The Revd Joel Edwards, former General Director of the Evangelical Alliance UK, reflects on Bishop Sarah Mullally’s appointment as Bishop of London.
Having worked with the Rt Revd Dr Richard Chartres, the former Bishop of London, who was responsible for instigating my appointment as an honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral, I wanted to give a shout out for the appointment of Bishop Sarah Mullally as our first ever female bishop of London.
Having spent three days in a NHS hospital four weeks ago, my view is that anyone who has been at the heart of the NHS for 35 years should be made a saint. But I know that female bishops can be more contentious than sainthood.
Those of us who have been on the inside and on the fringes of the Anglican Communion over the past two decades will all be aware of the significance of this appointment. As a non-conformist whose ecclesiology and theology of leadership is dependent on the charismatic assignment of gifts, I remain sympathetic to Christians whose reading of the Bible presents a genuine theological obstacle to women in leadership. I am less sympathetic with cultural obstinacy that lacks theological defence.
But whatever our conviction we should all take a long hard look in the mirror and ask if God is likely to be fuming as a result of this appointment.
My personal hope as an adopted Anglican is that far from this appointment being viewed as another example of liberal antagonism, it will be another step towards healing the wounds of division and that all of us will watch out for expressions of God’s grace in her vicarious ministry in the capital.
Warm congratulations to Bishop Sarah and the Anglican Communion!
The Revd Joel Edwards, an Assemblies of God Minister, is the former General Director of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK, Director of Micah Challenge, and strategic advisor to Christian Solidarity Worldwide.