Bishop hopes CofE will follow South Africa's lead on women

Bishop Margaret Vertue

A South African bishop shared her wish for the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate during a sermon at Southwark Cathedral on Sunday.

The Right Reverend Margaret Vertue, Bishop of False Bay in South Africa, was guest preacher at the service. 

She reflected on the change in attitudes that followed the end of apartheid in South Africa.  There was applause from the congregation as she called upon the Church of England to follow South Africa's lead and make it possible for women to be bishops. 

"As the church we cannot be not doing what the state is doing. So we cannot oppress people, we cannot be prejudiced, we cannot discriminate against people, we cannot do that," she said.

"And so the people of Africa are very much open to the process and they elect the person who they feel is the best person for the calling.

"They do not look at colour or gender or anything else. So that's how I am here before you with great rejoicing, and I do pray that where Africa leads England will follow."

The Church of England General Synod will be debating legislation to allow women bishops when it meets in York next month.

New proposals are being considered after legislation was defeated at the General Synod in London last November.

Allowing women to be bishops is supported by a majority in the Church of England.

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