RSS

Tag Archives: Ordination

Women’s ordination resolution rewritten

Screen shot 2013-04-10 at 11.35.21 PM

Ah, don’t you love the intrigue!

The president’s newsletter just received advice that the GCC resolution on the ordination of women has been changed:

(from the President’s Page 10th April)
It has been noted that a draft proposal for Synod agenda item 2.4 Report from the Consensus on Women’s Ordination Dialogue Group was incorrectly printed on pg 28 of the Book of Reports. Please replace this with the correct proposal as follows:

2.4 BE IT RESOLVED that the Church:

  • receive the progress report of the Ordination Dialogue Group;
  • supports continued study of the matter of hermeneutics (the interpretation of scripture) arising from the October 2011 symposium on this topic;
  • supports study of what consensus means, for the sake of unity in the LCA as a confessional church
  • request GCC to ensure that a report with recommendations be presented to both GPC and the next Synod

Here is what the earlier version said:

2.4 BE IT RESOLVED that the church adopt the following approach to the question of the ordination of both genders:

  • Receive the interim report of the Dialogue Group studying consensus on this issue
  • Request the Dialogue Group continue their work
  • Address the hermeneutic question arising from the a symposium convened by the Church in October 2011
  • Study and present to the Church what ‘consensus’ means in our confessional church.
  • On completion of the above, place the matter before either the Commission on Theology and Inter-church Relations, or another group of theologians of the Church as appointed by the College of Presidents in agreement with the General Church Council, for study by the pastorate and the laity of the church and as per the Syndocal process place it back on the agenda of synod if that is the wish of the Church.

The revised motion seems to indicate, amongst other things, that the Dialogue Group is to be terminated and that the side-stepping of CTICR is to end. Note how the reference to CTICR or another group of theologians has been deleted.  Pr Mike Semmler for some years has side-lined CTICR when it does not bring down recommendations that he supports.  He has therefore done his best to minimise their impact.

It seems to us that the President’s advisors have pulled him into line.  Perhaps the time has come for them when enough is enough.   Who knows?

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The gathering of the perfect storm

The church would like to think that it stands for eternal unchanging values. Well, yes … but change is in the air in striking ways, and not just in one or two churches.  The groundswell among laity and (often) clergy is overwhelming but the resistance from those who hold the reigns of power is strikingly alike. Power and authority is a tough thing to give up.

Rome has criticised US Catholic nuns for working too closely with the poor and not speaking loudly enough about birth control and homosexuality. While nuns say that they will not compromise their mission three Catholic bishops are in talks with the nuns in hope to find agreement. Bishops and Nuns hold ‘cordial and open’ meeting

A Maryknoll priest has been dismissed from the priesthood for refusing to recant his call for the ordination of women.  Maryknoll: Vatican has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from order | National Catholic Reporter.

While the Church of England votes against ordaining women bishops, down in Africa Anglicans have ordained their first woman bishop.

Seventh Day Adventists have voted to ordain women at all levels of their organisation except for the General Conference leadership, which focusses simply on organisational unity.  Why women’s ordination in the Seventh Day Adventist churches?

I guess you’ve heard of Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church. This link records convictions against Australian Catholic  priests and religious brothers but we know the abuse has occurred around the world.  Meanwhile the church declares that it has “taken decisive steps in the past 20 years to make child safety a priority and to help the victims of abuse,”  yet, the abuse continues.  Why is it that a supporter of women’s ordination is dismissed while child abusers are not?

The church is in turmoil.  These are pivotal days.  Without engaging with our changing culture we are a lost people and a lost church.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When theology loses track of experience

We’re not convinced that the authority of Scripture is the sacred cow it is held up to be.

Lets just imagine that theologians and church hierarchy spoke with one voice around the globe, deciding that Scripture did not allow the ordination for women.  In the context of a world where women are in virtually all work places and are increasingly in leadership, the response from many would be to find that Scripture was simply inadequate to deal with our experience of God, or our experience of the world of today. On the other hand the response may simply be to walk away from the church.

