There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
F W Faber
As New Directions goes to press the General Synod of the Church of England is preparing to meet to discuss the Measure that will allow women to be ordained to the episcopate. No one seems able to predict what the result of the various votes and meetings will be.
This magazine has consistently called for generous and full provision for those who in conscience cannot accept the ordination of women to the episcopate and continues to do so. And as the Synod meets life goes on. Just as the political workings of the Church of England gather themselves for the Synod up and down the country the mission and life of our parishes continues. It was at a Mass of Thanksgiving for a newly ordained priest that I last sang the words at the beginning of this editorial. A Mass that was filled with joy, as no doubt the ordinations and first masses, that will take place in our constituency will all be.
A celebration of the gifts God gives to his Church through the Holy Spirit and the Sacraments. When in 1992 it was
decided allow women to be ordained to the priesthood it was thought by many that those who in conscience could not accept the ordinations would simple disappear, they might remain for a short while but there certainly wouldn’t be any candidates for ordination, there wouldn’t be growth and there would not be works of mission and evangelisation. Over the past thirty years this view has been proved wrong.
Our constituency continues to serve the people of God in this land. We continue to be involved at all levels of the Church and of the national life often serving in some of the toughest parts of our country. We believe passionately in the mission of the church and in the mission of the Church of England to bring to the love of God into the lives of all of the people of this nation. We want to be part of that work. In order to do this we need to be able to thrive and flourish within the Church of England and we need proper provision for us to do so. This cannot be a form a terminal care and it cannot be offered with the thought that it won’t be needed in a few years time. Our parishes continue to thrive and grow, we still provide large numbers of candidates of confirmation and men are still offering themselves for the priesthood from within our number. The past thirty years may not always have been easy, they might have seemed at times dominated by conflict but amidst the conflict the work of the church has continued. We are it
seems on the edge of a new era. The Synod has a chance to be guided by the House of Bishops to offer some small provision to those who cannot accept the ordination of women. A chance to allow the possibility for some small room in which we might live and thrive. It is has been said time and time again; our constituency understands that the time is now for us to be allowed
to leave the battlefield and to get onto the mission field. That we might be allowed to work for the furtherance of the Gospel
with our brothers and sisters in the Church of England with a respected and honoured place secure for us and for generations to come. We have a persistent call to serve the church and the nation, a call that cannot be ignored.
If the Church of England is to be truly diverse then we need to be part of it, we need to have a respected place so that diversity can thrive, so that unity can be worked towards. It might not be easy, it might not always be simple but it is what we believe the Church of England is called to. To work and to show that we can
be together, that we can work with our differences with love and respect. To return briefly to the ordinations and first masses this year: they have been times of joy, love and hope.
There has been a strong sense of hope for the future, that we are a people called to serve, let us all hope and pray that we are given a place in which we can do this. ND
Thy hand, O God, has guided
thy flock, from age to age;
their wondrous tale is written,
full clear, on every page;
thy people owned thy goodness,
and we their deeds record;
and both of this bear witness;
one Church, one Faith, one Lord.
E H Plumptre