I have to admit to being worried about what Synod would be like today. After the Eucharist, at which Archbishop Justin presided and preached, the morning and, as it turned out, the first part of the afternoon was given over to the ordination of women to the episcopate. There was a great deal of business to get through and just looking at the Twitter feed will show you how the morning went.
What I was really struck by was the gracious generosity which was evident in the Chamber. I had reflected that this was not a ‘done deal’ and it still isn’t of course. There is still the referral to the dioceses to go through – but let’s face it, the support was overwhelming last time. Why would that have changed? And then it does have to come back to Synod for the final stages with the result of that consultation reported to us.
I’m glad – thankful – that the support for a shorter process was overwhelming. There is no way that this Measure should be sent down to deaneries and parishes for debate. Not that I mind that happening but in this instance, when people were so incensed by the refusal of the Synod to take real note of the opinions of the diocese last time, I don’t think we would have found a welcome beyond the Diocesan Synods with this referral. But there will be joy, I think, that we are getting on with it.
I was proud of April Alexander in her speech when she said ‘We have done so much damage; now is the time to repair it.’ There has been such damage done to our reputation in the diocese. At last it looks as though we mean business and that we are organised and have a plan. At least we can now get on with moving this forward.
The place in which our discussions happen is the beautiful Synod Chamber. Church House, Westminster, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker who was also the architect of the Union Buildings in Pretoria as well as many other buildings. It has a quiet dignity. Close to the Chamber is the Chapel and one great innovation has been to have a constant praying presence there. Members of the new Community invited by Archbishop Justin to establish a house within Lambeth Palace, are helping to look after this.
I went and sat there for a while this afternoon. There’s a screen set up in the corner so you can see – but not hear – what’s going on in the Chamber – so you don’t feel too separate from the continuing business which this afternoon has been legislative in nature. The Chapel is beautiful though – a calm, holy space in what can be a frenetic environment. It brings you back to the heart of what we are about – Jesus Christ and proclaiming the Good News incarnated in Him.
So a good day and wonderful to breathe more generous air!
thank you for today.
Help us as we move forward
that we may continue
to be gracious and generous
with each other
as you are gracious and generous