|She’s pleased. Reverend (soon to be Bishop)
Libby Lane (Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty)
Crash, bang wallop, a woman has infiltrated the club of Bishops! What an amazing day! God would be pleased.
This was much of the reaction to Reverend Libby Lane being announced as the new appointment to the suffragan, or junior bishop post for Stockport within the Diocese of Chester. It comes only weeks after the General Synod voted to allow the consecration of women bishops. However I haven’t heeded much of the hurrah, and think this lack of sentiment is felt by many.
I welcome progress, but here, the appreciation is akin to the amount of joy felt of watching a snail get from side of a paving slab to the other. Not of joy, but of impatient relief.
The consecration of women bishops was a matter was first brought up 22 years ago and it has taken those 22 years to break the glass ceiling within the Church of England. A whole generation has grown up in that time; it is this generation who is the most disillusioned with the Church due to its failure to modernise the message of Christ. The message it sent out was of needless oppression, furthest from the values Christ represents to Christians.
Taken further, this seems to be the root cause of most young people’s frustration with religion as a whole. 66% of 18-24 year olds did not belong to a religion in 2001. A 2013 YouGov study found that only 25% of 16-24 year olds believe in God and only 12% of young people pronounced themselves as being influenced by religious leaders. Perhaps this is because they do not live by the values they represent or anything young people care about.
Fortunately or unfortunately, you decide, there are many others in the fields of music, film and media who do live by their values and so have become the modern Gods, idols with millions of worshippers worldwide.
And that is not to say young people don’t care about God, because there are those that do, however equality of sexes and sexualities extra-marital sex are key topics where the Church’s view does not resonate with that of the young.
Anyway as this is turning into a rant about what I dislike of today’s Church of England, I will let bygones be bygones. Yet still the Church is irrelevant.
Take that statistic about religious leaders. The few famous Archbishops and priests working within communities cannot be the only successful religious leaders around for the Church to continue to engage belief in God. Where is the Church’s equivalent of Zoe Sugg – Zoella, the bubbly young woman who draws millions of views every week for her video and is now the fastest selling debut author in Britain?
|Less than 1,000 subscribers?|
Think; a congregation can only sit hundreds, while a successful video or Twitter feed can be viewed by and influence thousands, if not millions. Even though the Church may see it differently, terrorist and extremist groups have become cleverer and sadly more successful than them in engaging ardent believers. Fanatics, yes, but believers nevertheless.
I feel we will see the slow decline of the Church of England, as parishioners of each generation pass on and there will be few to take their places. Even though the step Libby Lane takes is in the right direction, her appointment now, in 2014, is like starting to walk only after the race has nearly reached its end. The Church of England is slowly destroying itself through not understanding the needs of the young and therefore the wishes of the future.
Why not try…
Rev. ‘Sitcom about a former rural parish vicar trying to cope with the varied demands of running an inner-city church.’