I am not a member of synod, so I listened, as did thousands of others, to the live stream of the debate yesterday. Even from a distance, the hurt, and the love of those seeking to apologise for that hurt was palpable. It was an impassioned debate, full of pain, full of questions, full of a desire to discern God’s will. It made me think that the Church of England can do good disagreement – whatever the headlines promising ‘turmoil’ say today. It was a debate full of grace.
I am so sorry as a member of the reflection group that we didn’t get it right and the fact that we caused distress to so many. I know that an apology is hollow unless we move on in a different way which learns from our mistakes.
The challenge now is how together we make the debate and vote count for something. Alongside many others today, I am left with some questions.
What does radical inclusive Christianity look like in a church where there continues to be a vast distance between views over sexuality?
How can we clarify what we disagree on and still find common ground which looks radical?
How can we ensure that everyone is included in moving forward?
What we need is time – I know this is frustrating to those who think we have taken far too long already. But we will need time if we are to do better. Our faith, and our belief in a loving God, demands we do so.
Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
(The Collect for the second Sunday after Trinity)