Right Reverend Alan Smith supports women taking the role

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Right Reverend Alan Smith. Right Reverend Alan Smith.

Members of the diocese of St Albans have expressed their disappointment that the Church of England voted against allowing women to become bishops.

The Rt Reverend Alan Smith, the bishop of St Albans, has said that he has always been a supporter of women taking on the role.

The church’s General Synod voted against the proposal on Tuesday, November 20.

The bishop said: "We have always been supporters of women bishops’ legislation and share in the disappointment of the many outstanding women priests who play such a valuable role in the mission and ministry of our diocese.

"We recognise that a significant minority of people in the diocese of St Albans have theological objections to the proposals which were being debated.

"Nevertheless we know that the vast majority of people in the diocese were in favour of this development and for them the vote will be a cause for deep sadness. We need time to reflect on what has happened."

A two-thirds majority was required in all three Houses of Synod for the legislation to be passed.

The House of Bishops and the House of Clergy achieved the necessary two-thirds majority - however, the House of Laity did not.

The bishop added: "It is a bishop’s task to unite all those in his care and we call on all the people of the diocese to continue in the service of their communities, loving them as Christ loved us, sacrificing their pain to that task.

"We have more listening and more work to do to achieve the end result which so many believe is the right way forward both inside and beyond our church."

Comments (9)

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1:40pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

I'm a great believer in equality without big brother forcing it upon people. I am a great believer in the best person, be they male or female, getting the job because they are the best person for the job. I do not believe in male/female quotas.

In the unique case of religion, where belief trumps logic, it must be for the church itself to decide what is right for the church. It is nothing to do with anyone else but the church itself, and certainly no place for lawyers and politicians to dictate direction.

I can't get myself worked up over this, we should just leave them to it. If you don't like the way the church operates, you can leave it or stay and try to reform it.

Politicians, stay out of it and show some respect for religion.
I'm a great believer in equality without big brother forcing it upon people. I am a great believer in the best person, be they male or female, getting the job because they are the best person for the job. I do not believe in male/female quotas. In the unique case of religion, where belief trumps logic, it must be for the church itself to decide what is right for the church. It is nothing to do with anyone else but the church itself, and certainly no place for lawyers and politicians to dictate direction. I can't get myself worked up over this, we should just leave them to it. If you don't like the way the church operates, you can leave it or stay and try to reform it. Politicians, stay out of it and show some respect for religion. Reg Edit

2:28pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Mike Ribble says...

If the C of E was dis-established this would be a matter for themselves only. However at present we are faced with an integral part of the State apparatus with dedicated seats in the House of Lords blocking an equality policy that is supported by virtually everyone else.
If the C of E was dis-established this would be a matter for themselves only. However at present we are faced with an integral part of the State apparatus with dedicated seats in the House of Lords blocking an equality policy that is supported by virtually everyone else. Mike Ribble

2:51pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

Mike Ribble wrote:
If the C of E was dis-established this would be a matter for themselves only. However at present we are faced with an integral part of the State apparatus with dedicated seats in the House of Lords blocking an equality policy that is supported by virtually everyone else.
Mike,

I can't even get worked up over that.

The church is established. It has its rules and it abides by them.

If the government wants to de-establish the church then that is up to them. I doubt they will as they will be risking a huge amount of revenge votes for doing so. It is a huge step for any government to take, a sea change in our constitution.

This is the way things were last week. Since then they have had a vote and things are still the same. What is there to get worked up over? Women bishops? I couldn't care less one way or the other what the church decides to do over women bishops.

The church has its own rules and beliefs. Why don't we just respect their right to their beliefs and rules and let them run themselves?

The state gets too involved in peoples lives. It is too intrusive and should allow people to just get on with their lives in peace. It meddles far too much and must be cut back.

Like i said. If you don't like the C of E, you don't have to belong to it. There are plenty of other religions around or you could simply branch off and start a new church. No-one is forcing anyone to stay in it - it's not the moonies after all.

