Ten glorious years
Great celebrations in St Davids Cathedral to mark the tenth anniversary of the ordination of women priests in the Church in Wales. The Right Revd Carl Cooper, Bishop of St Davids, said in a press release: ‘Ever since the ordination of the first women priests in 1997 it has been my privilege to minister with a number of close, female colleagues. The last 10 years have demonstrated that our Church has been enriched, blessed and made more whole by women’s priestly ministry. It now feels as if the Church of the past was incomplete, lam looking forward to the honour of presiding at the Eucharist this coming Saturday in St David’s Cathedral (13th January), together with my women colleagues, to celebrate the historic decision taken a decade ago and all that it has achieved. We will be joined by many clergy and people from around the diocese! Unfortunately (rumour has it) ‘many clergy and people from around the diocese’ had a prior engagement. The 30Days office understands that the Bishop was joined for the great occasion by a total of something like six dozen people, clergy and lay.
… of leading Welsh opponent to the ordination of women, Fr Carl Cooper? Writing in the Western Mail on the eve of the English vote in November 1992, he opined: ‘The Church in Wales (and indeed the Anglican Communion) has always claimed to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Therefore if we are to see God’s authoritative voice at work in His Church, then this must be seen in the whole Church and not just a miniscule part of it!!. .. One of the saddest things in this whole debate is the effect it is having on our Church. The Church is being torn apart. Worst of all many clergy and people, out of loyalty to their own conscience, feel bound to leave the Church which they have supported and loved since birth. This is happening in Ceredigion today!!’
Clothed in cogency
One person who, in the end, did not feel bound to ‘leave the Church’ was Fr Cooper. For, if you hadn’t already guessed, Fr Carl Cooper and Bishop Carl
Cooper are one and the same. Writing in his January press release, he explained the reasons for his change of heart: ‘Why did I change my mind? There are 3 reasons: 1) My own Church decided to ordain women to the priesthood. Either members of the Church in Wales believe that our Church is competent to discern God’s will for us, or it isn’t. Even those who take part in a debate by opposing the proposal are part of the ultimate decision. We must all own it, support it and rejoice in it. 2) I came to see the inconsistencies in the theological standpoint I had espoused and proclaimed. However, no theological standpoint is ever perfect and without flaw. 3) The ‘No’ vote in 1994 brought home to me the pain and anguish we were causing to our sisters in Christ. I could no longer justify denying the validity of their calling! It is always refreshing to read powerful and cogent arguments for a change of mind and 30Days readers will no doubt be able to decide for themselves the extent to which these qualify!
Many thanks to Jonathan Wynne-Jones and the Sunday Telegraph for news of an exciting Lenten initiative from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. We are all being encouraged to text the word ‘Lent’ to 64343 to begin receiving daily suggestions by text for actions from 19th February through to Easter Monday. Suggestions will include giving up your place to someone in a traffic jam or a queue, leaving a £1 coin in the shopping trolley for someone to find, saying nice things about someone behind their back and going into a charity shop and offering more for goods than they are worth. ‘It’s all too easy to feel we are powerless to make a difference,’ the Archbishops say. ‘But the truth is, with God’s help we can change the world a little bit each day’ At 10 pence per text, and with half the profits going to the C of E, it’s an opportunity no 30Days reader will want to miss! But, for the sake of the very many faithful who make a point of giving up their mobile phones for Lent, 30Days will publish its own list of suggestions of messages to help make a difference next month. ruup4it? A bottle of Forward in Faith Easter Champagne 4 the most facile printable offering; pls text yr suggestion by emsg str8 to
or by pc to 2A The Cloisters, Gordon Square, London WC1H OAG
On the ball
The diocese of Southwell & Nottingham is advertising for a Sports Ambassador, to work with individuals, groups, churches, clergy and youth workers. The brainchild of former Oxford Hockey Blue, Tony Porter, Bishop of Sherwood, the successful candidate will – according to the Church Times – ‘need to have the credibility accorded by some sporting prowess of his or her own in order to open doors’. Before his consecration, Porter was Chaplain to Manchester City FC (13th in the Premiership as we go to press); presumably his experience there will already have told him that footballers who can open doors unaided are probably few and far between. Nor will there be much point in turning to cricketers, who always seem to be out no sooner than they are in, or to rowers, for much the same reason. The world of snooker might be a possibility, what will all those balls, but 30Days hopes that the lucky person will come from an altogether more taxing sport. For if it’s credibility in the average pew that is needed, it has just got to be Bridge! The World Bridge Federation is already affiliated to the International Olympic Committee, and pressure is mounting for the sport to be included in the London 2012 Games. What better way for the C of E to kill no end of birds with one stone – in the sporting sense, of course!
The following announcement from the pages of the Church of England Newspaper needs no comment:
Correction: The Rev Canon John Christopher Stone, Bishop’s Domestic Chaplain; and Bishop’s Media Adviser (Rochester): to be Rector, Gravesend St George; Bishop’s Communications Consultant; and County Chaplain, St John Ambulance (same diocese). This appointment was recently listed correctly, but in error under the heading of’ Death’, for which we apologise.