Monday, December 12, 2011

Moore College Graduate Options: Become a Woman Bishop!

I am delighted to see that the Australian Anglican Church is increasing the number of woman bishops. It has (3), steaming away from AotNZ and Polynesia (1), and leaving England (0) in its wake. Given the humiliation of Australia in the cricket test today (Go the mighty Black Caps!!), some crumbs of the comfort of success should be granted to Australia (who did not win the Rugby World Cup, had we mentioned that here on ADU?).*

In reading the article linked to above I note that Genieve Blackwell was once a student at Moore College, Sydney. Various things are assumed about Moore College and what is taught there in respect of woman in ministry - often based on myth and not fact, but we can be assured that what is taught there does not preclude a genuine option in future ministry for female graduates: episcopacy!

Though probably not an option in Sydney itself where no signs of change are emerging. Indeed Archbishop Peter Jensen will not take up his traditional metropolitanal right to ordain bishops in his jurisdication:

"Although as Metropolitan of NSW Dr Jensen would usually conduct the consecration, he has asked the Bishop of Newcastle, Brian Farran, to do so in his place.

The diocese of Sydney remains one of the few in the Australian Anglican Church that does not ordain women as priests.

''I very much admire Genieve Blackwell,'' Dr Jensen said. ''However, I regret I am not able to take part in the service for reasons of conscience.'' "
That is quite an interesting statement from ++Peter. I am glad it is a question of "reasons of conscience" and not of "theological opposition."

Meantime, pray for Genieve ... and for her cricket team :)

*OK. Some news services are carrying an item about Australia beating us at Hockey.


Andrew Reid said...

It would be a bloody Bracewell to beat us, wouldn't it?? (Pardon the language, but we Aussies can't help visiting the sins of the Father upon the son.) What is it with Australia and chasing down small 4th innings totals?

Anyway, I don't think Moore College will have a "female bishop" session at their Careers Seminar anytime soon :) What it does show is that the offiicial position is not unanimous, and that once Sydney people get out of Sydney, their views can change. Given Canberra/Goulburn already ordained women, I imagine Bishop Stuart Robinson (ex-Sydney) had to give an undertaking he would be willing to continue that practice and appoint a female bishop if the opportunity arose.

In saying "reaons of conscience", Archbishop Jensen certainly has theological objections to women bishops, but I understand he believes them to be second order theological objections - ie we can still love one another and maintain fellowship even if we disagree about it.

Father Ron Smith said...

I wonder what Genevieve thinks about all of this. As an Evangelical, why would she go against 'the conscience' of her Sydney superior in daring to offer herself for a leadership role in His Church? This will probably cause a bit of holy laughter amongst the female Saints in Heaven.

Andrew Reid said...

Dear Father Ron,
Rev. Genevieve has been serving in the Canberra/ Goulburn diocese, which was one of the first in Australia to ordain women, as a priest and archdeacon for a number of years. So, her superior is Bishop Stuart Robinson rather than Archbishop Jensen, who is arcbishop of Sydney and metropolitan bishop of New South Wales. In his metropolitan role, he would usually consecrate new bishops in NSW, but has delegated that role as stated in the article.
Also, she hasn't "offered herself" - as an assistant bishop, she has been selected by Bishop Robinson in consultation with his diocesan council.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thanks, Andrew, for that explanation. I was wondering about the connection of the Sydney Archbishop to Genevieve and you have given me the answer. It is good to known, too, that a bishop in NSW does not have to kowtow to the metropolitan in his choice of an assistant bishop. Prayers for G.

John Sandeman said...

Genevieve Blackwell as a young woman attended St Barnabas Broadway, the Church nearest to Sydney University. Peter Jensen was a frequent preacher at the 7pm service, attended by hundreds of students. (And me, i remember it as truely great preaching)
She then studied at Moore while Peter Jensen was the Principal.
When Peter Jensen says ''I very much admire Genieve Blackwell,'' its because he has known her a long time.

Peter McKeague said...

It is pleasing to know that Archbishop Jensen considers women's ordination to priesthood and the episcopate to be second order theological issues. His comments were very gracious. Unfortunately it is not possible for us Aussies to treat cricket and rugby as second order issues. Hockey and basketball maybe, but not the former two.