As a former Episcopalian with great affection for Anglicanism, I’m taking a little break from our regular Tuesday and Thursday series on holy space with photojournalist Katie Archibald-Woodward to get on my soap box and give thanks for yesterday’s overwhelming support shown yesterday by the Church of England’s General Synod in favor of the ordination of women bishops. It was far too long in coming, but here a version of Neil Armstrong’s legendary exclamation on the moon may be apropos: “That’s one small step for the church, one giant leap forward for humankind.” A church that learns to take her women’s contributions and leadership as seriously as the man’s next to her will be a church that is better equipped to serve her world, and for that I’m very grateful.
A friend the other day remarked that a female Episcopal priest who habitually wears her dog collar out and about our neighborhood prefers that she be called “Father.” I was amused and a bit saddened. Since when, after all, should women have to become men in order to serve in leadership? Why, in the church at least, must women called to ministry and leadership often feel compelled to erase or even deny their gender? A sad phenomenon. Maybe yesterday’s vote is one more sign that some day, maybe when my daughter is a grown woman, women in the priesthood won’t have to feel uncomfortable being called “Mother.”
On another note, I’m updating my speaking and book tour schedule for next year. If you and your church would like a guest visit, let me know!