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Friday, 23 August 2013

International Development (Gender Equality) Bill




Never mind the self-centred rhetoric of WATCH, women worldwide really can be helped by responding to this request from WaterAid:

Will you ask your MP to support the International Development (Gender Equality) Bill? There are two things your MP can do:

  • attend an event on 5 September to find out more 
  • attend the reading in Parliament on 13 September to show their support 

What is the bill?
The bill would be an addition to the UK International Development Act (2002). It would mean that, in future, the International Development Secretary must consider the impact that UK international development aid will have on the equality of men and women.

Why is this important?
WaterAid supports this bill because we can't reach a world where everyone has safe water and sanitation without addressing gender inequality.

For example, women and girls spend 40 billion working hours every year collecting water in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to the risk of assault when practicing open defecation. A lack of toilets in schools has a greater impact on girls' progress in education, causing many to drop out when they start menstruating.

How to contact your MP
You can email your MP to ask them to support the Bill using our suggested message – it will only take you a minute.

Thank you so much for your support.

With best wishes,  
                               
Rebecca Owen                                                                          
WaterAid Campaigns

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Anglican Church ‘On the edge of a precipice’


Photo: JOHN GILES/PA


John Bingham,  Religious Affairs Editor of the Daily Telegraph:

In his most stark comments yet about divisions over issues such as homosexuality, the Most Rev Justin Welby said the Church is coming perilously close to plunging into a “ravine of intolerance”. He even drew parallels between the crisis afflicting the 77 million-strong network of Anglican churches and the atmosphere during the English Civil War. And he likened the collective behaviour of the church to a “drunk man” staggering ever closer to edge of a cliff. Yet he added that many of the issues over which different factions in the church are fighting are simply “incomprehensible” to people outside it....

...At home he has been attempting to resolve the seemingly intractable disagreements within the Church of England over women bishops. But the worldwide Anglican Church has also been split between liberal provinces, particularly in North America, and more conservative regions for several years after the US church consecrated its first openly gay bishop. The Archbishop said the Church had to steer a course between, on one hand, compromising so much that it abandoned its “core beliefs” and, on the other, becoming so intolerant that it fractured completely.

Read the full article here.

On the "seemingly intractable disagreements within the Church of England over women bishops" this is because provision for so-called traditionalists is based only on promises. Why would anyone in their right mind accept such "assurances" when previous promises have evaporated?

If the Anglican Church is serious about making provision for those not able in conscience to accept the ordination of women, provision which is acceptable to them should first be agreed and safeguarded in legislation in good faith to avoid yet another sham.  

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A period of reception or deception?


Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales                                                                Picture: WalesOnline


From WalesOnline: "The Church in Wales is set to have a crunch vote for the first time in five years on whether to allow women to be ordained as bishops. Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said: “Since we ordain women as deacons and priests it makes no theological sense not to ordain them as bishops since we believe in the three fold order of ministry. That is why I and my fellow bishops will be asking members of the governing body to vote in favour of the Bill". "

Of course the Archbishop's fellow bishops agree with him; otherwise they would not be bishops in the Church in Wales. But Dr Morgan's logic is not shared by the wider Holy Catholic Church of which the Church in Wales professes to be part. His belief that there is no theological sense in not ordaining women as bishops is dictated by his secular obsession with the ordination of women, an obsession well illustrated by two quotes from supporters:

"Plaid Cymru’s Rhodri Glyn Thomas, a Minister of Religion and a member of the Assembly’s equalities committee said: “Our party has played an active part in the fight for women’s equality, because we recognise that this is important in allowing everyone in Wales to play a full and active part in their communities. I hope that the members of the Church in Wales will recognise if they are asked to vote on the matter, and that they deliver equality for women within the Church.”

Eluned Parrott, the Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales Central, said: “This is welcome news and I applaud the bishops’ attempts to reform and modernise the Church in Wales.

