Out and about again this evening. At this rate I will be in serious danger of remembering that the Church exists beyond the parish boundaries, which could be quite exciting! Tonight's hoolie was a WATCH Eucharist at Hailes....in the Norman church there, as dodgy weather made the ruined abbey a bit too risky. Lovely service, surrounded by friends again, and with some rather good inclusive liturgy. The woman who presided was the very first person in the diocese I spoke to as I began to totter hesitantly towards accepting my vocation to priesthood.She has done so much for women's ministry here and it was good to be together as General Synod, God bless it, deliberates, debates and decides how (or whether) to clear the way to ordain women to the episcopate. Cracking sermon (Matt 9 18-26) from the new diocesan Dean of Women Clergy, who preached about risk and pain as unavoidable en route to life in all its fulness (well, that's an extremely truncated digest...I hope it's fair). I needed to hear that, as the prospect of endless repetitions of the same old arguments over the ordination of women full stop, which will certainly surface as we discuss women bishops at parish, deanery and diocesan level, tend to make me wish I'd stuck to being a pony club mother, or taken up flower arranging.
Except, of course, I know I couldn't have been really me,-so in the end, no choice really...nor about praying, campaigning, doing whatever is needful towards the next stage of a fully inclusive church.
When we arrived, we were each given a sweet-pea flower, and at the offertory were invited to place it in a basket "in thanksgiving for all those whose gifts in ministry we wish to celebrate". I'm blessed to know some truly amazing women, whose friendship and inspiration makes the whole journey far more joy than work, so I really loved being able to do this. Would rather like to pass out flowers to the women themselves, actually :-)
And afterwards, being thoroughly British, we doggedly ate our picnics in the abbey, in the greyness of an imminent drizzle which never quite materialised. We laughed alot, chatted in a desultory way, and all was relaxed, gentle, undemanding. Friendship is a great gift, is it not!
It has done me so much good to worship in other contexts than St M's over the past 10 days...I must, must, MUST try harder to make this happen a bit more often. Please remind me.