Two ministry equality activists, Nicole Brown and Sioned-Mair Richards, from Sheffield, chose this morning—on International Women’s Day—as a moment for an action. Prayerfully adorning the Women of Steel as full bishops they interceded, asking that this would offer a temporary sign of encouragement to women in the Diocese of Sheffield who need it. They posed the question ‘What Would the Women of Steel Do?’—offering this playful interpretation. This action was taken in the light of the nomination announcement of a new bishop for the Diocese of Sheffield who is a member of The Society—an organisation that respects but cannot commend female priests and bishops.
Sheffield is proud of its women. Women who marched for access to birth control in the 1960s, women who marched for equal pay in the 1970s, Women who stood on the picket lines in the 1980s and our treasured Women of steel who did all they could during our nation’s darkest hours.
That same strength beats in the hearts of the women of Sheffield today. We don’t think the new bishop is a bad person but we do believe that he wrong about women’s ordination.
And we think we owe it to the women of steel throughout our city’s proud history, to speak out about injustice and peacefully and with good humour to do all we can to persuade him to change his mind. The women of steel would expect nothing less.
We also think the women of steel would make brilliant bishops. We have faith that one day we will persuade Bishop North to agree with us.