Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The stained glass ceiling

from w

Cracking the stained glass ceiling

Padre James Bhagwan
Wednesday, February 04, 2015
from the Fiji Times: * Reverend James Bhagwan is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church in Fiji and is the church's secretary for communication and overseas mission.
History was made in York Minster, the cathedral of York, England, one of the largest of its kind in Northern Europe last Monday (26/1/15), when Church of England consecrated the Right Reverend Libby Lane as the bishop of Stockport.
According to the Guardian newspaper, women have been consecrated as bishops in many parts of the worldwide Anglican communion since 1989, and as priests in England since 1994, but opponents put up a long resistance to their further promotion, which only became possible last autumn. Roman Catholic bishops, who frequently attend important Anglican occasions, were absent. The service marked a final and decisive break with the tradition of an all-male priesthood.
Bishop Lane swore obedience to the Queen, and to the Archbishop of York and their successors. She heard Jesus's instructions to his disciples from the gospel of Luke: "I am sending you out like lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say 'peace to this house' "
(section deleteld)
The Anglican Diocese of Polynesia, while ordaining women priests, some of whom hold senior positions in the diocese is yet to appoint a woman bishop. The Methodist Church in Fiji ordains women ministers and has for some time now had a woman divisional superintendent, its equivalent of bishop, in Reverend Kelera Wesele who has served as divisional superintendent of the Vatulele Division and is the new divisional superintendent of the Vatukarasa Division.
I have benefited from the wisdom and support of my big sisters in ministry — both clergy and deaconesses and sisters, in my own spiritual and ministerial formation. I was honoured to be a candidate for the ministry and be ordained alongside the largest number of women ministers in the Methodist Church's history. However the challenges that my sisters face in a patriarchal society, are much greater than I do as an ethnic minority in our community.
While some faith communities have a doctrinal and traditional stand on this issue which — like the Church of England — mean a long and slow process of discernment, there are times when the Bible is simply proof-texted for passages of scripture to cement prejudice rather than share "good news" of love, forgiveness, freedom from oppression and empowerment for all God's children.
Well, perhaps that's the challenge of living in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith, multi-denominational and multi-cultural society.
"Simplicity, serenity, spontaneity."

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