We have emerged from the first part of this morning which was over two hours usefully spent in group meetings. Our chair described it as a ‘conclave’ so who said what will remain confidential to the group, which is fair enough. But what I will say is that it was a very positive experience and there was a general feeling of encouraging optimism. It seems that there is a different atmosphere and this new approach to the legislation, lighter, shorter, was much welcomed by people. We were from all parts of the conversation and yet there was real respect around the room. One person commented that the new approach felt more ‘Christian’ and I can understand that.
Having been so devastated a year ago when the legislation failed I do feel as though we had to go through that pain in order to get to the place where we are now. I was reflecting on the fact that you only get to Easter Day via Good Friday, you cannot get to the one without passing through the other; you can’t get to life in all its fullness without carrying your cross. Maybe this is why this now feels more Christian because it is more authentically true to the journey which Jesus takes us on.
Some issues remain, such as oaths and whether those who cannot accept the ministry of women can take an oath of canonical obedience to her if she is the diocesan bishop. It’s an interesting conversation to have, to what extent the oath is to the person or to the office. My own view is it is the latter, claerly, and to ‘their successors’ as we have to say and so it is to more than the man or the woman standing before you or referred to in the document! Other issues will arise in debate but I’m delighted that we are in a place where we can discuss in an atmosphere of hopeful optimism.
But Synod continues and I must get back to the Chamber. Prayer during the Day offers this prayer for Tuesday
the light of the minds that know you,
the joy of the hearts that love you,
and the strength of the wills that serve you:
grant us so to know you
that we may truly love you,
so to love you that we may truly serve you,
whose service is perfect freedom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.