Thinking Anglicans

Forward in Faith Director calls for mutual generosity

Colin Podmore, the director of Forward in Faith, recently gave the commencement address at Nashotah House (a theological seminary in the USA). An abridged version is available under the title Living with Difference, specifically “over the ordination of women to the priesthood”.

Forward in Faith has today summarised the main content of the address, and Dr Podmore’s call for “costly compromise” over women bishops with this press release.

Forward in Faith Director calls for mutual generosity
Jul 1, 2013

The Director of Forward in Faith has called for new legislation on women bishops to reflect a spirit of mutual generosity like that which resulted in the 1993 settlement over the ordination of women to the priesthood.

In an article in The Living Church, Colin Podmore looks at how the 1993 settlement came about and what it contained. The Act of Synod, he points out, was not a unilateral concession but one half of a compromise, in which the House of Bishops took the lead. It reflected a spirit of Anglican generosity and was costly for both sides.

Dr Podmore writes, ‘Using our new Archbishop’s experience of reconciliation, we now need to identify a way forward whereby women bishops will be introduced not as a result of the majority defeating the minority, but instead as part of a no doubt costly compromise that, like the 1993 settlement, will enable us to live together with confidence and integrity.’

Read the article at http://livingchurch.org/living-difference-abridged.

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John
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John

I think this well reflects where FiF and similar groupings are now. It’s surely not bad.

badman
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badman

“…we now need to identify a way forward” – well, yes. What does Mr Podmore suggest? It is not very promising that he says that the ordination of women even as priests remains “provisional” and may yet be “rejected”. He is honest in acknowledging that “The ministry of the Provincial Episcopal Visitors (“flying bishops”) has seen downs as well as ups”. But he does not mention the most striking recent fact about them: namely, that every single PEV in the Province of Canterbury defected to the Roman Catholic Church: Edwin Barnes and Keith Newton (Bishops of Richborough), Andrew Burnham (Bishop… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

The problem with the 1993 legislation on the Ordination of Women was that it resulted in a 2-tier raking of priesthood in the Church of England. Only a re-establishment of a single (undifferentiated) episcopal order will save the C. Of E. from further descent into non-catholic confusion.

JCF
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JCF

“Back in England we have looked with amazement and dismay at a once great church [he means TEC] tearing itself apart.”

Say-Wha-Huh? O_o

I’m a cradle Episcopalian, age 51, and it seems to me that TEC is *more united* NOW than it has been in my entire adult life. I realize that the subject of TEC’s unity is rather off-topic for this thread, but I’m afraid I’m not inclined to take Dr Podmore’s prescriptions seriously, subsequent to this fundamental misreading of what “to live together with confidence and integrity” looks like.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

JCF has it right. And it IS pertinent to Dr. Podmore’s new positioning of FiF. He talks about compromise as being costly, but what exactly are the costs? This is precisely the area that needs fleshing out to truly understand what is at stake, and the implications of the moral position/s. And who is to bear the costs? CoE conservatives love to trot out the “horrors” from TEC. I have news for them. The schisms and lawsuits are the costs of taking the moral high road. TEC tried to appease traditionalists, but finally were in the impossible position; you can’t… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

It seems like when Dr. Podmore speaks of the broader church, he only seems to mean Rome and the Orthodox. It doesn’t seem as if he is including the huge number of Protestant denominations that have clergy equality. It’s nice that he is calling for a broader and more tolerant church. Rowan poisoned that for me when he tried to arm twist TEC into throwing me and my LGBT sisters and brothers AND my beloved female and LGBT clergy under a bus. To be in unity with human rights abusers. I don’t know how to get that poison out of… Read more »

Priscilla Cardinale
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Priscilla Cardinale

What Mr. Podmore calls for, a gracious giving of mutual generosity that is costly to both sides, was and is the law of the land in The Episcopal Church that he describes as “tearing itself apart”. Bishops are free to ban same-sex blessings within their diocseses and preach that same sex relations are sinful. My local TEC parish did so just recently. Conservative evangelical and catholic Episcopalians are still free to attend Nashotah House and receive a conservative evagelical or catholic education to ensure their perceived purity of apostolic succession and membership in that particular sect of Anglicanism. Bishops and… Read more »

