I have a dream for 2016 that the Church of England will become the country’s most gay friendly employer – that people of all genders and sexual orientations will feel that the Church would be the first to understand and the last to judge. Similarly those struggling with relationship issues or their sexuality would see the Church as a place of compassion and support; their natural fiend in a time of need.
I have a dream for 2016 that the Church of England will be a place where people of all faiths and none know they can turn, be honest with their doubts, uncertainties and disbelief and discover a safe place in which their questions and differences can be held, valued and appreciated. Similarly that in both a multi faith and secular society, the Church will be seen as a uniting, harmonising, encouraging presence for a diverse society, where differences can be held and need not divide.
I have a dream that in 2016 the Church of England will be so re-ordered that it prioritises the poor, vulnerable, troubled and burdened, that they will have first call in its time and use of resources and where the voiceless will know they will be given a voice. Similarly that the Church will renew its prophetic voice in the causes of peace and justice, challenging unjust structures and enabling and encouraging those who strive for the common good.
But perhaps I am just a fond, foolish (nearly) old man who needs to stop dreaming and rather learn to accept that the Church will always be a compromised organisation, slow to change , an uncomfortably comfortable institution and that often manages to do good despite itself.
Perhaps the most that can be hoped for in 2016 is that the Church of England will regain its status as the country’s most beard friendly employer and that this is hope enough.
But the dream cannot be forgotten, the vision still draws the heart; the heart and soul are restless, yearning for a different way of being… and if not now, when?