Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Twenty-one years ago today

Twenty-one years ago today, the great love of my life died- unexpectedly- of AIDS.
Yes, it was also a leap year then- only something out-of-the-ordinary as that could accomidate such a loss for me, and for the local community of care.

One of those larger-than-life transformative radical re-definitions of one’s life- I’m referring to our time together, not his death. Too short, but so supersaturated with authentic grace. His family name was Pontbriand - shining bridge- and never was one more aptly named.

It was the darkest decade of AIDS here in Montreal: when our caring and support was often cobbled together out of little more than thin air. When even the medical establishment (and the Church of course) were treating our people like literal pariahs. Garbing, masking and gloving as if they were treating martians, leaving food trays outside their doors. And yet I don’t know if I’ve ever known more radiant, determined embodiments of grace, courage, and the determination to live authentically.

Louis hadn't been hospitalized that time however. As part of the mis-diagnosis which had failed to detect the serious KS. in his lungs he'd been fighting what was only supposed to be a flu at home.

Two days short of his returning to work as director of client care at one of the by-then handful of local AIDS organizations: after being mis-diagnosed with a flu, Louis failed to wake one morning when I was off at the dentist. His volunteer caregiver who was there that morning acted on her training and called an ambulance.

But for twenty-one years I’ve lived with the consequences of a medical procedure, built on a series of medical errors, which in the end was the immediate cause of his death.

So this morning is a quiet day here in our tiny house: giving thanks for the extraordinary gift of love we shared in our too-short time together and living with the loss- loss even now. Loss beyond words in the instance of some of the other names I can no longer even recall. Lost, but they thread their way in and out of a dark period when we all lived as giants.

Larger however than all the memories & loss: this morning is large with thankfulness- unconditional gratitude.

je t’aime 'mon grand Bonheur'

Monday, February 20, 2012

Living/Dancing/Dreaming- A Hopeful Lent

There’s a informal ongoing/sometimes conversation- largely by e-mail between the four of us- which has been going on for some time now.

For me, the whole thing began when I posted a comment in defense of a blogger who’d suggested that the concept of heresy was an outdated administrative tool of a medieval patriarchy: that in this complex day and age no one should be tossing such heavy terms around; that situations, which in the past might have raised even a suggestion of the old ‘h’ word should now be occasions for dialogue.

Unfortunately that wasn’t quite the consensus of his readers. So many of the comments posted in response accused the author himself of heresy I began to question their seriousness- or sanity.

When I wrote in his support the vitriol only got more agitated- and deflected towards me. One sentence in particular, suggesting that in complex times such as these one sometimes had to remind oneself that the ‘corporate Church’ and the Living Body of Christ are not necessarily always the same reality.

In the blink of an eye the original issue was brushed aside in the rush to take me on. For the better part of twenty-four hours the comments fell over themselves expressing themselves on my suggestion. And then, just as quickly, the whole thing fizzled when someone reminded the cohort that I’m Anglican. A ‘post-Anglican-anglican’ I tried explaining to the by-then deserted venue, but I’m not sure anyone appreciated the distinction.

Unfortunately since then the original author, a thoughtful academic, who has taken some risks for the integrity of his personal discernment has since given up blogging.

Once the dust had settled however, there was this loose fellowship of caring and sharing- principally by e-mails between four of us.

For more than a year, our exchanges were largely an exploration of the transformative potential within the current distress and deterioration the institutional church is undergoing in so many quarters. One contributor brought a really interesting re-working of much of recent history in the Church of Rome and Anglican-land, citing Macculloch, and Butler Bass’ ‘A People’s History of Christianity. Then last year, during what turned out to be a rather challenging and interesting Lent for me personally, I overheard an interview on Canada’s public broadcaster with J.S. Spong, who once again spoke of the need for ‘Christian spiritual maturity,’ a term which has become the defining context of our ongoing exchanges.

Please, don’t misunderstand our fellowship: our exchanges are anything but doom and gloom- far from it. On the contrary. Diminishing average Sunday attendance and membership rolls might be the occasion for panic, the objectification and on-going condemnation of secular society in some quarters; the four of us however essentially see these as indications that even within the Church, much of humanity is slowly working/feeling/dreaming itself out of the straight-jacket of patriarchy, homophobia and misogyny among other things.

One or the other of the two Anglicans in our group may occasionally sigh (mea culpa) over the latest antics of Canterbury or York, and one or the other of our number will invariably challenge us, ‘hey what about transformative process?’

