Over 40 people gathered at General Synod on Monday evening for the Accepting Evangelicals fringe event.
That in itself was a success. It had been a very long and emotional day, as the legislation on women bishops was debated and voted through – itself a historic moment for the church – and I secretly wondered how many of the Synod members who had signed up to attend would be too exhausted to come.
I need not have worried. We actually had more people arrive than we expected, including members of Reform, Anglican Mainstream and a range of church traditions.
David Runcorn is the author of the ‘Including Evangelicals’ section in the recent CofE Report on sexuality – the Pilling Report. For us this report has marked a watershed, as for the first time, it has recognised the diversity of theological understanding amongst evangelical Anglicans on sexuality.
David Ison , as Dean of St Pauls Cathedral in London is one of the most senior members of the clergy in England.
Both identify themselves as Evangelicals and both spoke passionately and theologically about the need for the Church to continue its journey of understanding on sexuality. Both argued that the journey is 3-fold – an emotional journey, a hermeneutical journey, and a journey into a new community of faith.
David Ison ended with these words,
“All of us across the church, including the wide variety of Evangelicals and our viewpoints, are indeed on a journey. Wherever we start from, we’re called to grow into Christ: and as we grow closer to him, and are formed more into his likeness, so we grow closer to one another. For all of us, journeying into Christ will make sex and gender less important, and love more vital. We have a vision of a new community in the kingdom of God, and a calling to make that kingdom more of a reality in this fallen world: and the challenge to us is how we are going to build it.”
You can read the script of both speeches by following the links below. We are extremely grateful to both Davids for giving their time and theological expertise. The meeting finished with buzz groups around each table and questions to our speakers. At all times the atmosphere was friendly and enquiring.
The last time we hosted a meeting at General Synod was 10 years ago on the weekend we launched Accepting Evangelicals. We won’t leave it so long next time – we may even be back next year!Benny Hazlehurst Director of Accepting Evangelicals