Sunday, 25 July 2010

Anne Hutchinson and my change of mind

One of the great pleasures in retirement is that I have time and to spare to read. I am learning so much!

(I know that I am a better learner via reading and intuition that I ever was in a classroom).

So I have recently  read biographies of Diana Mitford Mosley, Dorothy Parker and Anne Hutchinson, and have reported on them on this blog on previous days.

Of the three, I am most “taken” with Anne Hutchinson.

What I did not mention in my blog about her yesterday is that as well as the unswerving support of her husband (what a remarkable man), there were a few Massachusetts Ministers who supported her, and went into exile with her, or to other places.As I read a biography of Anne Hutchinson

I  asked  “which side would you have been on?” 

The J. Michael Povey of 40 years ago would have taken a position against the idea of women’s leadership (over men), within the Church.

Now thanks to such remarkable women as the Revd Gwen W. Sears (a Deacon at St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield during my sixteen years there);

the Revd. Dr. Eleanor McLaughlin (a tough, feisty, unafraid and wise Priest whom I knew in Western Massachusetts);

and the Rt. Reverend Barbara C Harris (the first female Bishop in the Anglican Communion, and “my Bishop” in Cambridge days),

I now rejoice in the leadership of ordained women as Deacon, Priest and Bishop.

More than that, I now have no patience with the Bishop of Rome (a.k.a. the Pope);
or the Conservative Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics of the Church of England;
or the Evangelical/Fundamentalist Pastors in American Christianity , all of whom are diametrically and angrily opposed to the idea of women as pastors or priests.

I believe that their opposition arises from a narrow and un-historical interpretation of Holy Scripture and of the Tradition of Christianity.

I assert that they are just as dangerous to women as is the most “radical” Muslim Imam.

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