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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Christ humbled Himself on a cross; women insist on honour. How did it come to this?

The GAFCON Jerusalem cross has been brought from Jerusalem where the first GAFCON was held 
in 2008. It was carried in procession during the final communion service. It will stay in Nairobi
 until the next GAFCON to which the Conference committed itself.

"Synod to consider women bishops ‘ombudsman’"

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I discovered the above juxtaposition while looking through the entries on the 'Anglican Mainstream' site (Right hand column). Under the picture of the GAFCON cross was this entry: Synod to consider women bishops ‘ombudsman'. (Story here).

From the days when you could buy a 'penneth' of chips with one old penny I well remember Sunday School posters which illustrated life in areas of Africa which were known then as Tanganyika, Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Every Lent we eagerly collected coins in sealed cardboard boxes to aid the spread of the Gospel in Africa. Now the countries which spread the Word in those far off days are being taken to task for re-interpreting scripture to justify the wants of minority groups from women's ordination to same-sex relationships. Read Peter Ould's important article on Pilling here.

The women bishops measure was lost fairly at Synod but the result was not accepted. A more aggressive, winner-takes-all campaign was launched by Women in the Church (WATCH) and their supporters. Desperate to have women bishops at any cost, the latest proposals have been published. The Church of England should have "an ombudsman-style arbitrator" to rule on rows about the issue of women bishops: "The Church's ruling general synod will decide next month whether to introduce an "independent reviewer" to resolve disputes between Anglicans." ... "Under the latest proposals it is hoped can break the deadlock, an arbitrator – similar to a health service ombudsman – would rule on disputes about the guarantees offered to traditionalists."

For the love of God, how has it  come to this? Essentially because, while claiming the contrary, WATCH along with their fellow travellers are more concerned with power and authority than serving as chief pastors.  Pope Francis put it concisely when he consecrated two new bishops last week, the Episcopacy is a service, not an honour
“It is Christ who, in the bishop's ministry, continues to preach the Gospel of salvation and to sanctify believers, through the sacraments of the faith”, he said. “Indeed, 'episcopate' is the name of a service, not an honour. It is the bishop's responsibility to serve rather than to dominate, according to the commandment of the Master: 'the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves'”... Finally, Francis encouraged them to pay close attention to “those who have strayed from the fold of Christ, because they too have been entrusted to you by the Lord. Pray for them (full report here).

This issue is now so politicised that the media constantly report it in secular terms of women's rights and job opportunities with no regard for conscientious beliefs. The BBC report referred to above links to a previous article in which "BBC Radio 4's Charlotte Smith, a regular church-goer herself, samples the views of clergy and congregations". One churchgoer told her "It is absolutely ridiculous, it looks like we are stuck in the 1740s. My daughter loves this Church because of our attitude towards women but says she is not going to come back to the Church of England 'til they actually get this sorted out." Not thy way O Lord but mine!

And this: "The issue was certainly enough to bemuse the 10 and 11-year-old girls at a recent schools day at Winchester cathedral. They were not really planning careers in the church. Singing and doctoring seemed better options to them. But they could not understand why women could be vicars but they could not be bishops. Some of the volunteers working in the cathedral were equally mystified. "If women are made priests, inevitably, if they're good, they should become bishops," one said." Doubtless nobody bothered to explain that it is a problem of the Anglican Church's own making because in the wider church, woman are not admitted to the priesthood.

Despite that, opponents of the ordination of women, including other women, who simply want to keep the faith of the Holy Catholic Church are constantly portrayed as bigots and misogynists as though they are against women per se. That is absurd. So what is the problem? There isn't one. It is simply that a contrary view is not tolerated. WATCH and their supporters want outright victory with no provision for opponents. Claims of being demeaned as second class bishops are mere devices to crush any opposition using secular criteria because they don't have a theological leg to stand on.

That is why they are now pointing to the Church in Wales as an example after the shabby procedure there resulted in a vote to accept women as bishops with no statutory provision for dissenters, a decision greeted with loud applause by 'broad church' Anglicans! The Church in Wales campaign has been as devious and underhand as in the Church of England with suggestions of collusion by the bishops but they are not interested in anything Pope Francis has to say because Rome does not recognise their orders. Once we have women bishops neither will many Anglicans.

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love"! 


  1. So will the arbitrator/ ombudsman suggested for C of E to rule on disagreements be a lay person? This person could not be a priest without being accused of bias,and from the clear evidence of behind closed doors negotiation in the past,how could this work? It is well suspected and probably known by some that Arch. Barry personally lobbies prior to a GB vote important to him and ,of course, he set up the Peggy Jackson amendment. Why would Peggy disagree- her career might depend on the success of the Women Bishops Bill? To produce absolute fairness then the arbitrator would need to be an agnostic or atheist to preside over any dispute! And then I suppose there could be appeals and eventual referral to the House of Lords ( or whatever they call it now). How farcical is the organisation in the Anglican Church becoming? As you say Ancient Briton " for the love of God,how has it come to this". It has come to this because we are forgetting that the Church IS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

  2. Joseph Golightly29 October 2013 at 14:37

    How can you arbitrate over truth. If you firmly believe that the Holy Catholic Church is right you cannot or should not be persuaded to believe otherwise. Its fudge with chocolate sauce. Once a women is ordained as a bishop, she is a bishop and not to accept that is surely not right. A bishop has authority and is a custodian of truth - at least that's what happens in God's Church but obviously not in the man made Church of England

  3. Never mind, Ancient Briton. If it all gets too much for you, just remember that there is a church who loves you and is waiting for you to come home. We will be waiting with open arms and much love and will celebrate with joy when the day comes.

    1. Oh how sweet of His Darkness. One problem though - the name Terry, just doesn't suit him.

    2. You must have me confused with someone else. Fortunately, Ancient Briton knows who I am and what I mean.

    3. I certainly do Terry and greatly value your kindness and support.
      I am sorry that Enforcer's intended humourous comment which was directed at 'His Darkness' backfired. I did wonder If I should have added a comment at the time. Now I know.

    4. Gentlemen, gentlemen my apologies. One gets carried away in old age. So does His Grace so it seems.

      He appears to have a few hobby horses, as always - Women priests, bishops, the 'Occupy Movement' (until they occupied his garden) - 'Organ Donations' - 'Gay bishops & gay marriage - 'Mardigra Carnival' - and now 'Pay Day loans'. Now there's a life time achievement brethren!

      I do love a good gimmick. Don't you fellas?

  4. Would '' Barry Wonga' be a more suitable title following the Huw Edwards interview (BBC Wales) last night, Mr Enforcer? All those in favour ...aye....... motion carried.......the ayes have it brethren...... democracy reigns........ 'Wonga' it shall be.

    Clifford Williams

  5. Although I am in favour of women bishops (from a theological standpoint) I must agree with you on the vast majority of what you say.
    Particularly regarding the reasons why so many people seem to think that women should be bishops: catching up with "the times". The Church is not called to be modern, it is called to be Biblical! If you can't give Biblical reasons for why the CofE should change how it does things then I would suggest that the change is not a good one to make!
    On the upside, if Pilling goes badly then we may not need to worry about dealing with the women bishops issue!