dean is a woman, as is the new acting Archdeacon and many of the York clergy. Christian women and men “from the pews” work together without discrimination in many ministries.

Yes, these legal delays are hugely frustrating. It will take several more years before this change can happen, mainly because it requires a new Parliamentary law and a change in the written beliefs of the church. Sadly, this delay will affect a few senior women clergy who would have become bishops in the next few years. I know some of these women and it is our loss. For now, I will remind our church this Sunday that we remain committed to training, encouraging, releasing and benefiting from the ministry of women without partiality in local church life across the diocese.

The Rev Christian Selvaratnam, Member of the General Synod of the Church of England, Assistant Curate, St Michael-le-Belfrey Church, York.


• ROWAN WILLIAMS finds the decision not to accept women bishops as “unintelligible” and “wilfully blind”. He decided exactly the same throughout his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, by knowingly and wilfully supporting misuses of power.

The established Church is required by secular law to allow anyone, including Jews and Muslims, to be buried in Church of England burial grounds, where grave spaces still exist.

However, he remained content to force those of other religions to exercise their legal rights, only on the strict and presumably unlawful condition, that they accept that their names be recorded as Christian names.

If he had agreed to allow in such circumstances, the neutral recording of “full name”, he would have eliminated hypocrisy at the stroke of a pen and demonstrated true respect and dignity for all faiths.

Representatives of the established church, be they female or male, should prove that at the very least, they have the intelligence to practise what they preach, even if as quasi public servants, some conceal a preference for hypocrisy and a misuse of powers.

Andro Joiner, Knox Road, Harrogate.