Monday, July 14, 2014

Hurrah for the Church of England

I'm not British, but I am Episcopalian - Anglican, so I was so excited to hear on the BBC World News (on my local PBS station) that the General Synod of the Church of England has just voted to allow women to be consecrated as Bishops, beginning in 2015.

You can read a nice account, along with some analysis and even videos at the BBC News site here.  I really loved what the Archbishop of York had to say:  "Generations of women have served the Lord faithfully in the Church of England for centuries. It is a moment of joy today: the office of Bishop is open to them." 

I certainly remember all the controversy over first the ordination of women Priests and later Bishops here in the U.S.   There were some in the parish I grew up in and attended at the time who were so against the idea of women becoming Priests.  Guess what?  That parish now has a woman Priest as rector! 

There was controversy again when The Very Rev. Barbara Harris was consecrated Suffragan Bishop in Massachusetts in 1989. Guess what? Now we have a woman, the Most Rev. Dr. Katherine Jefferts Schori, as Presiding Bishop of Episcopal Church!

Some interesting notes on Rev. Harris:  1)  if you read over Rev. Harris' Wikipedia entry, you'll notice she also attended one of my alma maters - Villanova University;   2) I actually heard her speak to a small group of us, but I can't remember for sure whether that was at the Episcopal parish in Villanova, PA or the one in Newark, DE.  (believe it or not, I was not that impressed with her at the time!) and 3) Rev. Harris was once an oil company executive, as was our Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby.

I am just so delighted that our sisters in England will have a new opportunity to serve Christ.  After all, isn't that what Christianity is all about?  Maybe it's just me (well, at least the members of the Synod agree, as did those in the U. S. who opened doors for women Priests and Bishops here) but I feel that everyone should be encouraged and able to serve to their own capacity.  The road ahead may have challenges, but I'm thrilled we're taking it.

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