|Creation of Eve, Sistine Chapel ceiling Michelangelo|
At its meeting on 4 December the Dioceses Commission unanimously agreed with a proposal received from the Archbishop of Canterbury to fill the vacant see of Maidstone. The see, which had been vacant since 2009, had been identified by the Archbishop as one that should be filled by a bishop who takes a conservative evangelical view on headship. - CofE News Release; see also Ruth Gledhill on 'headship' bishop here.
One small step after the Church Society had called for the appointment of 12 Conservative Evangelical Bishops given the proportion of worshippers attending evangelical parishes in the Church of England.
A report in The Economist in 2012 claimed "The rise of evangelicalism is shaking up the established church". But not proportionately according to these figures:
"As the number of people who are actively committed to the Church of England falls, the proportion of churchgoers who are serious about their faith—and its implications for private and public life—is growing. Peter Brierley, a collector of statistics on faith in Britain, reckons that 40% of Anglicans attend evangelical parishes these days, up from 26% in 1989. That is against a background of overall decline; he thinks the number of regular worshippers in the Church of England will have fallen to 680,000 by 2020, down from about 800,000 now and just under 1m a decade ago. The lukewarm are falling away, leaving the pews to the more fervent."
Given the calls for so-called equality in the Church one would have thought that an established movement based on scripture and reason would take priority over a religious novelty based on feminism and relativism. But not so. The feminist movement has seen its rise to dominance in a steady progression through the deaconate to the priesthood and now the episcopacy while a sizable chunk of the Anglican Church is left marginalised and largely ignored.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, predicted that in 10 years, half the Church of England’s bishops might be women. "Ten to 15 years would be reasonable. It depends when people retire," he said after the vote. Abp Welby said the church was working to train women as potential bishops. "The aim is that you end up with a big pool of people where gender is irrelevant. We are going to take this very, very seriously." - Working to train women as potential bishops, then fast-tracked into the House of Lords. Seriously indeed - but only on terms acceptable to the ruling liberal elite!
Gender may be irrelevant in the new Church of England. So too it seems is belief when 40% of Anglicans are not properly represented. But it is not really about equality. It is just about Eve.