Tonight I’m dreaming of Bishops.
I grew up in a Church with a priest who is male. He was our priest from the time my family joined the Church to when I left for seminary. Although I was blessed to have a priest who was amazingly supportive and encouraging, I still remember the first time I saw women in a collar. It was an outward and visible sign that my Church included me.
I was old enough to be aware of when the Church of England started ordaining women. I remember being shocked and relieved that we were now both celebrating the fullness of the gifts of the Body of Christ. (Okay, I may not have used those words at the time.)
The Church has many roles to fulfill. One is to hold us to a catholic faith. But our faith has always been more than we have ever been. Another is to be the Body of Christ. To represent all of us to each other. Which is hard when we don’t have equal participation.
Today the Church of England failed to allow for the ordination of women to the Episcopate. A lot of the discussion I’ve seen so far is outraged, mixed, and sad.
So am I, for my sister clergy who serve faithfully in a part of the Church where their gifts are limited, for the angst of the future conversations about this topic.
But mostly I’m sad for the little girls for whom this means not a lack of talented and called Bishops who are women, but a lack of Bishops who are like them. And it’s not just women who suffer this lack.
So today I’m dreaming of Bishops.
Bishops who are old and young(ish); Bishops from every ethnicity; Bishops who are male and female; Bishops who are heterosexual and homosexual and every other sexual orientation; Bishops from wealthy and poor backgrounds; Bishops who spent their lives in the Church and Bishops who came to the Church after other careers; Bishops who are beacons of ‘health’ and Bishops who come with their assisting devices, chronic illnesses, health struggles; Bishops who are orthodox, liberal, evangelical, conservative, low Church, and the highest Anglo-Catholics.
Ultimately, I dream of Bishops who are passionate about Jesus and the Episcopal-Anglican tradition. Because that has nothing to do with gender, orientation, wealth, or anything other than the actions of Jesus Christ in our lives.