Monday, 23 November 2009

Arrow: developing as a leader

This morning I was talking to a woman who was planning to apply for a place on the next Arrow programme. It's great to hear from women who want to be on the programme, and I'm particularly excited this year because we've already heard from several women who are planning to apply. So far, we've heard from more women than men!

The CPAS Arrow programme is designed to develop Christian leaders for the Church of the 21st century. It's more than just another leadership course, and through its unique blend of residential, mentoring, peer support and project work, it aims to transform leaders, addressing issues of call and character as well as competence and confidence.

If you don't know about Arrow you can find out more by clicking here. The deadline for the next Arrow programme, starting in March and running through to autumn 2011, is 3rd December.

But when I remind folks that Arrow is only open to leaders between the age of 25 and 40, I know what response I'll have. 'Why 40?'

There are good reasons, but I know that if you're in your 40s, that does not help!

We had one enquiry today, and it makes me sad that we have to say sorry to some of those who would really value the programme. Many women are frustrated, because by the time you've struggled with what the Bible says about women leaders, with people who encourage men to lead but don't encourage you, and you've negotiated selection, training and ordination or moved into some other leadership role - you find out that when it comes to Arrow, you are 'too old.'

Part of my brief is to help equip women for leadership. If you're reading this, thinking 'I'm over 40 but I'd really love the kind of things which Arrow gives', why not respond to this post? I'd love to hear what you think your greatest needs are when it comes to leadership. ... We are currently thinking about a similar 'not Arrow' leadership programme, and about other ways of helping women to access some of the teaching, insights and opportunities that Arrow gives.

And if you have not already found the resources for women leaders on CPAS's website, click here. We've got a great new CPAS site! In the resources section there are book reviews and articles, and downloadable studies to go with the book Growing Women Leaders.

If you have any comments on all this, do add them to the post, or you can email me directly at

Monday, 2 November 2009

One Hundred Awesome Women

I'm so excited that the number of members of Awesome has reached one hundred!

The name Awesome is an acronymn for 'Anglican Women Evangelicals: Supporting our Ordained Ministries'. We're a network of ordained Anglican women from across the evangelical spectrum, and aim to support each other and to equip each other for ministry in the Church.

The network was launched in January 2004, so almost six years on it's good that we have attracted good numbers of women, and a record number of 42 at our most recent conference in September. Click here for our website, where there's more information.

Membership has reached 100, and we know that there are more women who support our aims. Some 20+ have been members but are lapsed or no longer active, and many others agree with our aims but find support through other networks.

It can be tough an evangelical woman at this point in the life of the Church of England. Many of our ordained sisters come from a more liberal perspective, while some of our evangelical brothers don't believe that those of us who are priests should be ordained!

But there are always signs of hope around too. I'm excited about a couple of books I've just read. One is called Inspiring Women: discovering biblical role models, and it's about the significance of role models and how to preach some of the women in Scripture so that women find new roles models there. Click here for a review. It's a great little booklet, which deals with some of the tricky passages about women as well as encouraging preachers to look at some of the 'little people' in Scripture. Jehosheba, Sheerah, Shallum's daughters? I'd never heard of them either, but I have now!

What else is good news? Another woman appointed archdeacon: Christine Wilson, currently vicar of Goring by Sea has beeen appointed Archdeacon of Chesterfield, bringing the number of women archdeacons to 15. It's going to take a while to change the climate of the church when it comes to senior leadership, but there's slow progress being made.

I want to change the world, but I realise that progress usually only comes in very small steps.