Question 1: What is your opinion of the findings of Sir Philip Mawer in his report published on the Church of England website https://www.churchofengland.org/media/4032634/independent-reviewer-sheffield-report.pdf on 15 September 2017; in particular, do you agree that the failings he identifies in paragraph 190 apply to the Diocese of Guildford; and if so, what action should the Diocese take? Adrian Vincent, Member of Woking Deanery Synod
Answer: The Five Guiding Principles at the heart of the 2014 Settlement shouldn’t be dominated by principle 4 rather than principles 1& 2, leaving women in the ministry feeling ignored and not listened to by those in power. The report was based on evidence taken in 2016 and only just published this September so Guildford Synod and it's representatives need the chance to digest these findings and look at ways to better start a conversation within not just the local Synod and PCCs locally but also within parishes about how the 5 principles are implemented locally. My own parish has our first female Associate minister and as the numbers of women grow within the ministry across the church, the arguments will change from how we incorporate those who do not agree with women ‘ministry to how we can all work together as good Christians to genuinely flourish. I personally think what is happening with the #MeToo campaign have brought the conversation about how mainly patriarchal leadership systems are failing society. As a Church this report is excellent and should be a starting point for the next conversation both locally and nationally and hopefully the bitterness of the Sheffield campaign will not be repeated again here in Guildford or elsewhere. Having more people like myself who are ordinary members of a congregation representing the Diocese would hopefully shine a light on how things are working in practice and where communication needs to be improved across the church.
Question 2: Would you personally and unequivocally support and accept a woman appointed as an incumbent and a woman appointed as a diocesan bishop in all aspect of her role, including sacramental, teaching and preaching? Carolyn Graham (General Synod and Guildford Deanery Lay Chair)
Answer: "Short answer – Yes of course! Longer answer, I cannot believe God intends half the humans in the world to be excluded from any aspect of our church. We already have women in these positions elsewhere and they should be encouraged in Guildford. As a child, (late 1970’s – which shows my age) I was the first girl in my school to join a previously boys only workshops class. Some of the staff (all male) were very disapproving of one girl among over 100 boys, but it was a fight worth having as not only did I learn to weld, but the following year a handful of girls took workshops and decades later the options do not even mention gender. I hope the church will get to a point where gender is not an issue, only competence. Between now and then I will fully support all women who are called by God to help make those changes."