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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Who do they think they are kidding?

The Bishop of Sheffield has taken his turn in Archbishop Rowan's Enough Waiting campaign with the usual self-affirming assertions:

"In 1805, Admiral Nelson sent the most famous signal in naval history to the fleet: England expects every man to do his duty. 
I believe our country wants to send the same signal to the Church of England General Synod at the present time. 
The majority of people the Church of England serves in parishes across the land want to see women as bishops.  The society we serve wants us to make a positive decision, to take action and to move on. 
We have an immense task before us in the next ten years.  We are called to bear witness to God’s love and God’s justice and God’s ways and God’s call to know him in Jesus Christ.  We must not spend yet more time on this internal issue. 
Of course it's been important that we’ve taken the time to think through the biblical arguments.  Is there good evidence for women taking a leading role in ministry in the Bible?  Yes there is.  Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the resurrection.  Paul names many women as co-leaders and fellow workers with him. 
Of course it’s been important that we keep in step with other churches. We’ve pondered long and hard whether we can take this decision by ourselves.  The majority of us believe that we can and that we must as we have taken many other such decisions in the past. 
Of course it’s been important that we take time and care to find the right ways to make provision for those who will not accept this development.  I deeply respect those who hold such views.  I hold them in high regard.  They will continue to have an honoured place in the Church of England. I believe the traditions they represent have a vital part to play in our future.  I will continue to support them.
But we have now found that compromise position:  provision can be made without undercutting the ministry of the women who are ordained as bishops. We need to move forward.  However long we keep talking we will not find a better fit than this. 
Even those who are opposed to the measure are weary of the debate and need to know where they stand. 
So this is a moment for a clear decision.  We cannot continue with a situation where women are ordained deacons and priests but not as bishops. 
I believe we need the wisdom and perspective and gifts of women as bishops, urgently, in the House of Bishops, in dioceses and in our wider society.  They will be a rich gift to the Church and the nation. 
The overwhelming majority of dioceses have already given approval to this Measure.
For the sake of God’s Kingdom and God’s mission to this land in the coming years, I hope the overwhelming majority of General Synod members will support this measure.
England expects and the Church of England expects.  We need to deliver."

The duplicity of this campaign is mind-blowing. Who do they think they are kidding? Talk of 'respect' simply pays lip service to the 'Appleby amend­­ment', a cop-out if ever there was one. 

Of course these campaigners are in favour of the ordination of women. If they were not they would not be where they are today pouring out irrelevant propaganda to justify their position.  The legislation is not fit for purpose. It must be rejected.


  1. Dear A.B.
    Throughout history there has been Rennaissance Revolution Reformation - that is the nature of humankind.
    Market Research understands human nature very well.The 'Big Sell' pivots on our thirst for something new/fresh innovative.
    There is something clear in my mind too... Women's vocation to the priesthood is truly from God.
    He understands our nature most.He needs a fresh voice for his message to the world
    I have shared your fears for our society with the changing role of women, particularly with regard to the nurture of children, but I have nevertheless seen much good come out of that revolution too and have faith to believe that the 'complementary role of men & women' in society and in the church does not need to be heirachical to be effective.That's where I am at. Yours in faith, Helen Rawdon

  2. Helen, forgive me if I have the wrong Helen Rawdon but your comment in 2009 on Thinking Anglicans suggests a different agenda:
    "I believe the time has come for those opposed to women priests/bishops to leave the Anglican Communion. There is no appeasement - we need to move on. This 'orthodox mindset' - this resistance to change - is holding us back - is quenching the Spirit. I believe that He has chosen a new voice for His church. This isn't secularism, this is the living Christ at work in today's society employing the most effective channels, as He has always done, to refresh His message of love peace and forgiveness to the world. Posted by: Helen Rawdon on Monday, 9 February 2009 at 11:55pm GMT"

    In my experience the women you wish to exclude from their church, mostly cradle Anglicans, feel a far greater sense of hurt than men so this is Mrs Briton’s response to your comment:
    “I am always suspicious of those who speak as if they have a direct line to God, who speak on his behalf, who are able to tell us just what He thinks on any given subject. The only way we can know God is through His son Jesus and what we know of Him is contained in the Holy Gospels of the Bible. Reinterpreting the Gospels in order to support whatever the latest politically correct gem of the day may be is not to do God's will but to satisfy man's or should I say woman's demands not for equality but superiority in ALL things. The Church is not the secular world but is rapidly becoming so thanks to this incessant push for so-called women's rights.”

