‘I wanna tell you a story’

(Max Bygraves)

Summer 1940: France. Earlier optimistic hopes finish in defeat. The miracle of Dunkirk. Invasion threatens. Evacuation from threatened UK areas a priority. LDV becomes Home Guard. Churchill, cigar at the ready, speaks to nation. The rest of the story, and its eventually happy outcome, you know.

Summer 2012: York. Orthodox Anglicans’ optimistic hopes dashed as May’s amendments defeated by Synod. Evacuation a priority for many. Will FiF become the Home Guard? Is there a Churchill figure now smoking’s out of favour?

But it’s Jubilee and Olympics Year. Rule Britannia! Being British we love tradition – and we’re traditionalists. A tradition of our Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic forebears was disregarding bishops. The Wesley Brothers were never in favour with the bishops of their day. The Ritualists of former years disregarded such amiable prelates as Winnington Ingram of London or bravely battled the bloody-minded Bishop Barnes of Birmingham.

However, nowadays we’ve got the Equalities Act. It would surely be discriminatory not to disregard women bishops in the same way. Supporters of female bishops argue that, when they arrive, they must be regarded in the same way as male bishops.

Equally we could emphasize tradition by disregarding Codes of Practice, if introduced. The 39 Articles, are a Code regulating Anglican belief. But ever since their promulgation they’ve been subject to interpretation or disregarded. Also the ‘Ornaments of the Minister’? Think of the fun its interpretation provided, brightening Victorian Sundays. The ‘Delegation of the Powers of the Bishop’ could provide us with similar amusement.

So, no need to hurry to the station for the Evacuation Express just yet.

Alan Edwards

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