It has been decided today that the legislation to admit women to the Anglican episcopate will now go to each and every diocese for prayerful debate and consideration. The amendment presented by both Archbishops has been defeated last Saturday and today it has been decided that those forced out will not be considered for compensation. For those of us who hold what the Universal Church always held, there is no good news in this. We have been saying over and over again that a Code of Practice will not do, not now, never. General Synod has decided just to offer that which is no good. Remember the promise of an honoured place? That has been taken away just as the PEV’s (flying bishops) have been now abolished.
The faith once delivered to the saints is being forced out of the CofE and we heard today members of Synod urging their colleagues to follow state law and not ecclesial principles. This was so disgraceful that the outgoing bishop of Durham stood to say that the day the Church stops listening to God and follows the powers of this world is the day when the Church ceases to be Church! But that is what Synod decided. I followed some of the live transmission of the debate and I have to say that I was saddened to hear the tone of some of the members – it does not do honour to what the CofE stands/stood for – but times are a’changing.
So where does that leave us?
I hope it leaves us on our knees in front of the Lord of the Church. I hope that it brings us nearer to Mary the Mother of the Church. I hope that it reinforces in some of us the words urging us not to put our trust in princes or members of General Synod but only in our Risen Prince of Peace. I hope we do not go down the road of recriminations but the way of looking forward in faith as the Lord said something about those looking back. I hope all of those who feel like me will be generous and bold and not just wait for something advantageous for us. We need to pray for our bishops especially John, Keith, Andrew and Martin together with Lindsay, Edwin, Robert and those summoning us to Synod in September and bond with them and under them as never before. We need to pray for and continue loving those who showed such behaviour toward us at this Synod, nothing should fill our hearts except the face of the Beloved.
Let us pray and think this summer and prepare as we come together in the autumn with joy, hope and faith but above all in love.