Monday, July 07, 2008

C of E moves from "if" to "when" ...

... on Women Bishops!

In 1998, I was the Associate Rector at St. Peter's, San Pedro where Art and Fran Bartlett, were members. Art was a retired priest assisting at St. Peter's, Fran ran our DOK Chapter and in the summer of '98 they both made the trek over to the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.

Fran brought me back a tea towel, which hung in my office at St. Peter's and still hangs behind my desk here at All Saints on this very day:

Fran left us a few years ago, but her dogged determination to keep the church moving toward full inclusion is still alive and well. She was absolutely convinced that women "in the house of bishops" was not an "if" thing but a "when" thing and I can just feel her, today, smiling through that glass-less-darkly down on those in the Church of England who have finally managed to drag "Mother Church" to the right side of history on this one.

Here ... live in captivity ... are some actual Women Bishops posing in Canterbury at that 1998 Lambeth Conference. There were only 11 of them then ... I've got an APB out for updated stats on women bishops in the Communion but I DO know there are more than 11 now. And more to come! (And the response to that versicle is: Thanks be to God!)

There is, of course, the requisite wailing and gnashing of teeth going on in the "we're excluded by your inclusion" camp. Here's a bit from a blogger named David Ould:
So it's happened. The Church of England has voted for the single clause option on women bishops with a code of practice to look after dissenters, but no legal provision. The decision not to have legal provision was taken in order to defend the validity of women bishops - to legislate provision for those who dissent would be, it was argued, to undermine the authority of the women bishops. It must be granted that this makes logical sense, nevertheless it finally puts to rest the oft-repeated liberal lie that we are a broad church with room for everyone. I have to say, I feel like an unwelcome stranger in my own church. I am now, in a way, a criminal and my crime is the outrageously henious act of not moving at all.
After all these years, I just still can't wrap my brain around the rot-gut-entitlement that creates this kind of worldview where feeling excluded because you're disagreed with is -- in your mind -- the equivalent of other folks being excluded because of who they are. Never mind that even by their own admission it makes "logical sense" ... they now "feel" unwelcome because women have been admitted into the Boys Club.

Meanwhile, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams walked a fine line, declaring himself "in favour of 'a more rather than a less robust' " form of accommodating traditionalists;" while "opposed to any scheme or any solution to this which ends up, as it were, structurally humiliating women who might be nominated to the episcopate."

I'll take fewer words, and declare myself "thrilled."

Here are some links to news reports of note:
On the BBC News
Thinking Anglicans
Ruth Gledhill's TimesOnline Blog
Riazat Butt in the Guardian
Church Times

And some blogs du jour:
Telling Secrets


SeekWisdom said...

the "act of not moving at all."

Is that a case of "Use it or lose it?"

Grandmère Mimi said...

Susan, well-said. It may be a while before we see a real, live walking and talking English woman bishop, but they're on their way.

I love the tea towel.