So. Here I am back again writing my blog after a wee break. Of about 2 years or more, but life has been rather hectic. But no doubt I will be telling you all what has happened in my life and the Ferguson clan over the last few years in various blogs in the days, weeks and months to come. Suffice to say I am still here, still a priest and still in Aberdeen. But not for much longer!
God has plans for us it seems and so it is off to the the southern realms of Angus as I have been appointed Rector of Montrose and Inverbervie from September. So the next couple of months will be spent resting, packing, finishing and getting excited about my new charges whilst saying fond farewells to the old.
Change is good and change is coming. But for some of us change doesn’t happen quick enough. This past week I have been in Edinburgh at our Church’s General Synod. It was the usual state of play. Lots of talk, lots of coffee, lots of meeting old friends and lots of behind the scenes chat.
There was also a lot of listening happening. Listening in our new venue P&Gs church, on our round tables of fellow pilgrims. So what did we hear?
Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time, a long long time ago, in the age when no one knew whether Boy George was male or female (especially my mother), when the most important item in my wardrobe was my white stilettos, when all I ever aspired to was to bear the offspring of either Harrison Ford or Michael J Fox (either would have done), I met a boy. This boy was part of a group of young adults attending a trip to Taize.
I fell madly in love with this boy but alas it was not to be. For after a wild unsuccessful teenage love affair, this boy and I decided overwhelmingly that he was gay. I shall spare you the details. But this wonderful boy and I remained good and close friends for many years.
So it was with joy that in 1990 I attended his Ordination to the Diaconate at Winchester Cathedral. But. Two years on after my friend had to leave his beloved church after being bullied and hounded out of his curacy. All because he is gay. I watched the church I love destroy my friend. And my heart broke.
Now many many years later I am in a position to heal that hurt. For many of my lesbian and gay friends this is far too little far too late. But.
Last week what we did at General Synod was finally acknowledge in public and aloud and on record that our bijou Church is now ready and willing to talk about these issues. To debate them and to potentially change our canonical rules to finally grant equality and justice to those for whom it has been a long time coming.
Many many friends out there are angry right now that our church was not brave enough to take matters further last week. To them anything I try to say to justify our synodical processes will seem trite and patronising so I won’t even enter into debate. For I hold them in high esteem and can see the genuine pain they are in. But.
All I would say is that we forget that we live in a democracy. We take it all for granted. We forget how far we have actually come in society and in our churches. Thirty years ago it would never have occurred to me that I could be a priest. Thirty years ago my gay friend lost more than just his faith when the people he served hounded him out of his vocation all because he fell in love with a man. It may not be working the way many people wish, but it is the only process we have.
We have begun. We have begun to catch up with God. We will get there, together, as a whole church and we are doing it the best way we can. There is no happy ending, there is no magic wand to wave it all and make it so. The law of the land is changing and the church will too whilst keeping to the Gospel and affirming that everyone is equal and fully loved by God, just as they are. Thirty years too late for some. But for others the hope that wasn’t even a possibility is now a reality. Stay with us, stay close and let us keep moving forward together.