Sunday, July 5, 2009

Safer spaces and Gender justice?

In two very well thought through addresses the new President and Vice President of the British Methodist Church shared with the gathered conference what concerns them and what issues they will be asking the Church to explore in this,their 'presidential' year.
David Gamble delivered his address with his usual charm and grace, wit and wisdom combined are rare, but evident in this senior secretary.. and we can look forward to hearing more about the need for the Church to be a safer space.. for all sorts of things... worship? Growth in grace and holiness..? following Jesus..?
Richard's address was passionate, considerate and wonderfully unambiguous. He tackled head on the things that have served to alienate people - well - like Richard, Male, Lay and professional - and no - none of that was said sarcastically or with even the slightest tongue in cheek. He is right this IS a significant missing group in our church and the Church in ten years time will be vastly different because of their absence.
It would have been easier to hear his call for the Church to do more to attract men to the Church - had it not been the case that the only women present on the platform at the time, were not only silent, they were only there to mouth or sign the words of men..
Is it possible that we could combine the main thrusts of both addresses? could David really help to make the Church a safer place for all those who have been abused - but especially those who have been abused by a patriarchal system which waste the best years of a significant number of Church women through its refusal to accept or encourage female leadership unless the woman is effectively post menapausal.. and could one of the ways of achieving this be by listening to and acting on Richard's plea? For surely only when a lay calling is valued and recognised as essential, and NOT second best so can we explore new and creative ways of transforming our current patriarchy and recognising that we have so much more to offer young men than a plastic an incentive to serve God.

Interesting days ahead I suspect..

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