Peter Levite: It's our religion corner again, and our correspondent Reverend Linda Bode is going to help me and is here on my webcam. You may remember Linda Bode...
Linda Bode: We're not going through that again Peter.
Peter Levite: You look a bit different again. What's all this then about a Free Church in England rather than your Church in England? Apparently your two Archbishops have recognised their two bishops. Is that right?
Linda Bode: That's right - recognition at long last, for them.
Peter Levite: But, it is dated 28th January and you don't have an Archbishop of All England at present, only the Archbishop of the North.
Linda Bode: Yes I suppose that is right. It is an interregnum at present for the Archbishop of All England, but then God moves in mysterious ways. Peter, on my webcam you are scratching yourself again on top of your legs.
Peter Levite: So what is the Free Church in England?
Linda Bode: It's a tiny, tiny denomination of mainly elderly people and elderly leaders who represent a traditionalist evangelical viewpoint and who broke away from latitudinarianism and Anglo-Catholicism.
Peter Levite: What is latitude in arian arian ism?
Linda Bode: Moderates, like me.
Peter Levite: Evangelical, then it must be doing well.
Linda Bode: It is in decline because people of that persuasion now tend to go to big charismatic centres and media churches, where things are more dynamic.
Peter Levite: More entertaining, you mean.
Linda Bode: You may mean; I try to reach out these days. It is 1662 or conservative-modern language forms and formal.
Peter Levite: The point is that someone like you has argued for female and male equality all this time in leadership, and there you are recognising a Church that doesn't even have women as readers never mind deacons, priests and bishops.
Linda Bode: Yes, it is a little embarrassing.
Peter Levite: Perhaps if you go ahead and have women bishops, they will cease to recognise your orders.
Linda Bode: I can imagine it could be a short-lived relationship, if we get women bishops.
Peter Levite: What puzzles me is this. There are people in your mob who say if they don't get a third province, as in if the male-only bishops (who are in suffragen dioceses of the Archbishops), don't become dioceses in their own rights, they will have to self-organise and recognise their own bishops from abroad. But here is a ready-made group for them.
Linda Bode: Entryism. Running their own show but attached to the main body, like a parasite.
Peter Levite: Well, why not just join the Free Church in England?
Linda Bode: Because it is a self-funding, self-financing, cut-off body that doesn't have the reach of the big brother. It is in decline. But, you are right, it is the Protestant, Evangelical, body in purity that they seek. The Bible is clear to them - male only teaching leadership, and so even the reader is male only.
Peter Levite: But now recognised by your Church.
Linda Bode: Indeed, we go marching backwards and two, even one, Archbishop decides it for our Church. Apparently.
George Hudson: Yes, the wind is now the other way, and it is much warmer but you wouldn't know that when it races through Doncaster station.
The core issue for the mutual conversations - In the course of yesterday’s Westminster Faith Debate on Diversity at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, an idea crystalized for me. It i...