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Lost without women priests, lost without Traditionalists

by
26 July 2012

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From the Revd Diana Penny

Sir, - The best way to get on with colleagues with whom you have differences over the validity of the ordination of women is to take as many opportunities as possible to work together, and to keep talking to each other and praying together.

Is it likely that our Lord will bless us in our lives and our witness when we denigrate those who have also received the call "Follow me"? Let us be united in our desire to love and serve our Lord, despite our divisions.

It is absolutely vital that before the next General Synod there should be an upsurge in prayer by all parties for clarity of guidance and leadership in the adjourned debate.

Let our prayer be for the gift of gracious love and concern for each other, and the will to work together to discern the way forward for all of the groups who are divided on this.

DIANA E. PENNY
Hibiscus, 33 Church Drove
Outwell, Wisbech, Cambs PE14 8RH

From the Revd Patrick Davies

Sir, - The Archbishop of Canterbury was reported to be sorry that he and his fellow bishops had mis-judged their attempted compromise amendments. These amendments, small though they are, were aimed at offering some hope to traditionalists. The General Synod instead wants the House of Bishops to look again at these amendments.

I am sure that the Archbishop and bishops are equally sorry for the continuing hurt felt by loyal Anglicans who are left wondering whether we are wanted in the Church.

Traditionalists have yielded ground many times, acknowledging that it is the will of the majority of the Church of England to admit women to all levels of ordained ministry. We traditionalists recognise that we will never seek nor attain the highest offices in the Church of England. We need the bare minimum that will allow us to remain and take our full part in the life of the Church of England.

A Code of Practice is open to the interpretation of local bishops, and can be "here today and modified and gone tomorrow". That gives us no confidence.

May I urge everyone who wishes traditionalists to remain and flourish with dignity to lobby their bishops, asking that proper provision will be provided. Ask your bishops not to go back on their amendment, but rather to seek ways such that Anglo-Catholics and conservative Evangelicals have a secure and honoured place in the Church of England.

PATRICK DAVIES
296 Wilbraham Road
Manchester M21 OUU

From Penelope Fletcher

Sir, - When the ordination of women first appeared on the agenda, I was vehemently opposed. So much so, that I was asked to speak publicly against it. For some reason, I found that I could not agree to do so.

This led to a long period of reflection and self-examination. I found, greatly to my surprise, that my opposition had very little to do with theology, and a great deal to do with my early schooldays, when I suffered under a sadistic headmistress.

As a child, I determined that I would refuse to grant any woman authority over me. The teachers who inspired me were male; the people I worked for were male; the priest who prepared me for confirmation, and showed me the joy of Christianity, was male. The realisation that my opposition was to do with my own experiences and not theology led to a change of mind.

PENELOPE FLETCHER
35 The Pentlands
Kintbury, Hungerford
Berkshire RG17 9XB

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