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Friday, July 01, 2005

Women Bishops and the C of E

In today's C of E News, the headline reads Church urged to refrain from allowing women to be bishops. If you go to the Church Times report of this letter you are provided the opportunity to vote whether or not you believe more debate is needed before the C of E decides on this issue. The only thing about voting in favour of more debate can give the impression that those 'against' or 'for' are somehow now pragmatically undecided on the issue when in fact their minds are made up and to them there is no need for further debate. It is either right or wrong to do it based upon their convictions and consciences. Some would merely see this as stalling.

The C of E report reads: "There is ample evidence from church history, not least, and most recently, in the Anglican Communion, that actions by individual provinces touching the scriptural and traditional faith and order of the Church, actions that inevitably unchurch those who cannot accept such changes, do not serve the unity which Christ asks of his Church.

The letter, which is signed by six diocesan bishops, including one of the highest ranking in the Church, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, says: This matter touches profoundly both the order and identity of the Church of England and its place in the Church as a whole.

The bishops argue that the Bishop of Rochester's report showed that there is still major theological disagreement within the Church of England on the issue. They add that it is also a matter of deep concern to ecumenical partners who share a historic commitment to apostolic order."

On the eve of synod and following all that happened at the ACC with ECUSA and Canadian provinces, it seems wise to not act on this now by going forward with removing the legal impediments that keep women from the episcopate. Personally, I would be afraid of what it would do to us here in England and I pray that the Spirit of God directs us to do what will create and foster unity in a Church that is already so divided on many of these issues. So we pray:

O Gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Antonio said...

I think that Women "ordinations" are not catholic (and are invalid,etc.).
But, when you have already ordained women to the priesthood, what refrains you to ordain them as bishops.
I don't think the "not hurting unity" argument is going to work. (it didn't with Robinson's "ordination" or same-sex blessings).
Maybe the letter is "brave", but I can't see how is going to work...

4:22 pm  
Blogger Jeff said...

Antonio, you may be right but who knows in this crazy world!

all the best,

js

5:02 pm  

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
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