Saturday, January 15, 2005

Another outing

This afternoon I went to the induction of a new priest at a parish not far from here. The service was just the kind of joyful celebration you might expect but it also opened my eyes to an aspect of the Church of England that I might otherwise have forgotten about.
You see, the parish in question belongs to Forward in Faith and the service featured not only our own diocesan bishop but also a Provincial Episcopal Visitor...a flying bishop to the world at large. Both bishops and the new incumbent were gracious and charming, but I was brought up short by one visiting cleric who decided that the only safe policy when confronted by a woman in choir dress, was to pretend you hadn't seen her, even if she was directly in front of you and attempting to share the Peace.
My own parish is well "up the candle" and I know that not everyone in the congregation felt able to welcome my advent, but even those who have the biggest issues with my sex and calling have been uniformly polite and friendly to me personally. There will be some who find that my priesting this summer brings their anxieties to a head, and some who feel that they cannot in conscience remain in a church where a clergywoman ministers, but I feel sure that none of them would ever be less than kind as they wrestle with their consciences. The whole "feel" of the afternoon reminded me very strongly of the Anglo Catholic churches in which I worshipped 20 years ago, and also made me aware of how much my own attitudes have changed....I came back from the service feeling very raw and bruised, but on reflection I'm glad I was there and even glad of that negative experience...I'm also very very glad of our bishop, who was hugely affirming in a climate where I felt unwelcome simply because I was myself, Kathryn.

10 comments:

Tony said...

I think there are two religions (at least two!) both calling themselves Christianity, and trying to co-exist in the same space. One of them follows the teachings of someone called Jesus of Nazareth. The other believes that the person standing at the altar has to have male genitalia for the magic to work. For yes, that is what this masquerading-as-Christianity religion is: a form of magic. It really is time the Jesus-followers were assertive enough to kick the magicians out.

(Oh dear, this sounds like the old indignation overtaking me again... But I am passionate about the message of Jesus, for God's sake.)

Mark said...

You know, if someone refuses to share the peace with you because you are a woman, you could always kick them in the goolies (choir dress permitting). Sorry, that was my first reaction; my second one is not much better either and so I've edited it. My (considered) third - love 'em and pour hot coals on their heads... at least that's biblically sound.

John said...

Utterly ridiculous!

I can understand (not agree with, but understand) those who have objections to women priests. But I cannot understand the rudeness you experienced at that service. Consider yourself hugged in absentia!

pax et bonum

Dave said...

A few things. First: Hi!

Second, the MakePovertyHistory.Org campaign is commendable, but did you realize the banner excludes half the first paragraph of text...? :)

Third, have I seen you somewhere before? From your picture, you look like a jolly, Dibleyesque vicar who turns up from time to time on TV shows (Richard and Judy one time, I think). Is that you?

Kathryn said...

Thanks for all your support, guys...hugs and kind words much appreciated :-)The good thing is that the priest in question is not working in this diocese, so the chances of our paths crossing again are remote to say the least. Clearly he is unlikely to be seeking out any parish in which I might be ministering!

Dave...sorry you've got problems with the "MPH" band...I'm at a loss to help, as when it appears on my screen it goes across the top LH corner and only covers a tiny bit of the blog heading, and is well clear of any posts. If anyone else is having the same problem, let me know and I'll try to work out how to move the band. 'Fraid my only tv appearance was with a student choir on Pebble Mill at One back in 1982, so no joy there either.

1 i z said...

People like that guy make me so angry. Maybe I should take a friend's advice and take to viewing them as akin to the dinosaurs, on their way to becoming extinct. She certainly seems more able to smile sweetly (pityingly?) and bear the overt misogyny of her more backward male colleagues (engineers in this case) as a result.

As for your MPH band, yes it obscures part of your blog for me too. Maybe you could try switching it to the other side?

Dave said...

Well then, you SHOULD be on TV, dagnabbit!

John said...

The MPH band - you could use the small variety, which would cover less of the screen.

How much it covers depends greatly on the screen resolution and font sizes used, so different people will see different things.

Caroline said...

at last, confirmation that my pixel size is perfect :)
your band is well clear of all text on my screen.
perhaps a banner could be designed to hang in front of certain male celebrants and preachers. 'Make mysogeny history' has quite a good ring to it....

Sally said...

I have no problem with your banner, it obscures nothing. So size is everything. Obviously. next time you see that guy, ask him if he has a small one... sorry, not helping. I'll go away...