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Showing posts from November, 2012

St Andrew's Day

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Scotland's national flag, the Saltire, is a symbol of St Andrew, the nation's patron saint. The diagonal cross alludes to Andrew's death by crucifixion. Andrew of course was not Scottish and never visited Scotland. He was a Jewish fisherman from Galilee who responded to Jesus' call to follow him and brought his rather more famous brother Simon Peter with him.

It's St Andrew's Day today. It's the only saint's day I remember being celebrated in the Presbyterian church in which I grew up, whose membership was dominated by ex-patriot Scots like my grandparents. Consequently as a child I thought St Andrew was the most important of the first 12 apostles. In the eastern orthodox church he's known as the 1st-called. But in Scotland his importance is more entangled with national identity and often with the struggle for independence - see Flavia di Consiglio's article today for the BBC 'Who owns St Andrew's Day?' .

1200 years ago in Scotland Kin…

How to find out how your General Synod reps voted

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Without comment I'm posting 2 links that some of you might find useful.

It is in the public domain how individuals voted at the Church of England General Synod on 20 November 2012 on the motion 
‘That the Measure entitled “Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure” be finally approved'.You can find the list of how individual bishops, clergy and laity voted on the official Church of England website here.

The list of how people voted does not give the information on what diocese of the Church of England each represents. If you do not know who the General Synod representatives are from your own diocese, then thanks to Peter Owen you can find a complete updated list of General Synod members here.  Or you should be able to find local information on your own diocesan website.

UPDATE 27.11.12.
Peter Owen has now produced a really helpful webpage analysis with everyone listed by diocese, how they voted and records absences. So if you're interested, I recommend …

Women Bishops and Mary of Bethany's Story

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What has Mary of Bethany's Story got to do with the women bishops issue in the Church of England? I think it's relevant because it is one of many examples in the gospels of how Jesus treated women. Jesus' attitude to women is one of the strongest arguments for both women and men sharing leadership in the church.

On the Big Bible Project I write monthly about women in the gospels. My post there on 14 October 2012 was about Mary of Bethany. You can read it below (especially if you prefer large font) or you can read Mary of Bethany's Story here.

*********************************************** Mary of Bethany was a woman who didn't conform to acceptable behaviour for women in 1st century Jewish society.
Had she always been like that? Or was it because of Jesus? It's true she was quiet, but you don't have to be noisy to be rebellious or a bit of a pioneer. The stories about this Mary are among my favorite gospel stories. Mary of Bethany lived with her sister Martha …

Women Bishops: hanging on in there

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This tea towel is 20 years old, so has probably been hung out to dry often. 

Wrung out and hung out to dry is how many men and women in the Church of England have been feeling in recent days.

If ever there was a time for 'hanging on in there' this is it.

We are in a mess, but we're not as helpless as this tea towel.

We are being stirred up in reaction to a crisis. May we be stirred up to actions of love, peace and justice.

Here are some links to posts that have encouraged me to 'hang on in there':

10 great things about the Church of EnglandFemale bishops: on not letting it goAddress to Diocesan synodThe Church of England and women: a rare moment of clarityWomen Bishops - apology

And then there is the very interesting development that Frank Field MP has tabled a Private Members Bill in the House of Commons - Equality Act 2010 (amendment) 2012-2013 to amend the Equality Act (2010)to remove the discrimination against women in relation to consecration of bishops in the Church…

Flying with Church of England: cake or death

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Cake or death? It's Friday and time for a little Friday fun in the time-honoured tradition of the English laughing at themselves and their institutions, in this case the Established Church. 

This animated lego version of Eddie Izzard's 'cake or death' joke was made 5 years ago. In the light of recent events connected with the Church of England and Women Bishops it's given me a much needed laugh today.

I especially like:
Talk will you talk!
But it hurts!
Well loosen it up a bit will you.



"Thank you for flying Church of England".

