The Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt. Revd. Martyn Snow, delivered his synod address on Saturday 07 February. In it he urged everyone to embrace difference in society and go beyond merely coexisting together. He made reference to the fact that in the past couple of weeks the Church of England has consecrated two bishops from two differng constituencies of the Church, yet both embraced one another in a "display of grace".
"Although Bishop Philip is part of that constituency of the church which cannot accept the ministry of women as priests and deacons, and even though the archbishop felt it right to exercise ‘gracious restraint’ in not taking part in the consecration itself, yet the pictures of Bishop Philip and Bishop Libby embracing one another during that service, are a wonderful image of a church learning to live with, and even flourish in the midst of differences."
He went on to say that the Church's ability to embrace one another in difference will be tested once again over the coming months as the Church begins a seris of Regional Shared Conversations about Sexuality, Scripture and Mission.
"So I urge you brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the image of Bishop Libby embracing Bishop Philip, as we approach the Shared Conversations on Sexuality, Scripture and Mission, as we seek to shine as lights in a world of difference, let us learn what it means to open our arms, to wait, to embrace and to let go, so we are ready to embrace again. May God grant us grace to learn to embrace."