  3. Dear A.B. You are absolutely right. I am the very same.What incredible recall! and if there had been a blog 25 years ago my comments would have been extremely different still.My thoughts at that time were very like your own.There is nothing contradictory about my thoughts, simply evolutionary. With the passage of time, prayer and discussion my perspective has evolved into where I am at today. The greatest influence on my evolving opinion has been the women priests themselves( for heavens sake!)
    So, dear Mrs Briton,
    I do have a direct line with God. We all have... who receive His living Holy Spirit to guide us in our daily living - sometimes with enlightened truths in the Holy scriptures,sometimes through other believers and even unbelievers and many divers wonderful ways.He has helped me overcome the feelings of anger and intolerance towards those who do not share my opinion.The way forward, as I see it now, is for us all to pray together in Spirit and in truth,genuinely seeking God's will, not our own.
    Yours in faith, Helen R.

    1. "The way forward, as I see it now, is for us all to pray together in Spirit and in truth,genuinely seeking God's will, not our own."
      Who would disagree with that? That's what we all try to do. But I cannot believe God's revelation of himself to be as subjective as you seem to suggest - would a merciful God really leave us so exposed to "every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles..?"
      But we are not left rudderless - we have Holy Scripture, the sacred tradition of the Church and an informed reason to guide us. But still we disagree... particularly about the legitimacy of 'evolving opinion.' Who, then, gets to decide?

  4. Dear Michael,
    'Would a merciful God really leave us so exposed ....?'
    I wouldn't presume to have the answers but here are my thoughts...
    Regrettably we have all been caught in the crossfire of hurtful words and deeds but,if history is anything to go by,it seems there often has to be pain before the gain.
    In the greatest mystery of all, our Lord suffered every conceivable pain by the cunning of men and by their craftiness in deceitful wiles. Yet out of the suffering came the most beautiful gift to mankind.
    Each generation has to experience that for itself,it seems, whether it be through the futility of war or some other personal conflict which has to be surmounted.
    Personally its been one of the hardest lessons to love those in the Christian church that despitefully use me and even harder still to recognise when I have despitefully used others.
    God in His wisdom is,I believe,refining and strengthening His church which even from its earliest days has failed Him many times.I think there probably is a sense in which God does leave us exposed to every wind of doctrine that in the search for truth we discover Him for ourselves.
    Peace be with you. Helen

  5. Helen, thank you. Yes, we are all both suffering at the hands of others and inflicting that suffering ourselves.
    I agree with what you say - up to a point. Yet the Christian faith has always insisted that in terms of humanity's search for God, He always meets us more than half way, and moreover, that when we think we are searching for him, in reality he has come in search of us. We must be very wary indeed of elevating our personal and (necessarily) subjective experiences and views above those guaranteed sources of revelation God himself has given to us. That's the very essence of the disagreement which is dividing the Church, I think, and it's hard to see how such a fundamental division can be resolved.
    Whatever the case, we must keep praying both for guidance and for one another even (particularly, perhaps) in the midst of our differences.

    With all good wishes and prayers,

  6. Dear Michael,Yes indeed.
    'If with all our hearts we truly seek Him we will surely ever find Him,thus saith our God' (Elijah)
    I definitely agree that to keep praying for guidance and for one another - particularly in the midst of our differences - he will 'hear and answer'
    All will be well.
    You can be assured of my prayers too.