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« on: December 21, 2004, 03:08:10 AM »

World's Anglican Leaders to Address Issue of Women Bishops

by Jim Brown
December 17, 2004

(AgapePress) - The Church of England remains sharply divided on whether women should be priests -- but a church commission says it has to decide soon whether they should be bishops as well.

The church's General Synod could decide in February whether to proceed with formal consideration of female bishops. The Church of England voted in 1992 to allow women priests, but not bishops. Some now want the church to drop the prohibition on women bishops and to abolish the system of "flying bishops" who supervise parishes that reject women priests.

Pittsburgh bishop Bob Duncan, moderator of the Anglican Communion Network, says although he honors those who hold the ancient position of the church, he believes there is freedom for disagreement on the matter.

"What I can say about the Church of England is that this is a very difficult decision for them as the mother church of the [worldwide Anglican] Communion," he says, "and I'm praying for them, that they'll make the decision that best serves the progress of the gospel."

Duncan says he has always been supportive of women in ordained ministry, but argues the issue of women bishops is a more controversial one. He says he respectfully disagrees with Christians who believe God's Word says no woman is qualified to be a pastor or a deacon or in any other leadership position over men.

"I think scripture speaks in a way about the role of women that is very complex," he states. "It's not like so many other issues on which scripture is utterly clear. Again, it appears that in the biblical witness you have cases where, when there's a man who's not able to do the job, God calls a woman."

Anglicans in Canada and New Zealand and Episcopalians in the U.S. have women bishops.


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