Compromise holds in Herefordshire C of E parish that still restricts women priests - let alone bishops

Hereford Times: Diocese of Hereford backs women bishops Diocese of Hereford backs women bishops

THE Church of England may have made history in backing woman bishops, but in one of the county's smallest parishes that history is some time in the future.

St Peter's, Lyde, is one of the few Anglican churches in the country to still restrict the role of  women priests.

But the woman ministering to St Peter's says her congregation can set an example in healing any lingering rifts over the CofE shattering its stained glass ceiling.

Rev Penny Littlewood reached a compromise with the St Peter's Parochial Church Council (PCC) in November, 2012 when a lay vote at the General Synod defeated the introduction of women bishops.

Then, St Peter's would not allow a woman to take a communion service.

But the compromise had Rev Littlewood and the PCC agreed on swapping one communion service a month for a family service at which she could preach.

Despite Monday's general synod vote in favour of  woman bishops, Rev Littlewood says the St Peter's compromise will hold until whenever the PCC was ready.

Rev Littlewood has already held a Eucharist service at St Peter's.

Small steps made by each side, said Rev Littlewood, set an example as to how differences over the issue could be accepted and resolved.

“There is no rush to resolution, it's about having faith in each other and respective points of view.

"We can do so much as a church with a little compromise," she said.

Lyde PCC voted against allowing women to minister in 1994, when the CofE first ordained women priests but let parishes vote on whether or not to accept them.

Shifts since have let women priests take other services at St Peter’s but the PCC stayed firm over communion.

All of the Hereford Diocese representatives on the general synod voted in favour of woman bishops on Monday.

In March, the Hereford Diocesan Synod voted unanimously in favour of backing women bishops with neither of the Synod’s three Houses - Bishops, Clergy and Lay - recording a single vote against.

Comments (1)

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3:29am Wed 16 Jul 14

WYSIATI says...

Nice to see Herefordshire at the cutting edge.

What chance that the next bishop might be the first woman bishop in the country?
Nice to see Herefordshire at the cutting edge. What chance that the next bishop might be the first woman bishop in the country? WYSIATI
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