Andrew Godsall
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Andrew Godsall

I think the bit that bothers me most is where Colin writes: “And when I hear Christian priests using derogatory language of other ministers of the Gospel, my lay heart grieves.” The ‘derogatory language’ that Colin seems to pass over is the idea, used over and over again by FiF priests, that women can’t actually be ordained to this ministry! Despite his word trickery around the ‘doctrine’ of reception – which I don’t think was ever intended to mean provisionality – he forgets that the Church of Enlgand has made a decision on this matter. Women are Priests. We have… Read more »

Veuster
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Veuster

> It seems like when Dr. Podmore speaks of the broader church, he only seems to mean Rome and the Orthodox. It doesn’t seem as if he is including the huge number of Protestant denominations that have clergy equality. Current estimates are of 1.2 billion RCs worldwide, 230 million Eastern Orthodox and 82 million Oriental orthodox, giving around 1.5 billion in total compared to 600-800 million Protestants and 85 million Anglicans. Even if one assumes that every Protestant Church has clergy equality, twice as many Christians belong to Churches which don’t. For better or for worse, the norm or default… Read more »

Jean Mayland
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Jean Mayland

Colin Podmore could never understand who I was so opposed to the Act of Synod and at the time wrote an angry paper for the magazine of the Board for Mission ands Unity. In time the supporters of women priests came to realise how destructive the Act is and how it has entrenched opposition and torn the church apart with the extreme edges refusing to accept women as the broad centre have done. We offered very generous terms in the recent Measure and his ‘flock’ never needed to experience a woman priest or bishop. That was not enough for them… Read more »

Fr Alan-Bury
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Fr Alan-Bury

“And when I hear Christian priests using derogatory language of other ministers of the Gospel, my lay heart grieves.”

But I thought Dr Podmore had been listening to past speeches (often followed by prolonged applause) where the authenticity of episcopal and priestly orders was denied to those who were women or who ordained women, or ordained by someone who ordained women. These speeches were/are the stock on trade of FinF gatherings.

Is this to be a thing of the past?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“For better or for worse, the norm or default position for Christian churches is to have a male-only clergy;”

It’s really important to know that the Orthodox situations are more cultural than theological. The folks such as those at FiF seem to be lifting up horrifically sexist cultures over the example of Jesus Christ, and cherry picking Paul’s anti women language over his inclusive language.

Laurence
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Laurence

“For better or for worse, the norm or default position for Christian churches is to have a male-only clergy;”

For me this raises questions as to the validity, or otherwise, of Christianity.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“And when I hear Christian priests using derogatory language of other ministers of the Gospel, my lay heart grieves.”

Which is real sophistry. The way it works, presumably, is that he’s a Christian priest and therefore not deserving of derogatory language (because he’s a man). But as in his eyes women are not priests, they are not worthy of the same respect and can be spoken of in a derogatory fashion without breaking the above restriction.

Benedict
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Benedict

Only when one lacks generosity can one say “this is not a matter of generosity”, cf Jean Mayland’s comment.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Dear Interested Observer,
The Director of Forward in Faith, Dr Colin Podmore, is a member of the laity. So perhaps it is not as you suggest.

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> For me this raises questions as to the validity, or otherwise, of Christianity.

> It’s really important to know that the Orthodox situations are more cultural than theological.

Agreed, in both cases. But it’s no use pretending that most of the world’s Christians are middle-of-the-road liberal Anglicans. In a world context, both FiF and Reform are probably closer to the mainstream than GRAS and WATCH.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

You’re probably right, Veuster. However, I like to think about being in fellowship with the Quakers. A tiny minority with a powerful moral impact.

They don’t believe in the tyranny of the majority, they pray until they come to consensus. Yet they still concluded early on that slavery was wrong and that marriage equality is moral and just.

I think I would rather have Quaker friends than all of Rome and the Eastern Churches. Speaking as a Greek-American.

