Bishop Chilton participated in the laying on of hands at the consecration of Bishop Libby Lane this week, representing the
Episcopal Church. Whilst in the UK, she was able to visit our diocese where she met with a group of women involved in the Transformations agenda (which focuses on women’s leadership in the Church) and visited the Cathedral. She sends the following greeting to us all:
As my visit to Liverpool and York now ends, I have decided to nominate myself as an honorary member of the Diocese of Liverpool. And maybe even as an honorary member of the Church of England!
Hearty thanks to the Diocese of Liverpool for welcoming me and offering gracious hospitality. I am so glad that representing the Episcopal Church at Libby Lane's consecration provided opportunity for a sojourn in Liverpool. It's a lively city, with an impressive history and a modern feel. The cathedral is awe-inspiring and yet wonderfully intimate.
On Saturday morning, I gathered with women leaders, lay and ordained, from Liverpool and nearby. We discussed the role that women play in the Transformation of our church, and how our perspectives inform and nurture the shaping of our beloved church for the future into which the Holy Spirit is calling us.
In a world of abstraction, antagonism and isolation, we firmly proclaimed that in the church every single human being is unique and precious. If we, as leaders, are to incarnate that conviction authentically, we ourselves must align our own context accordingly. Hence we must ask ourselves:
+ Do our expectations acknowledge the varied personal circumstances of those who "work for the church" in whatever capacity? In other words, do we practice what we preach?
+ Do we provide for retreat time, spiritual nurture, and flexible personal leave so that each churchworker is upheld by the entire community in the work they do?
+ Can we develop strategies of accountability which curtail harsh demands for overwork and yet call each person to offer their best?
+ Can we so ardently embrace the Doctrine of the Incarnation that we find Christ in every human reality and thus extend even-handed support to those with varied gifts, challenges and personal circumstances?
We had some other rich discussion as well about leadership in circumstances of conflict, and in exercising authority collaboratively. We identified the nuanced power of words, and talked about how language shapes perception, both in the church and in other settings.
Let me offer thanks to all who participated in Saturday's discussion. Thanks are also due to the community of the Cathedral for welcoming me to Sunday service, and for gracious hospitality during a memorable and grace-filled visit. I look forward to a return visit later this year to be the keynote speaker at the third Josephine Butler Summit on “Women, the Church and the United Nations Development Goals”.
Blessings and thanks to you all, +Chilton
The consecration of Bishop Libby Lane made history this week.
Click here to read an article from the Archbishop of York