Dear Bishops (an open letter suggesting you withdraw your report)

Dear Bishops,

It now seems clear that your (in) famous report on marriage and same sex relationships has not been well received and, that the road map ahead is highly problematic. Issues around formal versus informal prayers haven’t been thought through. A change in tone and culture is called for, yet you fail to suggest what this can possibly mean in isolation from an addition to the liturgy. You are encouraging the C of E to proceed in a very un Anglican fashion, undermining both your own authority and, the nature of the C of E as a liturgical church. In your attempt to avoid schism you may be in fact be simply ensuring that schism occurs.

Your report comes close to accepting that subsidiarity if not granted will simply be taken. You do this by accepting that what constitutes ‘informal prayer’ will be heavily dependent on context. In the long-run neither progressives nor conservatives are going to be happy with informal prayer, surely that is obvious?

It is also clear that you are not united and that many bishops are deeply uncomfortable with the report and, the road map ahead it suggests. It is not clear why episcopal unity has become the altar on which distributive justice has been sacrificed. You need to explain this, for the sake of your own credibility. If you feel that distributive justice can be served without an addition to the liturgy  you need to explain how. You seem extremely wary of talking about notions of justice; why?

The report is not a good piece of work, so what should you do? Should you foist it on synod? Should you present it to the wider church both in England and across the Anglican Communion as the C of E’s settled and final position? Or, could you take a step back and admit that ‘we got it wrong,’ ask that the report be withdrawn and that time is spent thinking of a better way to proceed from this point? There really is no shame in taking a re-sit (many of us have had to do it)  and, for the sake of your own credibility and episcopal authority, perhaps you ought to do so?

In Christ,

Andrew

 

 

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