There was a wonderful moment this evening in Adelaide. A member of General Synod from Canberra gave their maiden speech. It consisted of a set of amendments that were intended to bring clarity of language to a motion being debated. With the precision of a Butler County area attorney (despite not being one!) our friend proceeded to correct the Primate Philip Aspinall when questioned about the precise grammar of one of his suggestions. It was just the release of tension that we all needed and soon there was a warm uproar as people relished the chance to laugh. The speaker returned to his seat accompanied by a rousing standing ovation from some of the more amused members of synod. The motion was also clearer.
Clarity has been a key issue for me today. In our discussion groups we’ve had a great conversation about the way forward for the Anglican Church of Australia. It was for some of us a chance to speak with more transparency about our real concerns. Some spoke to their pain about the debate over women’s ordination (and consecration) – both those for and against and I shared the frustration of many evangelicals being spoken of as divisive when, actually, we haven’t really move at all – we hold the constitutional position of the church that the 39 Articles are our standard of doctrine and the BCP our standard of worship.
Added to this is a sense that other accusations are unfair. Often we hear things about “Sydney” that we simply don’t recognise – and we spend every day in the diocese!
But what’s great about these discussion groups is that for many of us there is safety to express these things and lots of bridges and understanding is being built. No matter where all this finally ends up, sitting down and hearing from each other can’t be a bad thing. We’ll all be clearer where the other is at.