The Anglican Communion released its report on the Women in the Episcopate on Nov. 2, entitled, “Women Bishops in the Church of England?” The report is a survey of the theological issues in the Church on whether or not to ordain women bishops in the 77-million member Anglican Communion.
“We have tried to do this as comprehensively as possible," said the Rt Revd Dr Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester and chairman of the House of Bishops’ Working Party that released the report. “I hope that our report will prove to be a useful resource for discussion and debate in the Church as a whole."
The Working Party, whose members consist of women, men, lay and ordained Anglicans, and non-Anglicans, received some 500 items of written evidence in penning the report.
"Our meetings have demonstrated a basic unity, not only in faith and a commitment to scholarship but often also in theological approach," said Bishop Michael.
The debate centered on three main questions: Would it be right in principle for women to be bishops? ; If the answer is 'yes', is this the right time for the Church of England to ordain women bishops? ; If it is the right time, how should women bishops be introduced and what provisions should be made for those conscientiously unable to accept their ministry?
The General Synod will discuss the report during its next meeting in February. According to the Anglican Communion News Service, the Synod will “have the opportunity, on the basis of a motion from the House of Bishops, to consider what the next steps should be. Synod will be invited to agree that, following a period of reflection on the report, there should be a decision at the July Synod on whether to embark on the process of removing the legal obstacles to ordaining women as bishops.”