Entrance: Priests ordained in 1994 processed into the cathedral through the west doors,
applauded by the congregation CREDIT: GRAHAM LACADO/Church Times
"There was a party atmosphere at St Paul's for the anniversary service."
So writes Madeleine Davies for the Church Times (here). Among the usual heart-rending testimonies appear a couple of odd observations from clerics who should know better:
"Later, during intercessions, the Archdeacon of Westminster, the Ven. Dr Jane Hedges, prayed for "those who are unable to accept the ministry of women. . . Give us the desire to understand and respect difference." How very tolerant of her! Well Dr Hedges you should know that women have not been excluded from ministry, the majority just do not see the need to be ordained to carry it out. What was being celebrated was not ministry but ambition which was confirmed by this comment. "It was a very charged atmosphere," said the Revd Alison Morris, a non-stipendiary minister at St Michael and All Angels', Pelsall, who was ordained five years ago. "As they entered, they were clapping those who were clapping and affirming them. Some had tears in their eyes."
And this from Archbishop Welby. In his sermon he "paid tribute to those who had campaigned for women's ordination. The journey had required "much risk", he said, "from those women and men who long ago stepped out on a course which seemed unimaginable, their costly grind paving the way for those gathered here to step forward. In our celebrations - and let there be celebration - let us not overlook the cost, the bitterness of disappointment and rejection, the knee-jerk resistance of an institution facing change." That was bad enough but then this: I want to thank those here today whose costly loyalty, whose scars, make this celebration possible, and I want to say personally how I grieve that it cost so much, to apologise for my own part in that hurt."
The scars which made the celebration possible are not borne by the congregation but by those whose costly loyalty has seen them sidelined with any concessions constantly whittled away. But the expressions of joy continue in the Church Times. I see under "Train a Priest 2014" (TAP) Fund: Since this year's grand total will not be announced until Pentecost, it is not too late to make a TAP thankoffering for the ordination of women, if you are so minded; or, indeed, to organise a special collection or fund-raising effort.
I wonder if they do refunds?