Cost of Women in the Ministry
No doubt the cost of women moving into the areas of ministry that have traditionally been reserved for men, such as the pastorate, has varied from denomination to denomination. A prob-lem exists in even trying to figure out what the actual cost is to any one group because of the variables that exist in the way each of these are structured. Some people who do not like women's ordination in churches like those among Southern Baptists will simply change congregations when these things come up. But in some denominations and for some people the only solution will be to leave the denomination. To see how this impact is bound to be negative we can learn from the Church of England, which is now celebrating or mourning its tenth anniversary of having female priests. Some of the cost to this church is obvious.
The official figures of what they term the "cost of conscience" is £26 million, and that is for the compensation to clergy who have resigned from office on grounds of being unable to reconcile the ordination of women with their conscience. The priests who have resigned are entitled to "hardship payments" which will continue to be made until the year 2014.
Readers might be interested to note that the Anglicans are in deep financial trouble, and their financial crisis is deepening. They date their financial troubles back to 1988, but this reporter would consider their problems to have actually predated this but actually be very closely tied to their history of theological compromise and emphasis on the preaching of a social gospel instead of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many diocese have been forced to cut the number of their clergy. Stephen Parkinson, director of Forward in Faith said the church had lost not only financially but also in terms of talent over the issue of women priests. One thing is sure and that is attendance has declined noticeably during the decade of the woman priest. Traditionalist who endured women as priests are now set to leave when a woman is made a Bishop sometime in the near future.
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