Thinking Anglicans

More women bishops

The Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada elected the Reverend Canon Melissa Skelton to be its ninth bishop on Saturday.

Press reports include:

Huffington Post Canada Rev. Melissa Skelton Elected Bishop Of New Westminster
Douglas Todd Vancouver Sun Rev. Melissa Skelton elected bishop of Vancouver-area Anglican diocese
Paul Sullivan Matro [Canada] Anglican bishop brings branding skills

By coincidence the election took place on the same day as the Consecration Of The Revd Pat Storey As Bishop Of Meath & Kildare. Patrick Comerford, a Canon at Christ Church Cathedral, where the service took place, describes the occasion in detail: A Memorable Afternoon at the Consecration of Bishop Pat Storey in Christ Church Cathedral. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was there, as was the Archbishop of Wales. The Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by Archdeacon Sheila Watson.

Claire Duffin Telegraph First female Anglican bishop consecrated
BBC Irish Anglicans install Rev Pat Storey as bishop
Belfast Newsletter First woman bishop installed by Anglican Church
Sarah Stack of the Press Association in the Irish Independent Tributes paid to first woman bishop at Christ Church Cathedral
The Irish news CoI consecrates first female bishop
The Irish Times Irish woman becomes first female bishop in UK and Ireland
Ciarán Hanna Inside Ireland Tributes to first woman bishop on these islands consecrated by the Church of Ireland at a service in Dublin

Savitri Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Ireland’s first – or perhaps second – woman bishop

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stephen Morgan
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stephen Morgan

This news leaves me both elated and depressed. Elated for the new bishop and her diocese; depressed because the C of E, the so-called mother church, has been busy congratulating itself the past week that we might reach the stage of actually approving women bishops sometime in the next two years? (For older posters only) It’s a bit like being permanently in the ‘C’ stream at school!

Laurie Roberts
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Laurie Roberts

Peter Lynas, director of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland has welcomed the appointment:

“We have greatly benefitted from Pat’s wisdom as she has served on the UK Board of Evangelical Alliance for a number of years and on the local Executive. She will no doubt carry her passion for church unity and a society transformed by the gospel to her new post.”

Evangelicals in Ireland seem quite untroubled by women bishops and vicars – so unlike some vocal Evangelicals in England !

I wonder what is going on ?

ROBERT iAN WILLIAMS
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ROBERT iAN WILLIAMS

I was shocked to see the Catholic bishop of the namesake diocese attend. In 1989, the Vatican pulled catholic representation from the first Anglican woman bishop.

However its nice to know, Bishop Pat is an Irish evangelical and will not wear a mitre.

James Byron
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James Byron

Laurie Roberts: They also appear to be quite untroubled by ignoring the clear teaching of the Bible (well, Paul of Tarsus, and whoever wrote some of his lines) against women speaking and holding authority in church. Bebbington wept.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

re Robert Ian Williams’ comment, and to further his concern about a Woman becoming a Bishop in Ireland; I wonder if he’s read Savitri Hensman’s article in ‘Ekklesia’, which suggests that the new Woman Bishop of Kildare may, in fact, be following in the illustrious footsteps of St. Bridget of Kildare, who is thought to have been ordained a Bishop in the 6th century, by Bishop Mel, a nephew of St. Patrick? If Savi’s supposition is correct, is only goes to show that Women were, indeed more than just a Godly influence in the Church. The Church of England has… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

Reform Ireland are less supportive..in fact they view this as apostasy. They state…. By ignoring God’s equality agenda and role for man and woman and substituting it with a ‘spirit-of-the-age’ equality agenda, the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position. This decision will not only prevent those who believe in God’s agenda for man and woman being able to serve in Meath diocese, but also impair fellowship throughout the Church of Ireland. The appointment to Meath is therefore a sad day for many in the Church of Ireland because it is one… Read more »

ian
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ian

I was shocked to see the Catholic bishop of the namesake diocese attend.

Only shocked, not pleased then?

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

‘ignoring God’s equality agenda and role for man and woman,’

‘Listening to God’s purposes for his church.’

How does Reform Ireland know what ‘God’s equality agenda’ (such a lovely phrase!) might be, and how are they the only ones listening to ‘God’s purposes for his church?’

Benedict
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Benedict

Father Ron Smith’s allusion to Saint Hilda of Whitby is becoming really rather tiresome on these threads. It’s all he seems to be able to muster in defence of women bishops. He isn’t really trying to suggest, is he, that Hilda would somehow have had a different theological conception of her position as abbess from that espoused by the Church? Or maybe he is, thereby rewriting the Christian history of these lands yet again!

