Diocesan consultation - Women bishops

Around 90 clergy and lay members of Diocesan and Deanery Synods gathered to debate the topic of women bishops on Saturday 22 June.

Led by Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff, the diocesan consultation held at the Bishop of Rochester Academy in Chatham, allowed a mixture of views to be heard.


Those present had the task of discussing whether women should be able to become bishops and if so, how this should be legislated.

It was clear from Bishop James’ opening speech that time is of the essence if the final decision is to be made by the Church of England.


He said: “Rumblings in parliament are very very strong and if we do not make a decision they will do it for us.

“It would be much better if it is decided out of parliament.”


People were split up into eight groups and given an hour and a half to voice their opinions and agree on the best way forward.

All teams agreed that the decision needed to be made by the church.

Another common theme was that of trust, as well as confusion and criticism over previous legislative options.


An important element of Saturday was for General Synod members to listen to opinion in the Diocese before the next meeting of General Synod.

Each small group included one of General Synod members, allowing them to reflect on all they heard before they vote on the possible ways forward.

It is hoped that General Synod in July will give a mandate for new legislation to be prepared.

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