In February, Nick Bundock addressed a fringe meeting of General Synod, sharing our church’s experience in creating an inclusive church and coming to terms with the death of Lizzie Lowe.
I was absolutely terrified. Bishops, deans, and archdeacons among a crowd of seventy attendees. I’m so grateful for your prayers because nothing could have prepared me for the outpouring of love and grace that came upon the meeting. Telling the assembled group about our journey since Lizzie died unleashed powerful emotions, tears and, at times, laughter, and as my talk closed the whole room rose to their feet. That ovation was not for me, the messenger, it was for you and it was for Hilary, Kevin, the boys and above all, it was for Lizzie.
It’s not been easy charting a pathway as both evangelical and inclusive, and some have had to part ways with us, but whatever mistakes we/I have made they have been honest ones and that matters a great deal. The Archbishop of Canterbury has himself responded to the debate this week by calling for a ‘radically inclusive church’ and St James and Emmanuel is leading the way, if at times more ‘fumbling’ than leading! We continue to pray for the good, honest and sincere members of our own church and the wider Church who feel increasingly disenfranchised by inclusion.
As a result of the meeting, I was invited for an interview with Edward Stourton on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme and you can listen below.
After the interview was broadcast, I received a video clip sharing the inclusive faith-rooted approach of Highlands Church in Denver, Colorado. It is well worth watching:
There is something really important going on in churches up and down the country right now: a movement of loving inclusion. Out of our story of pain and struggle we are not only helping other communities to adopt inclusive theologies, we are seeing something new about God ourselves. This is a very important and precious development.