Executive members, Val Graydon, Alison Gent, Kathleen Toal, Christine
Middleton and myself attended the 2007 General Synod, which was held at
Rydges Lakeside Hotel in Canberra from 20-25 October. MOWatch had a
stand in the foyer outside the main meeting hall; it was very noticeable
and well visited.
Appellate Tribunal has ruled that the Church's Constitution does not
prevent the consecration of a woman priest as a bishop, the main purpose
of our stand was to ask the next big questions - Where? When? Who?
distributed leaflets about the MOWatch Conference being held in Perth
next year, when our Guest Speaker will be Dr Esther Mombo, a
distinguished theological educator from Kenya. We weren't planning to
sell our tea towels - they were just part of the display, but we had so
many requests, we started taking orders. Kathy Toal is organising this,
so if you would like one, let me know.
Synod which interested us particularly included:
Goldsworthy from Perth called on the National Synod Standing
Committee to apply the principle of equal representation of women in
its appointments to Commissions and Working Groups, wherever
legislatively and practically possible. It was noted that there were
only 52 women among the 247 national synod delegates. Sue West from
Bathurst argued that "there is no way the church can afford to leave
half its brain power on the shelf."
- Archbishop Freier from Melbourne asked the
synod to welcome the decision of the Appellate Tribunal and the
clarity it brings to the debate on women and the episcopate.
Importantly, his motion was seconded by Sydney Regional Bishop, Glen
Davies. He said he did not "welcome" the decision but did welcome
"the clarity" because the decision meant the church had a chance to
move ahead. Synod endorsed the Freier motion. The House of Bishops
will meet next April to consider possible protocols to accommodate
those who may not accept women bishops.
I believe our trip to Canberra was well worth while. We met and
talked to many women delegates. We thank the women who have helped along
the way and especially Muriel Porter who has worked so hard to achieve
this result. Now we look forward to welcoming our own Australian woman