Finland's first woman bishop consecrated under boycott

The first Finnish woman to become a Lutheran bishop was Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund, who was consecrated Bishop of Härnösand in Sweden in November last year (as I noted at the time).
Now, the first woman has become bishop in the ELCF. Irja Askola has succeeded Eero Huovinen as Bishop of Helsinki, and will be consecrated by our new Archbishop Kari Mäkinen in the Cathedral of Helsinki next Sunday, 12 September. As usual, the Archbishop is assisted by domestic and foreign dignitaries. Representatives from at least Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Namibia, England, and Ireland will be present in different roles.
Not all who are invited will attend, however. The Lutheran churches of Latvia and Ingria (in present-day Russia) have declined, apparently because of Askola's gender. Neither church ordains women; the Ingrians never have and the Latvians have stopped doing so.
Neither church admits to this being the reason, though. In Latvia, preparations for a synod in December apparently demand such an effort that no-one can be sent to Finland for a Sunday in September. That will surely be quite a synod! The Bishop of Ingria simply declined without giving a reason, which naturally is more honest than the Latvians' pretext.
Another ecumenical problem concerns the Church of England. Suffragan Bishop David Hamid, who will represent the CofE in Helsinki, cannot participate in blessing Askola with laying on of hands, since the CofE is still struggling with the decision whether to consecrate female bishops or not. Hamid will have other roles during the service, however.
The CofE will, apparently, not accept pastors ordained by Askola as priests in England, in accordance with the Porvoo Agreement. Lutheran pastors (such as I) that are ordained by male bishops are fully accepted in the Anglican churches of the Porvoo Communion (and vice versa, of course), but women bishops will pose a problem.
Which seems weird to me - but then, I'm not Anglican...
Kaksi kirkkoa ei lähetä edustajaa Askolan vihkimykseen (Kotimaa 3.9.10)
Kotimaa: Osa kutsutuista ei tule naispiispan vihkimykseen (Helsingin Sanomat 3.9.10)
Utländska kyrkor bojkottar biskopsvigning (Hufvudstadsbladet 3.9.10)
Kyrkor bojkottar biskopsvigning (Dagen 3.9.10)


Tony said...

Good that they stand up for the teachings of the Bible.

Why do you say the teachings of the Bible about priests is weird? Women are not allowed to be priests. There is not any other teaching in there.

Kalle af said...

That's not what I said, Tony.

Rupert Moreton said...

The Church of England is only one of the four Porvoo Anglican Churches. Clergy ordained by women bishops may serve in both the Church of Ireland and the Scottich Episcopal Church. The Church of England is - regrettably slowly - moving towards consecrating women as bishops. It is likely that by 2014 the first woman will be consecrated as bishop. Our current difficulties are a product of our size, breadth and history. But please understand that there are many of us in the Church of England who rejoice at Bishop Irja's consecration.

As you say, you're not Anglican. We are an odd lot; but please understand that 'Church of England' and 'Anglican' are synonymous terms.

Rupert Moreton, Anglican Chaplain, Helsinki

Kalle af said...

Thank you, F. Rupert, for the positive news.
I just wonder if there mightn't be a typo in the sentence, "please understand that 'Church of England' and 'Anglican' are synonymous terms" - shouldn't it be "are not"? Otherwise I don't really understand it - not being Anglican, I suppose. :-)

Rupert Moreton said...

Thanks for pointing out the typo! Of course, I meant that 'Church of England' and 'Anglican' are NOT synonymous...