Comments: Presiding Bishop at Southwark Cathedral

Lovely. Bishop Katharine preached a sermon at Southwark Cathedral that I would have been pleased to hear at church this morning.

Posted by Grandmère Mimi at Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 7:09pm BST

She was awesome, lovely, full of grace.

It was a really special service. I am so grateful for her ministry and the witness of the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 8:46pm BST

What a great sermon!
Do you have what she plans for next week?

Posted by Prior Aelred at Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 9:29pm BST

Stunning sermon.

I remember being taught this Gospel passage at college (London, early 80s) and Colin Hickling of blessed memory asking us how to interpret properly the phrase 'and a woman came in who had a bad name in the town' or somesuch.

After most of us in the tutorial group had a go at explaining context and culture, he grinned and said "You don't have explain this phrase at all. Every culture across human culture knows how to put people down. The point is that Jesus is telling us that we can't."

Posted by Jonathan Jennings at Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 10:15pm BST

Have you gotten the "fashionista" perspective from today's Anglican fashion news? I laughed until my sides hurt.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 11:12pm BST

Lovely tone in her words. But she needs just to beware setting up Aunt Sallies...surely there is virtually NOWHERE which expects you to dress correctly and know how to act before you are welcome? It is an easy point to make...but surely irrelevant to the reality in virtually all Anglican churches...the Christian welcome given to those unfamiliar with Anglican worship, and our ways.

Posted by Neil at Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 11:54pm BST

"The forgiven woman of the city is sister to the prodigal son. They are both our siblings. we can join that family if we're willing to let go of that FEARFUL VENEER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. It covers our yearning to be fully known, because we don't quite think we're lovable. That veneer is the only thing between us and a whole-hearted 'welcome home'. It's risky to let that veneer be peeled away, but all we risk is love."

What a wonderful summarization of what is at the heart of the problem in the Church at this time in its history. Bishop Katharine is here delivering the message of the Gospel. How often we seem to concentrate on the 'prodigal waywardness' of the son in the parable - rather than the prodigal LOVE of the Father. Self-righteouness is all too often the enemy of justice and LOVE.

I just hope that some of the signatories to the Letter to the Times, sent by conservative clerics in the Southwark Diocese in opposition to Bishop Katharine's visit to the UK, were actually in the congregation - ready to listen, rather than to criticize. They may have begun to understand what she and TEC, the Church she heads in the US, are getting at when they champion the cause of an inclusive Church. Yesterday's Gospel says it all.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 13 June 2010 at 11:54pm BST

It's always interesting what kind of reactions that her sermons get from those who apparently just cannot stand her. A comment in one of the more "conservative sites" says that her conclusion that "Love has saved you" is "unitarian, multi-religion, syncretistic."

But what it brought to my mind was George Herbert's famous poem:

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd anything.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

Posted by dr.primrose at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 3:15am BST

Thank you for that lovely sermon. Inspiring, and a call to us to exercise compassion in a dark place in the Anglican Communion. Love and mercy cannot be defeated by anyone. Una

Posted by Una Kroll at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 7:51am BST

"But she needs just to beware setting up Aunt Sallies...surely there is virtually NOWHERE which expects you to dress correctly and know how to act before you are welcome?"

Aunt Sallies?
And re the fashionista concern, how did she vest?

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 12:36pm BST

Since you ask, she was vested in the Southwark Cathedral green vestments normally used there at this time of year, as were the other participating clergy.

She didn't wear any mitre. Though she did carry one.

Picture here:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 12:40pm BST

What a Blessing Bishop Katharine is to us all. Yesterday I listened to her speech at the Episcopal Scottish Synod, and now her sermon in a cathedral I know and love Southwark. Both speak of a woman called by God to be His Apostle in showing forth His Love to all his children, wherever they may be. Like Mary at the tomb, Katharine speaks and acts God's love. God be praised.
Give me Katharines message any day, as apposed to the angst of the ABC.

