Saturday, December 1, 2012

THOUGHTS ON THE PROCESS...

Wake me when the first woman is ordained bishop in the Church of England.
Since the defeat of the motion in General Synod to allow women bishops, I have grieved along with my friends in the Church of England, especially my women friends, both clergy and laity. The vote was a slap in the face to all women, within the church and without. Although I've read pages and pages of discussion and opinions on the fix to allow women bishops, and I've even gone so far as to watch videos of English Parliament arguing the question, I have no idea how the Church of England will resolve the matter. Now I shall take a break from it all it and wait to hear the good news (soon, I hope) of a resolution and wait even longer for the announcement of the choice of the first woman bishop and for the date for her ordination to be named.

Whenever the remedy to this great injustice comes, I pray the resolution will honor the women who have faithfully served the church for so very many years.  Joy on the occasion of the acknowledgement of women as equals in the sight of God and of humanity will be tempered by the exceedingly slow and grudging process of giving assent.  In the case of women bishops, the moral arc of the universe in bending toward justice is, indeed, long.


 

Photo from NASA.

14 comments:

  1. Not to disturb your slumber but I wonder if there will be, eventually, a defection from the CofE over there as there has been with the seceding parishes here. Vastly more complicated, of course, by the fact of being a state church. Well we shall see in due time, though the time for women bishops is long past due now.

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    1. I'm awake now. :-) Some of the breakaway groups already have representatives in England, and there is the Roman Catholic ordinariate which was set up there for the convenience of those who wish to join Rome. I have no idea how many would formally break from the Church of England over women bishops. Being the established church certainly complicates the matter. What's so odd is that the Queen, not the Archbishop of Canterbury, is the titular head of the church, and last I heard, she was a woman, so why would people be so bothered by a woman bishop?

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    2. Of course the Queen would be the last person in all England to express an opinion one way or the other on this topic - but don't you wish you could know what she really thinks about it?

      I understand that she keeps a little diary - alas, that will probably not be published until you and I are long gone to our rewards, if then.

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    3. Actually, it's less complicated than you think.

      The Church of England diocese of Winchester covers Jersey and Guernsey. Neither island has a conventional relationship through the Archdeacon: the only official link is a personal oath of loyalty from the Dean to the Bishop.

      What makes this more interesting is:
      - Jersey's Dean is a ConEvo
      - The lay rep to General Synod is a seriously hardline ConEvo.
      - The first woman to gain a parish of her own did so only in 2011, and only then after a lot of havering.
      - The church buildings are not owned by the Diocese of Winchester but by the civil parishes.
      - Jersey has its own legal system: we do not yet have legislation forbidding sexual discrimination (let alone forbidding discrimination on grounds of race or sexual orientation, though we do now have civil partnerships)
      - Oh, and technically we don't have a Queen. We owe allegiance to the Duke of Normandy (who is the same person)

      Were the Church to vote women bishops in, I could perhaps see Jersey seceding. If it did - would it take anyone with it?

      Oh, and that's before we mention the two C of E dioceses - Europe and Sodor and Man - which lie entirely outside of England.

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    4. Russ, one wonders of the Queen's diary will ever be published. Excerpts perhaps...

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    5. James, with all due respect, you make the situation in the CoE sound more complicated rather than less. :-) But I expect that was your intention all along.

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    6. Grandmere,

      The structure is more complicated - not all of it is established on English rules...

      ...so the ability to have a part of it secede is simpler, if the will to do so is there.

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    7. I see. The ability to opt out of the Church of England would be easier.

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  2. Totally agree, Mimi. (Great illustration, BTW! Did you know about it when you quoted MLK, or did you think MLK's quote, and wonder if there were an, um, universal way of illustrating it?)

    Sigh. I wonder if all my favorite "Name" sign-in blogs are going to disappear that feature...

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    1. After I thought to use the MLK quote, I looked for an arc in the universe and found the picture, which is of an ancient galaxy.

      What do you mean by "Name" sign-in, JCF?

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  3. I presume he means ones for which you just enter your name and e-mail address, and maybe website URL; not greatly different from Anonymous except for requiring *some* kind of identifier (and therefore better IMO).

    As I noted in another thread, I'm glad this morning to see that I can use my Google ID again; so glad that I'll suppress my opinion of being a servant of Google's marketing plans.

    PS: Using ID here in caps rather than lower case, because it seems to me these things smack more of ego than of id.

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    1. Porlock, the inner workings and changes of the various internet services are beyond my ken, but I couldn't stand the spam. It was either the choice I made or comment moderation, which I am quite reluctant to put in place.

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  4. In the news today I saw that there will be an extraordinary meeting of the House of Laity to entertain a motion of "no confidence" in the Chair of the House of Laity, Dr. Philip Giddings (a very conservative Evangelical who, among other things, torpedoed Jeffrey John's mitre). There may be movement quicker than one thinks.

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    1. Chris, I think a vote of "no confidence" for Giddings would be an entirely good thing, but I am biased. :-)

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