Admiral of Morality: In Sydney, Highest Ranking Woman Leads Opposition to Women Priests

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In Sydney, Highest Ranking Woman Leads Opposition to Women Priests

As the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Australia, meeting in annual Synod, voted again to not revisit the issue of whether women should be ordained priests, one of the loudest voices leading the charge against women priests was the diocese's highest ranking woman, Archdeacon Narelle Jarrett, Principal of Mary Andrew's College, formerly the diocese's "deaconess college."

"People keep saying to me there are no positions for women. There are,'" said Archdeacon Jarrett.

The diocese, historically evangelically conservative, is run by two brothers, Archbishop Peter Jensen, and his brother Phillip, whom he appointed to Dean of the Sydney Cathedral in 2003. Clergy in the diocese, part of the Anglican Church in Australia, have an historically developed independence from other dioceses in the Australian church, where women in fact do serve as priests and clergy wear traditional clerical garb. Archbishop Jensen, or Dr. Jensen, as he prefers to be called, wears a suit and tie, for instance, and in church he is often mistaken for a dentist or taxidermist by those who do not know him.

Various reports from their synod are available here. An interesting compilation of the history of female ordination in the Anglican Communion and its national churches, may be accessed here.

NB: Next month, Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori will be installed as the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the United States, making her the first woman primate, or head bishop, of a Province in the Anglican Communion. At regular primates' meetings, of note will be how she gets along with Peter Jensen and other primates opposed to women's ordination. Perhaps if they meet below the equator, she will be able to fly herself away (she is a pilot) and land on the lawns of the "deaconess college" to speak to some of the other girls, letting them see firsthand that outside of Sydney, the Biblical grounds for female ordination are live, breathing persons called by God.

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