Photo: Cake or death by Kaptain Kobold on Flickr, CC License
Video: Thorn 2200

Women Bishops: reaction to General Synod vote

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In yesterday's pre-scheduled post I wrote that I would tell you my reactions to the outcome of  the vote in General Synod on the women bishops measure. 

On Tuesday I followed the debate on the live audio feed. When the vote count was announced I stormed out of my study, stamped into the kitchen, banged the pots and pans as I began to prepare supper while trying to tell my husband how I felt. Words did come rather loudly out of my mouth but really I felt speechless. I was devastated. Had I been wearing a clerical collar I might have symbolically cut it into little pieces. 

This is what I wrote on my personal Facebook page that evening
"It is a very long time since I have felt so upset and so angry and so very very sad - all at the same time." Many others, men and women, inside and outside the church have experienced similar reactions. I was encouraged by the message posted by John Pritchard,  Bishop of Oxford on our diocesan website on Tuesday evening. He wrote this:

'I …

Prayer for General Synod: self-control

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Today's focus for prayer for the General Synod of the Church of England, which concludes its meeting in London today, is self-control.

I am pre-scheduling this post, so at the time of writing I have no idea how Synod voted yesterday on the crucial debate about women bishops. I will post my reactions in another post later.

When you read this you will know the outcome, how you feel about it and how others are reacting.

This is a good time to be reminded that one aspect of the fruit of the spirit is 'self-control' - working together with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and humility.

Let us pray for self-control,
that our joy may be in the flourishing of each other and the will of God.

May the God of hope
fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Spirit.

It's the 1th day of the NovemberNovena cycle of prayer for the Church of England General Synod. For an introduction to this see Praye…

Prayer for General Synod: today's debate and vote

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In this cycle of prayer that has led up to and is continuing through the current meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England, the focus is today's crucial debate in relation to the Women Bishops Measure and 'Final Approval Vote'.

In case you are wondering, the image is meant to be about people working together. It could also represent people looking up to God in praise and prayer.






Let us pray for today's Final Approval debate and vote at General Synod.
Let us pray for the grace and wisdom of the Holy Spirit for all members of Synod. May each listen attentively to one another and to God, speak the truth in love and may God's will be done.
We are all one in Christ Jesus;we belong to him through faith,heirs of the promise of the Spirit of peace.Common Worship



It's the 10th day of the NovemberNovena days of prayer for the Church of England General Synod. For an introduction to this see Prayer for General Synod: love and joy. I have posted the prayers plus some…

Prayer for General Synod: tomorrow's debate

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The General Synod of the Church of England begins its 3 day meeting in London today.

Today's focus for prayer is for the members of General Synod as they prepare for tomorrow's crucial debate and vote on the women bishops measure. 


Let us pray for the members of General Synodas they prepare for tomorrow's debate and vote.
Be devoted to one another in love.Honour one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
Now there are varieties of gifts but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7






It's the 9th day of the NovemberNovena days of prayer for the Church of England General Synod. There will be 2 more days of this particular prayer cycle - so 11 in total. 

For an introduction to this cycle of prayer see Prayer for General Synod: love and joy. Scroll down the bl…

Prayer for General Synod: humility

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Humility is today's focus for prayer for the General Synod of the Church of England which begins its November session tomorrow.

It's the 8th day of the NovemberNovena days of prayer for the Church of England General Synod whose meting starts in London tomorrow.

For an introduction to this prayer cycle see Prayer for General Synod: love and joy.

I have posted the prayers plus some Bible verses every day of this so far. Scroll down the blog archive for November in the right hand side bar to see the posts from previous days.






Today let us pray for humility,that we may truly seek and accept the will of God, in God's time.Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 NRSVAnd all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' 1 Peter 5:5 NRSVDo nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Le…

Prayer for General Synod: faithfulness

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Faithfulness is the focus for prayer for the General Synod of the Church of England which starts its extraordinary session in London in 2 days time.

