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Ladies in waiting at the Church of England

By Cole Moreton, Telegraph

The bitter divisions in the Church of England over women bishops will surface this week as the two sides collide at the General Synod

Rebecca Swinson was only six years old when the Church of England allowed women to become priests.

“That was 20 years ago. Some people of my age have only ever had a woman as their vicar,” says the university researcher from south London, who is now campaigning for women to be allowed to serve as bishops.

“People outside the Church can’t understand why they are not already. If a woman in the workplace does not get a job just because she’s a woman, that is unacceptable. We knew it would take time, but how much time is enough?”

The answer to that question may be just another 48 hours or so. On Tuesday, the governing body of the Church of England, the General Synod, meets to vote on a measure that will allow the first woman to be made bishop in early 2014.

The debate at Church House in Westminster will be heartfelt and long, with speeches carrying the weight of 20 years of frustration on both sides. But as evening comes, the 467 members of the Synod will have to make a momentous decision.

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