What can I say?
Along with many others, I feel a whole kaleidoscope of emotions following the vote of Synod yesterday.
I actually cried.
I genuinely felt sick.
Today those feelings do not seem to have relaxed much.
I feel pretty ’empty’.
Today I find myself totally embarrassed to be connected with the Church of England. Despite that embarrassment, I still love her, which kind of infuriates me. Maybe St. Augustine felt similar when he cried, ‘the church is a whore but she’s my mother!’
Today I have heard and read comments. The comments claimed the measure did not get through Synod (I can’t say wasn’t voted in … because the overall majority still voted yes!) due to alternative provision for those unable to accept a woman bishop. Yet … the ‘no’ speeches yesterday were, in my opinion, far more about the old arguments of male headship …. nothing new from 20 years ago when I started Christian ministry. Surely we already dealt with that when the church correctly voted for women priests!
20 years and it seems we have gone backwards. Not only am I embarrassed but I believe the nation now sees the church as an embarrassment. As a clergy person in a pioneering role in a town with real people who can’t understand why we don’t have full inclusion already … I am concerned how this will effect the mission of the church. I fear the trust relationship we have with many will be lost …. no one wants to trust an embarrassment or a joke! That is clearly what we are. And, there will be consequences in that relationship in our communities.
There is a clear issue here that I do wish to voice. It’s fairly obvious to me that how Synod works needs to be addressed. If Synod members are truly representative, as in vote according to their electing diocese wishes, then this measure would have passed easily. If people were voting with integrity and following the wishes of those who elected them, then only the representatives of two dioceses should have voted no. It seems people have got elected and voted on personal grounds rather than acting as the representatives they should be. I struggle with that.
These people have deprived the church of God ordained female leadership ….. and you only need to look at the church to see that we are not functioning properly, due to that deprivation. Without an inclusive house of bishops we are incomplete.
But for now this gets us nowhere.
All we can do is pray.
In this season I find strength in the morning prayer canticle based on Isaiah 43:
‘I WILL make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert’
I pray, O Lord, that you make that way soon!