When the legislation does come back it could take one of two forms. The first would be a single clause motion, no provision for traditionalists, just a simple “take it or leave it” approach. This would be a disaster dwarfing the catastrophe of tonight. Such an approach reeks of vengeance and intolerance. It has already been rejected by both Synod and the committees looking at shaping the measure. Just bringing such a motion, let alone passing it, would be a signal that liberals were actively trying to push traditionalists out of the Church of England. Forget the nonsense being written by journalists as we speak about “civil war” – we are not there now but a single clause measure would cross that threshold.
So what alternative? There has to be a way of providing a place for traditionalists whilst having women bishops. We have months and years to think about that solution, but may I offer one tiny suggestion for thinking about now? One of the key concerns I heard today was that without sight of the Code of Practice many conservatives could not support the motion as it stood, even if they wanted to compromise to move forward. So what’s stopping us drawing up the Code of Practice before the vote? We now have several years to do it and to do it well.
But that is for the future. Tonight is pain and grief and puzzlement and lament. Perhaps in the morning I will head across the Thames and join the Eucharist at St Paul’s Cathedral. It will be good to sit with men and women, probably a good mix of people I agree with and disagree with, and just do a simple Anglican thing. If we can share the representation of Christ’s sacrificial victory for us, surely it is not beyond our grasp to work out how to walk forward together?
This is my commonplace book and sometime-journal.
I blog at SpiritualFriendship.org.
My book is here: Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.
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