‘Women? As bishops? Unthinkable… It all went wrong with the suffragettes’

Dean Faull of York Minster
15 Jul 2014 @ 2.09 pm
| Opinion

The Church of England Synod, meeting in York, has voted in favour of women bishops. But some Anglicans are still resisting the idea. In the tiny, hard to find suburb of York, Low Twitching, Rev’d Neil Down of St Rupert’s Church is aghast. We sent our reporter Miles Salter to talk to him…

Miles: So, Neil, how are you feeling about the onset of women bishops?

Rev’d Down: Onset? Setback, more like. I’m appalled. Totally appalled.

Miles: Really? Why’s that?

Rev’d Down: I can’t believe we’ve come to this. Women? As bishops? It’s unthinkable.

Miles: Like garlic bread?

Rev’d Down: Sorry?

Miles: Never mind. But, surely, it’s time for the Church to embrace the modern world?

Rev’d Down: Embrace? That’s how you catch germs.

Miles: You’ve been vicar here since 1964. You must have seen quite a few changes over that time.

Rev’d Down: Yes, and I’ve opposed every one of them.

Miles: But we can’t carry on living in the past.

Rev’d Down: The past was so much better.

Miles: Yes. Smog, rickets and rationing. It was always fun back then.

Rev’d Down: It all went wrong with the suffragettes. They really screwed things up.

Miles: Yeah, I heard Kate Adie give a talk in York Minster earlier this year about women in World War One. She said that, in 1914, for a woman to speak in church was a horrifying prospect.

Rev’d Down: Some of us still remember that.

Miles: But Reverend, can’t you see how silly the Church looks for resisting this move? Women work in leadership in all fields now: law, medicine, business, politics, academia, the army, the media. Why should the Church be different?

Rev’d Down: We are the body of Christ. And he had a willy!

Miles: You should be pleased that the Church has moved forward. Look at Vivienne Faull.

Rev’d Down: Who?

Miles: Vivienne Faull, the Dean of York Minster. She’s not just a rev, she’s very rev! With revs like that, she’s bound to go places. She’s tipped to be the first female bishop. The Times says so. That’s good news, isn’t it? And it has a certain symmetry: the Synod voted for women bishops in York, and the first one is from York!

Rev’d Down: I don’t believe in York. There’s no mention of it in the Bible.

Miles: Well, I for one am glad that the Synod in York has voted in favour of women bishops. Strange about those who abstained.

Rev’d Down: Not everybody likes alcohol. Personally, I prefer it with a wafer. But really, I think I shall have to consider my position.

Miles: Yes, you can’t sit down all day. Thanks for chatting. Have you seen the everyday sexism website? It’s worth a look.

Rev’d Down: Never heard of it. I’m off now to oppose changes to the Prayerbook. It was so much better in 1661.

Miles (pointing to building): Is that your church?

Rev’d Down: Yes, that’s the one we worship at.

Miles (pointing to other building): And what about that one over there?

Rev’d Down: That’s the one we don’t worship at.

Miles: See you later.

Rev’d Down: Amen.

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