Response to the Synod vote on Tuesday

Dear supporter of Holy Spirit, 
Having received many texts and emails following the Synod vote on Tuesday I wanted to respond with information about the vote and its impact.
All of you will know by now that the General Synod of the Church of England on Tuesday failed to pass the legislation to enable women bishops.  This was an unexpected result as:
·         42 out of 44 dioceses supported the legislation. 
·         72% of bishops, clergy and laity voting in synod supported the legislation.
·         The wider church and society supported the legislation.
However the legislation required a special two thirds majority vote in EACH of the three houses: bishops, clergy and laity who all vote separately. It passed with ease in the house of bishops and clergy but failed by 6 votes in the house of laity.
I do not believe that the representatives voting on your behalf in the house of laity were representative of the laity in general. 
Whilst we must of course listen to the views of all in the church, together with many men and women, lay and ordained, I am saddened and disappointed by the result. 
The nation as a whole cannot understand why the church, supposedly a champion of justice and fairness, is unable to accept the ministry of men and women equally. 
This badly undermines the church’s integrity as a voice of truth and justice on social and political issues. This vote places the church in danger of being seen as backwards looking, irrelevant and marginal or worse still, as an exclusive and damaging institution.   
More important than any damage to our standing and reputation: the result shows a failure to live out the gospel values of inclusivity and generosity: we are ALL made in the image of God and God (notwithstanding our unworthiness) graciously includes US in his work of redemption and re-creation; calling each of us to serve him and one another and to make the kingdom known.  The church needs to reflect these values in all it does.   
Deanery clergy met in chapter to pray together today and there was a sense of frustration and anger and also, for some, a sense of weariness and hopelessness. 
It is more important than ever to strive for a church that acknowledges the gifts of all of its people and is fully inclusive in all of its roles.  This, of course, means committing ourselves to working with and loving those with whom we disagree.
The church is far from perfect yet we are called to love the church and serve the church as the body of Christ in the world.  It is not a time for us to give up on the church but to demonstrate the relevance of its message by rededicating ourselves afresh to work for peace, justice and to show care, concern and commitment to the marginalised and excluded within our communities.
At Southwark cathedral this afternoon, Bishop Christopher affirmed his commitment to the full ministry of women in the church and reminded us that we were valued and beloved by the parishes we serve (Read Bishop Christopher’s sermon herehttp://cathedral.southwark.anglican.org/sermons/+S20121122).  I may feel disappointed that the church I love so passionately has been unable to move forward on this fundamental issue and yet I know how very blessed I am in the support and love of the congregation and wider parish here in Clapham and I thank you for all the messages of support that I have received.  I give thanks to God for all of you and our shared life in Christ.
Sent with love and every blessing,  
Mother Ruth