Monday, 23 May 2011

A Chosen Trajectory - The Assembly decides

Well, it was a tense and intense day at the Assembly, but the Church is now set on a trajectory which MAY lead to the the acceptance and affirmation of gay ministers in stable and committed relationships.

It is strange as - in my heart - I feel both relieved and hopeful - although my mind is still not completely resolved on the matter. Perhaps I still have to travel a little bit yet - but then I have already travelled a long way on this issue...

Conversations with some of my congregation today reveal that they too have been travelling and I was as immensely proud of those to whom I spoke today as I was of the General Assembly. Whatever my unresolved intellectual issues, I found myself turned off by the narrow apparent 'certainties' of the traditionalists.

But - like many others who share the relief and hope I am experiencing - there is a sense of sadness too. Sadness that many will feel very betrayed and bereft at the decision today and will think that somehow the church has moved away from true 'biblical' faith. I profoundly disagree with that perception, but I can understand their pain.

So let's all take a moment to feel their pain too.

And surely none of us - even those who are most committed tot he revisionist position - can feel anything but sorrow that some may chose to leave. I hope and pray that unity might still prevail. But I fear that there may be some - perhaps many - defections. And that is profoundly sad.

And spare a thought too for our sisters and brothers who are gay but who have felt it a matter of Christian faithfulness to struggle to maintain celibacy. No matter our views, these fellow Christians must feel a sense of abandonment and confusion this evening.

And I feel also for those sisters who are ordained ministers and adopt a traditionalist stance on this issue. If there is a split they must be wondering where their 'home' might be in the future.

The journey ahead will continue to be painful and difficult and the outcomes uncertain. Much prayer and considerable grace will be needed in the days to come...