As Council moves towards a close it has been an odd few
days. In many ways it has been a good council; well organised, gracious and
getting through the agenda on time. However, two of the items of business have
shown why denominational life can be slow going.
First, the debate about women in leadership which so often
seems like a dance without a partner because while we know there are people in
the denomination who are opposed to women in leadership they rarely speak out
in public. For the Union it raises questions about how
we handle those who disagree, but it also raises questions of who pays the cost
and suffers the pain. This is one of those issues when the minority who
disagree are not the ones who suffer the pain and to allow this situation to
continue is to collude with injustice.
I imagine someone will, by the end, stand and say how we need to walk lovingly together and listen to one another whilst hearing the pain of women in ministry; but such attempts to be irenic only demonstrate how we fail to grasp the issue.
Second, the debate about the accredited list of ministers demonstrated
again the extent to which we struggle to have a coherent doctrine of ministry.
Paul Goodliff and others have put together a system which seems to be the best
attempt at theologically grounded, denominationally appropriate and administratively
realistic model for years but was given a tough ride. I hope that he persists and that the plans are enacted.
But the really sad part is that I actually enjoy this stuff
and am energised by it!