Andrew Carey is spot on in this article.
What should have been a joyous new beginning for women’s ministry at General Synod on Monday has been spoiled. Most women I know will not welcome the fact that progress towards ordaining them to the episcopate has been soured by the prospect of an exodus of many traditionalists from the Church of England amid an atmosphere of bitter recrimination.
The choice facing Synod was simple and straightforward. It was to pass legislation with structural provision for traditionalists or not. A code of practice was neither here nor there, because it clearly failed to meet the needs of those for whom it was designed. I am reminded in this of The Episcopal Church’s offer of ‘Delegated Episcopal Oversight’ to traditionalists. This provision was counted a success because it was so rarely used precisely because it was designed only to preserve the rights of diocesan bishops and not to meet the needs of parishes alienated from those very same bishops. It seems that exactly the same ‘winner-takes-all’ attitude has begun to prevail in the Church of England. As I listened to the debate, I sensed a new mood abroad in the Church of England as Synod members coldly and systematically voted down any amendments conceding crumbs to the Anglo-catholics. The Bishop of Winchester described the outcome as ‘mean-spirited’, Andrew Dow referred to a ’scorched earth policy’.
Let’s make no mistake about it, Monday’s night Synod opens up the possibility of a very serious exodus from the Church of England. The loss of large numbers of Catholics will not leave us with a ‘Reformed’ church, a mouthwatering prospect for earlier generations of evangelicals, but will leave us with yet another liberal protestant denomination. Far from being a national church with coverage throughout the entire country, we will end up with little or no presence in many communities where traditional catholics have ministered so courageously.
The vote to break the stained glass ceiling on women’s ministry may come to be viewed as the moment the whole structure fell, rather than a moment of hope and opportunity. Read more
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