The survey, key results of which are published in this month's New Directions, questioned over a thousand regular Anglican churchgoers, 90.4% of them laity and 49.2% female, about their beliefs and views on a number of issues.
Question 11.a was this: "The Church of England should follow the example of other Anglican provinces that have consecrated women bishops" and the instruction to respondents was to tick if this applied.
693, representing 70.3% of the total, ticked that it did. And this, interestingly, comes very close to (though at the bottom end of) the range of 'support' suggested on the Yes 2 women bishops blog.
However, presuming that the other 29.7% either missed the question or, for some other reason, felt they couldn't actually agree with this statement, this means almost a third of those in the sample took a different view.
Thus although it would be going too far, on this evidence, to say they actually opposed women bishops, given the opportunity presented by the questionnaire, it would certainly seem they were not prepared to commit to women bishops in precisely these terms.
Meanwhile, 152 correspondents (15.4% of the total) did actually tick the box that said, "It would not be appropriate for a woman bishop to lead." And here, I think, we can be quite clear about their views.
Furthermore, whilst 47.6% of respondents wanted to see women bishops "As soon as possible", and 21.5% "Within the next 5-10 years", 15.4% wanted to wait for a consensus amongst all other churches, and a further 15.5% responded "Never" (and yes, that does add up to 100%).
So even at this stage, over a third of the members of the Church of England in this sample would be prepared to wait a bit longer for women bishops, whilst a substantial minority simply don't want this to happen at all.
Finally, it is encouraging to note that 30.6% of respondents agreed with the statement that those opposed to the ordination of women "Should be enabled to stay in the Church of England by means of some form of provision which meets their position of conscience." (The survey was obviously not able to cover whether the changing proposals being put before the General Synod would actually be viewed as meeting that criterion.)
Only 1.6% (a mere 17 people) agreed that opponents "Have no business being in the Church of England any longer." Compare this with the 7.2% (75 respondents) who felt that opponents "Should have the right to veto the introduction of women bishops."
Right now, General Synod members are being canvassed by the Yes 2 women bishops group to the effect that this development must happen now because the Church overwhelmingly supports it. And yes, there is a large majority who do.
But the position of the majority is more nuanced than the more vocal supporters might want to believe. They do want women bishops, but not necessarily now, and certainly not (in many cases) at the cost of anyone's conscience in the matter.
It would still take courage for the Church to vote 'not yet'. But it might not be the betrayal of the rank and file membership that some are depicting it to be.
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