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how do you reconcil faith with the organisation?

(14 Posts)
incywincyspideragain Sun 21-Apr-13 22:43:33

genuine question that I am struggling with - I disagree with the C of E organisation about so many things at the moment but want to belong to the community of a Church, struggling to bring my children up in an organisation which at its most fundamental level discrimates against so many, any one else? any advice?

Italiangreyhound Sun 21-Apr-13 23:10:47

Hope you find a Christian community you feel at home with.

There are lots of Christian denominations you could choose. We go to a free church. What is it about the C of E you don't like and who does it discriminate against particularly? I know they don't have women bishops but they will soon! I think so at least. When I joined the C of E they did not have women ministers, but it did all change and now I can't imagine the C of E without all the women ministers.

Hope you get to know about a group you feel happy with.

Tuo Mon 22-Apr-13 01:13:30

I, like many, was really disappointed with the outcome of the vote on women bishops. At the time I heard a lot of people saying that it was the final straw and that they'd leave the Church of England over it. But if everyone who disagrees leaves, then who will be left to argue for a less discriminatory attitude in future? My view is that it's up to us, the Church's members, to ensure that the leadership knows how we feel on these issues, and to work to make it a truly inclusive Church, of which we are proud to be members. On the whole, for me, this is the case. I have seen nothing but acceptance of all kinds of diversity in my own church - the challenge is to ensure that that is consistent nationally and internationally (and of course things are very different across the spectrum of the whole Anglican communion).

If you feel that your own church - the one which you experience directly, rather than the national organisation - has a discriminatory attitude, then maybe it's time to move on. But if your problem is more at the national level, then I would suggest you stay, and get involved, and try to work for change.

If you do feel you need to move on, I've heard (and know a little bit through some friends, though not from direct experience) that the URC is very open and liberal.

Good luck!

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Mon 22-Apr-13 07:29:36

Can I ask why it is that it's not the church's members which get to decide on the policies of the organisation? It all sounds a bit dictatorial to me.

Could you start your own community group for people who don't agree with the Church policies?

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Mon 22-Apr-13 07:56:22

No time to answer fully as I have to go to work but the C of E is what is called a broad church and you will find a wide range of churches in its fold. The vast majority are fully accepting of women as priests and bishops. About a third of its clergy are women. A large number of churches are fully accepting of gay and lesbian people and there are a high proportion of gay priests in the angolo catholic stream (smells and bells.) All churches try really hard to be accessible to disabled people although listed building status makes wheelchair ramps and the like a challenge most churches will do everything they can to make their buildings disability aware.

The struggle at the moment in the C of E to work out how to work with those minorities who deny that women can be priests or bishops or who struggle with the concept of gay marraige. This is ongoing. My policy is to try and effect change from within.

If you are looking for a church to go to then look on the website if they are a member of Forward in Faith or Reform then on the issue of women's ministry it would be best to give them a wide berth as both organisations campaign against it.

Otherwise go along to a service and give it a go.

incywincyspideragain Mon 22-Apr-13 19:08:18

Thank you for your replies, women bishops is one of the issues I disagree with, leadership qualties and ability shouldn't be based on whats between your legs, its alright to say you have to be part of it to change it but the majority of the church of england wanted to see women bishops elected and the minority at the top let us down - I don't buy nestle products because they won't sign up to the WHO guidelines on marketing baby milk but that doesn't directly affect my life so it would be like me saying I'll ignore their stance and only look at how the corporation affects my community which itsn't negative at all... same for fair trade products.... I see no way in which my worship and beliefs affect national church of england policy or how they will in the future... our actual church community is great, we have a woman preist in charge but the organisation sucks

Italiangreyhound Mon 22-Apr-13 20:34:02

It's not the clergy to blame, if I have heard it right, it is the laity (not the ordained leaders but the 'normal' bods and

"The Church of England just voted in favour of tradition. To be precise, its Synod failed to garner the necessary two thirds majority to allow for women bishops. A majority did want change, just not a large enough one – and most of the opposition seems to have come from the laity rather than the clergy."

...and also almost half of those who voted against women bishops were .... women!

"A recent Church of England list showed that 33 of the 74 members of the House of Laity who rejected the plan to open the episcopate to women were female"

Italiangreyhound Mon 22-Apr-13 20:35:43

I don't think staying in is wrong, if you feel you are working for change but you must follow your own concience. What do the Methodists, URC and Baptists think about women in leadership?? Think I know but not completely sure. And of course there are lots of different types of baptists churches too, as it seems to be a general title.

Tuo Mon 22-Apr-13 21:13:10

Italian Greyhound is right. It's not the leadership that you need to take issue with - the vast majority voted in favour of change - but a group within the House of Laity which represents a minority of actual Church members, but which was able to garner enough of the votes to swing the decision.

So how do you effect change? You get yourself elected onto your deanery synod. You become a church warden. You talk to your church wardens, priest, and anyone who'll listen and ensure that they know how you feel.

It's not really the same as not buying Nestle products - or, rather, the analogy only works to a point - because Nestle is a company which exists to make money. By withholding your custom you are reducing the company's profits and ultimately if enough people do that it will hopefully decide to change - but it won't change (or, rather, it's unlikely to do so) because it will suddenly develop some morals and do the right thing. If it changes, it'll be because people boycotting its products hit it where it hurts - in the bank. In the case of the church, however, by 'taking your custom elsewhere' you simply give a louder, stronger voice to those who argue against change... Of course, you do harm the church by taking away your contribution (whether that's financial, through time spent volunteering or whatever) but you don't make it more likely to change, in my view. If you compare it to an election, say, it's more like abstaining or spoiling your ballot than it is voting against, whereas the Nestle case is more like an active 'no' vote.

But of course I can only tell you how I look at things, and as Italian Greyhound says you must follow your conscience and do what you believe to be right. Have you tried talking to your priest about this? What does she advise?

Italiangreyhound Mon 22-Apr-13 21:18:54

Tuo what a brilliant description of how to affect change, thank you.

incywincyspideragain Mon 22-Apr-13 21:35:18

Thank you again - its great to hear peoples views smile

Good description Tuo about affecting change - maybe the Nestle ananolgy wasn't such a good one grin but glad you saw what I was trying to get at, fwiw I sit on PCC and Deanery synod, that just makes me more despondant that any kind of change will actually happen, I think why bother - if more walked away the organisation would dwindle and maybe eventually die out - this sounds awful but I can't see that being a bad thing as it would leave room for more progressive and diverse attitudes, sometimes something has got to be properly broken to allow it to be fixed.

Our preist-in-charge thinks very much like you - to be in it to change it, I'm not sure its the right church to raise my children in as it will be a long and painfully slow change....

Tuo Mon 22-Apr-13 22:43:48

sad I'm really sorry you feel like that, Incy. And I hope and pray that the Church of England develops and thrives, rather than the opposite. But it does sound rather as if you've come up against a brick wall for now, at least, and maybe the right thing for you is to try somewhere else. I wish you luck and happiness.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Tue 23-Apr-13 08:23:20

If you are on PCC and deanery synod you really are in the thick of it incywincy and you have my complete admiration. It is a tough call to lead change and as someone else in the trenches I'd say that when it affects your family life is the point at which you need to think seriously about whether you need a break and recharge your batteries.

As the APCM season is upon us I really hope you find the right thing for you and your family.

incywincyspideragain Tue 23-Apr-13 22:59:35

I should have said I only sit on deanery as an observer, I wanted to see how it worked, thank you for your kind words, and break might be the right thing, my Pcc membership is up for renewal at next years APCM maybe that would be a good point to work towards

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