It's the 7th day of the NovemberNovena days of prayer for the Church of England General Synod.

For an introduction to this see Prayer for General Synod: love and joy.

I have posted the prayers plus some Bible verses every day of this so far. Scroll down the blog archive for November in the right hand side bar to see the posts from previous days.

Today let us pray for faithfulness of heartand for faithful Church leaders.


Love the Lord your God with all your hear and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22: 37
Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

Image Credit: David King, CC License

Prayer for General Synod: goodness

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Goodness is the focus for today's prayer for the General Synod of the Church of England which meets in London immediately after this coming weekend.
Let us pray for goodness,that we may reflect the whole beauty of God.He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:4He has told you, O mortal, what is good;and what does the Lord require of youbut to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6: 8 NRSVLet love be genuine: hate what is evil, hold fast to that which is good. Romans 12: 9 NRSV



It's the 6th day of theNovemberNovena nine days of prayer for the Church of England General Synod. The theme is the fruit of the Spirit.

Prayer for General Synod: love and joy covered the first 2 days.

For my posts on the subsequent days scroll down the blog archive for November in the right hand side bar.


Image Credits:

Martin LaBar, CC LicenseNovemberNovena candle icon, used with permision

Prayer for General Synod: kindness

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Kindness is the focus for today's prayer for the General Synod of the Church of England meeting in London next Monday to Wednesday.

Let us pray for kindness among Christians and that we may be humble enough to receive as well as give.

"Give and it will be given to you". Luke 6: 38
"...be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 NRSV
"As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience." Colossians 3: 12 NRSV



This is the 5th day of the NovemberNovena days of prayer for the Church of England General Synod.
Prayer for General Synod: love and joy covered the first 2 days

Prayer for General Synod: peace was the 3rd day

Prayer for General Synod: patience was the 4th day


Image Credits: Realistic Imaginations, CC LicenseNovemberNovena candle icon, used with permission

Prayer for General Synod: patience

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Patience is today's focus for prayer for the General Synod of the Church of England which meets next week.


It's the 4th day of the NovemberNovena days of prayer leading up to and continuing through the 3 days of this significant event.

See also:

Prayer for General Synod: love and joy which covered the first 2 daysPrayer for General Synod: peace which was the 3rd day.


Today let us pray for patience,that we never stop trusting God.
Now the God of patience and consolationgrant you to be like-minded one towards another,according to Christ Jesus.
Romans 15:5

"May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."Colossians 1: 11-12 NRSV"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, …

Prayer for General Synod: peace

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Today in praying for next week's General Synod of the Church of England, the focus is peace.

It's the 3rd day of the NovemberNovena nine days of prayer for the Church of England General Synod. For an introduction to this see Prayer for General Synod: love and joy

Let us pray for peace,that we may accept Christ's peaceand share it with our brothers and sisters.
He breaks down the walls that divide us:praise Christ who is our peace.Common Worship

Lord Jesus Christ,who said to your Apostles:peace I leave you, my peace I give you;look not on our sins,but the faith of your Church,and graciously grant her peace and unityin accordance with your will. Amen. 

Image Credit: The Dance of Life by d'Image Miner - Lisa, CC License

Prayer for General Synod: love and joy

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Not having grown up in a Roman or Anglo-Catholic tradition the idea of a 'Novena' is a bit of a novelty for me, although praying regularly at particular times or for special purposes is familiar.

A Novena is 9 days of focused prayer.

NovemberNovena website has 9 days of prayers for the General Synod of the Church of England which meets in London next week 19-21 November 2012. You can find links to the agenda and papers here. The business on Tuesday 20 November is of significant concern for the future of the church. The Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure will be presented for final approval. Passions run high on this issue and it is unlikely to be an easy debate.

