Jesus treated women with respect, and so should the church | Letters

Liam Keane feels that more support should be given to women; Rev Dr Donald W Norwood, Canon George Burgon and Doug Kessler also highlight room for improvement

What an excellent article by Rev Martine Oborne, and I wish her luck as chair of Women and the Church (Where is discrimination against women still allowed in the UK? The church, 11 November). At least the Church of England does have female priests/bishops, though their progress may be restricted. The Catholic church is still to make progress in this area. Jesus treated women with respect, and no one had a more important role than his mother. Women were among his followers, financially supporting and providing for him.
Liam Keane
Orpington, London

• I am sure Rev Martine Oborne knows that the ancestors of the United Reformed Church ordained its first woman in 1917. Only more recently have our women ministers been treated equally, though in a non-hierarchical church where all ministers are paid the same, “equality” is harder to measure. For Constance Coltman in 1917, and her brilliant Oxford contemporaries such as Dorothy Sayers, the chief villain was a male-dominated university that admitted women in the 1870s but would not allow them to graduate with a degree until 50 years later.
Rev Dr Donald W Norwood

• Martine Oborne has shared a major issue with us all in the contemporary church. The way women are treated in what is supposed to be a divine organisation is an affront to the principles of justice. It also invalidates the gospel of Jesus. When the faithful recite the Creed, what is meant by the word “Catholic”? The church shows no discrimination about gender in the sacrament of baptism so why is there such a shambolic reasoning applied to ordination? (And to marriage!) As Advent, with the call to repent of all that would separate us from God, approaches, can we have some clarity over the status of women? Outmoded traditions and biblical interpretations must be exposed for what they are. After all, where would we be if Mary refused the creator’s invitation to enter his universe?
Canon George Burgon
Barton Seagrave, Northamptonshire

• Martine Oborne’s appeal for equality feels hollow when she fails to mention equality for LBGTQ+ people – a group the church still refuses to see as worthy of God’s love. Even winning her battle would simply bolster a fundamentally homophobic institution that has no right to claim to be the church of all Anglicans, much less of England.
Doug Kessler

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