…My group included two fairly prominent Synodical opponents of the November legislation: one Forward in Faith layman, and one conservative evangelical laywoman. There were others whose positions I did not know, but I imagine one or two of them had voted against in November. We were well facilitated so no-one was silenced, one or two of us were gently told to wait while others spoke, and we worked out way through a series of small group exercises about our feelings after November, and our senses about Options 1-4, as laid out in the paper for Monday’s debate.
So far, so touchy-feely. But in fact, it was ”“ to my mind ”“ a very worthwhile exercise. Before my very eyes I saw people who would not normally discuss their own views and feelings open up to one another. There was a significant conversation (listened to in silence by the rest of the group) between a male and a female priest in which he was able to ask questions, and she felt able to express her sense of pain and frustration ”“ in a much more wholesome atmosphere than we are used to.
It was unbelievably hot in our little meeting room. So heading for the plenary session in the main hall after tea was a welcome change. As was what happened next ”“ a professional theatre company giving us a playlet about the progress of the Women Bishop’s Bill. It had an unhappy ending. But then they did it again, but this time we (all 400 of us) could freeze the action, and one of us could take over one of the roles and try to change the direction of the thing. After much laughter, some poignant exchanges, and several runs through, David Porter re-appeared and gave us the gist of the 24 groups’ deliberations…..