Saint Hilda And Women Bishops

We gain inspiration from our dedication, 'The Community of Aidan and Hilda' for many reasons. Both Aidan and Hilda kept the rules of the church in their time, yet they transcended bureacratic ways and prejudiced attitudes, were open to fresh leadings of the Spirit and Hilda sent an advocate to Rome on behalf of a priest she felt Bishop Wilfred was treating unjustly.

World wide bloggers from many and no church streams may not all know that the Church of England is being torn by a disagreement as to whether women should be made bishops now, although the largest branches of the universal church have not permitted this. Some members of the group known as 'Forward in Faith', which believes that the Roman Catholic position of 'no women bishops' should be retained in their church, have formed a 'Society of St. Wilfred and St. Hilda'. I have received expressions of surprise that St Hilda should be used as an ikon of this cause.

What do you think? Hilda was willing to serve God under first the Irish and then the Roman framework as that was introduced. She sustained friendships with people in both camps. She was not ordained, although she was the leader of men and women in her community at Whitby, and at least five of her students became bishops.

People in both today's camps re women bishops have been deeply hurt. I think Hilda's priority would be to bring healing, and to advise restraint.

It adds poignancy that I have just arrived in Whitby as the locum chaplain to the Anglican sisters of the Order of the Holy Paraclete for several days, while the chaplain, Simon Lumby, a CA&H Voyager, supports friends in the Dublin marathon. The Irish connection continues!

Posted at 08:15am on 22nd October 2010
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