Changing Attitude brought our argument in favour of civil partnerships and the blessing of gay relationships in church to General Synod on Saturday. We welcomed synod members to the afternoon session with our new banners proclaiming Civil Partnerships in Church NOW! and handed them leaflets about our campaign for change.
The press photographers wanted pictures that told a story and were hoping that Archbishop Rowan would arrive and agree to be photographed. He did indeed arrive, took stock of the situation, and decided to march smartly through. He had previously walked in the other direction and taken a leaflet.
Later, John Packer, bishop of Ripon and Leeds arrived, and allowed himself to be repositioned many times at the whim of the photographers until they felt they’d got the pictures they wanted. It’s a rare English bishop who is prepared to devote 5 minutes of unguarded time to photographers in the presence of pro-gay campaigners and banners. I have no idea whether the pictures will find their way into the public domain.
Those handing out the leaflets reported that the majority of synod members responded very positively, confirming support and approval of our campaign. Others became involved in conversations, including some conservatives who wanted to talk about their objections to our campaign and those who wanted to offer encouragement.
Where do we take our campaign next? The Birmingham Conference on Civil Partnerships in church on 24 September is the forum in which we will develop our policy and strategy and we hope many of you will come and bring your energy and vision to further enhance the campaign.