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  • Sharon Tootill 7:00 pm on July 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Church of England, , , , , Salvationist, vocation, women priests   

    It’s Complicated… 


    I met with a lady yesterday, Alison, a newly ordained Deacon in the Church of England. One of the things that were on my list of things to do was to find myself a ‘Spiritual Director’ or mentor.  We had an amazing couple of things in common, one of which was home education – she had home educated her children (what are the chances?!).

    She was very encouraging, and talked about how long and hard she had needed to fight in order to get to ordination.

    “Don’t let them discourage you”, she said.

    When she asked me about my vocation, and why the Church of England, I was able to say immediately how and why I felt I had been called, and why I am in the CofE. She said that I articulated that very well, which rather tickled me, as I did rather make it up on the spot.

    But when she asked me why the Priesthood, as opposed to any other kind of Christian ministry, I was a little bit stumped. I tend to believe quite strongly in the Priesthood of all believers, which we discussed, and we agreed that this is a good argument in favour of women leaders / ministers / Priests.

    But I realised that I do need to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Priest.

    And I also realised that I am fudging things a bit. I am still Messianic, I am still evangelical. In fact, in many ways, I am still conservative, and as much as I embrace the traditionally liberal qualities of love, tolerance and social justice, I don’t think that will change. I don’t think those ‘liberal’ qualities are at all inconsistent with a conservative view of scripture.

    But can I be consistent as a conservative, Messianic Jewish, evangelical, (Salvationist?!) not-really-feminist, woman Priest in the Church of England?

    I don’t know. I hear the call, but I don’t know where it’s leading me. No decisions need to be made at this point; I am on a journey, so I will just keep taking small steps forward, and trust that I am following the right path.

    I didn’t discuss all of these things with Alison. I think that, although I am keen to meet with her again, I really need to find somebody else to be a real ‘mentor’, even if she is willing to fulfill the official role of ‘Spiritual Director’. But I really need somebody who is familiar with, or has grappled with the same issues as I have to deal with.

    So if you know any other conservative, Messianic Jewish, evangelical, not-really-feminist, women Priests in the Church of England, do please send them my way! (The Salvationist element is optional) 🙂





    • Fiona B 12:35 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Just had a quick read about your complicated life & this sprung to mind NOT as a hard criticism of your seeking path but a query as to how a priesthood position in CoE attracted you when you seem to have grasped the revelation of the Torah of Grace in Messiah.

      As believers we all directly pray to Yeshuah as individuals & corporately as brothers & sisters with evangelists, elders, prophets, teachers, etc each with a gift given by the Spirit for the edification of the body of Christ and no hint of Nicolatianism. The greatest & most knowledgeable was to have no man given or assumed title. The greater is a greater servant. What a person was in Christ was apparent by the gift given by the Spirit …..nothing else was a concern.

      Any person of the assembly was permitted to prophecy by the Spirit so that the burden & responsibility was shared amongst the assembly for its growth & direction according to the Spirit. This seems so the “laity” did not become a “laity” by being disconnected or disempowered from personal & corporate growth by an individual human leader. Each person was part & not spectator & the group of elders oversaw in each assembly to teach Scripture to lift up their brethren to the discernment of good & evil according to God’s Word so each person would be competent in testing for truth & living it.
      The guidelines for such were always mindful of order and self control & an inclusive process of discernment openly performed with the assembly. A great portion of the NT leans heavily on showing us this model.
      Even in evangelising most often the Apostles were sent out in pairs for church planting. Most travels refer to other brothers/sisters as well.

      As a C of E priest is it possible you have submitted yourself to an organisational hierarchy of man which seems to contradict or blur these models of building assemblies on a scriptural foundation?

      Perhaps you have been put in this strange position to witness the need of the Protestant church to look more closely into the doctrine of grace that distorts the simple truth of being grafted into the root of Torah truth as a wild branch. Perhaps to bring up the contrast between, obedience of Faith counted to Abraham as righteousness which is a light yoke instead of obedience being “seeking salvation through works” the heavy yoke of denying Christ’s forgiveness.