The vast majority of Christians hold to the biblical faith of the church. Adapting Christianity to make the church 'more relevant to society' under the pretext of equality is nonsense. There is no inequality in the church. There are different ministries, lay and ordained. To equate the ordained ministry with secular employment to justify women bishops is to appeal to secularists who have no interest in religious belief. It is not that "it makes no theological sense not to ordain [women] as bishops", rather, it made no theological sense for a tiny minority in the Anglican Communion which is a relatively small church within the Holy Catholic Church, unilaterally to ordain women to the priesthood in the first place.

The new vote comes following a trail of false promises and deception both in the Church of England and in the disestablished Church in Wales. When women were ordained to the priesthood pledges were made that provision would be made for those opposed on theological grounds to the ordination of women. Opponents have since been deceived and marginalised. As Sir Peter Bottomley so frankly put it: "Essentially everyone knew that when you had the ordination of women as priests that this would lead to the ordination of women bishops after a decent length of pause. Some would say it has now been an indecent length of pause." Presumably he meant everyone without a conscience.

Despite all the deception, some provision has been maintained for opponents in England through the continued appointment of Provincial Episcopal Visitors. Not so in Wales. Their Provincial Assistant Bishop was not replaced after his retirement because the goal of women priests had been achieved. The following extract from 'A Noble Task' written by Bishop David Thomas helps to clarify the situation in Wales. Read it in full here.

The  appointment of a PAB reflected the scale of the problem in 1996: the suggestion  that the PAB would need to be replaced by a bishop with jurisdiction simply  reflects the scale of the problem that would arise if women were admitted to  the episcopate. The fifth  recital of the 1996 bill made reference to the pastoral guidelines, and the  guidelines were distributed at Governing Body before the vote. Being no lawyer,  I therefore assumed that the arrangements contained in the guidelines were  constitutionally guaranteed. Several months later, I discovered that this was  not so. I mention this because any arrangements of the kind outlined above  would need to be enshrined in legislation. A new episcopal jurisdiction is, by  definition, not the kind of thing that can be brought into being simply on the  basis of goodwill and mutual agreement to disagree, essential though those  things would undoubtedly be. I would argue further that the necessary  legislation should be part of any bill, or possibly a schedule to any bill,  opening the episcopate to women. To fail to do this would create untold  confusion and anxiety. It might also lead to a situation where the election or  appointment of a woman bishop meant that appropriate legislation had to be  prepared in a great hurry. That would be most undesirable from all points of  view, including, one suspects, that of the bishop-elect or -designate  herself.

Under proposals to be presented to the Governing Body, the Archbishop and his fellow bishops are asking for a "blank cheque" to achieve Dr Morgan's cherished ambition of approving women bishops while offering unspecified provision for those opposed on theological grounds. To date the track record of the revisionists has been appalling. In the Church of England there was outrage at the lost vote. The guidance of the Holy Spirit which they prayed for has been ignored and a new approach is being engineered by the bishops under the guidance of WATCH.

In Wales Dr Morgan is insistent that there will be no provision for opponents which he regards as a 'church within a church'. So what provision can there be? Without a complete reversal it is clear that there is nothing for opponents in these proposals other than ultimate exclusion if the Bill is passed.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Yesterday's Women and The Church




"In the West, we live in a half changed world. There are now very few areas of public life not open to women – except those protected by organised religion." - The Rev Lucy Winkett in her keynote address to WATCH in 2007. 

Looking at TV today, the number of women presenting, reporting and interviewed often outnumber men making it more obvious now than when WATCH Vice-President, Lucy Winkett, delivered that speech. She said then: "...in the 21st century, in the West, women have more freedom and choice than at any time in our history. There are very few areas of public life that are technically closed to women; we are airline pilots, politicians, astronauts,lawyers, mechanics, builders, football club owners. The only areas of public life still closed to women are those protected by organised religion." 

