Sunday, 13 July 2008

XV Sunday in Ordinary Time

A very good turn out today for the early Mass. This was followed by Lauds and all was ready for the Sung Mass with Holy Baptism. After both Masses I shared with the congregation my reflections about the debate that took place last Monday during General Synod.
I have had time to reflect on the debate and listened carefully to all that was said, my reflection is that last Monday’s debate was not about women bishops. We always knew that the CofE will admit women to the episcopate. It is logical to have them after having woman deacons and priests. In fact as Lord Hope always said, they should have started from women bishops. What the vote on Monday was about was honouring promises made a few years back (1992-4) that those of us who can not accept this innovation are considered as faithful Anglicans with a place for us from where to operate. Synod last Monday broke these promises and decided to show us the door. I always believed the CofE to be broad and liberal, last Monday showed that the CofE has changed its mind and is becoming a narrow church that through synod will dictate what people ought to hold and believe; otherwise they are shown the door. Someone said scratch the surface of a liberal and you will find a great illiberal – how true! Let me give you a parallel with what is happening to us: It is like Parliament saying to the Islamic community in the UK: We want you to stay here and we shall value your contribution as long as you eat pork. That statement would be offensive and intolerable. So is what General Synod has done last Monday.
They say that a code of practice gives us an honoured place in the Church. I do not want for us an honoured place I want an equal place as we are not second class Christians.
A code of practice, statutory or not, is not good for us, because:
1. Under a code, complementary bishops derive their Episcopal authority from that of the diocesan bishop, who may be a woman.
2. Not know if a male priest had been ordained by a woman bishop.
3. Compliance with a code is not legally enforceable, and few can afford judicial review.
4. Trust: synod’s debate and institutions like WATCH and GRAS do not inspire it!
Giving us a code of practice, statutory or otherwise, is like a naked man asking for clothes and handing him fig leaves, not really addressing the need but quietening ones’ own conscience.
At the very best, last Monday, Synod decided to tolerate us, we do not want to be tolerated we need a structural solution in order to flourish. We are a flourishing parish and we need structures that will enable us to flourish even more. The question is not about who can be ordained or not, we and the great Christian Churches of East and West know the answer to that. The question is that some in synod want to change the CofE from what it is to something narrow and mean that rids itself of those who stand up for the faith. We Anglo-Catholics love the Church of England and we will prevent anyone as far as we can from dismantling what the CofE was up till last Monday. Both Archbishops spoke in solidarity with our constituency, though not publicly. We eagerly wait for these words to materialise; it is now a question of trust.
An Anglo-Catholic motto is no desertion no surrender, we shall stand up for Jesus come what may. We are going to be positive and support Forward in Faith. We are going to pray and we start today by offering our prayers to those who voted to oust us from the Cof E, that they may experience the love that they are denying us. We will play our role and serve our people until our consciences allow us.
Stand up for Jesus, do something positive: Join FiF today!!!

We had five banns of marriage to call today, among those being read for the first time where those of Michael and Amy who will tie the knot in September. Michael and Amy have run the youth club today where the new Wii and other equipment was used and enjoyed by all. Indeed it was a busy afternoon also for our cricket team engaged in a match at Raley’s Field against Brasted & Sundridge.
During the hospital visit I anointed some of the patients, prayers please! I also had the joy of meeting staff and patients, and share the joy of those patients who will be going home tomorrow or on Tuesday. I enjoyed meeting Bill last Friday and today. Bill is a medical doctor who spent many years as a missionary in Africa. He has wonderful stories to share and was kind enough to give me his book.
So another wonderful Sunday over and now time to relax and enjoy the family. The thoughts of this week still flood my mind. I am glad to be here as I am where God wants me to be. I am disappointed that our bishops and our leaders have not been able to issue a joint declaration outlining a way forward however basic, and wait for regrouping to happen over and after the summer. In the meantime we pray and what better day to start than tomorrow the 175th anniversary from the sermon of the Assizes.

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