The Church of England has still not positively resolved the issue of women bishops, notes Savi Hensman. Both deeper listening and clearer leadership are needed in affirming a vision of an inclusive, mission-oriented church open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Last-minute changes have complicated the Church of England’s slow progress towards allowing women to be bishops, says Savi Hensman. Attempts to placate opponents are unhelpfully stalling the process further.
The Voice, a new translation of the Bible, has sparked an impassioned but not always very well-informed debate about the nature of the text, observes Savi Hensman. But skilful understanding and interpretation invite open-heartedness, not close-mindedness, she suggests.
The God whom Christians worship is no stranger to suffering and defeat, says Savi Hensman. The cross is at the heart of the faith, with all its richness of meaning, including the divine willingness to engage at the deepest level with a flawed and broken world, for love’s sake to confront the forces of death and destruction and pay the price.
Families and communities may be made up of single people, couples and smaller sub-groups or networks, differing in sexual orientation, gender identity and many other ways, says Savi Hensman. In the Christian vision, and especially in the community of Christ, all may make a unique contribution, and grow in unique ways while drawing closer to the One whose love sustains the universe, brings abundant blessings and satisfies the deepest thirst.
In February 2012, an employment tribunal in England ruled that it was acceptable for a Christian worker to lose her job for refusing to work on Sundays. Savi Hensman explores the complex issues behind this case.
Almost ten years ago, one of the survivors of a horrific massacre set about trying to win justice for her murdered husband and scores of others, writes Savi Hensman. This brought her up against some of the most powerful – and ruthless – people in the state of Gujarat in India. But she persisted.
The Church of England’s decisions about women bishops are likely to have a major impact on its mission as well as its ministry, says Savi Hensman. If the church appears to be reluctant to accept and fully use women’s gifts, attempts to attract and involve more people across a wide age-range may be undermined.
Successive UK governments, and their media allies, have been vigorous in smearing benefit claimants. To achieve this, politicians and their propagandists have played on popular stereotypes, stoking up prejudice against ‘scroungers’ while lavishly rewarding members of their own class at taxpayers’ expense. Savi Hensman looks at the reality behind the rhetoric, especially in relation to assessment.
Many people have not yet realised the full impact of housing benefit and other welfare reforms threatening further hardship for those already disadvantaged. On political if not humanitarian grounds, the government would do well to stop targeting those in greatest need, says Savi Hensman, examining the specific issue of housing benefit.