Thursday, March 08, 2012
When two or three are gathered together ...
But to the Synod. This year, despite all the junketing, I didn't sleep at all at Synod. For a start, I had work to do; the entire meeting was held round tables on which were bowls of grapes and chocolates and bits of paper and a marker pen, and I was facilitating the discussion at one of them. I would never have believed the positive effect that this simple move had: instead of sitting in rows, able to communicate briefly and surreptitiously with at most two people, we were made to sit with people from all over the diocese and we were encouraged to talk with them, get to know them a bit, and - most importantly - come to trust them as we spoke.
By the time we came to the discussion of the Anglican Covenant, the knitting lady had laid aside her knitting and we were all leaning forward over the table. People became passionate but there was no hostility, and there were moments of sharing that seemed to belong to a real family. We could, it seemed, have gone on all afternoon, and found it hard to stop when we were called to order. It was alive, this church, and I could see that life on faces elsewhere in the room.
I don't yet know the outcome of our discussion. It will be assessed from written responses of the groups and then shared. I got the impression that we thought the Covenant un-Anglican, and that we felt very aware of our uniquely Scottish identity. But I had more than an impression of something else, something very closely tied to the presence that was in the midst of us as we gathered together.
And for me at Synod, that was a first.