Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What Should Have Happened at General Synod

The focus of the past Church of England General Synod, and of coverage of it, was sex and gender issues.  And as deplorable as the measures passed in those areas are, what is more deplorable is what General Synod did not do.  To me at least, the silence is deafening.

General Synod, to my knowledge*, spent not one minute addressing the Philip North affair.  The Synod, along with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, bent over backwards to make gays and transgenders welcomed and affirmed.  Sentamu was particularly loquacious in that regard.  But where was the welcome affirming inclusion for traditional Christians?

The North debacle sent the strong message that when it comes to diocesan bishoprics, traditionalists need not apply.  Oh, traditionalists are welcome . . . to stay in their ghettos.  But forget about moving on up.

There was perhaps not a more urgent matter for General Synod but to counteract that message, to make clear that what happened to North should not have happened and will not happen in the future.  A censure of the Dean of Christ Church Oxford would have been appropriate, too, but I am really dreaming there.

But instead, nothing.

People can put up with a lot if they know they are welcomed and appreciated.  But if given the opposite message, if treated like third class citizens, most people will eventually walk away.  The Church of England should not be surprised if traditionalists of both Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical stripes soon walk away in greater numbers.  And the Church of England and General Synod will only have itself to blame.

*I’ve searched and searched for any mention of the North affair at General Synod and have found none.  If I missed something, feel free to let me know in the comments.

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