Religion is a special case, it involves beliefs. Laws do not easily apply themselves well to beliefs. So long as no harm comes from it, why not just leave them alone?
[quote][p][bold]Mike Ribble[/bold] wrote: If the C of E was dis-established this would be a matter for themselves only. However at present we are faced with an integral part of the State apparatus with dedicated seats in the House of Lords blocking an equality policy that is supported by virtually everyone else.[/p][/quote]Mike, I can't even get worked up over that. The church is established. It has its rules and it abides by them. If the government wants to de-establish the church then that is up to them. I doubt they will as they will be risking a huge amount of revenge votes for doing so. It is a huge step for any government to take, a sea change in our constitution. This is the way things were last week. Since then they have had a vote and things are still the same. What is there to get worked up over? Women bishops? I couldn't care less one way or the other what the church decides to do over women bishops. The church has its own rules and beliefs. Why don't we just respect their right to their beliefs and rules and let them run themselves? The state gets too involved in peoples lives. It is too intrusive and should allow people to just get on with their lives in peace. It meddles far too much and must be cut back. Like i said. If you don't like the C of E, you don't have to belong to it. There are plenty of other religions around or you could simply branch off and start a new church. No-one is forcing anyone to stay in it - it's not the moonies after all. Religion is a special case, it involves beliefs. Laws do not easily apply themselves well to beliefs. So long as no harm comes from it, why not just leave them alone? Reg Edit

4:21pm Tue 27 Nov 12

LSC says...

No, Reg, Mike is correct. I would agree if 'no harm came by it', but sadly it does.
We have bishops in the House of Lords, affecting our laws. Laws I have to follow, and they are appointed because they are bishops, not because they are well rounded individuals with an insight into law and good government.

We have C of E schools where presumably children as young as four now know officially that boys are better than girls.

We have a female Monarch. We have had a woman Prime Minister. The head of MI5. Home Secretaries, Foreign Secretaries. Karen Brady is probably still in charge of some football club or other. Police officers, paramedics, firefighters.

But the church? NO WAY! NOT A GIRL! EWWWW!

No wonder the church is dying, and good riddance.
No, Reg, Mike is correct. I would agree if 'no harm came by it', but sadly it does. We have bishops in the House of Lords, affecting our laws. Laws I have to follow, and they are appointed because they are bishops, not because they are well rounded individuals with an insight into law and good government. We have C of E schools where presumably children as young as four now know officially that boys are better than girls. We have a female Monarch. We have had a woman Prime Minister. The head of MI5. Home Secretaries, Foreign Secretaries. Karen Brady is probably still in charge of some football club or other. Police officers, paramedics, firefighters. But the church? NO WAY! NOT A GIRL! EWWWW! No wonder the church is dying, and good riddance. LSC

5:20pm Tue 27 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

LSC wrote:
No, Reg, Mike is correct. I would agree if 'no harm came by it', but sadly it does.
We have bishops in the House of Lords, affecting our laws. Laws I have to follow, and they are appointed because they are bishops, not because they are well rounded individuals with an insight into law and good government.

We have C of E schools where presumably children as young as four now know officially that boys are better than girls.

We have a female Monarch. We have had a woman Prime Minister. The head of MI5. Home Secretaries, Foreign Secretaries. Karen Brady is probably still in charge of some football club or other. Police officers, paramedics, firefighters.

But the church? NO WAY! NOT A GIRL! EWWWW!

No wonder the church is dying, and good riddance.
LSC,

good points well made. It does seem that some harm could come from it but I doubt it really does in practice.

Bishops in the House of Lords doesn't bother me as there are so few of them. As the state church it has representation in the Lords. It's a historic thing, though I would not argue against their removal from the Lords.

C of E schoolgirls feeling second class citizens? I'm not sure that's the case at all. Probably most if not all C of E parents would teach their children that girls and boys are equally valued, but that their church has some old-fashioned ways which means currently girls can't be bishops but that there's hope for a change in the future. Would the church or church schools teach pupils that boys are better than girls? One would hope not.

The world outside the church teaches the pupils far more about women, who on their merit or through tradition have been queens or prime ministers and almost anything else they want to be. That message will surely be stronger in demonstrating equality than the fact women can't be bishops.

My opinion on this is that the church is a special case. Faith is a special case, provided it does not cause harm.

There are far worse things in this world than a church not allowing women bishops.

More importantly, I believe the state gets too involved in peoples lives. Not long ago the Catholic church fell foul of the government over adoption by gays.

The law says gay people must not be discriminated against. That law is not that old. Yet for over a thousand years the catholic church has believed that gay acts are a sin, and that that edict is god's will.

You have to have some sympathy for a church whose god has told them one thing and then the government has outlawed their god's view. If I were a catholic with catholic beliefs about gays I would hate to think that my child, on adoption, could go to a gay couple.

Whilst people follow religion we should tolerate their views and allow them space, even if those views contradict our "progressive" view of how the world should be. Live and let live, and keep the government away from peoples lives and beliefs.

If things need to change, they will change at their own pace. The last thing that should happen is the government jumping in with laws to force religious changes.

