This year, we were especially privileged to have the first woman Bishop in the Church of England, the Right Reverend Libby Lane, address us on the occasion of the Alf Keeling Memorial Lecture. This was held at St Ambrose Preparatory School on the evening of December 3rd, 2015, and the Hall was packed with over 80 people attending. Gordon Levy, Chairman of Altrincham Interfaith Group, welcomed the Bishop who spoke about the Role of Women in Interfaith Relationships. Her talk described the activities of five remarkable women who challenged the ideology that religion is the domain of men only, and showed how they could bring in qualities which, though often present in men, were generally more developed is women such as sensitivity and compassion, and could enrich texts with their female perspective. She stressed that religion should not be closed off to women, who can contribute so much, and can help to bring diverse communities together. There was a very lively discussion afterwards, with several questions including the reaction of the media to the consecration of a women Bishop, the language of gender in religious texts, the gifts that women have respecting reconciliation in areas of strife, as well as the design and source of the Bishop’s episcopal cross and ring. The evening closed with drinks and biscuits and a chance for everyone to socialise. Thanks go to Mr Driscoll and the staff of St Ambrose Preparatory School for making the hall and facilities available to us.
Carolyn Jones (Hon. Sec., Altrincham Interfaith Group)