A Mighty Blessing to the Church

The Archbishop of Canterbury and officials at the Church of England General Synod. Picture By: Keith Blundy | CofE
The Archbishop of Canterbury and officials at the Church of England General Synod. Picture By: Keith Blundy | CofE

Britain’s Lutherans Celebrating Church of England Decision on Women Bishops

(LWI) – Lutheran leaders in Britain are rejoicing that women will be able to serve as bishops in the Church of England, saying it will be a sign of hope to sister churches around the world as they discuss gender justice issues.

The Church of England’s General Synod voted on 14 July to allow women to become bishops for the first time in its history. It came more than 20 years after women were first allowed to become priests. The first woman could be appointed bishop by the end of the year.

In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, James Laing, General Secretary of the Council of Lutheran Churches, said the leaders of Britain’s 183,000 Lutherans were confident the move would enable the gospel of Christ to be proclaimed with renewed vigour and clarity.

“Women ministering as bishops will also strengthen and deepen the unity that we enjoy as Lutherans and Anglicans in this nation, which is in many ways one of the most natural inter-church relationships,” Laing wrote.

Both the Lutheran Church in Great Britain and the Church of England are members of the Porvoo Communion of Lutheran and Anglican churches in Europe, who have signed an agreement to share a common life in mission and ministry.

Laing said the approval of women bishops by the Church of England would enable a fuller expression of the churches’ unity in Porvoo, something that is celebrated by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and its member churches worldwide.

In his letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Laing said that he recognized that the Church of England’s decision has come after long and difficult deliberations accompanied by much prayer and earnest theological reflection.

Still, he added, “We are confident that the new measures will be a mighty blessing to the church.” He concluded: “We pray that God will help us to build upon the blessings of diversity that we share.”