monday’s group discussions

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Monday the sex talk continued – but not in parliamentary session, and that’s just as well.  Been there, done that (though a motion or two may yet come up).  In parliamentary debate,  even assuming everyone is brief, you get only 20 people per hour getting air time, and it’s likely to be the usual suspects [moi included, I realize] saying the usual things.  As if we haven’t all read the same bible or something.  Yesterday was the first session with smaller collections of people (mine had 17 noses), sitting in a circle, each getting to voice what they want to say, listening to the others.  The rapporteur in the room (who is not a member of synod) was “the child amang ye takin’ notes”, and the 15 rapporteurs got together with thems wot is organising all this to find commonalities.  I understand that today we’re getting feedback on all that, summaries of all 15 conversations.

My group went well enough – it wasn’t a love-in and sweetness and homo-affirming light, but I didn’t hear either any vituperation, or any heel-digging-in.  We were handed the House of Bishops’ 2008 statement, and asked what as GS members we hoped GS would do with this, messages from this statement to make.  We went round the circle, and I was somewhat dismayed when I found myself sitting between the bishop of Yukon on the one side, and an unknown-to-moi priest from the diocese of Saskatchewan [and thus almost certainly conservative] on the other.  Even more joy when Bp Buckle started us off (with two sentences, both quite uninflammatory, no objections there), which left ME up next to speak.

I said that I would like synod to say something and not leave things under a rock – my apprehension is that we’ll come to Friday, prorogue and that will be it “been there done that, move on”, because there very definitely is issue fatigue.  I also don’t want to be shoving anyone out – I’ve been excluded enough that I don’t want it to happen to others; that’s just revenge, and not to be countenanced.  I want all to be welcomed, and I’d hope for an openness to local option, realising that some will opt in a way I wouldn’t.  I also noted that several dioceses didn’t do anything by way of study, despite direct call from GS07, and thought (and said) if they don’t want to, then they shouldn’t – it’s silly to force that exercise.  [as I have joked on many occasions when calling for local  option, “don’t like same-sex blessings?  Then don’t have one!”, and this is really an extension of that idea]

We went round the circle a couple of times, and it went fine.  A few still wouldn’t tip their hands, but there was a lot of feeling for wanting to be gentle with each other, and not rending church.

A first-nations priest was concerned about change, and spoke of God’s time being not the same as ours.  He and I had a good long talk afterwards, and we’re best of friends – I spoke of people who wait and wait, and who won’t get a silver wedding anniversary because of time delay.  I spoke of couples for whom anything less than “the real thing” / “the whole enchilada” is just not good enough, and of those who find it ironic that they are accepted everywhere in their lives, except in church, where they should be more than in secular society.  He thought (correctly) that the couples I know are sure that God does bless them – “so why do you need me, a priest, to say that? I spoke of living in faith communities, and we came to an understanding.

Back at the discussion we had – we spoke around the circle twice, a youth member said she would have a hard time if something positive in terms of blessings didn’t happen.  A priest from the province of BC reported having changed his mind now being positive; and wanting synod to come to some conclusion.  and the rapporteur took his notes and they were pooled.  What I have reported here is clearly only one of fifteen groups, but talk in the corridor indicates to me that it was fairly typical.  I’ll post this and move on to Tuesday’s action.


Written by Chris

June 8th, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Posted in General Synod