Religious tolerance is a good thing, a positive sign of civilisation.
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: No, Reg, Mike is correct. I would agree if 'no harm came by it', but sadly it does. We have bishops in the House of Lords, affecting our laws. Laws I have to follow, and they are appointed because they are bishops, not because they are well rounded individuals with an insight into law and good government. We have C of E schools where presumably children as young as four now know officially that boys are better than girls. We have a female Monarch. We have had a woman Prime Minister. The head of MI5. Home Secretaries, Foreign Secretaries. Karen Brady is probably still in charge of some football club or other. Police officers, paramedics, firefighters. But the church? NO WAY! NOT A GIRL! EWWWW! No wonder the church is dying, and good riddance.[/p][/quote]LSC, good points well made. It does seem that some harm could come from it but I doubt it really does in practice. Bishops in the House of Lords doesn't bother me as there are so few of them. As the state church it has representation in the Lords. It's a historic thing, though I would not argue against their removal from the Lords. C of E schoolgirls feeling second class citizens? I'm not sure that's the case at all. Probably most if not all C of E parents would teach their children that girls and boys are equally valued, but that their church has some old-fashioned ways which means currently girls can't be bishops but that there's hope for a change in the future. Would the church or church schools teach pupils that boys are better than girls? One would hope not. The world outside the church teaches the pupils far more about women, who on their merit or through tradition have been queens or prime ministers and almost anything else they want to be. That message will surely be stronger in demonstrating equality than the fact women can't be bishops. My opinion on this is that the church is a special case. Faith is a special case, provided it does not cause harm. There are far worse things in this world than a church not allowing women bishops. More importantly, I believe the state gets too involved in peoples lives. Not long ago the Catholic church fell foul of the government over adoption by gays. The law says gay people must not be discriminated against. That law is not that old. Yet for over a thousand years the catholic church has believed that gay acts are a sin, and that that edict is god's will. You have to have some sympathy for a church whose god has told them one thing and then the government has outlawed their god's view. If I were a catholic with catholic beliefs about gays I would hate to think that my child, on adoption, could go to a gay couple. Whilst people follow religion we should tolerate their views and allow them space, even if those views contradict our "progressive" view of how the world should be. Live and let live, and keep the government away from peoples lives and beliefs. If things need to change, they will change at their own pace. The last thing that should happen is the government jumping in with laws to force religious changes. Religious tolerance is a good thing, a positive sign of civilisation. Reg Edit

9:41pm Tue 27 Nov 12

LSC says...

I'm tolerant in so far as not attacking vicars in the street Reg. I strongly support that every adult has the right to believe in what they wish.
Unfortunately, that point of view means I have to accept the BNP and the muslim brotherhood.

However, religion needs to get out of politics and out of education ASAP. I'm not sure of the law today, but it was certainly the case that a Prime Minister HAD to be C of E.

So despite the fact an atheist, hindu, catholic or whatever might have been the best person for the job, they weren't allowed to do it; and therefore we all potentially suffered.
We are no longer in the Dark ages.
Only last century, a potentionaly decent monarch had to resign because of the church not liking him falling in love with a divorcee.

Tolerant of personal belief, yes, very much so. Allowing belief to structure our very lives; no.
I'm tolerant in so far as not attacking vicars in the street Reg. I strongly support that every adult has the right to believe in what they wish. Unfortunately, that point of view means I have to accept the BNP and the muslim brotherhood. However, religion needs to get out of politics and out of education ASAP. I'm not sure of the law today, but it was certainly the case that a Prime Minister HAD to be C of E. So despite the fact an atheist, hindu, catholic or whatever might have been the best person for the job, they weren't allowed to do it; and therefore we all potentially suffered. We are no longer in the Dark ages. Only last century, a potentionaly decent monarch had to resign because of the church not liking him falling in love with a divorcee. Tolerant of personal belief, yes, very much so. Allowing belief to structure our very lives; no. LSC

8:34am Wed 28 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

LSC wrote:
I'm tolerant in so far as not attacking vicars in the street Reg. I strongly support that every adult has the right to believe in what they wish.
Unfortunately, that point of view means I have to accept the BNP and the muslim brotherhood.

However, religion needs to get out of politics and out of education ASAP. I'm not sure of the law today, but it was certainly the case that a Prime Minister HAD to be C of E.

So despite the fact an atheist, hindu, catholic or whatever might have been the best person for the job, they weren't allowed to do it; and therefore we all potentially suffered.
We are no longer in the Dark ages.
Only last century, a potentionaly decent monarch had to resign because of the church not liking him falling in love with a divorcee.

Tolerant of personal belief, yes, very much so. Allowing belief to structure our very lives; no.
LSC,

I agree with you.

I am not a fan of religious schools or bishops in the house of lords. I would happily swap a religious school for a grammar any day of the week.

