The Church we have become

Monday night’s decision by the General Synod to move towards legislation enabling the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England has devastated many who find this unacceptable.  Conversations  over the last 24 hours with those opposed to women bishops clearly suggests that their real dismay is not about women bishops (as they had foreseen that this was an unstoppable cause), but in not being accommodated within the Church of England by something stronger that a Code of Practice.

As ever in pastoral ministry, all one can do for people as they grapple with reality is to be there for them – walking closely as they tread the path of understanding.  Reality and the truth about a situation or about life is frequently disturbing, yet is is only when we have recognised truth, that we can really respond creatively to life as it is, rather than as we had hoped it would be.

Monday night’s vote confirmed the reality that we have become a different church.  A Church open to being challenged and shaped by our culture; a church ready to revisit our theology because of questions asked of us by the world we are called to serve; a church not prepared to enshrine division within its legislation.

Yet I am very aware of good friends and others who are hurting as they encounter the reality of the church we have become.   It is not a time for celebration by those who are encouraged by this decision, but for walking close with those who are hurting, as they discover ways of responding creatively to the reality of the church we have become.

I am among those who believe that the church has always been reshaped by is culture and that the only constants are the values of the Kingdom which the Spirit breaths through history , leading us into truth – but I still want to close to those who see it differently, for we would be less if they walk at a distance to us or we to them.


6 Responses to The Church we have become

  1. The thoughts of many Methodists will be with you at this time as you seek God’s will amongst all of this.

  2. Geoff says:

    A Church shaped by the world?

    There was a time when the Church shaped the world.

    Now it is just relativist and has given up in the face of secularism.

    Its Rome for me.

  3. ken patterson says:

    Geoff, I quite agree with nearly all you say. It seems that it will not be long before church doctrine is determined by some sort of “Big Brother” project. People will always reject what their personal views oppose. By rejecting the doctrine of Sola Scriptura the C of E has become a tower of Babel. Moving to Rome is the wrong call. She is tied to tradition and the machinations of her Popes.

  4. Are you serious? “I am among those who believe that the church has always been reshaped by is culture” Christianity forms culture, it is not formed by culture. Yes, we can change our language and even our style but our substance was the same 2000 years ago as it is today. Christ is our constant in a world of change.

    This is not only a naive comment but an incredibly unhelpful one. We certainly do have a different Church after the Synod vote. It is one that says, despite the findings of the Rochester Report, that there is only one way of understanding scripture and tradition. If this true, then I’m going with the majority view – and that’s the view of 2000 years vintage and a billion people worldwide.

  5. A Knight Templar says:

    I agree completely with Gregory. What right have you to say the church, the church that I like you were baptized into has changed. It has not and nor will we let it.

    Firstly we are not giving up and walking down a path having suddenly realized that, shock, we were wrong and its all changed!

    Secondly If you think I am giving up the church that so many people in the past have suffered for you have another thing coming. We have always been here and mark my words we always will. Now you have uncovered your guns we know what a vitriolic and hateful lobby you all are.

    We are going nowhere mark my words.

    If you think the holy spirt will let secular prevail over peoples faith you will be in for a surprise …

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