A Message from the Bishop of London on the Ordination of Women to the Episcopate
The following letter from Bishop Richard was circulated to clergy on 15th July following the vote at General Synod. The rest of the week was, sadly, taken up with the aircraft disaster in the Ukraine and the escalation of violence in Gaza, so that the importance of this vote for the future leadership and character of the Church of England was, for a time, overshadowed. For this reason I thought it might be helpful and interesting to include the following pastoral letter, together with the so-called Five Principles from the House of Bishops. Personally I welcome the decision to go forward with this, and see it as the theo–logical outcome of the decision in 1992 to ordain women to the priesthood. You may disagree. I leave all further judgement to you, the reader; and then the rest to God. Alan Carr
General Synod vote on women bishops
We have already debated this subject widely within the Diocese with frankness, passion and, I am glad to say, a good deal of Christian charity. I welcome yesterday’s vote of the General Synod to permit women to be bishops not least because it will liberate our energies to pursue our Gospel ministry and mission.
‘The Synod has agreed a Measure and a House of Bishops’ Declaration that will allow us to move forward in mutual trust, where those of all opinions can flourish in one Church of England. We now need to ensure that the gifts of all the baptised, laity and clergy, are used well in the service of Jesus Christ, men and women together as full partners in the Gospel. We will particularly wish to discern and encourage those women priests whom God may be calling to episcopal office.
‘I and my fellow bishops have committed ourselves to the five principles* enshrined in the House of Bishops’ Declaration and we will continue to work together to ensure that every parish, including those who in conscience cannot receive the ordained ministry of women, can prosper and continue to express the life of the Gospel in our great World City. We go forward together in the mission of God, confident, compassionate and creative in the service of Jesus Christ. Please continue to pray and work with me for the good estate of all Christ’s church.
With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel.’
The Five Principles
- Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops, the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being equally open to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
- Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;
- Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests and bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God;
- Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and
- Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.
First Sunday giving
In the month of August, at services on 3 August, we shall take our last collection for our main charity in 2014 – Mind in Camden.
A newly opened branch of their work is the Phoenix Wellbeing and Recovery Service, based in Camden Town itself. From here it runs a series of workshops, which provide a mixture of on-going support groups and time-limited workshops. A cafe is available for workshop participants. From here also they offer dedicated personal support for clients, allowing them to identify their needs and work to achieve their goals. A befriending service matches clients with others to meet regularly over coffee or to explore a shared interest. Support is also given to friends and families of clients, so as to extend and improve the level of understanding and help around them. Finally, sessions run by volunteers provide a range of further activities, with practical support, subsidised meals, access to IT, special events & trips.irst Sunday Giving
Our weekly Bible reading and study sessions are still in place through most of August. I shall be around to host and lead the group on Tuesdays 5th, 12th and 19th, all at 1pm in the Vestry House. After that there will be a bit of a break until I return from Israel, from Tuesday, 23rd September onwards. I am confident that by the time we break up in August we will have completed our long journey through the gospel of St John. It’s been a fascinating excursion through one of the most dramatic and profound of the gospels and I am grateful to my fellow travellers for their contributions along the way. We will always welcome those who may want to join us.uried Treasure
A simple lectionary
Once upon a time at St. Giles we used to print and distribute a sheet containing the readings from one of the lectionaries in the Book of Common Prayer. (A ‘lectionary’ is an authorised list of daily or seasonal readings). Some of you may once have enjoyed following this list in your personal practice of bible reading at home, and may not now know where to turn. The readings that we use at morning and evening prayer through the week in Church are all taken from what is called ‘The Revised Tables of Lessons, 1922,’ which can be found on page xxxv of the small blue BCP’s that we have at church. You need to know which Sunday of the week we have reached, but once you know that you only have to locate the day of the week and there you will find an Old Testament and New Testament reading for each occasion. They are pretty long, as a rule, but well worth the trouble! You will also find the readings for Sunday evening worship in this table. The readings for Holy Communion or the Sung Eucharist, of course, are printed out in the relevant section of the calendar, along with the collect.
So with a BCP and a Bible, a simple form of personal prayer can easily be followed: O Lord, open our lips, etc. | The psalms of the day or one of the appointed psalms | The Old Testament Reading | the Te Deum (or part of it) in the morning, the Magnificat in the evening | The New Testament reading | the Benedictus (or part of it) in the morning and the Nunc Dimittis in the evening | the Lord’s Prayer, Collect and personal prayers. In the space of about 20 minutes each day you could easily fill your mind, heart and soul with the treasures of the ages!lectionary and simple pattern of prayer
Weddings and baptisms
We are looking forward to the baptism of Theoni Raido at the 11am Sung Eucharist on 17th August, and shall welcome her parents Stephanie and Menaleus, and godparents Hilary and Bernard, and other family members.
Later in the month, on Saturday, 30th, Kyle Brazier and Lucy Sage from Romford will marry at 1pm and Tony Walker and Siew Lim, who live in Australia, will marry at 4pm, a busy day! Again, we look forward to welcoming these couples and their families and friends on such a special day for them all. Two other wedding services are taking place this year at St Giles, one in October and one in November.astoral services in August
After a frustrating delay of almost four months, the landscaping contractors are due back on site in the churchyard on Monday, 28th July. The delay was caused by having to obtain planning permission to rebuild the wall that separates the churchyard from Phoenix Garden. It took a couple of days to pull down, but four months to rebuild it! Once that has been done, the new playground can be installed, remaining planting carried out, the fencing and gates reinstated and the whole project completed. It’s going to take until just before the 6th September when the Agricultural Fayre takes place, but one way or another the Fayre will go ahead!
West End Project
Now that the work for the new Tottenham Court Road underground station is moving forward, and the engineering works on Crossrail are progressing, the local authority public realm planners are now consulting with the community about their plans for the public realm down the length of Tottenham Court Road as far as St Giles itself. Its called the West End Project, which you can find on the Camden website, and involves adaptations to traffic flow on surrounding streets, and to pavement levels and street furniture. At present there is a proposal for a permanent bus stand outside the church in St Giles High Street that we certainly plan to make objections to.
The immediate area around St Giles is again becoming a permanent building site: the Crossrail works at the foot of Centre Point continue; Centre Point and Centre Point House are being redeveloped for accommodation; and Denmark Street, and the land behind it, are also due for large-scale building works in the coming months and years. And here, in the midst of so much noise and confusion, stands St Giles, quiet, modest, ancient. Surely the church and its grounds have never been as important as now.est End Project