MOW AUSTRALIA AGM SYDNEY 28 NOVEMBER 2019
PRESIDENT’S REPORT AGM 2019
Thank you to the Rev’d Pirrial Clift for handing over the business with grace and helpfulness. Pirrial had set up a lively on-line communication system. The Rev’d Lu Piper’s presentation on the ‘State of the Nation’ at the Adelaide AGM generated great interest. There were only a few Adelaide clergy women present at the 2018 AGM in 2018, but the keen interest of a few is worthwhile and we gained 3 more memberships for South Australia – a cause for rejoicing.
THE OUTCOME OF THE AGM
Some on-line discussion ensued with the board but did not continue with any vigour. Nevertheless, email is a wonderful means of communication for a sparse board spread over a vast area and hopefully we will all be responsive in the future.
However, there was a decision to prepare the reports, sermon, speaker’s address and an account of the meeting in booklet form titled Out of Adelaide. Also included is the speech by Lavinia Gent, whose mother, Alison Gent, was an agent of change for the church in Adelaide and nationally, who launched my book, Woman, the Church’s Buried Talent. The Protest for the Ordination of Women in Adelaide’s Anglican Church; A History told through the Legacy of Alison Gent ‘Agent of Change ’at the end of the 2018 AGM. *
I edited the reports and other documents, Elaine cast a critical eye and Kathleen engaged formatting help. Out of Adelaide may be downloaded from the MOW Australia website or is available in printed format from:
P: 03 9432 9774
M: 0439 032 977
COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION?
The content of the Rev’d Lu Piper’s presentation on the ‘State of the Nation’, namely the spread of the influence of the diocese of Sydney throughout the nation, brought into perspective the need for MOW. No longer could dioceses which have been ordaining women consider their position secure.
There is a need to alert ALL Anglicans to the implications of, for example, ‘complementarianism’. Seminar days and small study guides are useful education tools. Competent commentary on television presentations which come out of Sydney could refute the notion that such presentations speak for the whole Anglican Church in Australia. Authoritative commentary could be available for parish pew sheets the following Sunday. Similarly book reviews, news from the wider Anglican Church, print and film media present a forum of topics pertinent to Christian thought.
Our fundamental modus operandi is the position of women in the church; it eschews fundamentalist and selective reading of the Bible which forms the basis for prejudice and discrimination. We can add to that a concentration on sexual behaviour over against the gospel imperatives against wealth and false piety.
MOW’S objects and powers urge us to challenge and transform the church: to encourage, extend, express, liaise, foster, support women and men both clerical and lay. When I read these now they seem to be the objects of an organisation with strength and right on its side and the resources to accomplish them. I believe we are not such an organisation at the present. We do not have the open support of many of the women in higher position as we once had. BUT we can be an influence. This is why we are called.
The aforementioned publications are vital in responding to this challenge. Even while we have met the challenges of our own lives over the past year there have been developments such as the spread of the influence of the diocese of Sydney to the diocese of The Murray. This is a small diocese in South Australia which covers a large number of country parishes and some southern Adelaide suburbs and has a strong Anglo-Catholic heritage. A strong opposition to the ordination of women is seen as one of the factors in the diocese electing a clergyman from the Sydney diocese as its new bishop
It MAY be that the State of the Nation is that it is really just one big Sydney!!!
I am very pleased to be meeting for our AGM on the same day, at the same venue as Sydney MOW. We NEED to stick together, because our cause IS essentially the same. I attended the launch of Kevin Giles’ new book What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women at St James’ King Street earlier this year. We were encouraged to give copies to those who may be convinced by his argument. This is a review: It is, to date, the most comprehensive account of the issues involved in this debate: the women’s “revolution” of the late 1960s; the opposing points of view among evangelicals on the disputed texts; related appeals to the Bible in support of slavery and apartheid; the house-church setting for the Sunday gathering in the first century; the consequences in the third world of subordinating and devaluing women; and the abuse of women and girls in all its guises. The ordination of women only gets a passing mention. The constant focus is whether or not the Bible subordinates women to men as the God-given ideal. To understand the evangelical debate over women, a debate that is bitter and sharply divisive, it needs to be understood that those who call themselves “complementarians” argue that in creation before the fall God set the man over the woman. Thus, the leadership of the man and the subordination of the woman in the home, the church, and where possible in the world is the God-given ideal that is pleasing to God. It is this “theology” that Kevin Giles opposes.
I came across another review in Eternity, a free newspaper published by the Bible Society which I picked up in Adelaide‘s Pauline (Roman Catholic) Bookshop. (Number 103 June 2019 eternitynews.com.au.) The front cover was one large coloured photo of Israel Falau. On p.17-8 is an opinion piece in which Penny Mulvey discusses Kevin’s life and work. Penny is Head of Communications and Public Affairs and delivers a very subtly woven piece which seems to me to conclude that Kevin owes everything to his Moore College training and that, by the way, ‘evangelical protestant husbands are 72 per cent less likely to be engaged in abusive behaviour’. I welcome comments and discussion.
SPEAKING OF DISCUSSION
The Google Group continues to be one of THE best aspects of belonging to MOW Australia (Thank you Susan Sandford). It has alerted me, among many other things, to the death of our Alison Cheek, born in Adelaide, one of the Philadelphia Eleven (read about her in my book) and also to the death of Queensland’s Mavis Rose, author of Freedom from Sanctified Sexism: Women Transforming the Church. (you can read about her also in my book!) We loved them both, they were so much part of our struggle to bring the church to theological and cultural equality (for some). There will be short service of prayers following the order of business for the AGM. Please bring/post on Facebook etc any comments, photos (also in my book!!!).
ONE MORE STEP ALONG THE WORLD WE GO
My vision for the future of MOW is of necessity contingent on the offerings, imagination, insights of others. We will be a new board but I pray never bored.
AN AFTER THOUGHT
Let’s all encourage old members and others who care about the church renew/begin membership of MOW. It is one of the very few vehicles that are organising against the rise of GAFCon and Complementarianism. Surely the whole thing rests on men’s relationship with women. It is at the heart of all the matters.
Anything that biblicises and makes subordination of women part of the church’s regime is wrong; and this includes homophobia as it is predicated on the notion that women are the only place for a man, and that is domination also.
*Available from the author
Woman the Church’s Buried Talent: The Protest for the Ordination of Women in Adelaide’s Anglican Church: A History Told through the Legacy of Alison Gent ‘Agent of Change’.
by Lesley McLean
Unit 1, 53 Alexandra Avenue,
Rose Park, SA 5067
P: 08 8431 5612
M: 0429 188 604
Book AUD $25.00 plus Postage and packaging
If you would like to purchase a copy of the book please email Lesley McLean: firstname.lastname@example.org; with your order details – quantity and mailing address and she will respond with delivery and payment details.
The president Lesley McLean is pleased to advise that copies of the publication: Out Of Adelaide, Women Talking Ministry is now available download here
These are the papers presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Movement for the Ordination of Women Australia held at St Saviour’s Anglican Church, 27 October 2018
We are now seeing the second and third generation of women priests in Australia, and enjoy the ministrations of a woman archbishop [The Right Reverend Kay Goldsworthy of Perth] and several women bishops across the country. There are many issues clamouring for the church’s attention and the issue of women’s ordination has been half forgotten. However there are a small band of women and men in the Movement for the Ordination of Women Australia [MOW] who have not forgotten the fact that four Anglican Dioceses in Australia still refuse to acknowledge women’s right to serve God as priests. These dioceses are Sydney, The Murray, Armidale and North West Australia. Many bishops and priests in those dioceses believe and teach that women should be subservient to men in both church and home.
MOW continues to work for a future where every woman in Australia who hears God calling her into holy orders will be free to test her vocation in full confidence that the Church will not harbour prejudice against her because of her gender. We believe that when there is a balanced representation of women and men in every aspect of the church’s life, she will find an unprecedented place of harmony, and God’s song of love will be heard more clearly and more effectively in our society than it is when sung as a male solo. On the 9/10/2004 the Sydney Morning Herald reported: In the 20th century it often seemed the church was uncertain whether women are fully human. In 1987 the Reverend Ian Herring, a Melbourne Anglican priest, argued that “it would be analogous to consecrating a meat pie on the altar of God to ordain a woman…” Sexist attitudes against women are currently being called out across the world: how sad it is to see God’s church still apparently uncertain of the full and equal humanity of women in the 21st century.
If you can offer your prayers or join in supporting us in some other way, please contact us, you will be very welcome. Lesley McLean, President