Despite this acknowledged success, the Rev Dr Threlfall-Holmes still made the outrageous claim in pursuit of the campaign for women bishops at any cost: "One of the reasons women's ordination is important is because women's current exclusion from the church hierarchy justifies and entrenches sexist attitudes which have very serious consequences for women around the world. 'Rape, sexual abuse, violence against women and women's political and economic subjugation are repeatedly justified on the basis that it is 'natural' and 'God-given' that women should be below men on some divine hierarchy'."

"Rape, sexual abuse, violence against women and women's political and economic subjugation" are a stain on mankind but women clergy sitting comfortably in their churches and universities do little to change that. If WATCH and their supporters want to make a difference around the world, instead of sermonising they should take the fight directly to where it is needed. Those who really want to make a difference are already doing so, tackling forced marriages, child brides and FGM which still exists in this country twenty years after women were first ordained. In fact, overall women's rights have gone backwards following the introduction of Sharia law in England.

Women have become extremely successful in all walks of life but that does not deter feminists from continuing to target the church. And for what? The office of bishop is not what it was. Merit is no qualification for high office if the right boxes have not been ticked. The House of Bishops has shown that they are incapable of managing church affairs equitably, even appointing biased women to advise them. Women who have done everything possible to suppress traditionalist Anglicans while claiming that they have made every concession to accommodate them. An untruth unworthy of anyone let alone clergy.

The Episcopal Church (TEC) is a sad example of the results of women power in the United States while Finland offers a good example of how the church has become an agency for social workers in vestments: While the role of the Church [in Finland] as an institution has weakened, its social role has grown. This becomes apparent in the reinforcement and expansion of diaconical work. For instance, the Church represents one of the most important providers of family counselling, and plays a central role in professional crisis work. 

Unless producers are guilty of deliberately attempting to suppress male visibility in television programmes, TV coverage fully illustrates that women do not lack opportunities for success, almost to the point of male exclusion in some areas such as primary education where male influence is sadly lacking. A recent study shows increasing instances of "masculinity in crisis" where men are unable to come to terms with different and developing notions of the institution of the family, where women increasingly play a much more dynamic role than they had in the past, a reversal of the alleged "One of the reasons women's ordination is important is because women's current exclusion from the church hierarchy justifies and entrenches sexist attitudes...." but don't hold your breath waiting for WATCH to backtrack, masculinity will be dismissed as an irrelevance in the same way that traditionalists are now dismissed as irrelevant to the Church of England.

The feminist crusade has attacked the wrong target. Standing at the Altar is not just another job in public life and the damage to the church is plain for all to see, not only to the cause of unity, but with church attendances continuing to fall with a few significant exceptions. Not satisfied with the hurt they have caused, their self-interest continues. From the WATCH web site: Southwark Cathedral Feminist Theology Group is hosting an event entitled, “A Woman’s Place is in the Re-Imagining of the Church". That will be in their own image of course. In an open letter "Reimagining a Woman’s Role in the Church" blogger and author Frank Viola writes:

"Dear Sister,

Thank you for your gracious letter. You’ve asked an excellent question. What is my view on a woman’s role in the church and how do I understand the “limiting passages” that seem to restrict their ministry?
To be honest, I’m monumentally disinterested in adding more noise to the ill-fated gender brawl that rages in some Christian circles. It is for this reason that I’ve been loath to write on the subject. Yet I keep meeting women who have been spiritually straight-jacketed by what I find to be a wooden interpretation of certain Biblical texts."

Then, based on conjecture, he proceeds to re-interpret our understanding of priestly ministry ignoring the basic facts to present his own interpretation of the mind of Christ. As F.F. Bruce puts it in the introduction:

"Unwarranted assumptions have sometimes been drawn from the fact that all twelve of the original apostles were men. But in fact our Lord’s male disciples cut a sorry figure alongside his female disciples, especially in his last hours; and it was to women that he first entrusted the privilege of carrying the news of his resurrection."

