July has come at last and the general synod of the Church is starting this weekend. There is, of course, much friction and speculation over what will happen during this meeting. We have kept you up to date with all the letters and petitions, as I type I am waiting to hear Bishop Martyn Jarrett on Radio Two speaking on the subject and our Synod representative has been anointed and sent on his way to York with our prayers. There is a mood of determination in the air, that we believe ourselves to be valued in the Church, that we believe ourselves to be doing God's will and, in a personal note, if the Church believes, as it does, that the Holy Ghost chooses His Priests and works through the selection process, what on earth do those who would decry me being in the Church think He has called me here for? Or do they doubt the process?
One of the Diocesan Clergy, from this church, http://www.stpaulsparish.org.uk/ has sent a letter to all the synod representatives in the Diocese of Manchester suggesting that they would be disloyal if they vote for a measure which allows us to stay in, which shows how involved people have got at 'campaigning' at all sorts of levels. We seek not, though, to change anyone's minds, just to hope we may continue serving as God has commanded us and to work with our fellow ministers in the Church.
We will, of course, keep you all up to date with the movements of Synod from Friday onwards, as we are able and we shall do our best to separate gossip from facts. The time for letters is over, the time for prayer, I would suggest, is at hand.
Bishop Martyn and Christina Rees on Radio 2.
The Radio programme now on is presenting a very balanced view, Bishop Martyn is currently explaining what a Bishop is and what a 'crisis of conscience' would arise if this were to change. Christina Rees (she of the gulls eggs) is now claiming that 'we will arrange...for the minority, but to have that in law is...an outrage', comparing the issue to a 'black' racism issue and that arrangements currently in place overseas 'work', presumably San Joaquin Diocese is an example of that! 'We can amend (these provisions) as we go along', she suggests to 'improve' them! Bishop Martyn is making it clear that only provision in law is acceptable. He points out that if people were genuine about the provision, they would be happy about it being enshrined in law as well. Rees then suggests that 'the issue' is that (as well as the fact she has issues with Bishop Martyn) of 'what we really think about women'. I feel that Bishop Martyn put our view across very well, not indulging in the 'heartstrings' rhetoric that Christina did when faced with a difficult question. However, I fear this is the language of the country today.