I've just been reading about the numbers of women in appointments in the gift of the Crown.
WATCH (Women and the Church: see www.watchwomen.com) has recently circulated an excerpt from the Commons 'Oral Answers to Qustions' on 8th May concerning the view of the House on women bishops. Robert Key, MP for Salisbury, asked a couple of questions of Stuart Bell, the Second Church Estates Commissioner.
In response, Stuart Bell said: 'There are approximately 650 parochial appointments in the gift of the Crown, of which patronage for around 450 is exercised on the Crown's behalf by the Lord Chancellor. In some cases, the patronage right is shared in turn with other patrons of the benefice. 103 of those appointments are held by women.'
It's interesting to compare this with the figures I quoted in a previous post, for CPAS patronage churches. I find these figures slightly ambigous: does he mean 103 women out of 450, or of 650? Assuming the former, that means that 22% of these appointement are held by women, as compared with 10.5% of CPAS patronage posts. (If he means the 650, that is about 16%.)
I wonder what accounts for this higher percentage in the case of Crown appointments...?
And Stuart Bell's final comment: 'This House - in its majority, I think - supports women bishops and we urge the Church in this case to make haste less slowly.'