And then this week there were the press over Ms. Diana Butler Bass’ latest: ‘Religion After Christianity,’ and a post by ‘our Elizabeth’ that I have already suggested would serve as a keynote reflection for a lot of us as we approach yet another Lent.

So why am I posting about either of these hopeful events?

A theme which has been central to each of the issues and exchanges between the four of us has been the church that the Holy Spirit is calling us to become in, through and in spite of all of the regrettable media the ‘official Church’ too often continues to garner.

‘I can’t help but wonder where this is all leading,’ one of our number dared only ask once. ‘Will there even be a Church of the future?’

But here’s where it gets really hopeful- because ever since my initial comment to that blog post on heresey, the four of us insist on working within a paradigm which strives to distinguish the hopeful differences between the living Body of Christ at work and the public persona of the corporate Church, but to also celebrate the occasions when they actualize as a common reality.

By common agreement the Church of the future, not 'the future of the Church' is our working reality.

And it is in this context I welcome and celebrate both of these new arrivals.

No, I have not read Ms. Butler Bass’ latest. With my ever-diminishing fiscal resources and the very real threat of losing our tiny house my book-buying days are a distant memory. I do, however know Ms. Butler Bass’ previous work, the thoroughness of her research and the thoughtfulness of her conclusions.

And as to ‘our Elizabeth’s’ work: it’s integrity, passionate humanity and her love of our tradition- there are few who can match her for the integrity and quality of the work she does on her blog during these confusing/frustrating/awesomely-transformative times in our tradition.

That both of these contributors to the on-going life of the Body of Christ are women gladdens my queer/feminist heart more than you can imagine.

As one of our number in the discerning fellowship I mentioned earlier suggested recently, what the four of us are essentially doing is praying/living/dreaming ourselves into the Church of the future. And that’s exciting!

As another online friend K.- the former Zen priest and cherished sangha buddy keeps reminding me, 'Anglican-land is where it’s really happening', and the Holy Spirit’s the ‘best dance in town.’ So do yourself a favor, check out our Elizabeth’s post before you even consider your personal version of the pancakes and ashes thing this Lent, and get Ms. Butler Bass’s latest as you keep living/dancing/ dreaming your way into the future of the Body of Christ.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Names: Nothing Changes

Trying to understand, I asked him about his single condition: that no names or identifying references be used in this post. Is there someone you feel you need to protect? Family members perhaps who are still active in the parish life? Not the bishop?

Eventually he came up with what he admitted was the closest he could manage to an answer: ‘Some messes are bad enough you don’t need to swim through them a second time. Learn you lesson well, because it’s my experience that if you try to change the outcome it will almost invariably make things worse because the other parties will be on the defensive if they’re not busy back-tracking. By the time the air’s been cleared, you’re worn down- exhausted, and asking yourself why you even tried in the first place.’

‘Sounds pretty toxic to me,’ I admitted.

‘ Sometimes the only healthy thing to do is let go: let the consequences of actions beyond your control work themselves out, and get on with your own healing’ he suggested with an audible sigh.

Yes, this unfortunately is an Anglican story. My friend, a cradle Anglican grew up in a family deeply involved in his parish and diocese. Eventually, however, he had his own deep and very painful reasons for parting company with the institution of the local Church.

‘In the rest of my life I, and much of the world were living a reality that the official Church and many of its ‘decision makers’ were politely, fastidiously avoiding. I tried, getting individual priests, and even the bishop involved; ‘ducking out’ would perhaps be the best description of the response I received. Listening to me the first time perhaps; lots of those slightly condescending smiles and pats on the hand- as if only they knew what was really going on, what was really at stake behind the harrowing realities I was describing. However, there was never a second meeting to discuss a concrete commitment. I’d been heard, and apparently that was supposed to be enough.’

My friend and I both belong to a loosely network which a third participant- a theologian- calls ‘the church in exile.’ Some of us, our lives indelibly coloured, the essential architecture of our beings fashioned by our Anglican birthright; others informed by denominations and traditions which overlap ours and inform our fellowship.

‘What d’you call yourself?’ possibly the first question of many from my friend in the rich exchange of prayer and mutual support which spans several years now.

‘ A post-Anglican-anglican?’ I offered, perhaps consciously coining the phrase for the first time.

‘I’m not sure the definition has been worked out for someone like me,’ he’d eventually responded.

