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Female bishops & priests accorded embassy protocol at ACC – 16

Female bishops & priests accorded embassy protocol at ACC – 16

The Church of the Province of Central Africa does not ordain women nor allow them to exercise their episcopal or priestly ministry within its jurisdiction. However, the bishops of the Central African church made a decision to treat the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka Zambia as neutral ground for the duration of the ACC – 16. Within the confines of the cathedral, women could exercise their ordained ministry during the worship services of the gathering. The cathedral acted as an “embassy” of the Anglican Consultative Council for that time.

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Clergy prepare for the opening worship service of ACC – 16 in Lusaka Zambia.

That appears to boil down to women bishops and priests who were representing Anglican Communion provinces which ordain women, presiding at the eucharists of ACC – 16, if invited to do so. It’s hard to tell how often that happened as there are not a lot of photos available of women at the communion table at ACC – 16. The above photo seems to be all that the Episcopal News Service and the Anglican Communion News Service could come up with on the topic. It shows the Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, chaplain to the Speaker of the UK House of Commons and priest vicar at Westminster Abbey, presiding at an ACC – 16 eucharist.

However, if any of the ordained women visited local Anglican parishes while in Zambia, they again fell under the jurisdiction of the Province of Central Africa and were not to act in any priestly capacity. According to the Revd Canon Bob Shiubula, who organized much of the worship at ACC – 16, this situation is acceptable to the folks in that province, in spite of women actually being responsible for much of the worship in the Central African parishes. Women are Lay Readers and they may serve Communion, but they may not preside at the table.

Canon Shiubula was quite proud of the fact that in the Central African province folks who advocate for women’s ordination are happy to wait for their fellow Anglicans who oppose women’s ordination.

The ordination of women priests is a matter of time. There have been dioceses, over the years, who have gone to the Synod and said we agree to ordain women to the Diaconate; and said “OK, that’s our position as a diocese, as a Synod, however we will not break it. We will wait for our brethren to join us. We will let them know how we feel.”

And that unity – we kept the church together not because everybody agreed; but everybody agreed to disagree. This province has that beauty.

There are several people who would ordain women to the priesthood tomorrow if they were together as one mind of the Province. That is part of the sacrificial waiting, sacrificial giving – not because we are in agreement but because we believe we want to do it together.

That sounds a lot like former Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori’s comment a few years ago about LGBT folks standing in a crucified place!

This story was reported at both the Episcopal News Service and the Anglican Communion News Service.
Both photos are from the Anglican Communion News Service coverage of ACC – 16.

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Anne Bay

Reading this article is so difficult! Whoa-2016 and this group of Anglicans seem proud of the way they are prohibiting women from being included in the Anglican Communion as ordained members of the clergy. This is so disheartening. Let's see, in the 1950's when I was young, I lived in southern Oklahoma and saw first-hand segregation. No one who was not "white" could attend the schools in the city I lived in. (There was a neighboring city where "non-white" children could attend public schools) Every business was segregated-ie. the movie theatre, the restaurants, the hotel, etc. When we moved to California in 1960, I could tell change was in the wind. Isn't it tragic (and just ridiculous) that here we are in 2016 and the Church in Central Africa are treating women the same way that the segregated south operated in the 1950's. I have a hard time not only reading this article, but am embarassed that it is even going on. The young people I know won't go anywhere near a church-any church-and it's easy to see why. And a lot of adults I know are finding other spiritual paths for their spiritual life.

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JC Fisher

"That sounds a lot like former Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori’s comment a few years ago about LGBT folks standing in a crucified place!"

I made a similar comment at Thinking Anglicans: a repetition of this CANARD. In Christ-like ethics, sacrifice can only be offered---never imposed.

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Cullin Schooley

Cynically, I am reminded of people of color being relegated to the church balconies for worship in times past.

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Paul Woodrum

The Province of Central Africa is as wrong now as Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori was then. We cannot justify misogyny and homophobia by portraying victms as martyrs while using them as scapegoats in a misguided attempt at unity. Gay rights are human rights. Women's rights are human rights. If that is not a building block of our unity, the foundation is sand built on sand.

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