WATCH is on the watch for chauvinist male bishops

Aug 30, 2015 by

by Mary Ann Mueller, VOL: WATCH (Women and the Church) — a British feminist advocacy organization with its primary goal to hold the Church of England hostage to radical feminist ideals and revisionist theology — is more than displeased with the British practice of allowing traditional, conservative and Anglo-Catholic bishops to celebrate their own Chrism Masses sans sacramental and liturgical interaction with female clergy, especially since the new phenomenon of women bishops has been introduced into the Church of England last year. Immediately following Easter this spring, a complaint was filed against the bishops of The Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda (SSWSH) — a conservative ecclesial body dedicated to maintaining catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England by providing episcopal oversight to those who are seeking to maintain historic apostolic ministry and Sacraments — for celebrating additional extraordinary Chrism Masses. Hilary Cotton, the chairwoman of WATCH, filed the complaint. It landed in the lap of Sir Philip Mawer, the Independent Reviewer tasked with considering grievances against the Church of England’s House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests. The Declaration was designed as a guide to the Church of England’s implementation of women into the British bishopric. The Declaration also set up a grievance process for those who feel new women bishops have been slighted or not fully accepted in their episcopal ministries. “We have discovered that there are to be many ‘alternative’ Chrism Masses this year, as in former years, at which SSWSH bishops will preside,” Ms. Cotton complained in her initial April 13th letter. “Our question is, in what possible way does the continuing of these occasions honor the five principles, in particular the first two, and the call to promote mutual flourishing?” Read here...

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Women make up Two-Thirds of Episcopal Church, new Survey finds

Aug 30, 2015 by

by David Virtue, VOL: For several months, VOL has been engaged in learning just how deep and wide is the influence of women in the Episcopal Church. As you know, we now have some 21 women bishops in TEC. The first to be consecrated was Barbara Harris in 1989; the last is Audrey Scanlan who will be consecrated the XI Bishop of Central Pennsylvania in September. There are hundreds of women clergy. In fact a survey of over 7,000 parishes, conducted by a research team, revealed that some 32% of all clergy in TEC are women, but the big news is this. Nearly two-thirds of all congregations, some 62%, are made up of women with the remaining 38% being mainly men over 60 with just a sprinkling of young people. This raises many questions, foremost of which is what have women achieved by way of church plants or church growth, and secondly, what is the long-term health and future of the church? The answer to the first question is obvious: women bishops and women clergy have not made churches grow, even putting aside the ecclesial question as to whether women ought to be priests. They simply cannot and do not attract men or families to continue the Episcopal species. The Episcopal DNA pool is drying up. And the long term health of the Church is also in question. Where is the next generation of Episcopalians to keep the doors open? Women bishops and women clergy, as well as openly gay and lesbian priests, are not draw cards, despite Bishop Gene Robinson thinking it would be. Read here (scroll down a little)...

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All Saints, Cheltenham: Report of the Independent Reviewer

Aug 10, 2015 by

As part of the settlement by which the Church of England agreed to the ordination of women as bishops in 2014, it agreed to an ombudsman-style procedure by which those with concerns about the operation of the new arrangements could appeal to an Independent Reviewer. In October last year the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appointed Sir Philip Mawer as the Independent Reviewer in relation to resolving disputes arising from the operation of the House of Bishops’ Declaration. Sir Philip’s report on All Saints, Cheltenham is published today. From Forward in Faith: Forward in Faith is grateful for Sir Philip Mawer’s report (available here).   Forward in Faith submitted this concern in order to establish a principle that is of general relevance to resolution parishes in multi-parish benefices. Sir Philip’s general recommendation (para. 37) that, in multi-parish team benefices that include a resolution parish, licences issued to female assistant clergy (other than members of the Team) should specify the nature and extent of the ministry they are authorized to undertake in the resolution parish establishes the principle that we thought it important to secure.   We trust that implementation of Sir Philip’s specific recommendation (para. 35) that fresh licences be issued in this case will draw a line under the matter. We join Sir Philip in hoping that the arrival of Bishop Rachel Treweek as the new diocesan bishop will provide an opportunity for all concerned to make a fresh start. Read here Read also:  After Chrism Masses, Benefice Appointments – CofE Independent Reviewer’s Second Report by David Pocklington, Law & Religion UK  ...

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What difference are women bishops making?

Jul 22, 2015 by

By Caroline Wyatt, BBC: Wednesday will see the consecration of the Church of England’s most senior woman bishop so far: the first female to be in charge of a diocese. After Rachel Treweek becomes Bishop of Gloucester, she will also become the first woman bishop to sit in the House of Lords, this autumn. So how are she and the other women bishops making a difference? When I meet her ahead of her consecration, Rachel Treweek is packing up, preparing to move. She is also worrying about the work being done on the kitchen at the house she will move into with her husband, Guy, another member of the clergy. That is not something many previous incumbents as bishop have had to worry about in earlier centuries or decades. But the women now rising to senior leadership roles in the Church of England are having to carve out their own paths as they ascend. And as the most senior woman bishop so far, Bishop Treweek knows she will be closely scrutinised as she takes up her new role. “People often say, ‘What difference does it make that women are now in these positions?’ and that’s quite a hard question,” she says. “I think I’ll be someone who is very collaborative. I will take decisions but in a very collaborational way. Women don’t live in compartments, we link things together. But first and foremost what I bring is who I am, and part of that is being a woman and responding faithfully to Christ’s calling.” Read here...

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Church of England leadership shake up continues: Evangelical given traditionally Anglo-Catholic post

Jul 4, 2015 by

By Ruth Gledhill, Christian Today: A sixth woman bishop has been appointed in the Church of England, along with a male evangelical into a post once associated traditional Anglo-Catholicism. The Queen has approved the nomination of Dr Graham Tomlin, Dean of the phenomenally successful evangelical training college, St Mellitus, in the diocese of London, to be Bishop of Kensington. Dr Tomlin, former chaplain at Jesus College, Oxford and also former vice-principal of Wycliffe Hall, is a highly respected evangelical theologian who comes out of the influential Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB). As Bishop of Kensington he will pastor to many of the churches planted in London by HTB. At the same time, the Queen approved the appointment of Rev Anne Hollinghurst, Vicar of St Peter’s in St Albans, to be the new Bishop of Aston. Her appointment will bring the number of women bishops in the Church of England up to six and she is the second new woman bishop to be announced this week. Read here...

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Court dismisses query over women bishops

Jun 19, 2015 by

By Shiranikha Herbert, Church Times: The Court of the Vicar-General of the province of Canterbury dismissed the legal objection of the Priest-in-Charge of St George’s, Hanworth Park, London, the Revd Paul Stewart Williamson, to the election of the Archdeacon of Hackney, the Ven. Rachel Treweek, as Bishop of Gloucester. Fr Williamson had filed written particulars of objection dated 5 June 2015, and appeared at the hearing of his objection on 15 June before the Vicar-General, the Rt Worshipful Timothy Briden. The objection did not relate to the suitability of the Bishop-elect for episcopal office, but asserted that, as a matter of principle: “A woman cannot be made a bishop in the Church of England.” Hence the challenge was directed to the legal basis on which women might become bishops. The jurisdiction of the court to entertain objections to the confirmation of episcopal elections was limited. In the 1902 case of Rex v. Archbishop of Canterbury, it was held that fitness for office was not a lawful subject of inquiry. The only judicial inquiry was whether the proper forms of election had been followed, and whether the Bishop-elect was qualified as the law required. To be successful, Fr Williamson’s legal challenge of objection had in some way to circumvent the relevant provisions of the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure 2014 and Canon No. 33. Read here    ...

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