Anne Lee
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Anne Lee

So, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was there, the Archbishop of Wales, …… and the Archdeacon of Canterbury. What does that say about the commitment of the House of Bishops of the Church of England to women’s ordained ministry in the Episcopate. My prayers are with the new Bishop, that she and her Diocese will flourish as she proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ in our fractured world.

ian
Guest
ian

How does Reform Ireland know what ‘God’s equality agenda’ (such a lovely phrase!) might be?

I can’t speak for ‘Reform Ireland’ I am about as far away from them as you can get theologically, but might they not answer that they know by reading the Bible?
Just askin.

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

Reform Ireland apparently does not believe that reform can come through the slow and on-going revelation of God’s “agenda” in the world.

One can only assume that they would prefer to go back to the days of slavery, women’s subjugation, corporal punishment, all brought to naught by other “spirit of the age” movements that their spiritual ancestors fought so bravely against in their struggle to maintain “God’s equality agenda.”

Old Father William
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Old Father William

It’s interesting that all the comments relate to the consecration in the Church of Ireland, with no mention of the election of Mother Melissa as Bishop of New Westminster. She comes from a very progressive Anglo-Catholic parish in Seattle, and is an eminently suitable choice for New Westminster.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

I am so sick and tired of conservative Christians pretending to be victims when they no longer get to enforce their bigotry and sexism and misogyny on others. Once again, people, not being able to marginalize others and not being able to carry on with the expectation of the enforcement of the bigoted beliefs of a darker past is not the same as being discriminated against. You don’t have the right to demean others, so no rights are being taken away when your power to enforce bigotry is taken away. Full stop, end of discussion, and nothing else ever needs… Read more »

JCF
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JCF

“the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position”

Those of us who have ever been victims of ACTUAL discrimination (I remember being told by a manager, when applying for a job, “we had {quote} ‘one of you’ once, so, No.”) can only hope to graduate to this “in effect discrimination”! O_o

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

‘they know by reading the bible?’

i’ve read quite a lot of the bible, but I’ve never presumed to be able to tell other people what God is wanting for them, or any knowledge of his ‘equality agenda!’ I’ve never viewed the bible in that way at all and I think those that do usually manage to put other people off Christianity!

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Father Ron Smith’s allusion to Saint Hilda of Whitby is becoming really rather tiresome on these threads.” – Benedict –

No more tiresome, I respectfully suggest, dear brother, than your own persistent denial of the historical evidence of Women’s Leadership in the Church.

Barrie
Guest
Barrie

What historical evidence? You cling to tiny pieces in times when the church was in flux, you hold up Galatians 3:28 without, it seems, any sense of irony that you quote someone who clearly articulated a totally opposite belief to yours. The Bible, the Church Fathers, the vast majority of Christendom all expressly oppose this novelty. Men represent Christ, women represent the Church. Why can’t each sex complement one another in the way our faith teaches? Why all this clamouring for the masculine? It is false equality, false because poor Mrs Storey is neither priest nor bishop in actual fact,… Read more »

Geoff
Guest

Thank you to Fr William for drawing our attention to the _other_ story here. Although I was rooting for Richard Leggett (and was very sorry not to see Br Martin Brokenleg OSBCn nominated!), we certainly need an Anglo-Catholic woman in the House of Bishops now that NZ has gone and snatched up +Victoria!

William Tighe
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William Tighe

“the historical evidence of Women’s Leadership in the Church.”

Who has ever denied this evidence as regards the Marcionite Church, the Montanist Church, or the Valentinian Church?

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

If I remember correctly, Benedict is not an evangelical. It is evangelicals who do not like to see women in leadership roles in the church.
Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, are concerned with sacramental assurance which means they do not believe that women can be priests.
Are we saying that there is historical evidence that St Hilda was a priest?

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

‘usually manage to put other people off Christianity.’

Exhibit A: Barrie

It’s hard to know where to start with your post, but just a couple of points:

‘The Bible was written by men, the Church Fathers (by definition) were all men, and the ‘vast majority’ of Christendom is controlled by a few old men. See any ‘irony’ in that?

What is ‘true God-given femininity’ and how can someone who thinks as you do claim to know anything about women’s liberation?

Barrie
Guest
Barrie

“Who has ever denied this evidence as regards the Marcionite Church, the Montanist Church, or the Valentinian Church?”

Quite. All three were condemned as heretical by the early Church.

ian
Guest
ian

stephen
i’ve read quite a lot of the bible, but I’ve never presumed to be able to tell other people what God is wanting for them.

I’ve listned to many a sermon over the years, from people of all traditions in the church, and presuming to tell other people what God is wanting for the them has been pretty high up on the agenda of most of them.

