Row over woman bishops damages church reputation
I AM disappointed by the decision of the Church of England to not allow women to become Bishops – and to now see the response of ordinary people to the outcome.
The Church was established by Jesus to carry His message of life, in all its fullness, not argue about 'law'.
I find myself at odds with many other Anglican clergy in Plymouth on this issue and I wish we could agree to put the world and its needs before our arguments on secondary issues like these.
Arguing harms all churches and our reputation among those we are called to serve. It affects our ability to bring change to a broken society. One only needs to read the reactions in the press to see the harm this vote is causing.
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As an Evangelical I do believe the whole Bible, but I also believe it needs to be read considering the genre of the particular book – to decide if it is poetic or literal for instance, the reason it was written in its original context and then think carefully how that translates into our own culture.
With that perspective, I do believe the Bible speaks of God's desire for men and women to be equal in all things. And as someone who holds the Bible dear, I do find one particular verse of the Bible seems to be missing in this whole debate on whether women should be Bishops, from Titus 3:9: "Avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless."
But I am not disappointed in what I witness daily in the churches who work together in and for their communities.
The decision taken on women Bishops is disappointing and I do wish it hadn't happened. However, it will not stop me from knowing how fulfilling life is when Jesus is involved in it. It won't stop my church from doing all the really good things its tries to do to help others locally, young and old, all across the city, partnering with other churches and the community.
And, it won't stop me or my church affirming women in ministry and supporting them to lead in all types of ways.
REVD TIM SMITH
St Jude's Church