Returning from the theoretical to the actual – the LCA – and assume the same conditions (universal agreement by theologians and Church hierarchy that women’s ordination is disallowed by Scripture) we would have two options, division or death. On the one hand (division), under intolerable conditions, individuals and congregations would be forced to form other communities, while on the other hand (death), people would walk away from the LCA and perhaps faith.  In either case, the Church as we know it would be gone, leaving it to another generation to attempt to rebuild a tradition from the ruins of a disconnected, inward-looking, pious Australian Lutheran Church.

For too long the church used the authority of Scripture in its support of slavery.  Human compassion decreed a higher standard and calling.

Today, any discussion on whether slavery should be tolerated would be abhorent.  Similarly, the time is past when there can be any consideration of that world view where women are somehow less than men in the sacred or secular context.

What about the potential for a split in the Church? Isn’t it right that unity should be preserved until a solution can be found? It is our view that through lack of pastoral leadership the damage has already been done.  Objective, careful leadership would have allowed the LCA to discuss and find its course towards women’s ordination.  As it stands today, however, the matter has been politicised, the discussion stymied, the debate manipulated, and women have been isolated and alienated.  Pr Semmler has distanced the national Church from St Stephens’ sponsored Time to Soar conference on women’s ordination and he continues to attempt to control the debate rather than to facilitate it.  Sad to say, but we don’t believe that continued unity is either possible or desirable.  It is not possible to expect congregations to continue to suppress their women at official levels when women are already providing significant leadership.  It is difficult to gauge but some would add that patience with poor national leadership is running low.  In addition, it is not desirable to maintain unity when that unity requires the continual abuse of women in the LCA.

For those who support women’s ordination the debate is over.  Scriptural passages supporting slavery or the subjugation of women are simply reverberations of history.  They offer nothing for our future. Our future is in an ever-adapting Church that responds to an ever-changing society.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 2, 2012 in theology

 

Tags: , , , ,

Wearing ribbons in support of women’s ordination

Please consider subscribing to this blog via an RSS feed or through email notifications (add your email address in the top right hand corner).  Thanks for helping to build the women’s ordination network.

November 2011 saw the ordination of several men from ALC at Concordia Chapel, Highgate, S.A.   Small ribbons in support of women, who were not deemed suitable to join the men, were offered to those attending.   A large number of people were happy to wear the ribbons, including faculty from ALC and parish clergy.  A small card was also given to people stating:

As we celebrate this occasion with the church and the ordinands, there is sadness that, yet again, no women will be ordained.  We invite you to wear this ribbon to the service and other celebrations as a gentle way of showing your support for the ordination of women.

Pastor Semmler laments the low number of men graduating from ALC, however, he demonstrates an intolerance for one obvious solution to the dilemma – the ordination of women.

The wearing of ribbons has been received enthusiastically by some. Perhaps they should become a permanent thing until women are finally ordained.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on January 10, 2012 in politics, women's ordination

 

Tags: , , , , ,

“The Authority of Scripture, Women’s Ordination and the LCA”

The Journal of Lutheran Ethics, ELCA,

carries a concise summary of the women’s ordination debate in the LCA, including the history and hermeneutics brought by the different sides.  The author, Tanya Wittwer, is a doctoral candidate at Flinders University in South Australia, holds a Master of Divinity From Wartburg Seminary in Iowa and is Master of Public Health Coordinator, University of Adelaide.  She points out the manipulation that has occurred by the ministry-for-men proponents.

Excerpts are included below.  For the full article, including papers and references from many sources, click here.

7] Those that argue that Christ established the office of ordained ministry do so on the basis of passages such as Matthew 28:18-20 and John 20:21-23. There appears to be no acknowledgement that these “establishment” verses may be being used to justify existing practice based in tradition rather than providing a clear mandate for ordained ministry. Those that would argue for the office of ministry having been developed in the early church would look to, for example, Acts 15, Acts 20:28 and Ephesians 4:11 for evidence of an emerging (and diverse) ministry structure. This discussion seems not to have been part of the ordination debate.[8] The study of the ordination issue has focussed on the two verses used as the basis for the prohibition paragraph in The Theses of Agreement rather than using as the starting place the witness of Scripture regarding ordained ministry. I surmise the reason for this is the assumption of consensus regarding the office of ministry.

