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Hallo again to all.

The Loyal Order of Moose is an international organization for men (women may not join directly) that has branches in several countries that also sport Anglican churches. It is headquartered in Mooseheart, Illinois, USA, which is about an hour's travel by car from the city centre of Chicago. It is divided into administrative units called Lodges; the Supreme Lodge (in Mooseheart) has authority over all of the other Lodges. In the UK the Grand Lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose in Great Britain is run by the Grand Governor, assisted by the Grand Council. In the United States the Supreme Lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose is run by the Supreme Governor, assisted by the Supreme Junior Governor, Supreme Prelate, and eight Supreme Councilmen. There is a worldwide Director General who seems to have authority over all of the Supreme Governors and Grand Governors.†

Flying bishop
Flying bishop
To accommodate women, each national Lodge has a women's auxiliary. In the UK the Order established Moose Ladies' Circles, membership in which is open to all female relatives of a Moose member (though other ladies may also join as associate members). In the USA, the Lodge founded Women of the Moose as an auxiliary organization. We have not been able to find documentation of whether a woman can join Women of the Moose without being related to an actual male Moose, but we note that a Woman of the Moose is eligible to retire to the Moosehaven retirement community entirely on her own.

These Moose definitely make the world a better place. They contribute mightily to community service, to the welfare of children, and generally to the care of people who otherwise might not be cared for. They are not to be ridiculed, and we assume that once their research shows that membership is dropping because fewer young men want to be part of an organization that treats women differently, they will change their ways in order to survive.

We Anglicans might learn a few things from these Moose. They don't seem to have any trouble naming each new Director General or the Grand or Supreme Governors. They moved quickly to help prosecute when some Mooseheart staff were arrested for molesting children a couple of decades ago, and immediately revised their hiring and monitoring procedures to ensure that it would not happen again. They do not wear cassock-albs.

It's now three paragraphs later and we wager that you can't remember the various exalted titles of the men who run Moose Lodges, except that you are pretty certain they are not called bishops or archbishops or supreme bishops or grand bishops. Unless you are an actual Moose, you probably don't care and have no need to remember. The internal structure and governance of the Loyal Order of Moose is of no concern to you unless you need to figure out who should be jailed if some member Moose commits a crime.††

Flying squirrel
Flying squirrel

The governance of your church is probably of little or no concern to you, either.††† Although you learn from the news the name of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the current ABC is very photogenic and wise-looking, the choice of Archbishop hardly affects your life at all. The British government could name Natasha Bedingfield as the next Archbishop of Canterbury and it wouldn't have very much effect on your life.

We have a suggestion for moving this whole process forward. All of the Church of England people who insist on treating women differently can move not to Rome (which is rather dire) but to Mooseheart. If a parish asks for a provincial episcopal visitor, it should immediately be converted into a Moose Lodge and its clergy converted to Grand or Supreme Whatevers. The Moose are very comfortable with having a separate category for women, and they seem not to be attracting public scorn for their separation of the sexes. Their liturgy is a little strange, but perhaps the Director General could create an Ordinariate Lodge in which the Supreme Governor could follow the Anglican Rite instead of the Moose Rite. And the Moose have a vastly better track record at prosecuting child molesters than do the RC's.

Once most of the angry old men whose intransigence at the concept of women bishops have been translated to Moose Lodges, the Crown Nominations Commission ought to be able to finish its work in a twinkling and we can let poor tired Rowan Williams get the tranquillity of retirement that he deserves.

See you next week.

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7 October 2012

†See The Constitution and By-laws of Moose International and the Supreme Lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose.
††We know you are not an actual moose, because actual moose can't read. By the way, outside North America an actual moose (Alces alces) is called an elk; the animal that in North America is called an elk is something entirely different.
†††Though if you are interested in church polity and governance, there's a new column today by Bishop Pierre Whalon on that topic.

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