Readers of this blog, and of comments I have made on various other blogs, will know that I have taken exception to the fraudulent claims of Women and the Church (WATCH) in their campaign for the ordination of women and their refusal to honour the promise of a place in the Anglican church for those who do not accept the legality of their claims. Their campaign is documented here.
Much of what is written is self-congratulatory and simply records the progress of their campaign but one document stands out above the others because illustrates what they are about. Extracts are copied below together with the source for anyone who wants to read the whole document. Unsurprisingly, faith and tradition are not regarded as important as Feminism which appears in Canon Lucy Winkett's first sentence:
"Never mind Gordon Ramsay, we have in modern society a
new F-word: Feminism.
At current rates of change, it would take 40
years to achieve equality in the judiciary, 60 years to
achieve equality in business and a staggering 200 years
to achieve equal representation of women and men in
parliament. Until women are consecrated bishop, there is
no representation in the leadership of the established
church. Apart from all the theological arguments, this
absence damages our mission and our communication
with the society in which we are embedded.
And in the 21st century, in the West, women have more
freedom and choice than at any time in our history. There
are very few areas of public life that are technically closed
to women; we are airline pilots, politicians, astronauts,
lawyers, mechanics, builders, football club owners. The
only areas of public life still closed to women are those
protected by organised religion.
But the fact is that it is part of the mission of the
church to read the signs of the times, to practise discernment,
to cultivate wisdom. Christian women and Christian
women leaders have something to contribute, not just to
the church’s internal debates on what women are allowed
to do – but to the wider debate in the society we serve.
Women clergy have found a place in British society and
we are learning to be priests in our own way. We are only
just beginning to see the difference we are making and
the possibilities that a whole priesthood offers to the
people of God. In a million pastoral encounters it will
have mattered to someone that the priest they sought
out was female. The receptiveness of women combined
with our authority as priests has made a compelling combination
in parishes throughout the country.
"... so we are transformed...
into people of compassion, people who see
what others overlook, people who can begin to trace the
vague outlines of the prophetic vision of the reign of God
where justice and mercy embrace and a grand table is
set." James Schmitmeyer (Liturgy and Justice ed. Anne Y.
Koestner p 73)
Women can be signs of
change – an affirmation that things do not always have to
be as they are.
I would like to suggest that the presence of women in the
decision making layers of the church could have a significant
effect on the theology and ecclesiology and therefore
the mission of the church in society.
Women who reflect on the gender critique available to
them when looking at the institution may help to move
the church from an overemphasis on Christology towards
a more Trinitarian understanding of God; and this may
help us in our communication with the rest of society.
Feminist theologian and Biblical scholar Rosemary
Radford Ruether encourages us not to indulge in
Christolatry; by that she means an over-emphasis on the
one man Jesus to the exclusion of God the Creator or the
Holy Spirit. Also we must try to avoid an over-emphasis
on the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was male. ... A greater
emphasis on the Trinity produces a differentmodel of church
because it expands as it goes up rather than contracts.
... Christianity in the West has been very effective in
confining and controlling women’s energy and sexuality.
Notable and famous exceptions stand out from the
crowd, but the fact remains that millions of voiceless
women have lived and died being taught by male
Christian leaders that they were responsible for all the sin
in the world. It’s all about Eve. She was the one who was
taken in by the serpent and she tempted her man away
from his higher calling.
The need for our half-changed world to change further is
urgent. Christian women can play our part in imagining
what this changed world might be like. We can tell our
daughters and our sons that things do not have to be as
For almost all of Christian history, from the suppression of
the gospel of Mary Magdalene, to the 2nd century martyrdom
of Perpetua and her companions – from the
medieval denouncement of mystics as heretics to the
witch hunts of the Middle Ages, from the first women
preachers in the radical sects of the 17th century to the
campaigners for social justice of the 19th, women have
been speaking and praying from a situation of marginalisation
as far as church authority is concerned. This is a
vital concept for us to grasp.
Now women are on the inside, are exercising authority in
state and church, although the power is not yet equally
shared and the pay is certainly not equal. We are in a
new situation; I am not here to make a case for women
to be bishops – that case is obvious...
From the historical perspective of exclusion, women are
able to speak with authority from long centuries of marginalisation,
to bring these perspectives into the decision
making structures of society and church.
In the West, we live in a half changed world. There are
now very few areas of public life not open to women –
except those protected by organised religion."
Extracted from WATCH keynote address here.
Where is the historic faith in their New Anglicanism?