Jamie Wood
Guest
Jamie Wood

Stephen Morgan – I don’t often tell other people what God is wanting for them. But for sure, we need some of us (at least) with the guts to tell other people what God is wanting for them – eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

Ian – I’ve preached many a sermon over the years, but I never felt I had been given the authority to tell other people what God was wanting for them! How would I know?

Jamie – it has nothing to do with guts and everything to do with humility. My instant response to anyone telling me what God wants for me is – how do you know?

ian
Guest
ian

Erika
‘Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, are concerned with sacramental assurance which means they do not believe that women can be priests’

I’m not saying you’re wrong, but remember one of the Anglo Catholic arguments was that we did not have the authority to act unilaterally.That was certainly my argument at the time.

Barrie
Guest
Barrie

‘The Bible was written by men, the Church Fathers (by definition) were all men, and the ‘vast majority’ of Christendom is controlled by a few old men. See any ‘irony’ in that? No, I don’t see any irony in it at all. What I do see, however, is that you have absolutely no firm grounding in anything that informs our faith. The Bible was written by men, so chuck that out; the Church Father were men, so ignore them; and the RCC and Orthodox church is run by men, so obviously they don’t know what they’re talking about, especially as… Read more »

Francis
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Francis

Barrie, does it not strike you that the very existence of ‘times of flux’ for which we have occasional fragmentary evidence that women may once have had priestly roles, calls into the question the God-givenness of the long ‘stable’ centuries when they were excluded from them? If the traditional order of the church arises out of early flux, then it is not exactly sitting directly on the rock solid authority of God, is it? But you are right that the warrant for including women in the priesthood, these last few decades, does not really come from church history. It is,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Jamie
“But for sure, we need some of us (at least) with the guts to tell other people what God is wanting for them”
There’s telling and there’s dictating.
When people disagree with our judgement of what God might want for them we have to let them live out their own faith.

Helen
Guest
Helen

Barrie: while you presume to tell women what “god given femininity ” is, without the faintest notion that you’re actually giving voice to your own male fantasies and projections, your points are likely to meet nothing but ridicule. I don’t recall Jesus ever suggesting that “men represent Christ , women represent the Church”. All one can say to that bit of nonsense is that some men should pay rather more attention to the Christ of the gospels.

Nathaniel Brown
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Nathaniel Brown

“the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position” Orwellian convolution: refusing to discriminate morphs into discrimination; and Manichaean: my biblical position is right, yours is wrong and invalid. And monolithic: only one biblical position (mine) is possible. The three swamps into which right-wing conservatism so often seems to stumble, the intellectually impoverished notion that there is only one understanding of Truth. And yet… less pride might suggest that there are many paths to God, each colored by our individual, legitimate experiences, and that to place a stone wall in front of your… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

Some of these comments just really are so 1950’s. I.e. a time before long held beliefs held by a very narrow power group were rightfully challenged. Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the Resurrection. Jesus broke taboos to treat women with respect and to heal and teach us. God created us all in God’s image. The women being ordained and consecrated, and all their supporters and beneficiaries are not deluded. We are not uneducated, unspiritual dolts who have lost the True Path of the Great White Male Leader. I’m sure it was a very nice ride for them, but… Read more »

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

Ultimately, I think none of this matters in the long run. The world is moving on. Women’s equality is a fact in the developed world and a growing force in the developing world. Women’s expectations are rising around the world, and no holy man of any kind can stop it. I’ve always believed that feminism is a major force shaping modern history, and never more so than now. The churches have the choice of catching up, or building a higher wall around a self-created ghetto. Either Christianity is willing to meet people where they are, or it has nothing to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“poor Mrs Storey is neither priest nor bishop in actual fact, false because women’s liberation is to ape men rather than champion true God-given femininity. It’s very sad.” – Barrie, on Tuesday –

This sounds very much like those TEC dissidents in the U.S. who disrespectfully speak of their Presiding Bishop as ‘Mrs Schori’

It is precisely such misogyny that the Church is having to stand against – in the interests of the Gospel of Christ

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ian, yes, that we are not allowed to act unilaterally is another argument. It is still rooted in the idea that the underlying objection is that women cannot onthologically be priests. I don’t agree with any of it, I find all of those arguments wanting and I am actually on the side of those who criticise them. But I do find it exasperating when individual groups within the church are accused of views they do not hold. Liberals will never change anything while we misrepresent those who think differently. This debate has gone on for decades – we owe those… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

I have been able find more diverse press coverage about the election of Melissa Skelton in New Westminster on “Thinking Anglicans” than I can in the press here in Canada. Thank you. Bishop elect Skelton looks like an excellent choice, her education and her background in ECUSA will be helpful to the Canadian Church. Her addition to the Canadian House of bishops may prove interesting. Two members of the Canadian House just returned from GAFCON. I gather high tea in the Canadian House was a little heated as a result. Perhaps over time we will have opportunity to get the… Read more »

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

“This sounds very much like those TEC dissidents in the U.S. who disrespectfully speak of their Presiding Bishop as ‘Mrs Schori.'” Not to mention (because of her academic background in oceanagraphy, particuarly squids), “Squid Lady,” “Squid Woman,” and “Her Squidness.”

