The future of the Church of England?

Jane Kramer’s article in The New Yorker on the battle in the Church of England over whether to allow women to be bishops is now available online in full:

A Canterbury Tale

The battle within the Church of England to allow women to be bishops.

by Jane Kramer in the New Yorker

Remember the Church of England, that mythically placid community of Sunday Christians and beaming vicars whom you met in Austen and possibly came to loathe in Trollope? “The Tory Party at prayer,” generations of Fleet Street leader writers called it. You can forget that now. The vicar you meet today is likely to be a young woman with a couple of Oxbridge degrees, and the country’s favorite cleric is Geraldine Granger, a plump chocoholic sitcom priest known to people who watch the BBC as the Vicar of Dibley. Geraldine, played by the actress Dawn French, made her début in 1994, the year that women were first ordained as priests of the Church of England. She stayed near the top of the sitcom ratings for the better part of thirteen years, which is three years longer than Tony Blair ran Britain, and continues to shepherd her parishioners through DVDs and reruns—during which time more than twenty-five hundred women have been ordained. By now, women account for nearly a third of the Church of England’s working priests, and most of them are waiting for the investiture of the Church of England’s first female bishop—a process begun in 2008, when the laity, clergy, and bishops in the Church’s governing body, the General Synod, voted in favor of removing the last vestiges of gender discrimination from canon law

Our earlier report is here.

Poor Church of England

By Mark Silk at Spiritual-Politics

If you think the pope’s got problems, consider the Archbishop of Canterbury. As pictured by Jane Kramer in the current New Yorker, Rowan Williams is a very smart, eirenic soul with a job that only a Machiavelli would have a chance of carrying off.

. . .

“We mean to hold our own,” Churchill told the House of Commons after British troops turned back Rommel at the battle of El Alamein. “I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” In due course, of course, that’s just what Churchill presided over. Even if Rowan Williams manages to eke out a victory, any victory, it’s increasingly evident that he’s become the ABC in order to preside over the liquidation of the Anglican Communion–and perhaps the C of E itself.

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