'Reimagining Church' has been described as Frank Viola’s reconstructive sequel to the 'challenging, deconstructive' critique of modern church practices in his book 'Pagan Christianity' reviewed hereOne has only to look at the state of The Episcopal Church of the United States under their Presiding Bishop to see the dire effects of women-power in the church. The subject of much criticism she has been anathematized by a Southern Africa bishop for heresy: The Rt. Rev. Alan Kenyon-Hoare, Bishop Ordinary of the Missionary Diocese of Southern African, said Jefferts Schori's statements made from the pulpit on Whitsunday whilst on a visit to Curacao in the Episcopal Diocese of Venezuela were heretical and that his pronouncement of anathema is irreversible. He accused the Episcopal Presiding Bishop of saying that "all the writings of St. Paul are satanically inspired".

The feminist agenda has nothing to do with Christianity. It simply provides a comfortable vehicle for political ambition. Having successfully seen the Church of England identified as their church they are set on change purely for their own satisfaction. The majority of Christians in churches throughout the world believe that God created us in His image, women and men complementing each other, not women below men on some divine hierarchy as has been suggested. It is time to drop yesterday's battle based on such falsehoods and strive for unity.

The suggestion that  "Our Lord’s male disciples cut a sorry figure alongside his female disciples has been used in stories typified here which claims: 'Christians 'airbrushed women out of history'. On the contrary, the Church honours Mary, the Mother of God, who did not complain when used as God's vessel to bring Christ into the world. Neither did Mary Magdalene protest at not being appointed by Christ to be one of his Apostles after being first to witness the resurrection. They were content with God's plan. Women And The Church should be too.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Failed priest fails again


Labour’s shadow immigration minister, Chris Bryant                        Photo: PHILIP HOLLIS

I don't recall his precise words but in reply to a questioner during the gay marriage debate the former Rev Chris Bryant MP said something to the effect that he had probably been the worst priest in the Church of England. On that I couldn't possibly comment but he has made a pig's ear out of his attack on "unscrupulous employers" for choosing cheaper foreign workers over local British candidates to save money. Cheap Labour!

Forgive me (former) Father but I feel a degree of satisfaction in your discomfiture after your performance in the gay marriage debate implying that there is something sadly lacking in the rest of us.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Just "Old English vulgarity"


Rev Alice Goodman's car which has a bumper sticker which reads WTFWJD           Photo: Masons


The Rev Alice Goodman, a 'noted poet' and Rector of the parishes of Fulbourn, the Wilbrahams and Six Mile Bottom and  has brought Church of England's relevance to society a big step closer with her bumper sticker which reads WTFWJD (What The F--- Would Jesus Do) claiming that "it is not a blasphemy, it's a vulgarity, an Old English word". 

There are many other Old English four letter words in common use. Let's hope that this doesn't become the new fad in the church. 

The full story here.

Postscript

For an in depth appraisal see Alexander Boot's contribution on Cranmer here.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A first for the C of E?


The new Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Venerable Martyn Snow, with the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Michael Perham
The new Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Venerable Martyn Snow,
 with the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Michael Perham

From the South Cotswolds Gazette:  
"Currently the Archdeacon of Sheffield, Ven Snow, a father of three, was revealed at a ceremony in Gloucester on Friday as the new Bishop of Tewkesbury. 
He will be consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Cathedral on September 25."

That must be a first!

Conman rides again


Conman and his faithful companion Dobin


The cost of the NHS in England for 2012/13 it is around £108.9 billion. An additional £500m bailout over two years has been announced to help struggling A&E departments through the winter months providing a sticking plaster for the period up to the general election. To put these numbers into proportion: "Out of every £100 of national wealth (GDP) we spend £8.70, compared to the US £16 and are well below the Western average. Greece and Portugal spend proportionately more on health than the UK. The public need to understand that this is a major reason for some of the NHS problems."

