This evening we attended the first gathering of the St. Petersburg Community of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. This is a group that considers itself Roman Catholic and ordains women. There is a congregation in Sarasota and now one is being started in St. Petersburg. The new parish is meeting at Lakewood UCC. There were 12 participants at the first service. Twelve. A good number!
What is refreshing to me about this initiative is that it is an effort to expand the ministry of the church. To move the ministry of the church forward. The goal is to dismantle barriers that were put in place in the past but are an impediment to the future.
Today, when people have a problem with something they often simply opt out. Don’t like the service at a store? Go to another one. Or order on line. Don’t like a doctor? There are plenty more. Your marriage isn’t all you’d like it to be? Move on. Work got you down? Get another job.
But in the process of working things out or trying to make things better, we grow and learn. We engage in ways that may stretch us. It may lead to closer relationships. We grow in wisdom, understanding, acceptance, and self awareness. Walking away may just give immediate gratification and contribute to our sense of entitlement.
But the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are not walking away from the Catholic Church. In their own way, they are trying to lead the Catholic Church and show the viability of new possibilities that are consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Yes, sometimes, you simply have to move on. Many people simply leave the church. Giving up on all that it has to offer. I am grateful for the group in St. Petersburg that is instead trying to transform the church.
And they started their new fellowship on International Women’s Day. What a way to celebrate!
Lectionary readings for today:
1 Kings 6:1-4, 21-22
1 Corinthians 3:10-23
Prayer: May we have the courage to work for change and transformation in ourselves, in the church, and in the world. Amen.