Benny Hazlehurst refelcts on a busy week at the Church of England’s parliament.
I spent most of last week at the February session of General Synod. Around 500 members of clergy, laity and bishops gather twice a year to debate and make decisions on church policy and direction.
I was there to represent Accepting Evangelicals and the LGB&T Anglican Coalition by helping to staff the Coalition’s exhibition stall. It was a good opportunity to talk with Synod members, as well as meet old friends.
What struck me was how easy it was to talk to people about sexuality. Most Synod members were very open to chat as I sat in the coffee room or bumped into them in the corridors.
And a surprising number of them were very supportive of what we were saying.
Then on Thursday morning, around 40 people gathered from across the country in an Act of Witness on the steps of Church House. We were drawing attention to the 1,500 LGB&T clergy who faithfully minister in the Church of England despite often being treated with suspicion or prejudice.
There were several members of Accepting Evangelicals there including a man from Kent who had taken the morning off work to be there. We greeted members of General Synod as they arrived for the day’s business with a cheery “Good morning” and several bishops stopped to talk with us, expressing their support.
Although, Synod ended on Thursday, I stayed on another day join a delegation from the Anglican Coalition in meeting with the House of Bishops Review Group on Civil Partnerships. The invitation to meet with the Bishops followed a written submission which the Coalition sent to the review group and the meeting was constructive with real engagement taking place.
So whatever we might read in the church newspapers, there were many positive things happening in the Church of England’s parliament last week. Not the kind of things that make the headlines – but the kind of things which can build a better future.