      As for the right path & the queries about traditional liberal love qualities etc & the fighting to be ordained. The agenda for our life is declared to those that love according to the truth of the Word….tribulation. John the Baptist lost his head for preaching a Torah instruction truth being broken by Herod willingly & knowingly in God’s sight. (The action of marrying his brother’s wife.)

      I have struggled myself to determine what is love too. (Perhaps with the unscrupulous aim of not losing my head at times or more hopefully discernment of pearls to swine)
      John did lay down his life for another. Although the other may never have come to repentance…….perhaps he did.

      Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, did not condemn the woman’s multiple marriages & shacking up. Nor did he call her to repent. (Jesus’ ministry was only to the lost sheep of Israel & part of His flock that are not of this fold… not the nations but the town believed on Jesus anyway.)

      Discernment is of the Spirit & our judgments fail us miserably when we ourselves live in sin. Personal purity before the Father seems the only way for any of us not to judge in harshness whilst delivering the immutable message of the Eternal Truth of the Father’s only Way for Life.
      I believe that is why in most times that greatest acceptance or rejection of the Kingdom of Elohim comes from preaching His pure Word & that takes steps into the ethereal world of the Spirit (the greater reality) & unless we have taken the demands of Jesus of the cost of discipleship seriously & paid them daily so we are unable to talk ourselves into rationalisations(worldliness) & actually have the Faith that does move the mountain.

      My feeling is although many commands have been defiled for so long; going along with this “change” is not bringing eternal life to those whom may have God’s seed in them waiting to be watered with the truth of their condition for repentance. We may need to do nothing more than trust & be bearers of truth & wear the results whether we are a stench or a perfume…… He does know who are His.

      Be blessed & you may find something in natzarene Israel & 119 ministries. I think it is very important for those who follow Messiah to realise Revelations says we must follow in Spirit & Truth. Many have the Spirit but are rejecting His lead back into the Truth of Torah of the Path, Truth & Life that Jesus lived out as an example for us to follow. The syncretic worship practices that have been hangovers from Catholicism and the early church “fathers” not the Father’s of the Faith have denied many the Faith once delivered. The exodus generation is for our admonition simply because they did not exhibit the faith of obedience to enter the promise land. 2Peter3:15 (hope it is the correct reference for you) spoke clearly that Pauls teachings were apt to be misunderstood & twisted by those who were ignorant as they do the other Scriptures to their own destruction. All in relation to Lawlessness. Very strong words indeed.
      Hope I haven’t overdone it Life for Beginners. Be blessed & always keep knocking for Truth & He will answer You.
      Praise Elohim & Yahshua
      Love in Messiah’s Truth
      Fiona B


      • lillbjorne 1:03 pm on September 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        You’re right, it is certainly a very odd direction for a Torah-observant Messianic to head in. It is not one I would have chosen. But I was removed five years ago from a location with a Messianic congregation to a place with very few options. In Cornwall generally it is between Church of England and Methodist. In this town there is an additional option of a Pentecostal church, but in fact the CofE was the only one with solid teaching (as I have said previously, if the CofE would stick to its own founding documents it wouldn’t go far wrong, but of course in general it hasn’t. I have already had to change parishes because the new vicar was so bizarrely liberal that he couldn’t cope with an evangelical, let alone a Messianic!) Of course I don’t agree with everything but it is a matter of knowing where your line of acceptable compromise must be drawn. For me I felt that, for as long as I was able, I should be a voice for Israel and Torah. In a way, one of the beauties of the CofE is freedom – I could have liberty to speak out those things, but on the other hand of course it has compromised to the point of allowing all sorts of heresies, and putting myself under the authority of such extreme liberals does give me pause.


  • Sharon Tootill 5:15 pm on June 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Salvationist   

    Plan to Help Ailing Rural Corps 

    I managed to get to the Salvation Army today, the first time in a couple of months.

    I came away disheartened and discouraged. I really think that, in rural places like this, and perhaps particularly in Cornwall, the Salvation Army will die unless it makes some changes and soon.

    In this particular corps, there are no young people, no families, no children. Only 3 uniformed members, including the corps officer. 13 attendees in total including myself and the corps officer. The only midweek meetings / outreach a monthly Bible study.

