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Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Love and Marriage, the Rollercoaster - (d) 27Feb2007

Synod does have a rather dramatic way of swaying people backwards and forwards sometimes.

One of the most important aspects of this measure was to open up access for people wanting to seek God's blessing on their marriages in church - though currently they may not be allowed to.

So, initial draft guidelines seemed to imply that as long as one had grandparents who had at one stage lived in the parish, that was connection enough. All of a sudden, clergy of pretty churches began to be concerned they would now become little more than wedding machines.

So what way forward? Restrict it down again (which in fact the later draft regulations now suggest...) or rather open it up further - possibly completely remove residentiary or other qualifying connections.

So although in July there was quite a lot of opposition to a complete free-for-all in July's synod, this February synod has loudly applauded those seeking to remove restrictions (now that they had seen them written down).

The 'take note' vote was passed - but a lot of hands went up in opposition...

It moved straight to a discussion of the Draft Measure, clause by clause, but...

There was a sense of unease in the chamber, and after a member spoke of a sense of the change in feel of the synod since July - describing it as feeling like synod was o a roller coaster going somewhere they did not want to go, and wondering how best to get off.

Some may see this as a synod that is swayed by the inconsequential feelings of the moment; others will find this a sign of hope - a synod that is able to see it might have headed the wrong way, and be brave enough to try to radically change it's mind!

A long pause in synod, a major huddle of lawyers, and inspection of procedures followed...

After a promise from the revision committee that it would return for a further stage of revision, the debate on amendments carried on - synod needed to have that promise of a potential to change before they would proceed.

So back to revision with this one then! That will mean at least another summer with clergy having to cope with the most unsatisfactory current regulations, before new procedures come in...

Alastair GS101

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