Regular readers of this blog will know what my views are from previous posts such as the one 2 days ago. Much prayer is needed for all members of the General Synod.I'm not talking about prayer for a particular outcome, but, in words from the NovemberNovena website, prayer for
"…

Remembrance Sunday

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96 years ago, on the western front during World War 1, Private Cecil Roughton picked a poppy. He sent it to his parents as a, “Souvenir from a front line trench near Arras, May 1916.”He survived to old age, as did the carefully pressed poppy. Last year his family gave it to the Royal British Legion. Thanks to that organization, poppies continue to be a symbol of lives given, lost or damaged by war and the need for support for those affected.
Today in the UK is Remembrance Sunday. Today we remember the worst people do to each other and the best people do for each other. We remember that “the war to end all wars” didn’t; that there have been few days of peace since 11th November 1918; that this year more UK service personnel came home from Afghanistan wounded or dead. And in many places of the world more people will die today as a result of conflicts. More families will grieve.
There’s no war that isn’t horrible. According to UN estimates, around the world today there are about 250,000 chi…

Yes to Women Bishops

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There's only a few days left before the General Synod of the Church of England takes a significant vote on whether or not to pass the measure that could enable women as well as men to be consecrated as bishops as well as preserving an honoured place for those who cannot accept this.

Both our current and future Archbishops of Canterbury are encouraging a yes vote. Every Diocese has representatives on General Synod. If you worship at a Church of England church and want to encourage your representative to vote yes, you can do so very simply and quickly through the Yes 2 Women Bishops website. You don't need even to know their names, just the name of your church and its diocese.

On the same topic - the Church Mouse doesn't blog often nowadays and I miss him, but he's put up a new post today Yes to Women Bishops Part 1. Even if you disagree with him, it's worth reading.

Whatever your views pray for members of all houses of General Synod as they consider how to vote.




Archbishop of Canterbury: the 105th

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Justin Welby was named this morning as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, which was no surprise after the media leaks of the last few days. It does seem he was surprised to be asked. And no doubt rather daunted. Many others more eloquent and informed than I am have published their reactions. Here's my brief 2-pennyworth.

I was encouraged by his opening statement at the press conference at Lambeth Palace this morning. He began with one of my favourite prayers
"Come Holy Spirit to the hearts of your people and kindle in them the fire of your love."Speaking of the future of the church he expressed optimism and said:
"We will certainly get things wrong, but the grace of God is far greater than our biggest failures."You can see the video or read the full text on the Archbishop of Canterbury website here. 




Image Credit: weather vane, Lambeth Palace by sczscz: Creative Commons License

Archbishop of Canterbury Speculation

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When the name of the next Archbishop of Canterbury is officially announced, possibly tomorrow, the news will feel like old news. Since bookmakers closed betting on this at the start of the week, gossipers have been harder at work than ever. 

Rumours about who has been chosen have been widely published in the press, radio and TV today and yesterday and many clergy have tweeted and blogged about the leaked name.

Even the BBC today announced the (presumed) identity of the next Archbishop of Canterbury designate. The headline on the BBC website looks like an announcement but the reporter is careful to say 'it is thought...' - thus confirming that that even the once trusted BBC is reporting a leak, or gossip or speculation. Shame on you BBC. The Church of England website has joined in the gossip by publishing several links to speculative articles and comment in today's Daily Media Briefing. I suppose it's all about everyone racing to be the first with the news and informed or…

All Saints Day

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Just a bit of fun for All Saints Day today, a patter song in Gilbert and Sullivan style. It's after the style of the 'Elements Song' by Tom Lehrer.

It names more than 100 'canonized' saints in 90 seconds. As today is about 'all saints' and not only those who have been dignified with some official recognition, it's the last line that I especially like. There are:
'many thousands more that are deserving of your attention".This reminds me of the child whose definition of a saint was someone the light shines through. There are countless people like that, most are unknown and unrecognized. Thank God for them all. And enjoy!







For more thoughts on 'All Saints' see Intercessions for All Saints DayAll Saints Day at St Paul's or anywhere
Photo: my own, part of a stained glass window in Douai Abbey, Berkshire, England