The bishops have clearly sought and struggled to hold us together across our differences and to avoid “major fracture in our Church”¦at this point” (para 59). We are encouraged that in doing so they have also given due weight to “the unity of the Universal Church” and “the Church of England’s own position in the Anglican Communion” (para 60). As the bishops note, true unity “cannot be detached from our common faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and therefore from the teaching through which that gospel is faithfully passed on” (para 61). This means that there “needs to be a fundamental trust in the clergy to know and be faithful to the teaching of the Church, in their own lives and in their ministry to others” (para 64). We are, consequently, deeply concerned that some of the responses to the bishops’ report have made it even more difficult for those of us who wholeheartedly affirm that teaching as good news to have such trust in some clergy.
We hope and pray that the Church of England and wider Communion will see in the bishops’ proposal a framework, perhaps the only framework, which could enable us “to continue to ”˜walk together’”¦.in a way that is based on a common commitment to biblical truths but recognises our continuing disagreement with one another” (para 59) and we encourage General Synod to “take note” of it in its February session.