[10]…However, there have been persistent hermeneutical differences between those engaged in the discussion, and it could be argued that these have been shaped by the ideological positions held prior to any Scriptural study.

[11] Significant voices in the debate have argued from what they maintain to be a literal (but not Biblicist) understanding of Scripture. The subordination of women is an implicit assumption for many. Other significant voices uphold a viewpoint that the Gospel is central to all interpretation and that allowing the text to speak implies a contextual reading. Many of the same people would suggest the Holy Spirit remains active in the development of the church and its theology.

[13] While the official line has been maintained that all discussion in the church on the matter of the ordination of women has been on the basis of Scripture, the reality is that it has been a discussion nested in political strategem.  Many decisions about process have been less than transparent. Those nominated by the church to provide leadership in matters of theology voted by a two-thirds majority – after a long process of study and discussion – that Scripture permits the ordination of women. However, when the General Synods of 2000 and 2006 were asked to discuss and vote on the issue there was silence about the work of the CTICR and the impression continues to be given that they did not reach a decision. A task force was established by the General Church Council following a resolution of the 2006 Synod, “to determine and implement strategies for promoting greater consensus on the matter of the ordination of women” but the report of the task force to the 2009 Synod seems to suggest that the previous study and discussions were ignored.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.  We’d love to get your comment.

If you found this post useful, consider sharing and subscribing to this blog for free.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 6, 2010 in Hermeneutics, politics, theology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Congregations will eventually ordain women

In the LCA congregations will eventually begin to ordain women.

It is happening in the Catholic Church because congregations are despairing of any change through formal channels. In August Elaine Groppenbacher became the fourth female to be ordained a Catholic priest in the Phoenix area, USA.  When the Vatican increasingly loses respect and authority, congregations will increasingly risk being ejected from the fold to do what they think is right … and this is in a tradition where obedience has a high priority.

“We’re the Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church,” says Bridget Mary Meehan, a Womenpriests bishop and former nun. “We no longer accept second-class status in our own religion.” Read more.
The Vatican is in crisis.  It is facing a drop in membership despite Catholic policy against birth control, it is beginning to face the crimes of its clergy from the last few generations, (I shudder to think of the undisclosed crimes from the last two millenia) and very few Catholics have any respect for the Catholic decree prohibiting the use of contraception, which has led to a devastating surge of AIDS in Africa. In addition, a US CBS poll says that the majority of Catholics support women’s ordination.
There is panic in the Catholic camp for the Vatican is responding with inordinate force, denouncing  “female ordination a delictum gravius, or a grave crime, the same label it has given to pedophilia.”  Time Magazine 27th September 2010, pp 53-55 The Vatican declares that women who attempt to become priests, and the officiating bishops, will automatically be excommunicated from the church. Let’s be clear about this – women who wish to share the gospel through the ordained ministry are condemned with the same language as paedophile priests who use children for their own sexual gratification!  Such loss of perspective and such loss of focus indicates a blinkered urge to regain control of a diverse Church and an accompanying loss of pastoral care and vision.
It is clear where the Vatican’s priorities lie. The Times cites the case of Rev. Roy Bourgeois, who was excommunicated two months after he took part in a ceremony ordaining a woman. It took years after bishops’ requests, in many cases, to defrock pedophiles.

Women and men have waited generations for women’s ordaination in the LCA.  It is a certainty that congregations will eventually lose patience with the callous handling of this pivotal issue.  It is unlikely that the Church can remain intact through another General Synod without ordaining women.  I believe that General Convention 2012 will be a turning point.  No more will all congregations be content to trust in the process.  No more will they trust that women’s ordination ‘will soon happen’.  No more will they trust Church leadership. No more will they continue to tell the women in their midst to continue waiting.

Congregations will increasingly consider their options are as General Synod 2012 draws closer.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.  We’d love to get your comment.

If you found this post useful, consider sharing and subscribing to this blog for free.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2010 in sociology, theology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: