|Geraldine McEwan and Alan Rickman|
as Mrs Proudie and Mr Slope in the TV
adaptation of Barchester Towers
He published Barchester Towers in 1857 when the very idea of a woman joining the clergy of the Anglican Church was unthinkable. How proud I think he would be that a woman has become a bishop in the C of E, not through political appointment, but through her own merits and the recognition of her attributes by her peers. And how proud I am that we in the American church have led the way for many years now for women to gain their rightful place among the House of Bishops.
We have led several such crusades and presented them as examples of Christian charity to our Anglican cousins. The American church showed the Communion that divorced people could indeed be welcomed into their congregations, that women were called to the priesthood, and that gay and lesbian people also enjoy the love of God promised to all people, and are, as the Eucharistic Prayer says, ‘worthy to stand’ before God in the free knowledge that all are one in Christ.
The issues in Trollope’s novels go deeper than the desire for power exhibited by Mrs. Proudie, and if you want to explore the differences within the church back then between “high church” and “evangelicalism” and note where we are some 150 years later, his books might be just what you’re looking for. What might strike you is how far we’ve come as a church in the furthering of God’s kingdom, and shining brightly in the dawn of its new age is the consecration of the Church of England’s first woman bishop, Bishop Libby Lane.
|Congratulations to Bishop Libby Lane! (source)|