Barrie
Guest
Barrie

Francis, I have taken the bread and wine from a woman on several occasions, and in fact I once made myself rather unpopular in a pub full of Anglo-Catholics by defending women’s ordination. I’m afraid I then started reading the Bible, the Fathers, and gaining a theological understanding of the issues when I took my degree in theology. I became fully convinced that I had been wrong. As to Helen’s question regarding my statement “Men represent Christ, women represent the Church”, this is theology based on Ephesians 5 – “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“”Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.”” Barrie, it has been suggested that the above quote was for one particular church. Paul also said that in God there is neither male nor female. And then there’s Jesus treating women like people, which was quite radical in his day. It’s worth… Read more »

John
Guest
John

‘Let us pursue all that makes for peace.’ Within the C of E, a deal has been done – or effectively done. Within other parts of the Anglican Communion, similar deals have either already been done or are about to be done. Most people can live with them. All this spleen and point-scoring are profoundly unpeaceful. Father Ron in particular, I do wish you would learn to put a sock in it. There is no point – it is in fact wrong – to rile ‘traditionalists’. They in turn should not ‘rise’ to your provocations – but you should not… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I’m afraid I then started reading the Bible, the Fathers, and gaining a theological understanding of the issues when I took my degree in theology.” *

You don’t seriously imagine, Barrie, that no advocates for Ordination Equality (inc ordained women themselves) can’t make exactly the same/greater claims? [For many decades longer than yourself apparently?]

Oh, ego… [Yeah, I’m guilty of it, too. Kyrie eleison.]

* I’m wondering whether your choice of school for your degree didn’t have a major influence on your “theological understanding”? Do share your alma mater, please.

[Off-topic: Holy Nelson Mandela, rest in peace/rise in glory. Pray for us!]

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Barrie: In your use of Ephesians 5 to support your view of “Men represent Christ, women represent the Church”, you commit a logical fallacy, by taking a metaphor and reversing its direction. Paul is using the metaphor to liken marriage to the Church…while you attempt to do the opposite, liken the Church to marriage. A metaphor is not subject to the mathematical premise of transitive equality (if A=B then B=A). A metaphor is a literary device, not a mathematical one. If I say that “your lips are like cherries” (technically a simile, of course), it does not logically follow that… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Erika ‘Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, are concerned with sacramental assurance which means they do not believe that women can be priests’ I’ve only just noticed this statement by Erika. You may be surprised to find, Erika, that most Anglo-Catholics – certainly the ones I know in the Church of england and elsewhere, are not bigotted against women’s ordination. They welcome it. You really must adjust your understanding of what the words Anglo-Catholic mean for most of us. It is incarnational in meaning that women share with men the identity of Christ – with no barrier to representing Christ at… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“I’ve only just noticed this statement by Erika. You may be surprised to find, Erika, that most Anglo-Catholics – certainly the ones I know in the Church of england and elsewhere, are not bigotted against women’s ordination. They welcome it.”

Ditto a lot of Anglo-Catholics here in TEC. I’m one of them.

Women’s ordination is a problem with SOME A/C’s, but not all.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ron,
maybe I should have said “traditionalist Anglo-Catholics who oppose women priests” are concerned with sacramental assurance… but there is a 400 word limit on comments and I thought, having debated this topic here for years, that this premise was by now a given.

Stephen Morgan
Guest
Stephen Morgan

John, it must be hard for you to breathe the same air as the rest of us. Those of us with memories recall that you occasionally winch down from your ivory tower to trash those whose use of grammar you take issue with? Leave Father Ron be, his posts are tough-minded, witty and pertinent. As to ‘provoking traditionalists’ this is a liberal anglican website. Are we supposed to read, say Barrie’s biblical revelations and then say, gosh, ‘we mustn’t rile him!’ If he posts such comments here he should expect some trenchant criticism, as I am sure he is well… Read more »

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Father Ron’s comment: BVM was OFTEN shown in priestly vestments (and can still be seen in them in some churches in Rome and I would imagine elsewhere as well) until there was a specific (papal?) ban on the same. Someone who knows the history of iconography better than I do might comment on this.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Please let’s calm down about terminology, such as the use of the term “anglo-catholic”. The fact is that people who formerly could be so described are divided on the issue of women’s ordination. Neither “side” can claim exclusive use of that label any more.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Thank you, Simon, for your well-timed admonition.