Church Times (I): woman space

THE Church (capital T, capital C) is widely regarded as being pretty female-unfriendly. It’s a cardinal thing: the hierarchy is pretty much all male and…well, everything follows from that.

On the other hand, the church (small t and small c) is quite another kettle of fish. In fact, in modern western society, outside of High Church and the evangelical horrors, I’d say that the church belongs, much more, to the women in its congregation than the blokes. Why?

We-ell, its not just the flower arranging. Its…a joyful place where you can go for an hour or so and just be. Where there are hymns and other people and a lot of women who are mostly there for you: women to chat to, women to hold your hand, women, even, to cry with.

I noticed that again today. I had just been re-reading my post about the very first time I’d gone into church “en femme”: how scary it had been and…to my joy, how the mum’s rallied round: didn’t judge; just supported me as I crossed one of the most difficult lines crossed in the last twelve months.

And they are still there for me. So very much there. If this doesn’t sound too abysmally tacky: I love you all…today, especially, Trish, who is very BAD in an ultimately very good way. We-ell…the sound system was switched off…so if you’re in the Sunday school area, you hear very little of the main service and…the temptation to chat is ever-so-slightly overwhelming. Obviously about big metaphysical stuff!

Further down the hall, the boy was stood having an ultra-serious discussion with Trish’s older boy. Which go-go is rarest – and which is the most powerful. Yep. Serious boy stuff! Four of them later decanted to under a table, which seemed to have been transformed into a temporary den.

I wasn’t in too good a space when I left for church this morning. By the time that mass, and coffee, and chit-chat were done, I was far, far happier.



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