24.10.08

Another one of those letters from the Church Times ... em .... know what you mean, mate.

From the Revd Dr Ian Fisher

Sir, — Is the Church of England a Church? From your reports about Forward in Faith (FiF) and Reform (News, 17 October), it appears that neither considers it to be so. Our means of synodical government, our decision-making processes, our struc­ture, the authority of bishops — all seem to mean nothing to them. They seem to think that they are resistance groups in occupied territory, trying to liberate it for, in one case, Catholicism, and, in the other, a society for the promotion of Jesus Christ. If the Church of England is a real Church, then, if we choose a woman as a bishop, and she properly con­ducts an ordination service, then it is not she but the Church that is ordaining. For me, the Church of England is a Church: in fact, for all my life it has been the Church. Over the years, I have appreciated and benefited from the contributions that both Catholics and Evangelicals have put into the Church. Their contributions have added to the breadth, depth, and vitality of the Church of Eng­land, and still can, if they are willing to be part of this semi-organised collection of real people who want to call themselves Christians. There was talk in the reports of a stake being placed in the ground — this far and no further. I think that that is correct. The Church of England is a broad Church; so if they cannot live with that breadth, if they cannot accommodate them­selves to the diversity of opinion or agree with the common mind expressed by our synods, then all I can say is “Leave! Leave! And do it quickly, because you are tearing the Church of England apart. “You are stopping us ordinary Church of England priests from properly administering the sacra­ments, properly preaching the gospel, and properly spreading the gospel. There are plenty of Churches out there and plenty of Christian organisations: go and join one of them, and leave the rest of us to get on with the real job in a real Church.” IAN ST JOHN FISHER
The Vicarage,
2 Weare Gifford
Shoeburyness,
Essex SS3 8AB

(Cartoon by Dave Walker Cartoon Church.com)

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