Wales: Crossing the Threshold – event marks new Women Bishops’ law
[Church in Wales] Two women bishops from the United States will take part in a conference in Cardiff this week as legislation allowing women to be ordained as bishops in Wales comes into effect.
The Rt Revd Geralyn Wolf, former Bishop of Rhode Island, will be the keynote speaker at the Crossing The Threshold conference on Thursday (September 4). She will also become the first women Anglican bishop to preside at Llandaff Cathedral when she takes part in the conference service. The Rt Revd Gayle Harris, the Suffragen Bishop of Massachusetts, will also attend.
The conference marks the opening of the rank of bishops to women following legislation passed by the Church in Wales which comes into effect on September 12 – exactly one year after the historic vote. The delay was built in to allow the Welsh bishops time to prepare a Code of Practice to accompany the new law.
In addition to the US bishops, speakers and panellists include other senior theologians, including the Revd Preb. Dr Jane Tillier, Rev’d Dr Jenny Hurd, chair of the Wales’ Synod Methodist and Canon Joanna Penberthy. Baroness Eluned Morgan, the Shadow Minister for Wales in the House of Lords, and Dr Gill Todd will also take part in the panel discussions.
Crossing The Threshold will be held at St Michael’s College, Cardiff. One of the organisers is the Revd Jan Gould, priest-in-charge of Glan Ely benefice in Cardiff. She says, “This conference is about how we ‘cross the threshold’ to a transformed leadership with the Church in Wales.
“Anglican women bishops in the USA have a huge amount to share and this is a unique opportunity to engage with their experience and to see together what that might mean for the future of the Church in Wales. People will have the chance to share their hopes, fears and expectations in small groups as the Church in Wales responds to this great change.”
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, will also attend the conference. He says, “At this momentous time – when the Church in Wales is just weeks away from legislation coming into effect to allow women to be ordained as bishops – I am delighted to support this conference and to welcome in particular Bishop Geralyn Wolf to share her experience and ministry with us.”
Crossing The Threshold conference takes place at St Michael’s College, Cardiff, on September 4. The day will close with a service at Llandaff Cathedral at 7.45pm, at which Bishop Geralyn will preside and Canon Mary Stallard, chaplain of St Joseph’s Anglican and Catholic School, will preach. All are welcome.
This ACNA News of a Conference in Wales to prepare the way for the Ordination of Women Bishops in the Church in Wales must be very welcome news indeed. If things go well here, it could be that there will be a Woman bishop in the Church in Wales before one is appointed in the Church of England!
What remains to be implement now is the expected Code of Practice that will allow the scheme to go forward – with maximum cooperation by all parts of the Church in Wales. No doubt the Church of England will be closely monitoring what goes on at this Conference, which might presage what is expected to happen in the Church of England – under its separate jurisdiction.
In the meantime, we here in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand & Pacifica will be continuing our governance enhanced by Women Bishops – such as Helen-Anne Hartley, Bishop in Taranaki, and our own Bishop of Christchurch,Victoria Matthews, who will be chairing our Diocesan Synod Meeting, beginning tonight with a Eucharist in the Transitional Cathedra. Our Province of the world-wide Anglican Communion has co-existed with Women Bishop for some years now – with discernible benefits from that arrangement.
Let’s hope that the Churches in Wales and England may reap similar benefits!
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand