"We want to take hold of our future and we are gripped, paralyzed, by our past"
In his sermon yesterday, before an audience divided and shaken by the last debates at the CofE's General Synod, the Archbishop Rowan Williams told about future and past. I brought the above phrase to reflect about the tension that in this special moment of our Communion is putting bodies in different sides.
Within Church of England the debate is now around women episcopate. One of the most moving moments I lived was in 1994, at Bristol Cathedral, when the first 32 females priests were ordained in the church of England. I told in that time to BBC reporter, outside the Cathedral after the ceremony I was so happy and my comprehension were that Church of England was giving a magnificent step to be authentically inclusive. I was in that time studying at Selly Oak, Birmingham.
Normally debates on the issue of women ministry had been so hard trough times. Brazil was the first South America Church to approve women ordination to all three orders, in 1984. It was a very difficult process. Many people were so scandalized by the idea os a woman preside at the altar. Despite we have not yet a woman bishop - the legal permission exist since 24 years ago - we had candidates that were submitted to diocesan and synodical votes. About 20% of our clergy today is female.
We need to look forward to make advances in a comprehension of equality within the Church. Many people are so linked with a past of consecrated 'culture'. They remember to me as the Lot's wife that lost herself in becoming so bounded to what she left behind.
Many people are making this same way: bounded in a perspective of fear and traditionalism. The Church of England has the opportunity to experience what is still a reality: women are contributing for the people's growth and maturity!
England has historically a very prominent female role: remember Elizabeth I - her role in establish the bases of an inclusive church - and others courageous women who ruled this nation.
I pray for Church of England do not fail the occasion to have them leading the Church. Look for the future!