Posting my thoughts immediately after the day’s debate. Detailed account of it is here.
Some instant reflections
Well, there is subdued cheerfulness around the place. The first half hour or so this morning was, on reflection, breathtaking, as all the big guns associated with this issue over the last n years (where n is a large number) lined up to say they were happy, content, or at least willing for it to go ahead. There was some surprise at the apparent unanimity of opinion expressed by Fr David Houlding, Christina Rees, Rod Thomas, Fr Simon Killwick, and others.
After lunch there was a brief outburst of the old ways from one or two speakers who took advantage of what was effectively a procedural motion (about how the Revision Committee process should work) to grind their old axes. They were received in silence. More effective were one or two personal testimonies from people who bore witness to how the ‘new look’ processes of the last few months have enabled them to move forward on the issues. It’s easy sometimes to forget this is about people, vocation and God.
So what next?
We’re now in a different place. But we are not there yet. So rejoicing (or indeed, despair, depending where you come from) would be premature.
- The Bishops have got a job on their hands. They should be helped by the presence, from next month, of elected representatives of senior women clergy at their meetings.
- The Synod will have to be very disciplined when we do line by line revision of the proposed Bishops Declaration and associated ‘small print’ stuff in February.
- There’s a big communications job to be done with the press and parishes to explain where we are and what happens next. Some expectations will have to be managed.
One fascinating thought. There is currently a huge queue of dioceses with vacant sees. Already we know that (for example) St Edmundsbury and Ipswich won’t get to ‘recruitment) (i.e. the Crown Nominations Commission) until this time next year. Others will be in the queue behind them. So one or two dioceses can foresee they may be in a situation where (at the very least) women candidates may start to appear on their short-lists…
That’s all folks. I’ve chipped in to a debate on electoral re-arrangements for Deanery and other Synods, but that is so technical I decline to write it up here!
* Reflections: The Supremes went all Motown psychedelic in 1967 with this. and rebranded themselves Diana Ross and the Supremes