Less than a year later the theologian joined our number. ‘A lay theologian,’ he’d made a point of stressing at the time, ‘no vested interests in the corporate monolith we call Church.’

The shape of my friend’s days are almost monastic. ‘Shaped by silence,’ is how he describes it.

The work that he does allows for that solitude. ‘And yet, I’m blessed to be in touch with some of the most vitally interesting, deep thinkers you can imagine.’

My friend is also impressively well-read. What he calls ‘critical theology,’ environmental and social issues; there’s also a considerable exposure to orthodox theology and Russian literature which creeps into our exchanges at times. Which is kind of surprising as the thinkers we’re more likely to share these days are the likes of +Spong, Capon, Heschel, Sacks, Borg or McLaren. For more than a year, the two of us read in tandem the works Ehrman and many of the original texts Ehrman cites.

‘A post-theist Christian, trying his best to embody the consequences of the Incarnation,’ is perhaps the closest he’s ever come to defining himself, and that was only when a mutual acquaintance pressed him. Another time, possibly around the time our theologian friend referred to our loose network of prayer and caring as a ‘Church in exile,’ my friend found himself agreeing.

‘Well, I am Church, if no longer officially part of the Corporate structure- so yeah.’

About five years ago my friend, who works in the world of solutions and ideas, had an idea.

Actually, it was a lot more than a single idea. ‘One thing sort of led to another,’ he told me.

‘When a local Church which had played a part in his Mother’s childhood was closed and sold- along with several others in a very short time within his diocese, my friend got thinking.

As is most often the case, ‘the problem’ was really a lot more complex than simply b.i.p (bums in the pew). Yes, current attendance was a pale ghost of its former self, but equally significant my friend determined was the whole culture of the corporate Church. As much the language they were using as what they were offering. How they were engaging with potential membership. The whole concept of membership itself. Why they were offering it?

All of which led to a lot of deep reflection and what my friend calls organizational doodling. Which of course eventually led to the money of it all.

At that time, not only was his local Church closing parishes, but a Bishop’s Annual Dinner was instituted ($250 per head), an annual Bishop’s Golf Tournament, and shortly thereafter the diocesan paper started advertising annual ‘pilgrimages’- with the Bishop of course- to the Middle East one year, Italy the next. An outside ‘consultant’ was eventually hired, and subsequently made a permanent employee of the diocese: to advise on ‘visibility, access and marketing.’

But back to my friend and the money issue.

A contextual note: This is a Canadian story, and at the time my friend began working things out on paper, the Canadian cell phone market- unlike its American equivalent- was essentially dominated by three national players. Informing his awareness of the development of this market was the fact that one of my friend’s closest friends had occupied senior executive positions in two of these three corporations.

As I said, my friend’s ‘organizational doodling’ had brought him to the ‘issue of money’ in current Church culture: the medieval concept of pledges, frequently tithing; the multiple ‘appeals’ (pressure) on an ever-decreasing laity to assume greater and greater responsibility for the costs of the institutional Church and its infrastructure. One word kept seeping into his doodling ‘patriarchy.’ ‘Essentially a patriarchal monolith’ he eventually told me. ‘A model which was found to be too costly and counter-productive in almost every other sector of our lives... Effectively extinct.‘

‘Except in the Church,’ I’d teased.

Somewhere in all of this my friend thought of his cell phone executive friend.

Not the first time the concept of ‘affinity’ had entered my friend’s life or thinking. Essentially a transactional culture developed for ‘mutual benefit,’ (you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours- gently, caringly, for our mutual benefit) he’d been part of a much earlier experiment in ‘affinity’ in his volunteer life.

My friend did his research: the number of parishes, dioceses, aid and development initiatives within the Canadian church: all beneficiaries.

Knowing church and more specifically Anglican Church culture, my friend them began mapping out a process which could accommodate and work with the objections and resistance he sensed he’d invariably encounter.

Almost like a defining icon, the story of our Lord driving the money changers from the temple almost immediately came to mind- and stayed with him.

This however would be different.

With time another passage from Scripture also came to mind: Matthew 10:16

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves'

Through what my friend hoped would be a series of exploratory discussions, the Church would define the parameters of the plan and accessibility to Church membership. The Church would likewise invite all three of Canada’s leading cell phone service providers to compete for access to that same membership.

With a registered membership of 800,000 in 30 dioceses: but more importantly with 2,035,000 ‘self-identified Anglicans’ in the country according to the 2001 national census (6.1 percent of the population), Anglicans were a group any one of these companies would be happy to talk with in a conversation which could be designed and managed by the Church.

