|Photo: Tradition in Action|
"The Church of England is trying to recruit pagans and spiritual believers as part of a drive to retain congregation numbers". So says an article in the Telegraph under the headline "Church of England creating 'pagan church' to recruit members." As bizarre as this may seem it is not without precedent. There are examples here and an explanation here.
The Church of England is following the medical and teaching professions in becoming increasingly feminised so the notion of parity has become a contradiction. Perhaps female dominance will result again in celebrating the 'ess' of womanhood with the return of the priestess. However, it is important to retain a sense of proportion. Calls for more women to be involved in every sphere of public life simply for being women are nonsensical as Melanie Phillips reminded Tessa Jowell on Question Time after her sweeping generalisation that women have a moderating influence. Tessa Jowell was contradicted by Melanie Phillips who cited the female dominated Care Quality Commission debacle as a topical example.
In pagan times the Christian church stood apart from sexual license and fertility rites dominated by temple priestesses but that is being overturned with demands for diversity to be celebrated in the church. In a speech in the Lords the Archbishop of York posed the question: "What do you do with people in same-sex relationships that are committed, loving and Christian? Would you rather bless a sheep and a tree, and not them?" The difference is, Your grace, that sheep and trees and the birds and the bees do what comes naturally!
There is something radically wrong when the basis of our institutions can be changed to mean what was never intended at the outset. In the Telegraph article Andrea Campenale, of the Church Mission Society, said: “Nowadays people, they want to feel something; they want to have some sense of experience". Some of us used to!
How about a mid-service disco too? Andrew Brown thinks this vicar's disco dance gives hope to the Church of England.