11.7.08

A letter in The Church Times for your consideration

From the Revd Bernice Broggio
Sir, — As a veteran of the campaign to ordain women to all ministries, now retired and working as a self-supporting minister, I am delighted that the C of E has at last crossed the Rubicon that other provinces did years ago. I am also glad that the Synod has voted for a code of decent practice. We do now need to decide what boundaries of ecclesial belief are necessary for selection for ordination within the Church of England. Some candidates may need to be helped to join another province or another branch of the Christian family. I have considerable respect for John Gummer and Ann Widdecombe, and some others who became Orthodox, because they recognised that their beliefs were incompatible with where the C of E was going. That is honesty, and for some it has been costly; though this kind of re-grouping has happened all down the ages, too. It is quite possible to ensure that those who don’t want the ministrations of a woman can be satisfied within the Church of England; for two years as a Vicar, I arranged for men to celebrate a monthly eucharist; but I doubt that it is possible to satisfy those who really hold the view that the ordination of women has “tainted” the Church and now will put a “virus” in the bloodstream. Third provinces and flying bishops are indicative of that view. I also cannot see how it is compatible with belief in the Holy Spirit who has breathed winds of change into the Church all down the ages, from the baptism of the Gentiles onwards. For a Church that believes it is right, and of the Holy Spirit, to ordain and consecrate women, to continue to select candidates for ministry who do not believe this, and will refuse to work with them and the rest of the Church, is a dangerous and untruthful nonsense.
BERNICE BROGGIO
26 Chiswick Gardens
Gateshead NE8 3US

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.