    Off the top of my head, there are a bunch of things that could be done to build up ailing corps.

    1. Committed, experienced uniformed salvationists should be encouraged to retire to Devon and Cornwall and their families should be encouraged to visit.

    2. Young salvationist families should be encouraged to come during the summer holidays to Devon and Cornwall on mission to bring young families into the corps. Look for example at United Beach Missions http://www.ubm.org.uk/

    3. Young salvationists should be invited to spend a gap mission year, unpaid (or perhaps supported by their sending corps) but with free board and lodging, to work with the corps. The only limit to the number and length (number of years) of these mission places is the number of people willing to feed and house them.

    4. Regular marching, with the Salvation Army banner, around the town on the way to the meeting on a Sunday, handing out leaflets inviting people to join the meeting.

    5. Don’t limit yourselves to what you can achieve now. Do some research to find out what local needs are, pray about them and take a step of faith to start meeting those needs. Make prayer a priority.

    6. Don’t assume that it’s enough to be a friendly and welcoming bunch. You need to be investing in real relationships. Superficial friendships aren’t much use to anybody.

    7. Don’t abandon the hymns, don’t replace them with choruses and modern songs, but do make sure that you choose hymns that are well-known, catchy and joyful, especially for the final hymn.

    8. Other corps within striking distance should be willing to ‘loan out’ bandsmen and songsters to stand in and teach until resident corps members are able to form a band themselves.

    There’s more I could say but this will do for now.

    I’m torn between enthusiasm and frustration. I stopped going regularly because my request to become a soldier was ignored and not pursued despite many months of faithful attendance.

    But I love the Army and I hope they will do something about their dwindling numbers before it’s too late.

  • Sharon Tootill 7:09 pm on February 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Salvationist   

    Salvationist Reading List 

    I stumbled on this article listing books that every Salvationist should read. Actually some of them perhaps every Christian should read. I thought I would share the list as I will be adding at least some of these titles to my long-term ‘to read’ list.


  • Sharon Tootill 4:59 pm on January 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , KJV, , , , Salvationist, sermons, ,   

    Read52 Week 2: Aggressive Christianity by Catherine Booth 

    I have had a long on-and-off relationship with the Salvation Army, from Corps Cadets youth group as a teenager, through working (for most of my working life) at THQ in London, to infrequent attendance at various Salvation Army Corps around the country wherever I’ve been living. But this year I am planning to cement our relationship by becoming a soldier – more on that as my application progresses – and I am setting out to read some classic Salvationist texts.


    ‘Aggressive Christianity’ is a series of addresses given by Catherine Booth. It wouldn’t be quite fair to call her the wife of the Founder, as her influence was substantial, and from the outset women were allowed equal status, rights and responsibilities in the Salvation Army.

    The sermons were collected in 1880, but have a surprisingly pertinent, modern feel to them. Excusing the use of some archaic language (which I like actually, as I happen to be a KJV fan), Catherine Booth’s arguments seem just as relevant over 130 years later.

    She talks with passion about the imperative for Christians to be at work rescuing people out of the ‘flames of hell’ – she wasn’t just talking of alcoholism, drugs, prostitution and the like of course, but of a real possible future eternity in ‘hell’. Whether or not Christians today believe in future damnation, there are still people for whom life is a living hell, who could be helped if Christians were willing to go out and rescue them. But what if? What if the modern sensitivity and rejection of the whole idea of hell is misplaced? How motivated should a church that believed in hell be to make sure that nobody would perish?

    Aggressive Christianity is also a round rejection of ‘easy-believism’, emphasising the imperative for repentance and holiness. A modern discussion would certainly want to explore what is meant by the terms, but Catherine Booth’s passion is infectious, and although many Christians may take issue with some Salvationist Theology, (not only their belief in hell, but also their rejection of Communion and Baptism, and their belief that salvation once gained can subsequently be lost, which appears to be a works-based salvation),  I’m inclined to think that this little volume should be required reading for anybody considering going into ministry, and perhaps for all Christians.

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