The reality, I’m told by sources in Perth, is that the revisionists have recognised that they’re going to get nowhere at the moment with Archbishop Herft’s decision to veto their motions on this topic and, instead, are choosing to let it all rest. For now.
So there’s nothing contentious on the business paper (so far). But what there is is a motion for unity…
This follows on, as the motion itself explains, from the General Synod of earlier this year. It endorses unity in a diocese that is, in fact, quite divided. I’m told that Herft’s decision to veto the motion on human sexuality last year has upset a good number of the more liberal activists. It’s also led, sources tell me, to some embarassment for Bishop Kay Goldsworthy who voted for the original motion (despite knowing where her Archbishop stood) but then fell into line and voted against it at Provincial Council a month later. It’s also been suggested to me that this public disagreement with her ordinary may have some relation to her subsequent movement out of the Archbishop’s office into another. Herft is well known as someone who values unity highly.
So Perth is in an interesting position. The reality is that the Archbishop is now functioning as a sea anchor holding back a diocesan synod that is seeking to move in a more liberal direction. While he remains in office he will veto any further move towards liberalising the position on human sexuality. But Perth will elect a new Archbishop in 2018 and there is every likelihood that the next man (or woman) in that position will be much more favourable towards revision.
The Synod enters a new triennium in 2015 when it will also elect a new board of electors for the Archepiscopal election. For now, however, it seems that everyone is going to sit on their hands and wait. The good ship Perth will wait with the engine idling till a new captain is installed who will weigh anchor.