Thursday, 25 November 2010

Women at the table ...

I have just returned from the installation of Rev. Martin Junge as general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. It was a lovely service, with glorious music led by Rev. Terry Macarthur, who is so full of enthusiasm and creativitiy.
One lovely moment I particularly liked was towards the beginning of the service when we sang Tenemos Esperanza. Martin left his place on the front row and came and joined us in the choir, accompanying us on his guitar and leading the singing of the tango rhythym and words in Spanish. It was good moment of the leader being one of the people, it symbolised something but it was also very authentic.
The other moment that moved me was having two women celebrating communion. There were so many women clergy and women bishops processing in alongside male colleagues. It was a colourful and heart-warming sight.
Having two women at the altar was also a real choice. On the United Nations Day for the Elimination of violence against women I was proud of Protestant churches who know that sometimes it is important to set up signs. This was one for me at least. So many photos of church events only have men on them, this said to me gently but surely, we are willing to share power, to give up power to try to begin being more fully a community of women and men together.
Earlier in the week I had listened to what I consider to be complete nonsense on the radio from some male clergy in the Church of England who were putting forward the argument that having women bishops or women clergy discouraged men from going to church. Oh dear they obviously haven't realised how much their own leadership seems for several hundred years to have discouraged men from coming to church - or maybe they haven't noticed.
Anyway this ought to be about celebration. A good, tuneful and colourful service to which some serious thought about signs and inclusiveness had been given. I felt nourished and blessed... and I so enjoyed singing such great music.
Martin also preached a great sermon which you can read here.
Oh yes and I tweeted the whole thing at
Sorry about my dreadful typing!