Friday, 8 February 2013

The Episcopettes

A six-piece girl group to be put together by Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh.

Those of us who are now little more than bemused observers of the Established Church have noticed that the House of Bishops is increasingly out of control. It has unilaterally lifted the ban on bishops in civil partnerships, presumably in order to secure the appointment of Dr Jeffrey John to the See of Durham.

And now, somewhat paradoxically, it has altered its own composition so as to give effect to the theory of the interchangeability of episkopoi  and presbyteroi, as has of course been widely held within the Church of England ever since the sixteenth century, but which has never been its formal position such as to be given any practical effect. Until, that is, today.

But why stop there? Not least since all of the Church of England's bishops are in fact the appointees of a layperson who has been a woman for 61 years and counting, why not allow each of the other two Houses of the General Synod, that of Clergy and that of Laity, to elect in joint session six of their lady members to attend the House of Bishops, with each member voting for one candidate, and with the top six elected?

One third of those attendees would be comprised of a traditionalist Anglo-Catholic and a Conservative Evangelical. For that matter, Evangelicals more broadly could expect at least one more seat, and possibly two, one very Charismatic and the other less so. Thereby answering the question, "Why not?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is going to be eight, apparently. "Chosen regionally" from among "existing dignitaries". You are right that it wants watching. Give it two years and they will be "ordaining" other women. But if it's eight, then applying your suggestion really would make things very interesting. That's why it won't happen, I don't need to tell you.

In this ecumenical age, though, how about building on the existing ecumenical representatives on General Synod? The House of Bishops could feature a women from each of the Baptist Union, the black-led churches, the Church of Scotland, the Methodists, the Moravians, the Eastern Orthodox, the Roman Catholics, the URC and the Copts. Plus maybe one non-Anglican woman from the Evangelical Alliance to make it up to a nice round 10.