Wednesday, June 28, 2006

(Preverbial) Genetalia In A Twist Pilgramage of Faith report and outcomes were debated at Methodist conference yesterday. Also, the Archbishop of Cantebury (im with the eyebrows) put out this which presented a new way of being a church devided and in communion and association rather than all in communion and fighting about the differences. Therefore yesterday was the day the Methodist Church and Anglican Communian got it's genetalia in a twist over issues of sexuality. The Methodist Church d was within the context of it's annual conference. Last year we had debated a paper which was an update on how the Pilgramage was going. This pilgramage was undertaken over a decade ago with the church accepting teh Derby Resolutions (which set out rules and boundaries of homosexual relationships from a Methodist Perspective). In the time that has passed since then the world has moved on and, unlike many church groups, the methodist church hasn't massivly factioned over the issue. But this was only, in some respects, by not fully commenting on it. The report, last year, was a full and frank one which outlined where and why poeple thought a pilgramge was and wasn't happening leading to a suggestion of where next for the church. The ensuring debate and outcome was that another report was needed for this years conference whihc would give the Methodist viewpoint on the recent civil partnerships bill. The debate this year I wasn't there for, instead i tuned in online and listened whilst I continued to type up notes for my MUSU successor. The debate was long and much harsher than last years. Last year was one of reconcilliation and this year was a step backwards. Suddenly people knew what was going to happen and no-one was going to shift. There was a notice of motion which put forward an interim (2 year) opt-in/out clause that meant local congregations could decide if they had reached that point of a pilgramage to accept or decline civil partnerships. But conference voted in down mainly, from the speeches, because it was felt it would turn connexionalism into congregationalism. This is where our anglican brothers and sisters (though surly parents if you look at whom the Methodist Church spawned from) step in because they have not had an official pilgramge or anything, instead they have had a bitch-fight over issues and not tried to apreciate the other peoples views. This stubborness is threatening to tear appart the anglicans and could indeed happen to the methodists as well..... That said, some people were starting their speeches with "I'm an evangelical and I have given as much as I can give". this is very interesting. Interesting because it appears as though they have done all of the shifting. When those who don't see any problem with Steve n Steve as well as Adam n Eve have had to put off pushing for an acceptance of theri relationships. Therefore there are both sides of this have been working and apreciating each other. Yet yesterday it went wrong. IT was suggested that by the policy passed all taht was happening was nothing new, yet we did reach something new. As a church we now officialy do not sanction Civil Partnerships and will not give them an official blessing on our premises. How delightfully repulsive. WE have now stated an official view instead of continuing a pilgramage and this view will cause us all trouble. LIke so many other churches we have allowed a legal loophole enable us to descriminate against activities that our homsexual brothers and sisters wish to carry out because we do not deem it right. Well bugger me (for what of a better phrase) but I thought we were more grown up than that. The speeches yesterday were most moving, there were accepted divorcees and those adminstering pastoral care to couples afffected by the celebration who look to celebrate, there were those who didn't want the chruch to shift an inch and those who were deeply hurt. ALl in all I do belive that what occured yesterday will not only alienate more people from the church (institutional) but it would also ensure that the church is continuing to get all het up and bothered over issues of love and will continue to negate to spend time and effort doing the real things of chrristianity, ie what jesus talked about and did! To finish, I want to leave you all with a most moving quote from Rowan Williams. It summed up quiet nicely what should be happening and also illustrated what isn't and why it then causes people like me, who are not affected directly (since I am not a homosexual so wouldn't get a civil partnership) but see something deeper in the issue, so much hurt:
“It is imperative to give the strongest support to the defence of homosexual people against violence, bigotry and legal disadvantage, to appreciate the role played in the life of the church by people of homosexual orientation…”
Take Care Y'All john

Monday, June 26, 2006

On Trident we say.....No!

I have been listening, via the live radio stream, to the very interesting debate on trident weapons. This is in light on the Ethics of Warfare paper that presents the outcome of a Methodist Church dedicated to campaigning to prevent the replacement of Trident. The replacement of Trident is a major challenge to all of us. The idea that we, as a nation, will allow £26bn to be spent on building a weapons system that will never be used. Never be used because if one was unleashed it would wipe out a continent and poision our god-given planet for millenia. After all of that we cannot even fully control the weapons as they are leased from America and we can't release the weapons until america says yes. The debate was long and hard but very interesting. No one stood up, in the portion that I heard, and defending nuclear weapons. Whilst some viewed it as a neccessary evil, ie better in the club than out, others saw our calling to stand firm on this issue now. In the end the church voted to adopt the report and to adopt section 34/4
34/4. The Conference opposes replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system and urges the UK Government to take leadership in disarmament negotiations in order to bring about the intention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Take Care Y'all john