The Church of England's summer Synod in the pastoral setting of York has got off to a less than idyllic start with procedural wrangling over votes about women bishops and a mighty media row concerning the episcopal appointment in Southwark.
Such is the level of rhetoric, anger, claiming and counter-claiming occurring (in some quarters, anyway), it's hard to know what's really going on... and the louder the volume, the less many people at the grassroots of the Church are liable to care. Quite a few, however, are quietly expressing deep frustration at how awful the C of E is making itself look - and that includes Synod members who get on with their work under the radar.
As for those outside the Church and in the press pack, well, as one hack observed, "heaven only knows."
Rather as a cacophonous TV programme can make you want to turn the telly off instead of analysing the plot in detail, so it is possible to 'be there' in York (9-13 July 2010) and yet feel less than engaged with the current proceedings, one participant tells me. Yet there are important issues being discussed.
Thankfully the good people at the Thinking Anglicans website (http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/ ), notably Peter Owen and Simon Sarmiento, are doing a characteristically fine and detailed job of noting what is on the agenda, what is being said and done, and how it is being reported and commented on in the print and digital media.
Ekklesia associates, including the ever-thoughtful Savi Hensman, will be following developments and making some contributions to the discussions (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/tags/1469 ), but for a regularly updated, blow-by-blow (though hopefully not!) account of General Synod, we recommend TA.
In addition, wry-but-gentle cartoonist Dave Walker will bring a refreshing perspective (http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/blog_post.asp?id=97516 ), there's a General Synod blog (http://gensyn.blogspot.com/ ), numerous Twitter feeds (see the #synod hashtag), Peter Owen's helpful summary of the various amendments (http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/004486.html ) and a live audio feed on Premier Christian Radio (http://www.premier.org.uk/streaming/synod.asx ).