Thursday, March 08, 2007
Synod season again
I've been on my travels again. Two days, one night in Oban for the Argyll Diocesan Synod (ok - I know: The Isles as well - it's just such a fistful) felt like a much longer period. We covered so much and sat still for far longer than I find agreeable, and had no exercise other than oral - but then, anyone who goes to INSET days know just what I mean.
This is such a sparse diocese - I realised this week that there are fewer communicant members of the church than there are pupils in Dunoon Grammar School - and money, or the lack of it, looms large in all our dealings. I don't do well when people start waving balance sheets, but even I can see that we're going to have to find ways of doing church that are different from the days when people attended on a Sunday as a matter of course. And of course our synod is peculiarly our own, and all the more entertaining because of its peculiarities.
Actually, I had almost the last word in the proceedings, because I raised the question of the "listening process" called for at the last Lambeth Conference. There may be listening going on - the church taking on board the experiences of GLBT Christians - but I have been singularly unaware of any such thing in our neck of the woods. I was delighted by the reaction of some of the clergy after the synod ended even as I felt the daggers in my back from other quarters, and I felt a new hope that we might be on the verge of removing our collective heads from the sand and looking, however cautiously, at what the rest of the world is doing. Thing is, it seems so obvious: religion is surely humanity's response to God, but humanity is God's creation - so how dare we object if there are differences between us? We should be rejoicing in the diversity of creation and looking to benefit from the gifts of all.
And of course, if you're not religious none of this will matter two hoots. And that, friends, is our problem, not yours.