Many of us are still reeling after yesterdays General Synod vote. There are those of us devastated not only by the decision and its direct consequences (or lack thereof) but also by the impact it is having on the credibility of the Church of England that we serve God as part of and the witness of Jesus Christ in our local communities.
Where do we go with all of this?
Well, the answer is, as always, simple and clear, but not always easy at a time like this: the God who gives us life and strength and hope.
St Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians:
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
At the beginning and the end of the passage he uses these words: we do not lose heart.
These are the words I need to hear and I want you to hear: we do not lose heart.
In the coming days I will be thinking and praying about how we move forward in this Diocese and what encouragement I can give to you.
I want in particular to meet with our women clergy. I will be addressing our Diocesan Synod on what happened in General Synod this week and the wider issues that it creates. I would invite those who are not members of the Diocesan Synod to attend and will publish what I say online.
Lets keep praying and lets not lose heart.