Wednesday 21 November 2012
Response to Women Bishops Vote
In Response to the General Synod vote of November 20, 2012:
When I heard that the legislation on women bishops had failed by 6 votes I sat down and wept. I hadn’t allowed myself to imagine that this could happen. I couldn’t comprehend the church I love ceasing to become part of the solution and actively voting to become part of the problem.
People at St Martin-in-the-Fields and beyond feel dismayed, bewildered, even betrayed. We can’t recall a moment when we felt so aghast at where we’ve come to and what we’re doing. God the Holy Trinity is three persons without subordination and without discrimination; to imitate God, human life must be the same. Isn’t that too obvious to need saying? It seems not. If the church rejects the glorious and abundant gifts God is giving us – and then feels impoverished and fragile – whose fault is that?
What do we find to hold onto in such a wilderness moment? Perhaps three things.
One, the wilderness is where the people of God have time and again rediscovered who they are and who God is. Maybe that’s what we have to do now.
Two, if a thing’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for. We can only work and pray that next time round we’ll have a House of Laity in General Synod that’s more representative of the church at large; it could be that if a simpler piece of legislation eventually emerges it’ll be easier and better to work with in the long run.
Three – and here I speak to those who are too angry to think straight at the moment – if the church isn’t working right now, try the kingdom. Throw yourself into life among the least, the last, and the lost and rediscover the church there. St Martin-in-the-Fields is committed to making the church look and become more like God’s kingdom every day. Sometimes when we feel furious with or hurt by the church, the only thing to do is to reinvest in the kingdom. Maybe, today, in this moment of despair, that’s where hope lies.
Revd Dr Sam Wells
Vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields