Women Bishops and Women Priests

Women as Bishops and Priests: What’s the Problem?


This ‘gatefold’ leaflet explains the reasons why there are problems with ordaining women as bishops and priests. They fall into three groups:

  • reasons concerning the nature of the Church of England as part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church
  • reasons concerning the unity of the Church
  • reasons concerning the nature of the episcopate and priesthood, and the roles of women and men.

The text of the leaflet is available here.


A PDF of the leaflet can be downloaded here.


Copies of the leaflet (in packs of 25) may be ordered by emailing admin.assistant@forwardinfaith.com

Teaching material


Further teaching material, both for parish groups and for isolated individuals, is available on the website of the John Bishop Charitable Trust: http://www.jbct.org/teaching-resources



For further reading:


Colin Podmore (ed.)

Fathers in God?

Resources for Reflection on Women in the Episcopate

(Norwich: The Canterbury Press, 2015)



Available to members of Forward in Faith at the reduced price of £12.50 (inc. p&p).

Please send a cheque, payable to Forward in Faith, to the office.


The book includes

  • essays by Bishop Martin Warner, Emma Forward and Colin Podmore
  • an extract from the Rochester report Women Bishops in the Church of England? (2004), together with an introduction by Bishop Geoffrey Rowell
  • the theological section of the Forward in Faith report Consecrated Women? (2004)
  • Cardinal Walter Kasper's address 'The Mission of Bishops in the Mystery of the Church' (2006)


Roger Greenacre (ed. Colin Podmore)

Part of the One Church?

The Ordination of Women and Anglican Identity

(Norwich: The Canterbury Press, 2014)



This book addresses the problems – for the Church of England’s own self-understanding as ‘part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church’ – that are created by unilateral decisions about matters, such as Holy Orders, that concern the whole Church and not just one part of it. It also highlights the adverse impact of such decisions on the quest for the visible unity of Christ’s Church.


Geoffrey Kirk

Without Precedent

Scripture, Tradition and the Ordination of Women

(Wipf and Stock, 2016)



This book examines the arguments that have been advanced for women’s ordination, and in particular claims of ancient precedent for modern practice. What did Jesus think about women? Was Paul a misogynist or a feminist, a reactionary or a revolutionary? Does the role of Mary Magdalene, in scripture and tradition, offer any guidance? Were there female priests, and even bishops, in early Christianity? Extravagant claims have been made and repeated in all of these areas, and have crucially influenced decisions taken.

As Rowan Williams comments, this is ‘a lucid and helpful survey, which quite rightly punctures some awful historical nonsense’.