With diocesan and a national newspaper- available both electronically and by home delivery, with weekly bulletins and regular mailings, the Church was essentially an invested market: one with an interest in something more than cell phones: ie the Church.

In the theoretical model my friend proposed, the Corporate partner would perhaps have:

Serious quarterly advertizing of pre-determined dimensions in the diocesan newspapers; bi-annual access to the national Anglican Journal.

Links would also be provided on diocesan and the national Church website for subscription to the plan.

Possibly, the Corporate partner would be granted access to individual parish bulletins as part of their annual stewardship campaign.

All of these details to be crafted by the Church and negotiated with the eventual corporate partner. At no time would direct access to individual participants (i.e. email addresses) be provided to the Church to the Corporate partner.

Members of the Church, their family, friends and even sympathetic strangers would have the opportunity to enrol their cell phone usage with the Corporate partner for the benefit of specific parishes, the national Church or individual Anglican initiatives.

In return, each of these beneficiaries would receive a monthly royalty payment based on a pre-determined percentage of individual enrolled participant’s cell phone usage.

Lifelong Anglican that he is, the process my friend designed was Church-driven and defined every step of the way, and being an unanticipated initiative, the Church would have an obvious advantage in negotiating access and royalty percentages as each of the three leading service providers competed to become the Church’s Corporate partner.

Once again my friend sat down with his corporate executive friend:

Did the cell phone industry currently offer any affinity opportunities? On a very limited basis. Normally within their own corporate culture- to unions and professional associations.

Would either of the corporation she knew so well be capable of instituting a beneficiary code into their system, to identify accounts enrolled in such a plan as well as this organization's beneficial recipient? Yes.

Would a national organization with national membership, infrastructure and exposure- and here he quoted his statistics- possibly be of interest to either of the Corporations she knew so well? Reminding him their personal mandate was not in marketing, his friend responded with a question: What would such a group possibly have to lose by pitching such an idea?

Another thing, once my friend had got the first program worked out, he started what he calls ‘developmental daydreaming.’

‘Once the Church saw the incremental benefits of their plan on a monthly basis, maybe they could even help other non-profits negotiate similar arrangements: breast cancer, Save the Children- who knows.’

That wasn’t all however.

‘I also started thinking about some of the more visible claims on Church finances. Specifically, all those trips the Bishop and Archdeacon make- for meetings of the House of Bishops, for international conferences and diocesan partnerships. Without giving away any details I actually got in touch with the national air miles plan- essentially about the possibility of Church members ceding their air miles points to the Church in return for a tax receipt: effectively rendering most if not all church air travel cost-free.’


‘It was all to be part of my presentation to the Bishop, once I’d got him understanding the possibilities for the Church with affinity’

But sadly- predictably, some might say- here’s where the whole thing fell apart.

Some time previously, my friend had been asked to befriend a recent arrival to the diocese. Church history, critical theology and modern Biblical scholarship were cited as possible mutual interests by the individual who described this third party as ‘someone in need of friends.’

They also ended up being near-neighbors.

Once my friend had completed his ‘developmental doodling’ he sent off an e-mail request for a meeting to the Bishop (a long-time family acquaintance) and shared his proposal with this third individual over coffee.

What he didn’t know at the time however was that this individual, after having completed all the necessary academic requirements had been declined as a candidate for ordination. This person had ‘issues’ and had essentially become a ‘power player’ within the corporate Church.

Unbeknownst to my friend, this individual and the Bishop met for other purposes, but inevitably got around to discussing my friend’s request for a meeting with the Bishop.

Whatever was said, my friend never received even the courtesy of an acknowledgement from the Bishop.

The other party made a point of letting him know of their meeting with the Bishop. ‘Oh, and we discussed your idea.’

‘And?’ my friend asked.

‘That’s it. We discussed it.’

‘That’s it?’ my friend asked, not quite grasping the dimensions of what was going on.

‘You’ll just have to wait and see,’ the third party told him, with what he mistook for coy amusement.

So why am I writing this- probably five years after the fact.

Because, just days short of Christmas, my friend was out grocery shopping and literally crossed paths with that Bishop. ‘He was coming straight at me... No question that he saw me, and knew who I was... For a moment old habits almost kicked in. I almost greeted him by name. Instead I simply nodded and smiled- I mean it’s not as if we were exactly on speaking terms.’

‘And what about the Bishop?’