This morning BBC Breakfast TV was targetted by Conman following his whirlwind visit to an A&E Dept leaving them in a whirl while saving his wind for the TV audience. I have rarely heard such distortions from a communications man determined to hoodwink the public. His message was that if people know where to go there is no problem with A&E services quoting the failing '111' service, inadequate 'out-of-hours' services and yet to come integrated 'care in the community' provision which is why people go to A&E. Amongst all the NHS upheavals, A&E Depts have become the ultimate points of delivery where other services fail. Louise Minchin didn't sound convinced. Neither was I.

Physician heal thyself!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Doctor Who and the twits


Time Lord Peter Capaldi

The news that Peter Capaldi is to be the twelfth Time Lord was greeted with some relief. Doctor Who ceased to be family viewing in our household when the children feared extermination by the daleks but the Time Lord transformations have not passed unnoticed. It was with some relief then that I heard that 'Auntie' BBC had resisted the temptation to go transgender or reassign The Doctor's ethnicity from among the list of contenders although it has since transpired that Peter Capaldi was the only name considered.

That Peter Capaldi secured the role on merit, devoid of political correctness, is reassuring. Had the choice of Jane Austen appearing on the new £10 bank note been made on her undoubted merit rather than because she was a woman, many other women would have been spared the inexcusable attention of  the twits on Twitter who have no merit of their own.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

There's no womb is the new in




Remember Dave's claim: "The NHS is safe in our hands"? In a Daily Mirror/Daybreak poll, 82% of responders didn't think so. There is a moving, professional account of the reality here which some will find surprising.

One of Dave's major delusions is that he has improved the institution of marriage by making it available to everyone. After the gay marriage bill was rammed through parliament with all the supposed safeguards we now have: Church of England to be Sued for Refusing to Perform Same-Sex Marriages, Just a Month After Prime Minister Promised Protection. Read the full story here.

For old-timers it is all very confusing. Following the announcement that Ellen DeGeneres is to host the Oscars in 2014 she tweeted: "It's official: I'm hosting the #Oscars! I'd like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra." Barrie Drewitt-Barlow pictured above (right) with boyfriend Tony wants to go into his church and marry his husband. He  said “I am a Christian – a practicing Christian – my children have all been brought up as Christians and are part of the local [Church of England] parish church in Danbury.” Since neither has a womb they made other arrangements to have their children. Both are named on the birth certificate of their twins, who were "conceived with a donated ovum and carried by a surrogate in California". They have since "acquired three more children through similar means and opened Britain’s first surrogacy business catering especially to same-sex partners".

Lacking a womb is the new in thing. From the Guardian Weekend Magazine: "When his son Max was born six months ago, Yotam Ottolenghi didn't think it was anybody else's business. Now, after five years of trying to become a father, he explains why he wanted to share the long, hard road to gay parenthood". He and his partner Karl met the surrogate mother, Melanie, through an agency in Los Angeles. She had first become interested in "alternative parenting" while watching The Oprah Winfrey Show! She had four children of her own and had been a surrogate once before using a donor egg.

Melanie and her egg donor received medical treatments to co-ordinate their menstrual cycles before the donor was flown to a clinic in LA where, using the standard IVF process, eggs were retrieved and fertilised in a test tube using the father's donated sperm. The full story can be read here.

The joy of the gay fathers is clear for all to see. What the 'motherless' children will think of the arrangements in years to come remains to be seen but one thing is clear, having no womb is no impediment to parenthood today but with costs of "at least $100,000", will Dave's next promise be free motherhood for all at the point of delivery?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Feminized men destroying TEC*ABC takes on Money Changers*Welby Speaks in tongues


The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold, III,
 and the Most Rev. Edmond L. Browning at the House of Bishops July 10, 2009
 session at the 76th General Convention. First published by The Living Church.

From Virtueonline:

For some months now, I have cogitated over why it is that The Episcopal Church seems to draw priests who are decidedly lacking in masculinity, with more and more being older second career women, lesbians, gays and "men without chests".

My hand was tipped to this reality when Catholic writer Michael Voris analyzed the situation in the Roman Catholic Church. When asked what he thought was the central problem in Catholicism today, he replied, "The utter failure of the masculine in Church leaders - that is what is to blame for where we have now arrived.

