Women can be bishops in the Church of England.
Reason to celebrate, absolutely.
But the general feeling seems to be that everyone is a little too exhausted to dance…
The church lost face by not getting the necessary votes the first time, and even though we got them now (under threat of legal action by the government and with “contingency plans to dissolve it and call fresh elections if the vote had gone the wrong way” prepared by Justin Welby), it’s the satisfaction of a long struggle won, but not a celebration of the spiritual leadership gifts of women.
That joy is to be discovered from now on. Abundance setting in slowly.
What about the “conservative evangelical block, which holds that men must never be taught by women”?
Anger is all I have for that kind of (self-)demeaning ignorance.
Who taught the men in their families to walk and talk, love and be loved, pray and learn, when they grew up?
And where in the gospel does Jesus force women into submission? Where does he say, “truly, I tell you, women are the inferiors of men”? If the evangelical part of the church is so keen on being true to the gospel, they might need to start reading it – and be taught a few things by the women in Jesus’ life.
No, I can’t say I’m celebrating all that much just now. That such a vote still exists, that this question is still under debate at all, shows just how much work there is still to do, just how blind some of us are.
What this vote has achieved is justice. A bit more of the kingdom. A bit more of the truth.
But we have to have a little compromise in there for those who choose not to have it…
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
And thanks be to God for She has blessed Her people.
My heart is bubbling over with joy;
with God it is good to be woman.
From now on let all peoples proclaim:
it is a wonderful gift to be.
The one in whom power truly rests
has lifted us up to praise;
God’s goodness shall fall like a shower
on the trusting of every age.
The disregarded have been raised up.
the pompous and powerful shall fall.
God has feasted the empty-bellied,
and the rich have discovered their void.
God has made good the word
given at the dawn of time.
(Phoebe Willetts, from: Celebrating Women: The New Edition)
You might be interested in the forthcoming sale of paintings by Phoebe Willetts (who in 1978 was the first English woman to celebrate communion in a Church of England parish church) — see http://www.staff.city.ac.uk/p.willetts/AUCTION.HTM
Thank you – I knew none of the information on this website about Phoebe Willetts. Am delighted to learn more!