For all that, the synod wasn't negative; not even a little bit. For myself, I am perfectly secure in the knowledge that we will be led into God's future, but of course we are not there yet, and we may well have to undergo a period of ambiguity and paradox as our old ways of being church gradually fade away while the new ways are not yet quite apparent. Our diocese seems to understand this, for which I am profoundly grateful.
We talked about some important things. Trevor James, the Dean, reminded us of the need to preserve the Trinitarian theology of our worship, and although his motion did not engender much debate it was timely, and in keeping with the new emphasis on the Trinity appearing in much modern theology. Perhaps the debate was muted because it came after we had discussed, with some candour two other pressing issues.
We discussed the Anglican Covenant and agreed with the suspicion of clause 4 which seems to be current in most of the New Zealand Anglican Church. By a reasonably large majority we do not want our church to subscribe to it.
We also discussed an issue that has been exercising us for many years now, the ordination of people in same sex relationships. Tony Fitchett introduced a motion asking us to accept that people in such relationships should not be denied ordination because of those relationships. The debate was lengthy, honest and at times illuminating. It was conducted in a spirit which was, for the most part deeply respectful; I had a real sense of people on both sides of the issue listening carefully to each other. In the end, an amendment was proposed which affirmed that sexual orientation was not a barrier to ordination, but which removed any reference to relationships. That is, the amended motion served to affirm the situation which has been the case in the Anglican Church for many years. The result was not unexpected, and while it was immediately disappointing for some, I think there was a lesson for me: namely that we have been going about this debate in entirely the wrong way. The argument over sexual orientation is in itself unresolvable, given its basis, on both sides of the issue, in deeply held attitudes to scriptural interpretation, human sexuality, the family, the origins of sexual orientation and a thousand other things besides. So, if the argument is unresolvable, let's stop trying to resolve it. Let's work instead on something that is achievable: learning to live with difference. We have, after all, been living, in real terms, with this particular difference for many many years now.