Some of you have been aware that I was blogging about the General Synod of the Church of Ireland (which ended yesterday) and the Motion on Human Sexuality in the Context of Christian Belief over on Spirituality Ireland (Here, here, here and here). The motion was passed 243 votes to 87 votes after one of the longest debates in many years at General Synod. The vote broke down by house as:
- Clergy 81-53 in favour
- Laity 154-60 in favour
- Bishops 10-2 in favour
The fact that this motion passed saddened me greatly and prompted a bit of soul searching and questioning of faith. Some people have suggested that I leave the church, and I am not the only one has thought about that. But I cannot do that. The Church has been there for me in times of crisis, and now is a time when the Church needs to people to speak up. To demand an Inclusive Church.
This morning I attended the International Day Against Homophobia Service in St Anne’s Shandon. This is a regular event in Cork and is always a lovely service. Today it held more meaning for me. When the Rev’d Brian O’Rourke began the Service, he apologised for the Motion being passed. He spoke against and revealed it had caused him to question his ministry.
The Service was wonderful and uplifting and today’s Gospel (which wasn’t especially picked, it is today’s reading) was the perfect one.
‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’
– Gospel according to John, Chapter 15
If we want an inclusive Church we need to take this to heart. We are very lucky in Cork to have Parishes like St Anne’s Union, St Fin Barre’s Union, Kilmocogue Union, Chapel of Christ the Healer at Cork University Hospital and Kinneigh Union among others which are Inclusive Churches. We are also lucky with our Bishop, Dean and many Clergy who want the Church of Ireland to be inclusive.
For this to happen, I belive, I can no longer stand on the sidelines of my faith. I must be involved in the Church and my Parish to ensure that is and remains a welcoming and inclusive church for all.
- Church injury to gay people debated (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- No way on 8a. Church of Ireland regressing on Homosexuality? (stephenspillane.com)
- 8A No Way: Motions Withdrawn (spiritualityireland.org)
- IDAHO Services – Church Of Ireland (spiritualityireland.org)
- News from the Church of Ireland General Synod (kiwianglo.wordpress.com)
- 8A No Way: The Campaign Isn’t Over (spiritualityireland.org)
- Time for the cynics at General Synod (gyronny.com)
- #8ANoWay campaign successful: Bishops withdraw motions at @churchofireland General Synod (gyronny.com)
- Church of Ireland LGBT Campaign against Resolution 8A. (spiritualityireland.org)
- Gay clergy could face witch-hunt if Church of Ireland synod backs motions, say campaigners (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- LGBT Churchpeople still not being listened to @churchofireland (8anoway.com)
- Gay row: Church of Ireland’s resolutions withdrawn (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)