"Fathers - spiritual fathers are almost nowhere to be found among the clergy. Many priests keep as far a distance as they can from their bishop because - well - as many have confided to us - they simply don't trust that he has their best interest at heart.

"If that doesn't speak volumes in revealing the sorry state we faithful Catholics find ourselves in - nothing does or ever could. Bishops - so many of them - are not the fathers they need to be - not only to their own priests, but also to their sheep - to those souls given to them by Christ to lead to Heaven.

"This explains virtually everything. It explains why they left heretics run wild in parishes and chanceries and universities. It explains why they are ALWAYS siding with the latest liberal political cause to come down the pike - USUALLY but not always thanks to the Democratic Party.

"It all boils down to the one issue that they love the respect of men more than they love their priests and their sheep. If they truly loved the sheep like a father - they would teach and guide and protect them, personally.

"If they loved their priests like a father, they would protect the ones who truly love Our Lord and correct the ones who need correcting.

"This is what fathers do - this is THE hallmark of masculinity - to die for those you love and protect all who need protecting no matter the cost to you."

It can make you unpopular, says Voris. "You have to say and do things that people will not understand - even when it is for their own good. You don't coddle the enemy or the confused. You step in and risk your own life and reputation by saying the bold truth and leading to heaven whoever you can get to Heaven." 

Did the last pope cut any quarter or slack to liberals and homosexuals who wanted to change the teaching in his church? Not a chance.

Does any of this sound familiar looking at the Episcopal Church today?

Think of the last three presiding bishops (including the reigning Presiding Bishop): Jefferts Schori and before her Frank Griswold and before him Edmond Lee Browning.

Everything that has gone wrong in the Church these days can be traced back to weak men - like those mentioned above - who are more worried about feelings than they are about the faith. Men who are more feminine in their outlook and their way of operating than the men they are called to be.

Real men stand up and confront and contradict and do what they need to do to fix the problem.

Feminized men debate and dialogue and form committees and seek counsel and debate until everyone in the room has passed out from boredom. In the end, nothing is solved.

Think of Griswold's constant plea to "listen" (to gays) and to have "conversation" over and over again till you felt like vomiting. Then it got indaba-ed to death.

Now take a long hard look at African archbishops and bishops, men with chests. You know why they had no respect for Griswold and fought him tooth and nail at every Primates meeting over pansexuality. They refused to give him and Western revisionists one centimeter of ground on sexuality issues and to a weak feminized individual like Griswold. If they despised him, they never said so. They politely kept going back to the Scriptures as the basis for their faith and kept silent about how they really felt about him. 

As it turned out, Nigerian Archbishop Nicholas Okoh did let his guard drop when Rowan Williams exited the church. Archbishop Okoh blasted Williams for failing to show any real theological testosterone in the face of the relentless drive by Griswold to accept gay behaving men and women. They never gave any ground then and they never will now regardless of how often they are called "fundamentalist" or "homophobic". These are real men with chests who inspire confidence, faith, hope and love. No one is inspired to faith in Christ by weak, feminized men. In the end, they are left talking to themselves or shine at general conventions where for one brief moment they glory in their pathetic-ness.

The deep truth is that feminized leadership resides in places where the masculine is needed. Sadly we may never see it again. The Episcopal Church's seminaries and its one university are filled with weak men and women, gays and lesbians who have no hope or chance of turning the church around. It would be a miracle of miracles if the "restructuring" of TEC amounted to anything except the inordinate sums of money being spent looking for solutions that will never come.

The birth and growth of the ACNA is inevitable if only for the reason that real men are running it. Archbishop Okoh now crosses the oceans to the US and Canada to visit his growing flocks without so much as a by your leave to Jefferts Schori or Fred Hiltz. And this will only continue uninterrupted into the future. Archbishop Justin Welby cannot stop it.

Read the whole article here.