Monday, 6 June 2011

Anglican Patrimony

The Diocese of Chelmsford debated the issue of Women Bishops on Saturday and voted in favour of the following motion:
"That this Synod approve the proposals embodied in the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No. 30."
A following motion calling for more provisions for those unable on theological grounds to accept the ministry of women bishops was rejected.

I wasn’t able to attend the debate, however, I have read the Bishop of Chelmsford’s presidential address to synod. +Stephen’s theme is Anglican Patrimony and it is well worth reading through to the end. His concluding remarks are particularly pertinent not just to this debate but for others facing the Church of England at the moment.
But before the debate begins properly, let me finish by mentioning something even more important than this. Whatever the outcome of today’s debate and of the debate in General Synod next year, we will almost certainly be left without complete agreement, though make no mistake about it, complete agreement and consensus is what I am praying for. Therefore the question for each of us as we go home today is this: what shall I do with my disagreement? How we answer this question is of fundamental spiritual significance, because it demands of us two things: great love of our neighbour, a Christ like love that is willing to go the second mile; and also great trust. Do I trust that those with whom I disagree are still my brothers and sisters in Christ who in faithfully reading the same scriptures as me and inhabiting the same Anglican patrimony, have reached, in conscience, different conclusions? If I can see Christ in them and honour the decisions our synods come to, then there will be hope not just for the Church of England, but for the world. For our world is more divided and fearful and confused than ever; and it might be that in our day God is calling us to show, by the way we handle our disagreements, the love of Christ who is, says the letter to the Ephesians, “Our peace”. In his flesh he is breaking down the barriers between us (Ephesians 2. 14). May this be so today: for our church and for our world.
To which I can only add Amen.

John Richardson has posted his own reflection on the Chelmsford vote and the wider issues raised here. I don't agree with John's position but he represents a view that should be heard as part of the debate.

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