For our constituency at the moment there seem to be two ways forward. (That is if you discount a third option of just giving up Church altogether) One is deciding that a “Code of Practice will have to do” even though we always said it wouldn’t do- the other is looking to the Apostolic Constitution. That anyway is the essence of what Bishop Keith had to say to our Lincoln Council and to Lincoln Priests last week.
At some point in the future these paths will diverge and friends who have walked shoulder to shoulder for 20 years will necessarily move apart. We wait to see who will go where, for all of us will have hard questions and there will be heart searching and many prayers. Some will already have made up their minds or will feel constrained by their personal circumstances. Others are still unsure which way forward will be the right one for them.
Here in Sempringham Gilbert is still uncertain. He was both surprised and heartened though when a parish with which he is associated had its PCC vote unanimously last week on welcoming the Apostolic Constitution and trusting to take advantage of it in God’s good time. This was the resolution that Forward in Faith asked all registered parishes to consider. He had expected much uncertainty and even suspicion. And as well a reluctance to say farewell to a lovely church. None of that was apparent however.
If there will be a parting though it is still in the future and right now there has to be continued support, respect and deep love for one another. There is still much work to do which will be best done together.