|Synod voting to approve women bishops in 2014 Source: BBC video|
The Movement for the Ordination of Women (MOW) campaigned for women to become priests in the Church of England from 1979 to 1994 when the ordination of the first women took place at Bristol Cathedral. The Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure was passed by General Synod on 11 November 1992.
MOW was succeeded by Women and the Church (WATCH). In 2014 the General Synod of the Church of England formally approved plans for women bishops. There are now 2 diocesan women bishops and 10 suffragan bishops, one of which, the bishop elect of London has already been tipped to be the first woman Archbishop of Canterbury. But that is not good enough for WATCH. Their way must prevail and they are 'Just getting started'.
Following the selection of the first women bishops support was reportedly growing within the Church of England to rewrite its official liturgies to refer to God as a female and same sex marriage is high on the agenda.
In a BBC interview after the 2014 Synod vote which approved women bishops Canon Rosie Harper said "This is the culmination of many people's lifetime work and we've got there and it's been hard, it's been painful and all we've achieved is equality. We're not looking for superiority for women but we do now have equality."
That is not how it appears with the passage of time.
Also interviewed by the BBC, Archbishop Justin Welby said, "We rejoice that we have this opportunity to show a point. These remarkable women. There are some very wonderful ones. Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together (my emphasis - Ed.). We will also continue to seek the flourishing of the church of those who disagree."
Perhaps Canon Harper's name was on the archbishop's mind when he referred to "embracing a new way of being the church and moving forward together". Listening to Canon Harper's presentation at the Faith Debate on the future of the Church of England in December 2014. She said that without some considerable changes "the future of the Church of England is very bleak".
Harper went on to say, "In the context of global agony at the effect of bad religion, the C of E has simply lost the trust of the Nation and leaders in the spiritual and ethical values of our society. As a church which will not sign up to equalities legislation and scorns some aspects of human rights, it has moved in the opposite direction from the changes that society see as fundamental, ethical reform.
"OK they were bemused by the struggles to allow women to become bishops but I tell you, they are repelled by the way we claim to have God's authority to treat LGBTI people not only with discrimination but with downright cruelty."
If the church didn't follow Canon Harper's way of thinking she hoped the church does die out. It has followed her way of thinking and the Anglican church in the UK is constantly shrinking. The C of E has moved to reflect society rather than inform it. The LGBTI agenda is firmly established pressing the church to abandon the traditional view of marriage. Politics not faith has become the motivating force.
In 2016 the C of E’s decline was expected to continue for another three decades with figures of 18 people per 1,000 regularly attending church falling to 10 per 1,000. An 81-year-old was eight times more likely to attend church than a 21-year-old.
There is no mutual flourishing in the Church in Wales. where two of the six diocesan bishops are women with the same agenda as their counterparts in England. The bench appears unable or unwilling to recognise the fact that the Church in Wales is on the rocks even after throwing the faithful overboard.
The Church of England supposedly supports 'mutual flourishing' but the Philip North Sheffield fiasco casts doubt on the integrity of those who signed up to mutual flourishing simply to achieve the culmination of many people's lifetime work to achieve equality as Canon Harper claimed.
That it should come to this!