Who the Church of England chooses to be its clergy is really none of my business. In the Adur Valley most of the Anglican clergy are now women, and they seem to be very good at their job. From an ecumenical perspective, I will deal with whomever they choose to lead them, man or woman, and have always found them all affable and friendly, and spoken well of by their congregations.
On the other hand, I do regret that the ecumenical movement has been reduced to polite co-operation by the C of E's decision to move further away from the formerly agreed position on those deemed licit subjects for Orders (and I resent being harangued by members of the Established Church who accuse us of having set back ecumenism by adopting our new liturgical translation), but maybe the whole subject has simply illustrated the hopeless nature of the ecumenical project, given the very fundamental differences at the level of principle, and how doctrine is to be decided.
However, I do think one can make some practical observations. It has often been noticed in Catholic sacristies that when girl servers predominate, soon one will have no boys at all. Several years ago I was present at the plumbing-in of a new vicar, a very dynamic and personable lady, in the (Anglican) Chichester diocese. The bishop doing the job was, and is, well known for his opposition to women's orders; indeed, I believe (perhaps erroneously) that he adheres to the 'impossibilist' position. This did not prevent him licensing her for the work of a priest, entrusting her with the cure of souls and using all the language of priesthood in his address. He refused to let her concelebrate with him, however. Now, setting aside the mental gymnastics required to justify all this, it was plain that, apart from the bishop, every person—cleric or server—on the sanctuary was female. Not one male.
Yesterday, being in the locality, I visited an Anglican parish church that I used to know rather well: I used to play the organ there in the late 1970s and 1980s. In those days, though the vicar and all but one of the servers was male, there was a good distribution of the other functions between the sexes. Yesterday I read the list of parish officials, and also the current bulletin. A lady was appointed vicar some months ago, and already:
Vicar: a woman.
Churchwarden A: a woman
Churchwarden B: a woman
Parish Secretary/Church Council: a woman
Church hall information and bookings: a woman
There are no other officials listed.
according to the bulletin for last Sunday:
Sidesperson (sic) 1: a woman
Sidesperson 2: a woman
Sidesperson 3: a woman
Sidesperson 4: a woman
Refreshments: a woman
Intercessions to be led by— a man.
The week's activities seemed to be focussed around things women find interesting: coffee mornings, mothers' and toddlers' groups, handicraft circles, that sort of thing.
This is not an attack on women's orders or ministry in the Church of England. As I mentioned earlier, I have no dog in this race. But having fought so hard to be inclusive, they seen now to be so inclusive that they have almost no men at all! Is this really what they want? Is this healthy?
No doubt they would argue that men are perfectly free to participate if they want to—they just don't want to. Being their (men's) decision, does this absolve those in authority (all ladies) from having to do anything about it, or is the Church of England now becoming a sort of religious version of the Women's Institute? And is it sexist to have a problem with that?