What we wanted has already existed for a long time in our standing orders - it's just that none of us have had the will or the heart to fight for it.
Let me rephrase that - I have not had the will or the heart to fight for it.
I have tolerated racists in a congregation because I have not known how to deal with 'the problem' without causing offense or damage to the Church's reputation. Like many ministers I have challenged racist comments, but know that I have not really dealt with the underlying racism which prompts and provokes them. People might know that I wont tolerate racist remarks, but they were still members of a Church that I was appointed to share in pastoral charge of..
Even though I could have, should have - I never made an official complaint or sought to remove their membership via a properly convened Church court.
I worry now that this resolution simply gives each of us a Connexional decision to hide behind when, or rather if, we choose to challenge someone in our Church whom we believe may be a member of the BNP or some other racist organisation. I worry that what many are actually hoping for is that this resolution will dissuade such people from ever wanting to become members in the first place. That way we will never have to confront them or deal with the issue.
Connexionalism as a corporate cop-out clause - not a nice thought.
I guess many of us are no longer individually willing or able to name and shame injustice - we are far too 'nice' to want to be confrontational. So much easier to have the Church collectively do it for us.
So - yes I rejoice that we have publicly made explicit what was always implict and present in our standing orders - we have spelled it out, and in so doing have attracted a lot of attention. We have, I hope helped others to rethink what their faith might actually mean in terms of their allegiances.
But I'm not under any illusions, the real battle is still to be done.. inside me.
Will I ever have the courage to act on this, to do more than speak or blog about it...?
God help me to find the courage, for I fear this resolution may be nothing more than posturing otherwise.