MarkBrunson
Guest

Seriously, I’m not thrilled with this numbers game. I’m not thrilled when we in TEC use it against the con-evos there, any more than I am when con-evos use it against us in the wider world. Muslims outnumber us. If it’s a matter of numbers, we should convert to Islam, immediately. As for ancient traditions, etc., Hindu, Buddhist, Judaic, and Shamanistic practices are older. We should adopt them immediately. Now, as Veuster states, we must acknowledge that the right-wing pietistic view is the wider view in Christianity – or at least the wider official party stance – but that isn’t… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Only when one lacks generosity…” I spend my days being generous to a lot of people. Students, colleagues, and the homeless people our parish serves. After long days, I don’t have much generosity left toward people who insist on telling me that I and my sisters are inferior and in some cases delusional (i.e. women who’ve been called by God to ordained ministry). I can be compassionate towards those who simply fess up and say “I struggle with this change, regardless of its merits, I request pastoral provision for this human condition.” But it is really a stretch when these… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Dr. Podmore evokes, for me, the unwillingness of some of the learned Laity to try to understand the situation of those women who have already received the call of God and the Church of England into sacerdotal ministry. Presumably, the discernment process in this matter was overseen by the Holy Spirit of God, invoked bythe C. of E. during the course of synodical process? However, the double-entendre that emerged from that process resulted in the current confusion in the Church, that has left ordained women with distinct impression that their ordination process may have been flawed – simply because a… Read more »

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> Presumably, the discernment process in this matter was overseen by the Holy Spirit of God, invoked by the C. of E. during the course of synodical process?

The trouble with this is that FiF could say exactly the same thing about last November’s vote . . .

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

There’s no trouble with that, Veuster.
The vote last November said very clearly “we want women bishops but we are not happy with the provisions offered”. That’s what speech after speech from all opponents made clear.

So let’s accept that as a sign of the Holy Spirit. The CoE clearly did – it went back to the drawing board.

Yes, it might have come up with proposals the opponents weren’t expecting. But that’s part of the gamble those voting against the draft measure played.

Anne
Guest
Anne

It is worth noting that, in his address, Colin Podmore has misquoted from Reports by the Ecclesiastical Committee upon the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure and the Ordination of Women (Financial Provisions) Measure (HMSO, 1993), p. 21, which is one of the sources he cites. He says he quotes, “We believe that the Anglican ethos and tradition, which has been developed under God through our experience and history, gives us particular resources for living through our present disagreements and uncertainties, and doing so together. … Although we have different interpretations, views and practices, we maintain a shared commitment to belong… Read more »

Veuster
Guest
Veuster

> The vote last November said very clearly “we want women bishops but we are not happy with the provisions offered”. That’s what speech after speech from all opponents made clear. Erika, you know and I know that there were those voting in the November Synod who not only didn’t want women bishops but also (in some cases) thought that women ontologically can’t be bishops. OK, if that was what they thought, they shouldn’t have said – untruthfully – in their speeches that they wanted women bishops in the Church of England, albeit on condition that provisions were made for… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Veuster, the ones who voted in November of course believed that women could not or should not be bishops. But they also knew that the only point of discussions was what protection they would get – because they are members of a church that has had women priests for 20 years and that was discussing HOW women could be bishops, not whether. It is irrelevant what the Roman Catholics do or any other church in the world does. We are members of the Church of England, a church that is precisely NOT the Roman Catholic church and that has is… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Is the Spirit calling Anglicans, and those in other churches who embrace the priesthood and episcopate of women, to take a prophetic stand which sets us apart from the majority of the world’s Christians for the foreseeable future?” Yes, Veuster! Yes, that is exactly what she is doing. As Anglicans we are guided by Tradition, Scripture, and Reason. We have a tradition of getting it wrong, like burning uppity women as witches, or supporting slavery, anti-semitism, and racism. We have a Scripture that can be highly contradictory, but we do have the example and teaching of Jesus Christ, who was… Read more »

Helen
Guest
Helen

I am always unhappy when I hear assumptions about “the world’s Christians’ ” views on women and the priesthood. We actually have no idea, since they have no voice. The comparatively tiny group of male clerics which leads them should not be assumed to speak for them.