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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2007, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
'Let women be bishops' - Morgan
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori after her investiture in Washington DC in November 2006
Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the episcopal church in the United States
The leader of the Anglican church in Wales has called for his church to allow women priests to become bishops.

Archbishop Barry Morgan used his presidential address at the opening of the Church in Wales governing body's meeting in Swansea to make the call.

Dr Morgan, a strong supporter of women priests, said allowing them to be elected as bishops was now the "only logical step".

A final decision on whether to allow the move is expected in a year's time.

More than 200 clergy and lay members of the Church in Wales are attending the two day governing body's meeting at Swansea University, and they will discuss the issue of women bishops on Thursday.

Women priests were first allowed in the church in Wales 10 years ago and the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Morgan, said he was "totally convinced" by the theological arguments for the ordination of women bishops.

Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan
Discrimination may not be intentional but it does happen
Archbishop Barry Morgan

He said: "On the human side, the priest/bishop represents the Christian community to God and since the community consists of women as well as men, it is right that it {the episcopate} should be open to women as well as men.

"On the divine side since the priest/bishop represents the risen Christ who redeemed both men and women, ordaining women is a testimony to that redemptive inclusiveness.

Women worshippers

Dr Morgan said he did not personally see how the church could "logically exclude" women from being bishops "though I recognise that I live in a church where not everyone agrees with me".

The archbishop also said that women priests, and their supporters - including himself, had been victims of discrimination in the church over the last decade, a theme echoing his Easter message.

"Discrimination may not be intentional but it does happen and it has happened to me simply because of the views that I hold on women priests.

Rev Nia Wyn Morris
It's time they made decisions rather than speaking about them
Rev Nia Wyn Morris

In his address to the church meeting Dr Morgan went further to claim prejudice against women was "ingrained in our societies and cultures, including religion".

Dr Morgan called for more women to be represented in the structures of the Church in Wales, something which is already review.

He said: "It surely cannot be right in a church where most of the worshippers are women, only a third of the membership of this governing body consists of women, with two dioceses having no elected women clerics, another just one and a further two dioceses two women each."

Nia Wyn Morris, the rector of Bala in Gwynedd, welcomed the Archbishop's call.

She said: "If women are ordained deacons, and they can be priests, there is no excuse for women with the ability to do the job not to be ordained bishops."

Rev Morris warned the church was in for a "rude awakening and said it was an organisation which was "meant to promote equality and clearly was not doing so".

"It's time they made decisions rather than speaking about them," she said.




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