Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Penitent once more.

I'm feeling thoroughly ashamed of myself, as I've just come in from a Deanery Chapter meeting at which our suffragen Bishop spoke about the Civil Partnerships legislation and its implications for our ministry. Inevitably, I guess, the discussion moved on to GLBT relationships generally,- and the tone of the meeting was not one with which I was at all comfortable.
My anxiety mounting, I looked around that large circle of clergy, realised I was one of only three women there, and also in minority in longing for an inclusive church - and I just didn't have the courage to speak.
Finally, one brave soul spoke the words that were on my heart, and her courage opened the door so that I felt able to do a little more than look miserably at my feet and wish I were somewhere else,- maybe in a different church?
Nobody stoned us.
Nobody was even unkind,- indeed WonderfulVicar, whose opinions I respect absolutely, felt the whole session had gone very well.
But it didn't feel safe in any way at all,- and for me, that mattered.

I know safety is not, and never has been, part of our calling,- I just don't know what to do with my own innate cowardice. This matters so much. I'm not short on passionate conviction,- but when it came down to it, leaving the protective cover of the herd was almost beyond me.
I posted earlier about my imminent preaching gig for Inclusive Church,- but even with as public a declaration as that in the offing, I wimped out.
Then I came home to read another Nouwen gem, which only emphasises for me what I believe it means to be Church...and how tragically distant that unity remains.

The sacrament of the Eucharist, as the sacrament of the presence of Christ among and within us, has the unique power to unite us into one body, irrespective of age, colour, race or gender, emotional condition, economic status, or social background. The Eucharist breaks through all these boundaries and creates the one body of Christ, living in the world as a vibrant sign of unity and community.

Jesus prays fervently to his Father: "May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me" (John 17:21). The Eucharist is the sacrament of this divine unity lived out among all people.

Kyrie eleison.


Anna said...

Your post as ever got me thinking. For me civil partnerships of GLBT folk make lots of sense and should be recognised by the church. But I really struggle with the idea that these partnerships are right for bringing up children except where there is custody of children of previous relationships when the home of the civil partnership is the best option for the child. So does that mean that I don't really accept the validity of civil partnerships? What do you think?

Kathryn said...

Mostly, Anna, I think that only you can decide that! I do have a question for you based on this, but I don't think blogger comments are the best forum for ongoing conversation...so will email soon.

Anna said...

Hi Kathryn--

Just got your email and checked this out. Indeed, I'm not the Anna above! So hopefully you can figure out who she is, or she'll get in touch with you... It was a lovely, thoughtful response which I'm sure she'd like to hear.

Anna (from All Manner of Thing)

Chris said...


Thank you for your honesty in posting this. In your position I suspect that many would have done exactly the same - and I fear that I certainly would have!

It says a great deal about our Church of England, does it not, that to speak out in such a gathering is so very difficult? What chance is there for the true dialogue that we have pledged to hold?

Thanks again.

Freedom Bound said...

Thank you for finding a voice though my love.....

For many of us it's not just the fear of being seen as a heretic, but of being recognised as LGBT and knowing that speaking out in that type of meeting would just cause you to be thrown out altogether......and yet still having to sit and listen to why you shouldn'y be there. That is a nasty place to be....(oh so many deanery chapters etc!).

Once I asked a woman why I should talk to and work with those who were against women's ordination. She said cos they will listen to me as a man and I can give a voice in that place. However unjust that actually is. Maybe it's time for we LGBT Anglican folk to dare to ask the same favour of our straight friends.

Thanks for giving us a voice.