Up to now, I have been pessimistic about the prospects for an amicable resolution to the push for women bishops in the Church of England given a major faction (feminists) has no problem pushing another (traditionalists) out of the church.
But yesterday, Bishop Jonathan Baker, Chairman of Forward in Faith, issued a statement that gives some hope. It begins:
The new draft legislation on Women in the Episcopate and the associated proposals in the Steering Committee’s report represent a very significant improvement on the former draft legislation which failed in November 2012.
He goes briefly into the improvements, then adds:
Though these proposals are still far from what we have long said would be ideal, we believe that they may have the potential to provide workable arrangements for the future, which will ensure that our people, clergy and parishes have continued access to a ministry that will enable us to flourish within the structures of the Church of England and make our full contribution to its life and mission. They hold out the possibility of bringing to a conclusion a process that for too long has been a distraction from the Church’s mission. Much will depend on the continuance of the atmosphere of trust that has at last begun to be fostered by the process that produced these proposals.
We therefore encourage the General Synod to send the legislation for revision in full Synod, so that the process may continue as expeditiously as possible.
Do read the whole statement for yourself.
And I invite those with more knowledge of the discussions than me to comment. But really I could not have hoped for more at this point. Women bishops in the Church of England are close to inevitable. The main question is whether traditionalists will at the same time be given a tenable place. And Bishop Jonathan, whom I know and highly respect, now seems reasonably hopeful of that prospect.