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NOT EQUAL YET CONFERENCE – Saturday 20 April 2024

April 20

WATCH is pleased to be sponsoring this conference on Saturday, 20 April 2024 at St John’s Church in Waterloo.  You can book your place at the conference through this link or via the QR code below.

The Not Equal Yet Conference, sponsored by Women and the Church (WATCH), will be held on Saturday 20 April 2024 at St John’s Church Waterloo

The Not Equal Yet conference aims to break the current taboo in the Church of England about continuing discrimination against women and to start some conversations about whether it is now time to start treating women and men equally.

Although the Church does now have female priests and bishops, churches are still permitted to say ‘no’ to female priests applying to be their vicars; to say ‘no’ to female priests blessing the bread and wine in services; and to say ‘no’ to female bishops (and bishops who have ordained women) and request a special male bishop.

Furthermore, there is no requirement for churches to be transparent about these things, so often people attend churches, and support them financially for many years, without knowing that they are churches that discriminate against women.

Many large inner-city churches, such as All Souls Langham Place and St Helen’s Bishopsgate in London, St Andrews the Great in Cambridge, and St Ebbe’s in Oxford, do not allow a woman to be their vicar.

One in 12 bishops in the Church of England do not fully accept women as priests or church leaders.

The appointments system for diocesan bishops is skewed so that only two out of the last 11 appointments have been women.

And the situation is getting worse.

Every year more and more clergy are appointed who don’t recognise female priests or actively restrict women’s leadership.

The lead speaker at the Not Equal Yet conference will be the Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, who said recently, ‘In 2024, 80 years after the first woman was ordained to the priesthood in the Anglican Communion, women are still having to step aside from many roles and continue to be humiliated by a Church that tells us on a daily basis that our ministry is still “in reception.”’  Speaking of the arrangements made in 2014 to enable women to be bishops on the condition that those who did not accept them were ‘protected,’ she said, ‘The women bishops thing ain’t working – and we are paying the price… If God entrusted women to carry the living Word, will he not also entrust us to bring good news to the oppressed?’

Other speakers will address other aspects of discrimination against women in the Church of England:

  • Revd Canon Prof. Mark Chapman, Vice-Principal of Ripon College Cuddesdon and Professor of the History of Modern Theology at the University of Oxford will ask whether it is appropriate for the Church of England, as the Established Church with its 26 seats in the House of Lords, to go on discriminating against women.
  • Theo Hobsonauthor and theologian, will ask whether the arrangements limiting women’s ministry in the Church have brought more division than unity – with some clergy, including bishops, not receiving communion from others, including from the Archbishop of Canterbury because he has ordained women.
  • Alex. D.J. Fry, sociologist and senior lecturer at Bournemouth University, will speak about recent published academic research which shows that the theological arguments used to limit women’s ministry are principally ‘system justification’ arguments made by those benefiting from ongoing discrimination.
  • Dr Jeremy Clines, Chaplain, University of Sheffield – will speak about ‘the unseen cost’ of discrimination, how the well-being of women is affected by living and working in an institution that discriminates on the grounds of sex, even if they accept this.

Discrimination has always existed in the Christian Church, despite Christ proclaiming that there should be no first and no last, if we live the way God wants us to live.  Arguments have been made from scripture and tradition to support all kinds of discrimination, including apartheid in South Africa and the Ku Klux clan in the US – which are now seen universally as wrong, including in the Church.

WATCH is a campaign group that wants to see a Church where all people are treated equally and we hope that the conference will free people to start having conversations that question the legitimacy of discrimination against women and to see that it is unjust, untrue to the Christian message and unsafe.

WATCH Chair, Revd Martine Oborne says, ‘There are women and girls and men and boys all over the country attending churches that teach either directly or indirectly that women need to be under the authority of men and this needs to be recognised as wrong and frankly dangerous.  It also makes it impossible for the Church to play an authentic role in standing up for much-needed gender justice in other parts of the world.’

We hope that the Not Equal Yet conference will be an important milestone in finally bringing discrimination against women to an end in the Church.

A full programme is set out below.

240205 PROGRAMME for website

Book your place through this link https://www.eventbrite.com/…/not-equal-yet-conference… or via the QR code below.


We hope to see you there.


April 20


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St John’s Church
Waterloo Road
London, SE1 8TY United Kingdom
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