EVANGELICAL opponents of women priests are planning a tax revolt against the central instutitions of the Church of England. They hope to destroy the Church's bureaucracies by refusing to subsidise policies or parishes they condsider heretical. Unlike the Anglo-Catholic opponents of women priests, they have no intention of leaving the Church of England but, like them, they will do as much as possible to disrupt it.
At a conference this week in Swanwick, Derbyshire, organised by a pressure group called Reform, The Rev David Holloway, the Rector of Jesmond in Newcastle read a paper to the 300 delegates. Mr Holloway, a fomer member of the General Synod's powerful Standing Committee, advocates that parishes should pay no more than 15per cent of what they estimate their running costs are to central funds.
Mr Holloway is also advocating that Reform churches make arrangements for selecting and training for ordination their own men, to be placed eventually in a parishes that will be subsidised without the intervention of central authorities. It is his intention to use the financial crisis to subvert the parish structure of the Church of England.
Reform represents a powerful minority within the evangelical wing of the Church. It is not in the least bit happy-clappy. In a manifesto to be circulated around the Church, Reform explains that it has no objections to women priests as such, merely to women giving orders to men, whether as priests in charge, vicars, archdeacons, or bishops. It also believes in 'The rightness of sexual intercourse in heterosxual marriage and the wrongness of such activity both outside it and in all its homosexual forms.'