In just over three weeks, clergy and lay representatives from all around the Province will gather in Napier for General Synod. As most of you know, hot on the agenda is the Way Forward document, which seeks to provide a framework for blessing same-sex relationships, and a way to allow those who disagree to keep their integrity. This has been (and will continue to be) a big, long, conversation.
The Way Forward document rides off the back of Motion 30, the agreement settled upon at the 2014 General Synod. The passing of Motion 30 was really miraculous – I felt that the Spirit was clearly present in that conversation in a tangible way.
In Motion 30, the Province (that means all of us!) committed to live in two viewpoints. We have committed to live in unified diversity – moving beyond trying to agree that one theology is ‘correct’, and acknowledging that a spectrum of theology exists.
The Way Forward has given us a draft mechanism to exist in this diversity – the question is whether it works?
In exploring this question, the Diocese has over the last eight weeks held two rounds of public meetings, held conversations with members of the LGBTI community, and attended individual parish meetings. Others have provided their feedback by email into my office.
Thank you to all those who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend these meetings, and to provide feedback. I have deeply appreciated everyone’s input and am proud of the way we have engaged in conversation. There is still time to contribute if you feel moved to do so; please email your thoughts into firstname.lastname@example.org. All feedback will be taken by the General Synod representatives to Napier in May.
I realise that some people are new to this conversation. I encourage you (and those who would like to explore again the background to these documents) to read the discussion papers released for the Diocesan Synod in 2013. Your clergy and Synod Reps should have copies of these. I encourage you also to read the Commission on Doctrine and Theological Questions (dated March 2014), which can be found as part of this year’s General Synod papers. This sets out the background to the spectrum of theology around this issue.
Please keep all those involved in General Synod in your prayers. They have a heavy responsibility to listen to the working of the Spirit.
Bishop of Wellington