Women Bishops – Interview 1.m4v



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Margaret Offerman, a Reader at the Church of the Ascension, Blackheath, talks about the Church of England’s slow progress towards the appointment of Women Bishops…

my name is mortgage Offerman I'm a cradle and Logan I became a reader in the Diocese of Southwark in 1988 and I have served in the church of the assumption since then I wouldn't have stayed a member of this church for over 30 years if I hadn't felt that it modeled a life of spiritual growth and the possibility of service of community I enjoy being part of a community which is loving which is supportive but which is outgoing in the local community and in the wider community to an extent that I've never experienced before in a church if there is one thing that I react against very very strongly in the church it's the use of the word tradition to mean intensely conservative I am a traditionalist I believe in the tradition of the proclamation by Paula Deen Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile bond nor free male or female but all are one in him and I think that's the tradition that we need to live out and it's over just proclaiming it it's no good just having it as a slogan we've really gotta mean it and if we mean it then we include everybody within that that orbit I'm very sad that at the moment the Church of England is dragging itself along behind what we've now come to call the secular world because i think that the secular world is setting us an example the secular world has moved on the secular world has realized what values we should be trying to live by and we don't seem to be able to behave convincingly in a way that suggests with we've got the message option i feel about the debate a sense of incredulity that it's still happening i'm old i was at the debate in the House of Commons in 1975 on the final reading of the equality bill and I thought oh this is a great step forward now we're going to move towards a real sense of the Equality of men and women and it'll be in the law and a couple of years after that I was at a service in st. martin-in-the-fields to celebrate the ordination of the first woman in the Church of Canada and I thought it can't be long now that we must we must be seeing some progress soon and in 1979 I was at the inaugural meeting of the movement for the ordination of women and I thought yes this is going to be the time when the breakroom happens and women are going to be recognized for all their gifts and men aren't going to be threatened by women anymore and we're going to have the same stages for in the church as we have in my profession which was teaching or that there is developing him medicine and so on and so I really have to shake myself to think we are now in 2012 and we're still going over this ground we're still reversing these arguments were still stuck in a quagmire of introspection navel-gazing and it appalls me I think ordain women must look at women in other professions and think why can't it be like this in the church why can't a woman be recognized for her experience and her expertise all the qualities the caliber that she brings to the job if I were a woman priest and I knew that my role was to be endlessly restricted I would be frustrated to the point where I don't know how I would go on I think that women should fulfill the role that a deacon is required to fulfill a priest is required to fulfill a bishop is required to fulfill without any reference to her agenda I mean this is just so obvious that it feels ban all saying it actually you know I just think the situation that the moment is untenable it makes the church on laughing stock and enterprise the Church of a group of women who would be assets they wouldn't be liabilities they wouldn't be a problem there wouldn't be any of these awful images that that men use when they're opposed to women and I just I feel frustrated and it's no use the church proclaiming its mission to the world if in fact it is explicitly saying that this mission does not include certain groups for reasons that are entirely beyond their own control and it's over just proclaiming it it's no good just having it as a slogan we've really gotta mean it and if we mean it then we will include everybody within that that orbit the important thing to me about Christianity is the figure of Jesus I am interested in the life of Jesus the risks he took the inclusiveness that he lived out the compassion that he showed the healing that he offered the level of teaching that he he could aspire to because of his intellectual and his imaginative caliber but most of all because of his love for everybody he met when Jesus met people he instinctively loved them he sought to good in them he saw the potential in them and he affirmed them as they were where they were what they were and that is not and that has attracted me to Christianity and what keeps me and trying to hang on and more or less in spite in the church you

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