Our man at synod. Day 3

With Andrew Yates.

The TV and papers will already be full of the result of the debate on the Church of England Bishops Report on Same Sex Marriage.

However that was not the only bit of business Undertaken today.The day began with a debate on gambling and a motion to ask the Government to bring down the maximum stake that could be placed on fixed odds betting terminals. These discussions are often the most interesting because they produce speeches from clergy and church members who are right at the coal face. So we heard movingly from a Street Pastor in Newcastle who Just last Saturday spent an hour at 2am listening to a young man whose gambling had gone so far he had brought Crisis to himself and family. And a priest from a northern parish whose ministry was dominated by families saddled with debt through a family member who had been sucked into gambling addiction. The Synod voted unanimously to call on the Government to look at bringing in legislation to prevent such horror stories.

Then in the afternoon to THE debate. For the past 3 years the Church has been engaged in a series of Shared Conversations about Homosexuality and Christian Faith. The Bishops were at the stage of drawing up s statement to summarise where they felt the process had got. This Report re affirmed marriage as a permanent and lifelong union of a man and a woman, while proposing there should be a change of tone and culture within the church of much greater welcome to gay and lesbians. In the debate the Report was welcomed by those of a traditional stance BUT those from the LGBTI Community felt let down as they felt their experience of pain and plea for acceptance had not been heard The debate had many moving speeches - most powerfully from those in a same sex relationship and from those urging love and acceptance as the way of Jesus.

In the end the Report was voted out by the House of Clergy and so rejected by Synod even though there was a majority amongst the Bishops and Laity.

So it is left for the Bishops to come back next time with another way forward.

BUT after the morning session no one is betting on how long it will be until agreement can be found across the church on this matter.

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