I'm also not a fan of any organisation that preaches hate based on ones political beliefs, religion, the colour of ones skin or ethnic background. (That takes Rotherham Council and Social Services off my Christmas card list)
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: I'm tolerant in so far as not attacking vicars in the street Reg. I strongly support that every adult has the right to believe in what they wish. Unfortunately, that point of view means I have to accept the BNP and the muslim brotherhood. However, religion needs to get out of politics and out of education ASAP. I'm not sure of the law today, but it was certainly the case that a Prime Minister HAD to be C of E. So despite the fact an atheist, hindu, catholic or whatever might have been the best person for the job, they weren't allowed to do it; and therefore we all potentially suffered. We are no longer in the Dark ages. Only last century, a potentionaly decent monarch had to resign because of the church not liking him falling in love with a divorcee. Tolerant of personal belief, yes, very much so. Allowing belief to structure our very lives; no.[/p][/quote]LSC, I agree with you. I am not a fan of religious schools or bishops in the house of lords. I would happily swap a religious school for a grammar any day of the week. I'm also not a fan of any organisation that preaches hate based on ones political beliefs, religion, the colour of ones skin or ethnic background. (That takes Rotherham Council and Social Services off my Christmas card list) Reg Edit

1:36pm Wed 28 Nov 12

garston tony says...

I actually agree, the church should be separate from the state. I also agree that incorrect 'christian' (small c) teachings should stop being taught. I disagree that all church schools should be closed down, many do a wonderful job of teaching their students and that can be proven by the sheer demand for places in many of them from both Christians and non Christians.

Onto the subject of the article. The Bible does not say that women should not be allowed to be bishops, the fact is that that position is man made as is the whole heirarchy of the C of E and indeed any church (and that includes the position of Pope which has no Biblical basis) so the Bible actually has no 'opinion' on the matter. What it does quite clearly state is that we are all created equal regardless of which sex we happen to be and it also gives plenty of examples to show us that God has no problem with women doing God's ministry.

The whole issue is down to past culture (history) and tradition and is a great example of how some churches place more emphasis on themselves than the word of God. For those against it I think its also agreat example of humans picking and choosing bits from the Bible, taking them out of context in order to make it fit their own personal outlook. The matter should be great lesson to all Christians regardless of denomination but also a concern as it doesn’t reflect well on the faith as a whole as people outside the faith often cant or dont discriminate between denominations (ahem, LSC).
I actually agree, the church should be separate from the state. I also agree that incorrect 'christian' (small c) teachings should stop being taught. I disagree that all church schools should be closed down, many do a wonderful job of teaching their students and that can be proven by the sheer demand for places in many of them from both Christians and non Christians. Onto the subject of the article. The Bible does not say that women should not be allowed to be bishops, the fact is that that position is man made as is the whole heirarchy of the C of E and indeed any church (and that includes the position of Pope which has no Biblical basis) so the Bible actually has no 'opinion' on the matter. What it does quite clearly state is that we are all created equal regardless of which sex we happen to be and it also gives plenty of examples to show us that God has no problem with women doing God's ministry. The whole issue is down to past culture (history) and tradition and is a great example of how some churches place more emphasis on themselves than the word of God. For those against it I think its also agreat example of humans picking and choosing bits from the Bible, taking them out of context in order to make it fit their own personal outlook. The matter should be great lesson to all Christians regardless of denomination but also a concern as it doesn’t reflect well on the faith as a whole as people outside the faith often cant or dont discriminate between denominations (ahem, LSC). garston tony

1:36pm Wed 28 Nov 12

garston tony says...

The Bible, what should be the basis for all Christians, does not teach hatred for anyone. It teaches we are all created equal (regardless of race or gender) and Jesus told us the greatest comandment of all was to love one another. The Bible also tells us that we should not judge others (if for no better reason than we are ALL sinners) and that the sin is between the sinner and God.

People who profess to be Christian who show hatred towards others due to their differing beliefs or race or gender or because they deem them sinners are not following the word of God or Jesus's example.

I'd also point out for context that the Bible only mentions homosexuality between 6 and 8 times, far fewer times than heterosexual sexual matters.
The Bible, what should be the basis for all Christians, does not teach hatred for anyone. It teaches we are all created equal (regardless of race or gender) and Jesus told us the greatest comandment of all was to love one another. The Bible also tells us that we should not judge others (if for no better reason than we are ALL sinners) and that the sin is between the sinner and God. People who profess to be Christian who show hatred towards others due to their differing beliefs or race or gender or because they deem them sinners are not following the word of God or Jesus's example. I'd also point out for context that the Bible only mentions homosexuality between 6 and 8 times, far fewer times than heterosexual sexual matters. garston tony

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