Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Now What?

I assume that from now on, every Reform church will be paying its parish share in full, and there'll be no more talk about opting out from Diocesan structures. No representation without taxation. After the vote today, it would be outrageous for Reform parishes then to opt into and out of church structures as they saw fit. Having played a full part in the legislative process, and hobbled the CofE's witness in the process (check Twitter if you doubt this), to then withold support would be deeply unjust. It would be like kicking someone in the shins, and then fining them for limping.

Had I the key, and were I in the vicinity of Church House, I would lock General Synod in there until they found a way to sort this out. It's clear that some of the processes before today have been badly flawed, so much as I'd like to I can't just blame the lobby groups. (update: a vicar on our local news in Somerset was making the same point - he argued that Synod could have found a motion that would have commanded enough votes, and managed to accomodate people like himself who were opposed.)

In the end it comes down to whether we trust each other. Traditionalists want stronger guarantees, but the stronger the wording is, the more it betrays the fact that Christians don't trust each other to act like Christians, and are resorting to law to regulate their relationship rather than grace. If that's where we've come to, I can't see how those Christians can share communion, or claim to be in fellowship with one another. We belong to the same institution, but how much more is there to it than that?


  1. Traditionalists want stronger guarantees because the innovators have shown they will not keep commitments made.
    In a BBC radio 4 interview yesterday Rose Hudson-Wilkin said that those who don't want women bishops should get out.
    Such grace is hardly likely to engender trust!
    If the legislation had been genuinely inclusive and had honoured the Lambeth 1998 agreement, I'm sure the legislation for women bishops would have been passed.

    Peter Crick

  2. Thanks for your comment Peter, that's understandable, and I fear that there'll be things said in the heat of the present moment which will make it harder for us to move forward.

    What I don't understand is how, after 12 years of discussion, Synod hasn't managed to find a piece of legislation they can agree on. Everything just seems to get frozen in time between one synod and the next, as if progress can't be made between meetings by talking to one another. The impression I get is the folk are more committed to making press releases and position statements than sitting down together to pray and work it through.

  3. Having said that, my recent church history is a bit rusty. What are the commitments made to traditionalists that have been broken?

  4. http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/last_night_i_was_neither_proud_of_the_church_of_england_nor_wanted_to_represent_it_says_archdeacon_of_norwich_1_1701928

    Worth a read

  5. A commentary on the 'promises' made to traditionalists (from an organisation firmly in favour of women bishops and priests) can be found at http://www.gras.org.uk/promises.pdf