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Rev’d Christopher Harrison considers the recent rejection of legislation allowing women bishops, suggesting that, despite the disagreement, Christmas is a time for a common focus
Some years ago, in my last parish in Derbyshire, an elderly churchwarden told me that she had changed from being vehemently opposed to the ordination of women to being in favour of it. What had made all the difference was that she had got to know several women lay readers who took services in our church, and it began to feel perfectly natural to her that such people should be able to become priests. I thought of her when I heard about the General Synod’s vote rejecting women bishops, and was saddened by the reflection that people like her, who are prepared to change a deeply-held opinion and be open to new ways of understanding God and the Church, may be rather rare, especially on General Synod. Indeed the run-up to the vote seems to have led to a hardening of attitudes, rather than any real attempt to grow in mutual understanding.
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