ON Monday I sat in my study, having listened intently to almost four hours of debate at the General Synod.
It was with a great sense of pride that I watched the church vote to allow women to serve as bishops within the Church of England – the completion of what began 20 years ago with the ordination of women.
The debate was very different to the one that took place in 2012. Most of the opinions I heard this time were clear; they were about how we as a church can and must work together to bring about change, and that opinion came from both sides of the debate.
This was a hopeful day for the church as I believe it showed willingness for everyone to move forward together.
I know that after this vote there will be people who are struggling with the decision, and I am sorry for the hurt that they are now going through.
It is important that we continue to seek a church where we can be united despite our differences.
As Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said we are a family that offers a place of welcome and growth for all.
My rejoicing of the decision is not par ticularly because I want one day to be a bishop.
Rather, for me this brings the church to a place which I believe reflects the heart of God.
We worship and serve a God who is for men and for women, equally. I wholeheartedly believe that the God who we see in scripture not only allows women to be leaders, he rejoices in this happening.
There are so many stories throughout the Bible about leadership, and quite a few of those are stories about women: Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Mary, and Phoebe to name but a few.
Jesus had a revolutionary opinion of women too. In a culture where he, as a Jewish Rabbi, did not even have to spend time with women, time and time again he did.
He healed sick women, he spent time with women who had been shunned from their communities and he allowed them to learn from him in a time when that right would have been saved only for the clever men.
I started my day on Monday by tweeting a quote by Dorothy L Sayers: “The women were first at the cradle and last at the cross.”
Women were also the first to see and hear the news of the resurrection and play a crucial role in the Bible.
I rejoice in the fact that women will now be able to play a part in the leadership of the Church of England, and I pray that many blessings for the church and those outside the church will come from that.