Fr John (Scotland)

Posted by Fr John at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 3:24pm BST

I know of no church Cynthia that would freeze visitors or newcomers out just because they were not dressed correctly, or do not know their way around the service...

Posted by Neil at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 4:59pm BST

Interestingly, it is JUST THIS KIND OF WOMAN that Vatican II Catholics long for as a Bishop of Rome. The kind of leadership Bishop Katharine is providing is remarkable and on so many level it is also profound. Catherine of Sienna was a similar kind of woman. May God protect, nurture and bless Bishop Katharine as she confronts hypocrisy and bigotry on a various travels around the globe.

Posted by Chris Smith at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 5:00pm BST

David Anderson could easily have found out what KJS wore, one would think, but far be it from him to let pass an opportunity to slander someone.

Posted by JPM at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 8:00pm BST

Gee why kid ourselves? If Bishop Glasspool showed up in attendance at most Fulcrum/AngMain/ACNA type churches ... with VGR and his husband arriving not too much later than she, the welcome would surely be awkward and frosty. I am not even sure that Rowan Williams could behave in a decent, human, welcoming manner towards either Glasspool and her life partner, or towards VGR and his, under similar church life circumstances? RW's too likely nowadays to get all tied up in hard Gordian Knots, worrying how it all sounds and looks to the police/punish Anglican types ... or, gasp, how B15 would see it?

Ditto, for PB KJS being welcome in a lot of these holier than thou Anglican venues. Allowing KJS to function as priest on terms which background her election/calling as bishop is a neat hat trick, indeed; probably only convincing to Anglican folks who get all cold and sweaty at the thought that God might preach to them in a woman's speech or lead them in the paths of rightness by her behavior as bishop?

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 14 June 2010 at 10:04pm BST

Actually, I am someone who for various good reasons has on occasion worn either a coat and tie, on the one hand, or button-down shirt and blue jeans, on the other, to church.

I get a lot of positive reinforcement when I dress up.

The implication -- and believe me, it comes through loud and clear -- is that I should not dress down.

So there _are_ churches such as Bishop Jefferts Schori describes. It's all a matter of degree.

Some churches welcome the poorly dressed stranger who can't locate the service in the prayer book. Others . . . well, not so much.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:04am BST

Jeremy, I am frankly astonished and saddened that this sort of behaviour goes on in the CofE - and until now have never encountered or even heard of such bad behaviour.

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 10:03am BST

Jeremy, I am frankly astonished and saddened that this sort of behaviour goes on in the CofE - and until now have never encountered or even heard of such bad behaviour.

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 10:03am BST

You sound rather innocent, if you will forgive me for saying so.

Wear the wrong clothes, sit in the wrong seat..... have the wrong accent or skin color, be of the wrong gender or sexuality -- need I continue ?

Posted by Pantycelyn at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:40pm BST

I also find the difference in my reception shocking dependent on whether I am wearing a clerical collar or mufti.

Can get confusing though as I often forget / am not aware what I am wearing -- I am just being myself.

Jesus set a little child in their midst

Posted by Pantycelyn at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:59pm BST

Simon - you said: "She didn't wear any mitre. Though she did carry one."

Is the SE1 photo your source for this claim?

I took the photo on the SE1 site and she wasn't carrying a mitre.

What you can see is the green cover of the service sheet, plus the green cover of the book on the altar in front of her.

I wouldn't have bothered picking up this point if it hadn't been recycled in the Guardian this morning!

Posted by James at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 6:44pm BST


No, I am sorry, but you missed it. This was perhaps because it was white, not green. I was present throughout the service, and I saw her carry a white mitre under her arm, in both the in and out processions, and I saw her lay it flat upon the surface of the altar when she got there, and not wear it or otherwise use it at any point during the service.

The Guardian article is entirely accurate.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 6:50pm BST


You're quite right - I never noticed at the time, but I've checked my pictures and it's quite obvious. Doh!

Here's a clearer pic:

Posted by James at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 1:15pm BST
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