‘His features flushed, he lowered his eyes, and kept walking- right past me... I actually stepped out of his way to make it easier for him.’

‘How did that feel?’ I asked only when it became clear there wasn’t more to the story.

‘I was almost all the way back home before it really hit- this only-too-concrete proof I was no longer even recognized by this particular embodiment of the corporate Church... I can’t say it didn’t hurt.’

The other day, thinking of a couple of responses to something I had written and published in another quarter, my friend’s pre-Christmas pain came only too readily to mind.

When I e-mailed him about writing this post, his only question was ‘Why?’

Because you deserve better

Your work deserves better

The Church deserves better,

and besides, they’re probably still closing parishes and selling off the real estate, I reminded him.

‘I did what I could: cast my bread upon the proverbial,’ he told me.

‘What are you feeling?’ I asked only after the question persisted.

‘Nothing really. Not now at least.’

The problem, however, was I only too well remembered his pain last Christmas.

‘What do you think really happened,’ I couldn’t help but ask.

‘Who knows?’

‘That other person you shared the programme with?’

‘She’s actually left the diocese- moved on.’

‘But whatever she might have said- for her own angry ends- bottom line is the Bishop didn’t even have the courtesy to respond to your request or listen to your proposal.’

‘There is that.’

‘Did you ever think that possibly your proposal was more than he could handle. Just maybe the old guy wasn’t quite up to getting his head around it.’

‘He’s not that old.’

‘So... maybe it was just too far outside his ‘box.’

‘That’s just it,’ my friend finally admitted. ‘There’d be a decided shift in the transactional power exchange in financing the Church. An expansion of the individual parishioner’s investment in the Church.’

‘Isn’t that a good thing?’

‘Yes, but that could also bring with it an increased expectation of accountability and transparency- over how those new funds are being spent; how this considerable change in the Church’s fiscal situation is being reflected in the Church’s priorities and performance.’

‘You just might have something there... Accountability and transparency in corporate Church culture? What a thought!’

‘Yes, but in a whole other context that’s already changing for the Church with the internet,’ my friend thoughtfully posited. ‘That’s why I’ve let the whole thing go- for now at least.’

My friend? He’s gone on to other things. Currently that includes an alternate model for disaster relief housing; three inventions, lacking only the funding for their patent applications, and another project ‘too tentative and new to even have a name yet, ‘ he told me.

‘But what about affinity?’ I asked, when we spoke the other night.

‘The Church obviously wasn’t up to it- not even for entertaining the possibility.

‘And in the process, they’re probably still closing churches, putting the squeeze on those in the pew.’

‘Yeah, well...’

There really wasn’t anything more to be said.

I did however keep my promise: no names or identifying details. ‘You mean to protect the guilty,’ I’d teased when we spoke last.

‘Maybe to protect me,’ he’d eventually admitted. ‘I don’t need the grief.’

‘Love you-‘ I reminded him just before hanging up. ‘And I still say you deserved better from your Bishop if no one else... a lot better.’

‘I love you too.’

My friend, this one’s for you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Do they even stop to think?

A conversation several days ago, with one of the living blessings who has become very dear to me. We live in different countries: until recently we’d only ever connected through the blogosphere and e-mails. But, as we’ve grown to know each other, and shared several heart-felt telephone conversations, V. has become a treasured partner in the tortured/difficult/exciting transformation our Church is undergoing.

V. is a university academic: literature; with believe it or not a doctoral thesis on Spenser’s Fairie Queen. She is also a ‘convert. Having grown up in a defiantly secular home, where my Dad was a physics researcher, and Mum was a hospital administrator.’

V. fell in love with the Anglican tradition because of our liturgy- ‘its transcendence. It’s only recently I’ve got into the history, issues and theology behind it and the insufficiency for our complicated times of much of the thinking and worldviews which gave us this poetic beauty.’

When V. called she was tears, having read a news story of the on-going antics in the British Synod over the proposed ‘protection’ of the delicate sensitivities of priests and parishes unable to accept the oversight of women bishops in the English Church.

‘Rowan is actually tying the English Church into a legislative straight-jacket to normalize misogyny within the Church.’

I listened.

