Monday, July 14, 2014

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol a few minutes ago:

The General Synod of the Church of England continues to meet in York. Later today it votes once again, hopefully definitively this time, on the Women Bishops Measure. Personally, I hope it passes. My own little church has sponsored two women through ordination training recently and has a third in the pipeline. We value women's ministry and leadership. I'd love one of them to reach the top.

The journey to this point has required great patience on the part of many faithful women who feel called to leadership. But also great diplomacy on the part of the current leadership, in drafting legislation that will accommodate those who, in all conscience, feel that tradition or biblical scholarship point to a male priesthood. Keeping a variety of views as complementary rather than contradictory has always been one of the skills of my broad church.

In a previous role I used to travel the country training Church of England youth leaders. Wanting to impress the importance of the task upon some hard-pressed volunteers, who were often working with small numbers, I used to quote the late Mark Ashton:

'Jesus', he said, 'met many people in his life, but he seemed content to make a significant impact in the lives of just a few.'

Adding my own spin to that I would say, 'You may have just a few members but one of them may be a future Archbishop of Canterbury.'

After a dramatic pause for effect I would then say:

'...and I hope you're looking after her.'

It either got a laugh or a wince (it was twenty years ago).

But maybe that will get a little closer to being prophetic in a few hours time. Hope so.

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