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.