Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Obit du jour: Dr. Ruth Etchells

Let us take a moment to celebrate the life of the remarkable Dr. Ruth Etchells, former Principal of St. John's College with Cranmer Hall, Durham. Take it away, Telegraph:
A kind, humane person, she was endowed with considerable pastoral skill and as capable of setting a shy student at ease as she was in dealing with a bishop. A special gift for friendship widely extended her influence.

These gifts were no less valuable when she became Principal of St John’s. Women had still to be admitted to the college, and the male ordinands were unaccustomed to having a woman as their head; she soon won their confidence. Another five years would pass before women could be ordained to the priesthood, but admission to the diaconate became possible in 1987 and candidates for this office were admitted for training. She spoke powerfully in the 1992 General Synod debate when the admission of women to the priesthood was authorised.
The obit in the Guardian calls her "the best female bishop we never had."

It would be nice if the Church of England could take its head out of its collective ass--oh, excuse me, "arse"--so it could actually have some of these women bishops instead of eulogizing them once they're dead.

Although I have to think she was probably better off never needing to wear the purple.

Still, the principal of a college has got to have a high degree of tolerance for bureaucratic indifference and administrative tedium. And it would have been wonderful if she'd had the friggin' option!

Deep breath.

In calmer news, I love that she called ordinands "my lambs."

I'll have to check out some of her books. She wrote several books of prayers along with her scholarship. This is the only prayer of hers I could find in a Google search:
Father of all…, make the roof of my house wide enough for all opinions, oil the door of my house so it opens easily to friend and stranger, and set such a table in my house that my whole family may speak kindly and freely around it.

No comments: