A new day begins

The voting has ended and we have decided overwhelmingly that women, as well as men, should be bishops, priests and deacons. I came out of the chamber just after 5pm – we had started but with a break for lunch at 11.15am – and I breathed new air. One younger woman incumbent in the Diocese of Southwark has just texted me and said

Well done. So, so excited!!! The best day ever. 🙂

That says it all for me. It is the best day ever, the Lord’s day, a new day and the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes.

It is hard to describe the debate. So many people said that the quality of debate and the level of courtesy and listening was the best they had experienced. The Bishop of Rochester at each stage was superb. The Archbishop of York chaired it with firmness, fairness and grace. Calling Dr Paula Gooder to speak first set us off in the right direction – scripture, theology and reason rolled into one with eloquence. The final speech by John Spence was so wonderful that I was stunned. He is a gift from God to the church. He has taken Synod by storm. I just wish everyone in our church could have heard him and could have been inspired by him as Synod was.

Other contributors were also good – but there are too many to mention. You know the result; a resounding YES!

WATCH members have done a great job

WATCH members have done a great job

On the Measure the voting was

Bishops For 37, Against, 2, Abstentions 1
Clergy For 162, Against 25, Abstentions 4
Laity For 152, Against 45, Abstentions 5

On the Amending Canon

Bishops For 37, Against, 2, Abstentions 1
Clergy For 164, Against 24, Abstentions 3
Laity For 153, Against 40, Abstentions 8

So it was overwhelmingly carried and that was what we needed to move into this new world, this new way of being the church in which we can all flourish. Because it has to be all and we have to flourish.

I came back to say Evening Prayer and to give thanks before I celebrate in another way. God always gives us gifts in the lectionary and these are verses from one of the psalms set for this evening – these are God’s words to us tonight.

8 I will listen to what the Lord God will say, •
for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful,
that they turn not again to folly.
9 Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him, •
that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together, •
righteousness and peace have kissed each other;
11 Truth shall spring up from the earth •
and righteousness look down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed give all that is good, •
and our land will yield its increase.

(Psalm 85.8-12)

Our land will increase, will flourish, as will our church. To God be the glory and thank you for your prayers.

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