The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Oh dear!

Just when we were beginning to get the tree sorted out, check the lights still worked from last year and arrange who’s coming round this year for Christmas, the Church of England is hit in the face with the decision of General Synod. It came as something of a shock, for all the prophecies had told us the vote would go through. It didn’t, but what was the vote really about? What was it that General Synod decided which seems to have caused so many people both inside and outside the Church to get excited?

Actually nothing has changed, nothing has been altered as far as women Bishops are concerned. The Church has already made up its mind - women can be ordained as bishops. That’s nothing to do with equality, fairness or ambition but rather, sometime ago, the Church, through Synod, sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the decision was made. At some point in the future, a woman will be ordained as Bishop.

The bit of legislation being voted on at the end of November was not asking can women be bishops but how is it going to work. We need to bear in mind that something like a quarter of the Church doesn’t agree that women can be bishops in the first place so what can be done to keep them firmly rooted in our Church?

It’s like getting planning permission to build your conservatory but not starting the work because you can’t agree on the style of windows. Women will be bishops but now the Church waits yet again for the various groups to agree how it will be done and what arrangements will be made for those who in conscience can’t accept women’s ministry.

So as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Church is thrown back into disarray - with lots of people in the Church hurt and upset, and lots of people outside the Church very critical of us. The real sadness about all this is that huge amounts of time and energy have been spent on the issue over some 20 odd years and that’s distracted us from our real calling and mission. The Church should be speaking out now about the awful situation in Gaza, the real poverty in parts of our own land, the controversy over gay marriage - to mention just three things. Now, even if the Church does speak out there’s a danger that no-one will listen and even fewer will take it seriously.

As you mark Christmas this year, try not to get bogged down in Church politics. Instead celebrate that great truth - Jesus came to earth to live among us:

 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.”

May you have a very happy and blessed Christmas.

Fr. Mike

Christmas Edition 2012

From the Parish Priest