The Rev Kate Reynolds of Old St Paul’s has written a beautiful post on her blog: something is quickening here
It is well worth reading in full, but here is a taster:
At heart, I am a reconciler and a pastor. I don’t shy away from conflict, but I do shy away from division. I want to listen to what hurts. To heal what is wounded. To bind up the brokenhearted, as the psalmist puts it.
I think the recent statement from the bishops on the Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Scotland) Act 2014 has done a lot of harm, regardless of whether that was its intent or not. Plenty has been written about it elsewhere (Changing Attitudes has a good overview), and, though I do not agree with all that has been written, I have little to say that has not already been said.
But, ironically, I have hope that a lot of good may come from this.
It’s the kind of good that only happens when the Spirit sails freely above the constraints of the institution, stretching Her wings widely as She suddenly takes full flight.
The past week has been full of difficult conversations, conversations which have kept me awake at night, conversations which have forced me to my knees in prayer, conversations that have left me in tears with frustration and confusion. But they have been the best kind of conversations because they have been so honest: they have shattered assumptions, bridged divisions, and some have unexpectedly been suffused with gentleness and grace.
But what gives me real hope is that I hear people talking again about what drew us to the SEC in the first place, the kind of leadership that has inspired us, the prophets who challenged us, the ministry we felt called to, the prayer that roots us.
There is work still to be done. So much work. Hard work. Without a doubt. There will be more difficult conversations. And more division will likely come before reconciliation.
As I was reminded on that pre-ordination retreat, the Church is Christ’s. And Christ loves the Church, his bride. He loves her despite all her flaws and foibles. He loves her despite her wandering eye and her repeated affairs with power and worldly recognition. And he calls her again and again back to himself and the pure love he has to offer.
I want to renew that promise I made before I was ordained to do everything I can to ensure that we are able to solemnise all marriages in Scottish Episcopal churches, irrespective of the sex of the two persons involved.
I will still listen. I will still try to heal. I will still try to reconcile. But friends, I will no longer silently stand by and do nothing as I watch the hearts of those I love be broken.