Some people have asked me what I thought of the recent Diocesan Assembly beyond my attempt to offer a summary of the proceedings, so I thought I’d give just a short assessment of whether I think it was positive or negative. I think it was positive. Fr. John and Archbishop Nikon, based on body language, were truly listening; they were actively listening. That is a good thing. I can’t predict what it’ll mean, of course, but my impression at this time is that the synod truly wanted to hear from us and Archbishop Nikon and Fr. John truly wanted to give the synod legitimate feedback the synod could effectively process. I, for one, believe that is very important and if I am right on this, I would go so far as to call Monday an act of sobornost. Yes, it was painful and yes, the divisions are there, so it’s not the ideal of sobornost, but there seemed to me to be true conciliarity and love at work in the midst of all this pain. It was a civil exchange by all parties and I truly believe we all love Bishop Matthias, the complainant, and the entire diocese. It is not always easy to see one’s way through these things, but I do truly believe that we have shown ourselves (this time, at least) to be above petty polemics, panic, and internal ecclesiastical warfare. All indications are that His Grace is following the lead and guidance of the synod, that the synod truly cares about the state of diocese, and that the clergy and laity are able to love one another even in the midst of difficult, painful times, even while expressing those very pains and concerns.
[Please note that for me, this is my final word and assessment on this event in our diocese. I have no desire to say anything further in this format at this time. The American Academy of Religion conference is about to begin and so I may offer a reflection or two on that in the coming days.]