Opponents of women or gay men as bishops in the Anglican communion, argue that while these might be acceptable to Western “liberals”, they would never be accepted by Christians in the growth regions of the church, in Africa and Asia. This claim totally overlooks the historical fact that in both Africa and Asia, same – sex relationships were part of traditional culture in many parts of both continents before the arrival of Western missionaries – and that before the widely publicized election of Gene Robinson as the first openly gay man elected to the episcopacy in North America, at least two openly gay bishops had been selected in both Africa (Mervyn Castle, in False Bay, Cape Town), and in the Soloman Isles, in the Pacific region.
Similarly, there have been four women recently named as bishops, but only one, from Ireland, has been widely reported. Yet Rt Revd Ellinah Wamukoya was consecrated Bishop of Swaziland in November 2012 and the Rt Revd Margaret Vertue, for False Bay (adjoining Cape Town in South Africa) in January 2013, and more recently, Rev. Eggoni Pushpalalitha in South India
In addition, the Wikipedia entry on women bishops in the Anglican communion reports that women bishops have been approved, but not yet appointed, in Bangladesh, Brazil, Central America, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, North India, Philippines, Scotland, Sudan, Uganda. and Ugnada. With so many countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America accepting of women bishops, the claim that the “rest of the world” is not ready, simply does not hold water.
A report from Anglican News noted that the recent provincial synod for Southern Africa, attended by the two new women bishops, devoted considerable attention to remaining problems of gender imbalance.
Anglicans Welcome Women Bishops and Wrestle with Gender Justice within the Church
While the Anglican Church of Southern Africa had two women Bishops at its Provincial Synod for the first time, it also passed a motion pressing for better gender balance in its meetings and structures.
The Rt Revd Ellinah Wamukoya was consecrated Bishop of Swaziland in November 2012 and the Rt Revd Margaret Vertue in January 2013, and were among eight new bishops at the Synod, which has been meeting this week in Benoni, South Africa.
In his address to the opening session of the Synod, Archbishop Makgoba recalled his words at the previous meeting of Synod, ‘Those of you who were here three years ago will remember me admitting I dreamed of consecrating a woman bishop for our Province – by the grace of God, we now have two!’
Nonetheless, participants in the meeting noted that among Synod members, men outnumbered women by more than three to one, and so a motion was passed calling on steps to be taken to work towards a more equal balance particularly in key bodies of the Church.
- Anglican Church of Southern Africa considers Pastoral Response to Civil Unions(thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- Church of South India elects first woman bishop (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- Church in Wales votes in favour of women bishops (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- One Reason S.A. Anglicans could never be part of GAFCON(kiwianglo.wordpress.com)
- Has Pope Francis a major blind spot regarding the role of women in the Church?(tabamantia.wordpress.com)
- Patricia Storey to be Bishop of Meath and Kildare (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)
- First females elected to attend House of Bishops (thinkinganglicans.org.uk)