V. had apparently picked up the story in what I believe is called her ‘news feed’. One of the keywords is Anglican, another is Episcopal Church. Which is actually quite surprising, because four years ago, when everything was gearing up for Lambeth 2008, and it became clear that the Giant of New Hampshire was going to be excluded from the councils under the Great Big Blue circus tent, V. resigned from her post as People’s Warden and had her name removed from the parish lists. When school started that fall V. became a the mainstay at the twice weekly Eucharist at the University where she teaches; eventually becoming a server, ‘ an experience I still find beyond words,’ she’d told me only months earlier when we’d also discussed the possibility she might be discovering a vocation to the priesthood in her own life.

‘You know, I’m actually wondering has Rowan... bumped his head or something?’ she eventually asked. ‘Do he and the Archbishop of York really think they can get away with this? Didn’t they learn anything from the scandal over the appointment of the new Bishop of Southwark?’

I listened.

‘You know what I’m thinking... Something you said, one of the first times I called you- about one of your posts... How sometimes Church can be like a toxic parent.. How even when you leave home, you still try to keep an eye on them- covertly, or at a safe distance.’

'Guess that explains your news feed,' I kidded her.

‘So what do I do?’ she asked. ‘What am I supposed to do with this... latest mess?’

I waited, to see if there might be more before suggesting that the first thing- the only thing really she could do: to essentially unplug- from her news feed at least- to take some time for serious self-care. And perhaps, when she’s ready, to write about it.

‘You know, I used to take real comfort in the fact that the Anglican tradition wasn’t one of those churches that expected you to check your brain at the door... That people could disagree, and still live into something larger- the Living Body of Christ.’

‘But when I see these stunts- there’s no other word for it... I really wonder.’

Our conversation went on a lot longer and on to other topics, but even after more than an hour on the practice bench, I still ached for my friend’s deep existential pain.

Not the first time I have come across it in fellow people of faith, or perhaps most sadly in fellow Anglicans. Sitting there, after we’d hung up, I thought of the manifestations of that same deep trauma and pain expressed in the lives of too many of our poz clients here in Quebec as they faced their approaching deaths in the first two decades of AIDS. Bone-deep, defining pain, yes, most commonly experienced through the excesses of the Church of Rome during its years of excessive power here in Qu├ębec: the madness of the Church at its worst lived out in the agonies, fear and pain of too many gay men- but also in the anger, indifference or bitterness of the current unchurched majority in this province today.

Do they have any idea of the consequences of their actions? I asked myself after V.'s call, thinking most particularly of Canterbury and York? Remembering the scandal of Lambeth 2008, the rejection of Jeffrey John’s vocation to the ecclesia, the insult to +Katherine’s office when she visited Britain, and now this. Frightened old men in purple skirts, with their big rings and pectoral crosses. Only a few days later, a priest I truly cherish shared with me the cheeky theory that perhaps sometimes the shock of consecration is too much for certain individuals, dissolving their backbone during the laying on of hands. I’ve also heard another theory- that it’s the weight of all that big jewellery, the insignias of their office, or perhaps they’re believing all those complimentary headlines they wished someone would write about them?

Whatever, it’s worse than tragic, when one sits with the loss- not even for the Church, but for the individuals who can no longer live with what the church is doing to them, to the people they know and love, or even just in the headlines.

One of the other aspects of the current scandal in the English Synod V. and I went on to discuss is the embarrassing silence from both of our respective provinces on the issue of women bishops in the English Church. In the last several years, as we know only too well Canterbury, York; several African provinces, and un-numbered self-appointed voices of Anglican orthodoxy have flayed the American and Canadian churches with opinion, threats, invective, and most sadly with insults.

Not that I am suggesting that ++Fred or ++Katherine respond in kind. However, with so much of the current scandal in the English Synod making international headlines, it is my sense that both the Canadian Primate and the Presiding Bishop could provide an important public example by publically reassuring the English Church of their prayers in this matter, as our experiences of sisters in the Canadian and American episcopacy have been some of the greatest gifts of the Holy Spirit recently experienced by our provinces. A public message, not only for the English Church, but for the likes of my friend V.

In closing, I want to cite three blog posts of recent days. None of which received the credit they each really deserve. Each of them by individuals of integrity and faith who I cherish. Three women within our Church, who nourish, challenge and bless me on a regular basis.

Two of these cherished sisters are priests- awesome priests, the third is my personal Queen of the South; each of them living gifts to our Church- living proof of the insulting wrong-headedness of the current treatment of women with vocations to the episcopacy within the English Church. Examples of the high price this proposed institutionalized misogyny will continue to inflict on the English Church.

from Wounded Bird

from Telling Secrets

from Leave it where Jesus flang it