Members of the Catholic Group in General Synod explain why they are backing Better Together
Dr Lindsay Newcombe
The women bishops legislation was the main topic of discussion at the July General Synod but Better Together also had a positive message for other issues. I spoke with another synod member about last summer’s riots and we discussed how churches reacted to what was happening in their areas in their different ways, responding individually to local situations. The Better Together message gave me confidence to speak positively about how we are more effective in mission in a divided world if we truly represent the diversity of belief and practice in the Church of England.
With determined publicity over the weekend at General Synod, Better Together successfully found its way into several speeches in Monday’s Women Bishops adjournment debate. My speech came to a conclusion as follows:
‘Some of you may have heard of a vision of the church called ‘Better Together.’ This campaign boldly says that the Church of England as a whole will be better if it enables all its composite parts to function and grow.
So, please ask yourselves. What kind of church do we want? Do we want a church together or a church which has denied a future to a valued part of itself?”
Synod members showed curiosity and interest in Better Together; it was particularly appealing to the many who genuinely want provision for us. They could not fail but respond with enthusiasm to a campaign with such a positive message.
Christ calls us to be together in the Church. He longs to see people who are so very different from one another come together, not because they agree on everything but simply because they belong to him. He calls us for one purpose – to proclaim Good News to a broken, hurting world that all of humankind can in him begin the journey back to wholeness in this life and to complete happiness in the Kingdom. He longs to present us to his Father … with no single person missing.
The Church of England understands this. Her mission is to every person in every community. It is who we are. We must not forget this now. Let us get back onto the mission field, with one another. We are better together. You know it makes sense. More importantly, you know it is Christ’s call to us.
One of our problems as Anglo-Catholics is that we have somehow allowed ourselves tobe portrayed in a negative light.
People think of us in terms of what we oppose rather than what we cherish.
However, we hold our position on the consecration of women not for negative reasons but because of a series of the positive and important things we believe about the nature of the church and the Catholic identity of Anglicanism.
Better Together was a really good vehicle for getting these positive messages across. Through it we were able to state at Synod what we stand for – a united church, a common witness and proper space for those who wish to follow conscience. There is plenty of evidence that our positive messages made a lot of Synod members stop and listen and ask themselves whether they really want a church without us.
Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester
Better Together is about the heart of the Christian faith and mission. It takes us to the very dawn of creation and asserts, as in the book Genesis, that God intended us to walk with him as friends in the garden of paradise.
The search for our lost friendship with God is what constitutes the foundation of the Christian story. Walking with Jesus Christ as his disciples in the pilgrimage of faith is our demonstration to the world of how to be better together in the recovery of friendship with God.
I am glad to be part of Better Together as a campaign that witnesses to the authority of this truth and revelation. Here is good news for the health of our Church and nation; here is a renewal of our joy and hope. ND