The three legged stool! A strange title, but it is a phrase I used to use when explaining the Church of England to people who were exploring ordination (Mary might remember!). It is that the Church of England is like a three legged stool - it rests on three bases. The first leg is Scripture which contains all we need for salvation, there we find the history of God’s loving acts from creation to a once for all act in Jesus, to the ongoing work of the Spirit in the early Church. The end of October saw the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation and our emphasis on Scripture comes from there. The second leg is tradition – the work of God is not contained within Scripture because that is contained within covers – the Spirit has blown the Church along for 2000+ years and we are the result. At the Reformation we did not lose the ‘catholic’ order of Bishops, Priests and deacons, we kept the parish system as a means of expressing God’s love to every nook and cranny of this country. The third leg is reason or experience – God works through our intellect and through our experience, God allows for our change and development. It is this which means we rightly struggle with changes of society. It means we have been able to embrace the ministry of women. We are not stuck with one way of being society but are aware that the Spirit challenges us and moves us on. This will always lead us to difficulty and change – but opens us up to the possibility that God is changing and renewing us and this is part of his love for us. The Reformation was one such period. I wonder with the challenges facing the Church now whether the Spirit is powerfully at work again, disturbing what we thought was obvious and reshaping the Church for our next steps forward.