Word cloud by Eurobishop David Hamid
Below is Reform's latest response to the women bishop debate.
11th May 2010
Reform Initial Response To Revision Committee Report
The Revision Committee’s report on Women in the Episcopate published on 8th May “provides no adequate framework for recognition of our future ministry in the Church of England and so could lead to a serious squeezing of the pipeline for future ordinands” said Revd Rod Thomas, Reform chairman today.
He continued: “It is very disappointing that the Committee, despite a lengthy discussion of the implications of these decisions, has voted to give no adequate statutory provision to those who cannot accept the oversight of a female bishop on Scriptural grounds.
“We very much hope that amendments will be made at July’s General Synod so that we are able to vote on a piece of legislation that seeks to include rather than exclude our ministries now and in the future.”
As evidence of the strength of feeling concerning this innovation, 100 Reform clergy have signed a letter sent to every bishop in advance of the House of Bishops’ meeting next week. This follows a similar letter signed by 50 of the clergy sent in February, and sets out why “the consecration of women bishops would be a mistake and would raise for us great difficulties of conscience and practice, as well as being wrong for our Church as a whole.”
A major practical consequence highlighted by the letter is the pipeline of future ordinands. The 100 churches represented by the letter have sent 286 men into ministry in the Church of England over the last 10 years, of whom 120 were under the age of 30. But these numbers would be seriously squeezed in the future, with Reform clergy encouraging young men to undertake training for ministries outside the Church of England’s formal structures, although within an Anglican tradition.
Read letter sent to bishops by Reform clergy
In the letter Reform speak about how they are going to need to use their money to fund ministries which safeguard them from having to come under the care of a female bishop. "In these circumstances we will have to discuss with our congregations how to foster and protect the ministry they wish to receive. This may well generate a need for the creation of new independent charitable trusts whose purpose will be to finance our future ministries, when the need arises."
No guesses where that money will come from, yep, it's "to be financed from current congregational giving. This will inevitably put a severe strain on our ability to continue to contribute financially to Diocesan funds. " Oh brother, that old story again!
Headship, headship, headship - confused?
Here are some interpretations of Scripture held by Bible-believing Evangelical Christians who believe that women can exercise servant/leadership positions in the church:
Graham Cole on 'Women teaching men: what's the problem?'
The Bible and Gender Equality by Rebecca Merrill Groothuis
Women in the New Testament: A Middle Eastern Cultural View by K Bailey
The Biblical Basis for Women’s Service in the Church, N. T. Wright