Monday, July 11, 2005

Hip hip hurray!

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to begin removing "the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate." British women will soon be bishops! So exciting, and so long overdue.

I was talking with an English priest about vocation and seminary and all that craziness, and he suggested that if I do pursue the priesthood, I go train in England. My heart leapt and suddenly, I became convinced that not only did I have a vocation, but I was meant to take off for the UK right then and there. (I may not be blessed/afflicted with a vocation, but I came down with rampant Anglophilia years ago.) But I don't know if I could join a church where I couldn't be a bishop. Not because I'm lusting for positions of power, but the thought of being regarded as secondary/lesser/junior/what have you to male counterparts... Grrr.

I hope my British sisters haven't been made to feel that way. I'm rather in awe of those who've gone ahead and answered the call to priesthood without the way being fully open. That must have taken a great deal of faith, and a great deal of surrendering one's self to God's call.

So many, many congrats today. However difficult the road has been, I'm confident that before long, some of the wonderful women linked on the right will be blogging bishops.


At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Not just another sad day for Anglicanism, but a further slide from any possible move toward biblical orthodoxy.

May God grant faithful churches the courage to make another 1662 stance. ALthough I doubt they will.

Hip hip hurray... I don't think...

At 4:23 AM, Blogger Kathryn said...

Thanks for your joy, Anna: I'm sorry that what feels like such a huge gift from God for some of us clearly hurts and distresses others so much.Personally, I can't imagine why any sane woman should /want/ to be a bishop, but that's another question...and when you see a man fulfilling the role as well as our current diocesan does, it tends to inspire you to believe that it's not all endless committees and a nomadic existence divorced from a regular faith community. If I could be the sort of bishop +Michael is, then it would be a different matter...though actually,as a "late vocation"I'm safely over the hill.
Definitely like the idea of your coming over here to train, if discernment demands it...though my impression of talking to ministers your side of the Pond is that the US seminaries offer a wider curriculum.
However, having had to make do with a part time non residential course myself (which actually taught me a huge amount about the realities of trying to live one's calling) I may have a jaundiced view of what's on offer at our colleges.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Anna said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Sophia said...


The rector of St. Mary's in Haddon Heights, NJ is an American who was educated and ordained in the UK. He served in the UK for more than a decade before returning to the US. I'm sure he'd be willing to talk to you about his experiences there.

Contact info can be found at

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Anna said...

(Rewording my deleted comment slightly.}

Kathryn, thanks for your gracious response.

Anonymous, I am trying to understand my fellow Christians who are grieved by women's ordination. I confess that women's full participation in church life is so intrinsically bound up with how I see the Church as the Body of Christ that I can't quite fathom what is so terribly sad or bothersome about it.

I don't mean to start down the long path of comparing how we read the New Testament, but I would like to point out that the ordination of women and the ordination of gays and lesbians are two quite different issues.

While some people oppose both and some support both, this action can't be equated with that of ECUSA's 2003 General Convention, as it's gone through many more cycles of deliberation and prayer in provinces across the Communion. Nor are the divisions it highlights as large or as profound. I'd caution against lumping it all together as a "further slide".

I've met church leaders in several different provinces who wholeheartedly support women's ordination to all levels of church leadership and would never countenance the ordination of openly gay persons to any.

May God grant all his faithful churches the courage to talk openly to each other about this and the confidence that his grace and wisdom will help us live together.


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