It’s not been a great Synod. The women Bishops legislation (which I wrote about at great length) collapsed; my amendments about revising Canon B.12 were thrown out. And I now discover there’s been nearly 2″ of rain at home and there’s a flood warning all round where I live. I grumbled on Monday about bad trains – but Templecombe railway station looks like this today, apparently. Was it worth coming? And will I ever get home?
Any lessons to be learned?
Synod itself. Well, first of all Synod itself is a bit defective. Who elects a House of Laity that signally fails to represent the fairly clear view of diocesan synods that the legislation should go ahead?
When the next elections fall due in 2015, I think there will be pretty firm scrutiny of candidates’ manifestos – especially those that are mealy-mouthed about their views on women’s ministry. And (more politically) how did the conservative evangelicals (who normally keep a low profile) manage to organise so effectively to produce a constant stream of nay-sayers, peddlers of near-fundamentalist biblical exegesis and submissive women?
Reactions back at the ranch: Secondly, then, how do we deal with the hurt and anger that is around in the dioceses now? In Bath and Wells, a special reflective eucharist is planned for Monday. But after that… How do we honour Archbishop Rowan’s pointers about needing to explain ourselves to the Church, and to the wider world?
Where next? Thirdly, everyone is calling for talks, discussion, new ways forward. But it is within the power of the business Committee to bring a long-parked Southwark Diocesan motion to the July sessions. It calls for the abolition of the Act of Synod – flying Bishops, Resolutions A and B, and all. It only needs a 51% majority. That is dangerous territory for the opponents…
When Synod next meets (in July) we shall have one very large disappointed set of people; and another, smaller group who by then may be wondering what they have done. We’ll have a new Archsbishop of Canterbury. God help him, and all of us.